Last week I was looking through some critique videos on the subject, and the comments under one vid in particular really confused me...basically, there was a debate about whether power scaling was even necessary.
And I just? I don't understand that...as far as I know, power scaling consists of having an at least somewhat concrete idea of the magnitude of each characters abilities, the kinds of things they are able to do, and the amount of strategy they are able to employ in a fight.
I would think you would probably want this for any story where a fight could potentially occur, and it would be absolutely MANDATORY for a story that's centered on fighting, because how can you look forward to an upcoming battle when you have no idea what the stakes are, or how much of a chance the protag has to win? How do you show characters growing and gaining skills when you don't even know where they started out relative to everyone else??
Like, if you don't do power scaling at all, how do you decide who wins a fight, and more importantly, what the combatants will have to be able to do in order to beat each other?? Like, do you just flip an effing coin?! How does that make for a satisfying narrative??
The only way the idea that 'you don't need power scaling' makes sense to me is if the definition changes completely (hence, this thread). Like, if you define power scaling in a quantitative, numerical sense (good luck with that), or if you define it as having a strict ranking of who can beat who with no exceptions, then I'd say 'yeah, that's not necessary...or even realistic'.
But as far as I can tell, when people say 'power scaling' they don't mean things like that. =/