I'm typing this up after a long day of pretending to work and trying to figure this out, so please forgive me if something is confusing.
tl;dr - going from a 201 level deficit in campaign to 200 level deficit by levelling up will double the damage you take from enemies. There's either a multiplier that increases campaign enemies' damage to you up to 200 level deficit (more likely), or a multiplier that decreases campaign enemies' damage to you after 200 level deficit (unlikely). If you are at 201+ deficit, leveling up to 200 deficit is probably not a good idea.
Basically, I was struggling on 36-60-1 at a 191 level deficit, since my Arthur kept dying immediately. I watched a few replays, and noticed that the damage he takes was much lower in the higher deficit replays I saw. I watched a few of them, and started taking down some numbers. To compare, I just checked the 1st hit Saurus does to Arthur:
RC395 - 3657k
RC400 - 3387k
RC405 - 3402k
RC426 - 6703k (me)
The gear, artifacts, tree, and SI/Furn were all the same, so I asked around to see if other people had this issue. Apparently, a LOT of other people at higher levels were having issues getting their Arthurs to survive. I did some testing with somebody in my guild at 405 crystal on the same stage, and he consistently took much lower damage than I did, taking all furn off, increasing health, decreasing health, etc.
After testing around a bit, we decided to try a different hero. Turns out it's not an Arthur thing or a Saurus thing, but it's just a deficit thing.
Player above 200 deficit takes about half the damage of a player with higher RC below 200 deficit with the same E+ hero on crystal.
Level 1 heroes take about the same damage (tree changes stats a little) regardless of your crystal, so it's based on the level of the individual hero.
This is PVE only and doesn't apply for PVP, we tested 195-204 deficit in PVP and the damage decrease was smooth as we levelled up.
Finally, in PVE, I found somebody who was at exactly 201 deficit, and was about to level up. I asked him to test with a E+ Vurk by himself and see how much damage he took from the first hit from the enemy.
Level 1 Vurk against 630 enemies (629 deficit) - 36.9M damage taken
Level 429 Vurk (201 deficit) - 36.2M damage taken (defense is a joke stat at high deficit)
Level 430 Vurk (200 deficit) - 72M damage taken
None of these were crits, and the vurk had no gear on.
So basically, for campaign, if you manage to go from 200 deficit up to 201, the damage you take from enemies will be cut almost in half. You can test this out, if you're at a smaller deficit than 200, an E+ unit at level 1 will actually take less damage on a hit than an E+ unit on your crystal. If your deficit is 200 or higher, your level 1 unit will take a little bit more damage than your crystal unit.
Anyway there's not a lot of data, so if you're around 201 deficit and feel like helping us out, please check the damage one of your units receives before and after you level up and post it here!
Thanks to everybody in the pushing discord server (especially for creating a separate channel for my ramblings today), as well as my guild Amicitia for helping test this stuff out!External link →