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Due to the scouters from DBZ season 1/Saiyan Saga, everyone always asks about power levels. Now, to actually figure those numbers, there are a few problems, with the first being you really need a point of reference, and after the freiza saga-those references just vanish. Super Saiyan increased the users power 50x(say goku as super saiyan is 15 mil, frieza(100%) 12 mil, some say 18 mil goku, frieza(100%) 15 mil), and if the next super saiyan level was supposed to be a larger increase(as stated on the show), one could assume ss2 = ss ^50..X , or 15 mil x 15 mil x over and over til you get at least 50 iterations. ss3 being an even bigger increase over 2, and so on throughout the transformations.

The 2nd hurdle to overcome, is that some of these fights shown show fighters fighting at lower levels(what a sentence). It's possible for Ultra Instinct to shake your hand without breaking it, or punch you in the face without putting a hole thru it.

The final hurdle, is the special attack nature of some fighters. God Ki, Legendary Ki, UI Ki, all add special factors to the power of a fighter.

I believe the show does a great job overall(even GT was entertaining). The tournament of power is rewatchable in particular. I also believe we can get fighters organized on their strengths into a hierarchy of "who is stronger than who".

Is it better to just organize these fighters by referencing each other rather than figure exact numbers from the same scale? for example: and yes this is a long example-but it's for a reason! using

Goku(Frieza) as our reference, power level of 1.
Goku(SS) power of Goku X 50  
frieza(100%) is .75 ss goku(both versions agree on this, frieza was roughly 1/4 less than goku)

Android saga
goku = 1
ss goku = goku x 50
android 19 20-much weaker than goku(trunks even said so) tho they did win due to heart disease
an. 19 = goku x 25
an. 20 = goku x 30(assuming he's stronger as dr. gero)
vegeta = goku x .95(a fair number, as he's almost always behind goku)
ss vegeta = vegeta x 50(weaker than goku but still stronger than 19/20)
an. 16 = ss goku x 2.5(he goes up against cell after an android absorption)
an. 17 = ss goku x 1.3(at least this much stronger, 18 destroys vegeta, 17 > 18)
an. 18 = ss goku x 1.1(much stronger than vegeta)
imp cell = ss goku 1.5(strong enough to absorb 17-had to get some humans for this level)
ss trunks = ss goku x .96(safe to say weaker than goku but roughly as strong as vegeta)
kamiccolo = ss goku 1.4(strong enough to take on 18, but not imp cell) 

Cell Saga-start
Goku = 1 again
Cell Stage 2 = ss goku 1.5 + ss goku 1.3 = ss goku 2.8(he beats android 16)
Vegeta ASS = ss goku 3.5(ascended is NOT the same as 2, he wants cell to absorb 18 for a better fight.)
Perfect Cell = ss goku 2.8 + ss goku 1.1 = ss goku 3.9 + perfection bonus of doubling power = ss goku 7.8........ vegeta gets stomped
Trunks ASS2 = More than ASS Vegeta but less than perfect cell so ss goku 3.5 + 1.5 upgrade = SS goku 5.0 strong but no where near Cell
Goku as special SS = better fighter than trunks ass2 with less strength, but still no class of cell. ss goku 4.5
Gohan ss = Goku 3.5 ish-because he is a joke to Cell
SS Gohan 2 = stronger than Cell after a Zenkai boost, and since the form multiplies SS... Goku ss 10.0
Cell after Zenkai = 8.0 still nothing to gohan, but gives a good fight
  • Even if you were to use the figures you've given, you don't really have a good point of reference for how Goku improves over the series. For how much Goku trains, you can't expect that base Goku when Raditz showed up is just as strong as base Goku during the Tournament of Power. Hell, Zenkai boosts alone would make a difference (and Goku has quite a few of those by now). – Becuzz Apr 3 at 15:25
  • yeah exactly-at each saga you have to change it to the new reference, which I use goku in these instances – King of NES Apr 3 at 15:28
  • The power levels are set in stone up thru freiza tho-so you get an idea of how each saga portrays the opponents and z fighters – King of NES Apr 3 at 18:02
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After the concept of power levels was dropped, power scaling was done throughout the series by referencing one character to another. This was essentially done by the characters themselves sometimes. In terms of Dragon Ball Super for instance,

In the ROF Arc, Frieza tells Goku that based on the power he senses, he should be stronger than Goku which kind of Establishes Golden Frieza is > Super Saiyan Blue Goku. At the start of the fight, Goku tells Frieza that he's gotten stronger but he doesn't need Super Saiyan to fight Final Form Frieza. So at that point in time, Base Goku was > Final Form Frieza. In the tournament of power, for instance, Goku and Vegeta more or less say they have never experienced a level of power as strong with reference to Jiren indicating Jiren is stronger than say, Fused Zamasu or anyone else they fought before that point.

The problem with your scaling technique is how exactly would you quantify the difference in power with numbers. For instance, Toriyama at one point said Goku was a 6, Beerus was a 10 and Whis was a 15. This was at the start of the B.O.G arc. Goku Grow substantially stronger however, disregarding Ultra Instinct, he is still completely shadowed by Beerus's level of power. We know this based on the fight between Mastered SSJB Vegeta and Beerus in the manga where the latter one shot's Vegeta without even fighting seriously.

The second main problem is characters grow several times stronger(Especially the Saiyans), during the course of the fight. For example, Goku who fights Jiren in Episode 109 is substantially weaker than the Goku who fights Jiren in Episode 122. However, both versions of Goku's were indicated to be vastly superior to Jiren who wasn't even trying. So displaying this difference numerically, wouldn't really make sense.

As of now, I believe the characters are scaled by the writers themselves during dialogue between the fighters themselves or in the form of side commentary from another fighter witnessing the fight.

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