Well, this was the first thing that basically came up with 4e Skill Challenges too, you can go all over the place. An entire SC could be just a part of the action during an encounter, or it could be an epic quest across half a content, and any given check made within one could represent anywhere from "I try to pick the lock" to "I keep us on course for 1000 miles across the Great Desert, using landmarks, the map, the compass, and the sextant as needed." That was not super easy for a lot of people to grasp...
And yes, you can do similar things in DW, both in terms of the scale in time and space of an intent, and in terms of the complexity of the undertaking to resolve it, within reason. Usually you can feel out what works, but sometimes I found, especially with SCs, that it could be easy to pick the wrong scale! I think PbtA is a bit more forgiving there, in general.
I was definitely thinking back on all the rancorous conversations we were involved in on 4e SCs when I wrote the above!
I think AW (and DW et al) is both (a) very clear on what I’ve written above and (b) the agenda/principles/always say etc create guidance for how best to proceed when you’re framing a situation in any given level of zoom (or transitioning from tight zoom to zoomed out).
But, like anything, it takes both mental agility/understanding/skill on behalf of the participants in question (I’m including both GM and players in this).
An interesting contrast is with Blades in the Dark. I think I mentioned this the other day, but Blades handles this very differently than AW because of the structure/phases of play (as opposed to the structured freeform without phases nature of AW).
Blades has 3 distinct phases and they each handle zoom very differently:
Info Gathering/Free Play: This might see a zoomed in scene like your PC Takeo was involved in on Monday (especially early or when “there aren’t an abundance of threats on the board”). Much more common however, is the more abstract and zoomed out Info Gathering move where you frame a Action Roll which is zoomed out and covers a large chunk > resolve it (with the effect of Limited, Standard, Great info depending on 1-3, 4-5, or 6 result).
Score: Zoomed in tightly on the action except for the exception of certain types of Flashbacks (which might be zoomed out).
Downtime: Again, back to zoomed out action covering a chunk of fictional time.
I think Blades is actually more amenable to a Trad cognitive orientation because of this tightly codified zoom based on structured phases.