Experience and advancement
A.k.a. "Levelling Up".
As you adventure through the game world, your actions can earn you Experience Points (XP) reflecting your newly gained experience, knowledge, and training. Experience points are awarded to the whole party, not specific characters. When any character's experience points reach a certain threshold, a golden "+" in the left upper corner of character portrait will inform you that this character is ready to level up. Clicking the "+" takes you through the level-up process.
Sources of Experience
Notable sources of experience are:
- Completing Quests - It is the most effective way to level up your character and your companions. Following the main quest line will only earn a moderate amount of XP. If you're looking towards developing your character to max level with a large party of six, you'll need to undertake optional side quests.
- Stronghold Adventures for your idle Companions
- Bounties - you can get a fairly big amount of experience by collecting bounties. Talk to Guardian Fyrgen at the Warden's Lodge to get tasks. Talk to him again when you have completed the tasks to collect your rewards.
- Exploring and interacting with World - You'll receive experience upon discovering new locations (Areas and certain buildings and caves) and by interacting with the various objects found within (disarming traps, opening chests etc).
- Updating bestiary entries - you receive small amount of experience for discover the strengths and weaknesses of the various creatures you battle. How fast you reveal it depends on lore level of your character
Apart from the above, no experience is earned for killing anything! The only other advantages gained from combat are clearing the area, earning money, and finding random loot. Part of the reason for this design decision is to reward players who invest in the Stealth stat and avoid combat by sneaking by their enemies.
- Experience award calculation starts from a basic per-character number of XP.
- Bonus experience is awarded for having fewer than 6 party members in group. Since patch 1.03 it is 10% per missing party member. Before patch 1.03 it was 5%.
- The total party experience award is then the amount above, times the number of party members.
- For example, if the base award is 100 XP, and you have a full party, the total award is 600 XP. If one party member is missing, the per-character award is 110 XP, and the total award is 550 XP.
This seems like a negative reward for toughing it out with a smaller party, but it's not the whole story.
- Companions you have acquired, but left in the stronghold, also acquire a substantial fraction of the XP reward (typically around 75%).
- So for example, if you have all 8 companions, and your party is full, 3 will be left behind, so the total award is 600 XP + 3 * 75 XP = 825 XP. But if one party member is missing (joining the other 3 at the stronghold), the total award is 550 XP + 4 * 82 XP = 878 XP, which is a larger number.
When you meet a new companion and join him/her to your party, he/she will receive the same amount of xp as the player has at that moment. So it seems to be favourable to not meet with a companion as long as you are not planning to use him/her in your party, but rather add him/her as late as possible.
Pillars of Eternity
As you level up, the amount of experience required to advance to the next level increases. (The differential required is 1000 XP times the current level number.)
|Total XP required:||0||1,000||3,000||6,000||10,000||15,000||21,000||28,000||36,000||45,000||55,000||66,000||78,000||91,000||105,000||120,000|
In the base game, the maximum level is 12. It is possible (and advisable) to reach this level by the end of Act 3, for the main character and all companions (or actually much earlier if you play alone or with a reduced number of companions and join the others after you have reached the highest level).
In Pillars of Eternity: The White March - Part I, the level cap is extended to 14.
In Pillars of Eternity: The White March - Part II, the level cap is extended to 16.
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
In Deadfire, the base game level cap is 20.