Experience is a numerical statistic measuring the "maturity" of a (player-controlled) character or the general level of knowledge and skill the character has acquired. In Dragon Age games, experience points (XP) are awarded in a manner very similar to Dungeons & Dragons; e.g. for defeating enemies, completing quests, or successfully performing other tasks such as picking a lock or acquiring a codex entry. When the character reaches a set amount of experience points, he/she will "level up" and be allowed to choose new abilities according to the character's class and the particular level reached.
In Dragon Age: Origins, the maximum level for player-controlled characters (the Warden and companions) is 25, which is reached at 186,000 experience points. However, it is very difficult to reach the maximum level through normal gameplay; the developers expect that most players will be level 18–22 if they complete the game and all the side quests, and level 21–25 if they complete all current downloadable content as well.
In Origins, characters can gain experience points by:
- Killing an enemy
- Completing quests
- Picking a lock (if successful)
- Disarming a trap (if successful)
- Acquiring a new codex entry
- Donating to your allies
Experience distribution is full on-screen amount for the character doing the action (killing an enemy, picking a lock, etc.) and 2 experience points less for every other party member. For example, let's say the main character kills a genlock and the experience point gain shown on-screen is 33 XP. That character will have 33 points added to their total and each other party member will get 31 points added.
Upon gaining a level, characters receive 3 attribute points and 1 talent point each level. Rogues receive 1 skill point every two levels, while warriors and mages get one every three levels. A specialization point is granted at levels 7 and 14, and new Tactics (Origins) slots are unlocked at levels 3, 6, 10, 15 and 20.
Experience Table Edit
|Level||Experience||Tactics Slot||Specialization Points||Talent Points||Warrior Skill Points||Mage Skill Points||Rogue Skill Points||Attributes|
|Requires Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening|
- ^a Plus an additional talent point for the Warden depending on their origin
- ^b Except Sten
- ^c Requires Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening
Unused Characters Edit
Once obtained, any companion not in the active party will still level up. They will not gain experience as such, but if at any point they are two or more levels below the Warden, they will automatically adjust their level to one below. For example, say Oghren joins the party at level 12, and the Warden is level 11. If Oghren is left in the camp while the Warden heads off adventuring, he will not gain experience. However, as soon as the Warden reaches level 14, Oghren will instantly ascend to level 13.
This also applies to characters in the active party. If, for any reason, the Warden ends up two levels higher than another party member, returning to camp, or selecting 'change party', will advance them to the next level, regardless of how much experience remains before they would reach it normally.
Auto Leveling Edit
If you choose to have characters automatically level up, the game will automatically distribute their attribute points, skill points and talent points. By default, this will result in a well-rounded character, but one less effective at a specific role than a player-customized character. The game also tends to spread talent points between different talent trees, granting a wide variety of basic abilities but no advanced abilities. As a result, it is recommended to handle distribution of points manually.
Challenge Scaling Edit
In Dragon Age: Origins, enemies will level up with the Warden (within pre-determined limits), so although a certain base level is advisable to defeat certain bosses, there is little benefit gained through grinding experience before starting a quest, as may have been possible in some older RPGs where enemies had static abilities.
For details, see Challenge Scaling in Dragon Age: Origins.
Unlike most other RPG games, grinding in the usual sense is not possible, because all enemies are fixed - there are no regenerating monsters.
Investing items in the Allied Supply Crates will grant 10 XP per item. Investing gold will make these returns:
10 XP (50 ) 42 XP (2 ) 225 XP (10 ) 750 XP (30 ). This information may only be correct for the PC version: testing on Xbox shows that either the gain is much less than that, or the Experience Table is completely wrong.
- On the PC, the maximum gain for a single investment is 880 XP, so in order to convert money into experience most efficiently, buy stacks of 88 elfroots from Varathorn in the Dalish Camp to donate in your camp. It should allow you to donate only a single stack at a time, so you shouldn't need to return to the Dalish camp for every individual stack.
- On the Xbox, testing confirms that not only do Elfroots not grant 10 XP per item, but there's also no apparent cap on XP. Without being able to know for sure, since you can't see XP values on the Xbox, an estimate would be a gain of two, maybe three XP per elfroot, based on the amount the XP bar moved compared to how much XP it takes to get from 22 to 23. Investing large amounts of Elfroot at once (60+ stacks) causes the game to lag for several seconds, but it eventually accepts the donation and moves the XP bar a considerable distance.
- The PS3's investment likely works the same way the Xbox's does; however, this is currently unconfirmed. Downloaded ps3 version appears to be accurate on all investing accounts.
Bonus Talent Points Edit
After completing certain key plot elements (three in total during Dragon Age: Origins) the Warden will receive a bonus point in addition to the ones they gain from leveling. The exception to this being that after the completion of the second plot element, a Rogue warden will gain a bonus skill point instead of a bonus talent point.
- During Tainted Blood, return to Duncan with the three vials of darkspawn blood but not the warden treaty scrolls. Repeat the conversation for 750 XP every time and for a bonus complete all specialization quests and you will be able to assign them to you and your companions with ease . Note that using this exploit may skew the leveling of future companions (who may have a level comparable to the Warden, but none of the abilities they should have). This exploit is currently fixed for PC (by a patch) and PS3, but still exists for Xbox 360.
- At any time during or after The Urn of Sacred Ashes, entering the Mountain Top from either side (the Gauntlet or the Ruined Temple) will result in 750 XP every time. (Confirmed on PC up to version 1.04). Doesn't appear to work on the ps3 downloaded version.
- In Traps are a Girl's Best Friend, a useful glitch allows for easy levels and gold. Purchase all the Trap Triggers that Barlin has and make as many Spring Traps as possible. The traps can be sold to Allison for 50 and 100 experience points for each set of three. The exploit may be continued indefinitely because Barlin's supply of Trap Triggers is unlimited. To trigger the glitch you have to start conversation with Allison twice after giving her the first three spring traps and thus completing the quest. The first time she will just thank you, the second time, she will start asking about traps again.
Dragon Age: Origins - AwakeningEdit
In Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening, the maximum level has been raised up to 35 (from 25 in Origins) this cap also remains in all DLC thereafter, and a newly created character starts at level 18. Experience point mechanics remain the same.
Dragon Age II Edit
The maximum level being reported is 50 (confirmed by the infinite gold/experience exploit). Experience earned is given to all companions at the same time, whether they are in the current party or not; however, it is noted that companions all have different experience totals than the main character, and this seems to be a fixed amount regardless of when they join the party. There is no advantage to maintaining one group through the game, so the party can be changed to maximize Friendship or Rivalry, or to use a better skill set for certain battles. There is no difference in experience gain for the various difficulty levels; further experience gained from combat is based on "the encounter" rather than the individual kill. (This can be seen most clearly when a significantly lesser amount is received for finishing combat, only to find a single enemy stuck in a corner somewhere that rewards a grossly inflated amount that balances the xp gain for the "full" combat.) Also, NPC allies will not "Kill Steal" from you unless they defeat an enemy unaided, meaning as long as an active party member damages the target, you will get experience even if it is killed by an NPC.
There is one trick, however, to gaining additional XP. In Dragon Age II certain experience gains are fixed: Quests, informational codex discoveries (50xp), Chests/Traps (50/100/150/200xp), and crafting materials (200xp + codex xp for first discovery). However, enemies scale to a level appropriate to the main character and consequently their xp value scales as well. With this in mind a player can maximize their xp gains by turning in Static xp quests etc. as quickly as possible to gain increased levels and postponing fights for as long as possible in order to gain greater xp from enemies that are worth more due to scaling. Using this micro-management approach will gain approximately 21,000 additional experience by the End of Act 1 (not including XP boosting items).
To level up to the next level you need to gain current_level * 1000 XP.
The infinite gold/experience glitch has been patched and no longer works.
As stated in the bugs section of A Friend there is still an infinite XP / exploit.
Dragon Age: InquisitionEdit
In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the maximum level for player-controlled characters is 27, which is reached at 791,384 experience points. Since the enemies do not scale with player-controlled characters (unless the Even Ground trial obtained with Trespasser is turned on), it is very hard to achieve this level in the base game only. With the added DLC Jaws of Hakkon, The Descent and Trespasser it is easily attainable.
In Dragon Age: Inquisition, characters can gain experience points by:
- Killing an enemy
- Completing quests
- Sealing fade rifts
- Acquiring codex entries
- Researching creatures
Upon gaining a level characters will gain one ability point. Ability points are essential as an aspect of leveling not only because they give access to active abilities, but because passive abilities come with increases to basic attributes, affecting overall statistics. Their health will also increase. The Inquisitor will also gain Inquisitor (abilities) while completing story missions from the main game and the DLCs. Specializations will become available once the Inquisitor has completed In Your Heart Shall Burn. It is also possible to gain ability points for the Inquisitor and companions by equipping an Amulet of Power, though Patch 5 removed many of them from the game.
Auto-leveling is still an option for all player characters. It is possible to respec the characters by using The Tactician's Renewal.
At level one, the Inquisitor and all companions begin with a base of two ability points to spend which are already allocated to abilities, but can be reassigned later at your stronghold. Humans receive a bonus ability point. This also applies to Blackwall, Cassandra, Vivienne and Dorian. Cole does not appear to get this bonus point, presumably because he is not strictly "human". Affecting Cole to become more human does not grant him an ability point.
Amulets of Power can be found for the Inquisitor and companions throughout the game as reward for completing War Table missions or in field quests, or which can be looted from from containers. These grant one ability point. No more than two can be found for each companion, and their availability depends on choices made in the game and the quest/story lines they open up (or close off). Between bonus human points and two possible amulets, Blackwall, Cassandra, and Vivienne can reach a maximum of 31 ability points at level 27. Cole, Iron Bull, Solas and Varric can reach 30 ability points with two amulets. Dorian can reach 30 ability points with one possible amulet. Sera will have the least potential with no bonus point and one possible amulet. Because quest and War Table options will be limited based on in-game choices, not all will be found in a play-through. Most companions will likely get 29 or 30 ability points at maximum level.
Two amulets can be found for the Inquisitor, and one ability point can be rewarded for the Exclusive Training perk at the War Table.
Experience Table Edit
|Level||Total Experience||Experience to next level|
Unused Characters Edit
Once obtained, any companion not in the active party will still level up. They have the same experience table as the Inquisitor, though they start with slightly less experience than them, meaning that the Inquisitor will be the first one to level up.
Companions will automatically progress to one level below the Inquisitor if going unused causes them to fall two or more levels behind. This will be reflected upon their recruitment in field, or upon returning to Haven/Skyhold, along with respective ability points. All companions can reach level 27 if brought into the field for questing after the Inquisitor has reached maximum level. When maximum XP has been earned the Inquisitor and companions will have a full XP bar, but will not level to 28.
Unless the Even Ground trial is turned on, enemies do not scale with the player-controlled characters. Enemies also have a hard level cap of 27 (the only exception being a group of 4 level 30 despair demons found in the Frostback Basin). Regions do not scale either, and are not designed to be completed all at once (for example the Hinterlands have enemies from the 4-7 range to the 8-12 range). Generally speaking the Fereldan regions are lower-level than the Orlesian regions. The Hinterlands, Storm Coast, Fallow Mire and Forbidden Oasis are low-level (2+), Crestwood, Western Approach, Exalted Plains and Emerald Graves are mid-level (10+), Emprise du Lion and Hissing Wastes are high level (16+). Enemies in The Descent will scale with the player. Jaws of Hakkon and Trespasser are recommended for players level 20+ (Trespasser can only be completed post-game).
Most main quests are given recommended levels before starting them on the war table.
There are a number of perks that increases the experience gained by performing certain tasks. The four knowledge perks grant +50% XP for each codex entry unlocked each, the Enhanced Studies perk grants an additional +50% XP for each foe studied (also applies retroactively).
Trials are a gameplay feature added to Dragon Age: Inquisition with Trespasser. Some of them have an effect on leveling up: Even Ground makes the enemies scale to be at least the same level as the Inquisitor, Walk Softly randomly promotes enemies, making them reward more experience, Take It Slow reduces the XP gained by half.