Both units and Heroes in Warlords Battlecry 3 can gain experience and eventually level up when they accumulate enough. Up on levelling up, units will get an increase in all of their stats. For Heroes, the player can choose how they get stronger.
Standard XP gains
Each time a unit kills another unit, they'll gain 1 point of Experience (XP). In addition to that, the Hero who owns the unit that acquired the XP will also gain that XP, too. For that purpose, a Titan is considered a normal unit. A unit that destroys a building will gain 3 XP. Again, the Hero who owns the attacking unit will also gain that XP. However, if a unit destroys a building that deals damage (such as a tower) then the unit will gain 4 XP. Once more, the Hero will also gain this.
XP from Enemy Heroes
Any unit (and the Hero who owns the unit) that slays an enemy Hero will be rewarded bonus XP equal to the fallen Hero's level in addition to the usual +1 XP for killing a unit.
XP from Souls
XP from Quests
Up on completing a quest, your Hero will receive 20 XP. However, the Knight race have access to the Order of the Grail research that, once researched, doubles the amount of XP gained from quests (40 XP).
Completing certain missions in the campaign will award bonus XP (usually in the hundreds), in addition to any other XP you would normal gain. There are also a few special areas in the campaign where you can purchase XP for your Hero at the cost of Crowns (currency used only in the campaign). Typically, it costs around 20 Crowns per 10 point of XP, but the Moon King of Lunarion being the cheapest at just 18 Crowns per 10 point.
When Wraiths and Shadows, as well as units under the Mind Leech spell, kill an enemy unit, the XP amount gained will be equal to the amount of XP the slain unit had. This applies to Heroes both ways (when under the effects of Mind Leech and also when being leeched). Due to the amount of XP a Hero usually has (more than 1500), a unit that leeches XP from a Hero usually ends up reaching their maximum level (20).
XP Bonuses from Researches
The Knight race have 2 types of researches that offer additional XP to their units as they kill opposing units. Crusade is the more prominent one, and a 5 piece research set. Each time a Crusade skill is researched, all owned units for that side will gain an additional +1 XP for every unit they kill. Once all 5 of the Crusade skills have been obtained, any unit of theirs will gain 6 XP instead of just 1 XP whenever it makes a kill. The other research is Knight's Quest that offers a bonus amount of XP to whatever mounted knight unit slays a nominated enemy unit type. This should amount to 50 XP on top of the normal XP gain.
XP after a Scenario
Upon completing a scenario (whether you won / lost or was defeated before it was over), your Hero will gain XP based on his performance. If your Hero was slain during the battle, the amount of this rewarded XP is reduced by 25%.
Ironman Hero Bonuses
Heroes that have dared to tread the path of an Ironman double the XP they acquire from all forms of XP gains. Typically it means they'll gain 2 XP when they (or a unit from their side) makes a kill and 6 XP from destroying a building. (Tinmen Heroes gain +25% XP and Bronzemen gain +50% XP but these Hero modes are disabled in Warlords Battlecry 3, but revived in some mods.)
XP from a Hero's Intelligence
Produced units don't always start with 0 XP, instead their XP amount is dependent on your Hero's intelligence characteristic. All produced units gain +1 XP for every 2 points invested in your Hero's intelligence but only if you Hero is still present in the current battle. If your Hero is slain or just never turned up, then your Hero's intelligence has no affect on produced units (intelligence is treated as being 0).
XP from Hero Skills
There are a few race-specific skills a Hero can have that offer additional XP to certain produced units, in addition to that acquired from a Hero's intelligence characteristic. Again, these are only in place while your Hero is still alive/present in battle. Below are a list of those skills and the amount of XP they offer per point invested and for what units.
- Riding: +2 XP for Cavalry.
- Slimemaster: +2 XP for Slimes.
- All-Seeing-Eye: +2 XP for Gazers, Spores and Eyes of Flame.
- Guardian Oak: +2 XP for Treants and Ancient Treants.
- Memories: +1 XP for Skeletons.
- Undead Legion: +3 XP for Skeleton Cavalry.
- Knight Protector: +2 XP for Knights, Knight Champions and Knight Lords.
- Griffonmaster: +3 XP for Griffons.
- Runic Lore: +3 XP for Runelords.
- Mage King: +2 XP for White, Red and Black Mages.
- Gate: +2 XP for any unit summoned in to play.
- Bewmaster: +2 XP for all Dwarven units.
- Golem master: +2 XP for Stone, Iron and Bronze Golems.
- Dragonmaster: +3 XP for Dragons, "Dinosaurs" (Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Pterodactyl) and "Hydras" (Hydra, Pyrohydra and Cryohydra).
- Taming: +2 XP for Monsters.
XP from Researches
Once researched, certain powerups will offer additional XP to newly produced units regardless of whether your Hero is still present. The primitive races (Orcs, Barbarians and Minotaurs) have access to Training that offers +10 XP to all produced units. The Fey have a 9 stage research set known as Lore which can offer up to a monstrous +100 XP when all 9 are researched. The Knight race have Order of the Rose which offers +5 XP to their Cavalry units only.
XP from higher Level of mastery (Summoning spells)
Most of the units summoned by a spell (either a hero's or a spellcaster unit's) gain a XP bonus depending on the level of mastery of said summoning spell. Gain is either + 5 XP, +20 XP, or +50 XP per level of mastery. For instance, such units as Fire Elemental, Earth Elemental, or Daemon are summoned with 0 / 50 / 100 / 150 / 200 initial xp by summoning spells cast at level of mastery 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 respectively. For the record, a level of mastery is gained every 10 skill points invested in a sphere of magic (hero units), or every 5 levels (non-hero units).
The dreaded Dragonliche has a unique ability in which units caught in its breath attack lose 10 XP each strike - including Heroes. However, those cursed units don't lose any level actually, and their stats don't degrade. They are only less likely to level-up during the current battle. Heroes and retinue units that survive the fight with less XP than would normally require their current level will start the next battle with their new level.
Defeat of an Ironman / Bronzeman Hero
Unlike normal Heroes, when an Ironman Hero falls in battle - he is permanently killed, losing everything. However, choosing to freeze his level before going into battle prevents permanent death, but also prevents gaining XP, too. When a Bronzeman Hero is defeated, he loses all the XP gained after reaching his current level - essentially going back to the start of that level. Note that Bronzeman Heroes are disabled in Warlords Battlecry 3 but have been revived in some mods.
Just like Heroes, units can level up, too. However, they are capped at level 20 but have an overall increase to all their stats when they level up, unlike Heroes who are limited as to how they get stronger per level. Below is a list of the unit levels, their titles and the amount of XP a unit needs to reach that level. Once a unit reaches level 20, it'll still continue to gain XP (all the way up to 20,000), but of course won't have any purpose.
- Level 1 = Novice: Starting level for a unit (0 XP)
- Level 2 = Expert: 5 XP+
- Level 3 = Expert: 10 XP+
- Level 4 = Expert: 20 XP+
- Level 5 = Adept: 40 XP+
- Level 6 = Adept: 70 XP+
- Level 7 = Adept: 110 XP+
- Level 8 = Veteran: 160 XP+
- Level 9 = Veteran: 220 XP+
- Level 10 = Veteran: 280 XP+
- Level 11 = Champion: 350 XP+
- Level 12 = Champion: 430 XP+
- Level 13 = Champion: 520 XP+
- Level 14 = Elite: 610 XP+
- Level 15 = Elite: 700 XP+
- Level 16 = Elite: 800 XP+
- Level 17 = Master: 900 XP+
- Level 18 = Master: 1100 XP+
- Level 19 = Master: 1300 XP+
- Level 20 = Grandmaster: 1500+
As the unit levels up, its selection ring changes colour. The colour changed from green, through blue to white. Once a unit reaches level 9+, the selection ring will become a striking yellow-gold.
Unit Stat Increases
As a unit levels up, its stats will increase, usually by a fixed amount regardless of their base stats, making the game seem more forgiving for weaker units as their stats will end up being increased by a larger percentage than that of a more powerful unit. Below are the bonuses a unit gets when reaching each level. Where it says the value is specific to stats between a range, it also means equal to those number as well. So between 5 and 8 also includes 5 and 8. Also these stats are only the unit's base stat + increases from past levels. Increases from the likes of spells and researches are ignored when calculating the unit's new base stats.
- Level 2 = +2 Damage / +1 Armour & Resistance / If HP < 51, +5 HP else +10 HP / If Speed between 5 and 16, +1 Speed / If Combat < 17, +1 Combat
- Level 3 = +2 Damage / +1 Armour & Resistance / If HP < 51, +5 HP else +10 HP / If Speed between 5 and 8, +1 Speed / If Combat between 5 and 24, +1 Combat
- Level 4 = +2 Damage / +1 Armour & Resistance / If HP < 51, +5 HP else, if HP between 51 and 90, + 20 HP else +10 HP / If Speed < 5 or between 9 and 16, +1 Speed / +1 Combat
- Level 5 = +2 Damage / +1 Armour & Resistance / If HP < 31 +5 HP, else if HP between 51 and 90, +20 HP else +10 HP / If Speed between 5 and 16, +1 Speed / If Combat between 5 and 16, +1 Combat
- Level 6 = +3 Damage / +2 Armour & Resistance / If HP between 51 and 120, +20 HP else +10 HP / If Speed between 5 and 8 or 17 and 20, +1 Speed / If Combat < 25, +1 Combat
- Level 7 = +3 Damage / +2 Armour & Resistance / If HP between 51 and 120, +20 HP else +10 HP / If Speed < 5 or between 9 and 16, +1 Speed / If Combat > 4, +1 Combat
- Level 8 = +3 Damage / +2 Armour & Resistance / If HP < 221, +20 HP else +15 HP / If Speed > 4, +1 Speed / If Combat between 5 and 8, +2 Combat, else +1 Combat
- Level 9 = +3 Damage / +2 Armour & Resistance / If HP < 221, +20 HP else +15 HP / If Speed between 5 and 8, +1 Speed / If Combat between 5 and 8, +2 Combat, else if > 8 then +1 Combat
- Level 10 = +3 Damage / +2 Armour & Resistance / If HP < 221, +20 HP else +15 HP / If Speed between 5 and 8, then no Speed increase, else +1 Speed / If Combat between 5 and 8, +2 Combat, else +1 Combat
- Level 11 = +4 Damage / +2 Armour & Resistance / If HP < 221, +20 HP else +15 HP / If Speed between 5 and 16, +1 Speed / If Combat between 5 and 8, +2 Combat, else +1 Combat
- Level 12 = +4 Damage / +2 Armour & Resistance / If HP < 221, +20 HP else +15 HP / If Speed between 5 and 8 or > 16, +1 Speed / If Combat between 5 and 8, +2 Combat, else +1 Combat
- Level 13 = +4 Damage / +3 Armour & Resistance / If HP < 221, +20 HP else +15 HP / If Speed < 5 or between 9 and 20, +1 Speed / If Combat between 5 and 12, +2 Combat, else +1 Combat
- Level 14 = +4 Damage / +3 Armour & Resistance / If HP < 221, +20 HP else +15 HP / If Speed between 5 and 16 or > 20, +1 Speed / If Combat between 5 and 12, +2 Combat, else +1 Combat
- Level 15 = +4 Damage / +3 Armour & Resistance / If HP < 221, +20 HP else +15 HP / If Speed between 5 and 8, +1 Speed / If Combat between 5 and 16, +2 Combat, else +1 Combat
- Level 16 = +5 Damage / +3 Armour & Resistance / +20 HP / If Speed between 5 and 8, then no Speed increase, else +1 Speed / If Combat between 5 and 20, +2 Combat, else +1 Combat
- Level 17 = +5 Damage / +3 Armour & Resistance / +20 HP / If Speed between 5 and 16, +1 Speed / If Combat between 5 and 24, +2 Combat, else +1 Combat
- Level 18 = +5 Damage / +3 Armour & Resistance / +20 HP / If Speed between 5 and 8 or > 16, +1 Speed / If Combat < 5, +1 Combat, else +2 Combat
- Level 19 = +5 Damage / +3 Armour & Resistance / +20 HP / If Speed < 5 or between 9 and 16,, +1 Speed / If Combat < 5, +1 Combat, else +2 Combat
- Level 20 = +5 Damage / +3 Armour & Resistance / +20 HP / +1 Speed / If Combat < 5, +1 Combat, else +2 Combat
As the level bonuses are added together as the unit progresses, every unit in the game will receive +68 Damage and +42 Armor and Resistance when they eventually hit level 20. This is a massive increase in percentage wise to units with naturally low Damage and Armor. But not much of an increase for units that already had high Damage (Minotaur King) or Armor. Since the increased amount for the other stats are dependent on the stat itself, in the end will offer a different increased amount, although similar. (A unit with a starting Speed of 4 will receive +13 points in Speed when it hits level 20, whereas a unit with 10 starting Speed will receive +12)
Other levelling effects
In addition to stat increases, levelling also affects the way non-hero units can cast spells.
- Units with mana will receive an increase to their mana regeneration speed. Each level will improve regeneration time by -0.1 seconds (-0.2 for Daemon units). As such, a level 10 non-Daemon unit will regenerate 1 point of mana per 2 seconds. But at level 20 it will regenerate 1 point every second.
- Spellcasting units cast their spells one level of mastery higher every 5 unit levels, that is upon reaching level 5, 10, 15, and 20. For instance, if a level 1 unit cast spells at first level of mastery, a level 20 unit casts spells at fifth level of mastery. As a result, and although the potency of these unit's spells have been tuned down in some unofficial patches, as compared to same name hero's spells, high level (retinue) units may very well cast more potent spells than the hero who leads them.
In Warlords Battlecry 3, there is no level cap to Heroes, allowing them to reach such high levels that the game simply can't handle them! But each time a Hero levels up, the owning player can choose a single characteristic to increase by 1 point (Strength / Dexterity / Intelligence / Charisma) and a single Hero skill to increase by 1 point. The Hero will also receive a small increase to their maximum Health regardless of what choices the player made to spend their points in. Usually between 2-4 depending on the Hero's current maximum Health stat.
Heroes can also level up in the middle of a battlefield and can indeed receive their stat boosts there. At which point the Hero will be restored to full Health and be cured of any illnesses.
If a Hero chooses to not use any of his ability points when levelling up, they'll roll over to the next level so he won't lose them.
- WBC2 not only introduced the Ironman Hero option, but also Bronzeman and Tinman. These also offered additional XP at a penalty when your Hero is slain. However, these 2 options were disabled for WBC3 but yet still exist in the game.
- Due to the method at which a unit gains stat increases per level, the formula actually tries to apply stat bonuses to level 1 units, but these values that are applied are all pre-defined at 0 to prevent the unit's stats from actually being increased.
- Units that are received from Quests take your Hero's training skill into account, allowing these units to receive additional XP - more than intended.