All units in Age of Wonders III gain experience through participation in combat, as well as through some other means. The way experience affects units is different based upon what type of unit it is. Heroes and Leaders gain levels which grant them skill points which can be used to buy upgrades that increase the stats and add more abilities to their arsenal. Some of these abilities can even affect all units in an army that the hero is leading.
Normal units gain experience as they participate in battle but do not gain levels like a hero or leader; they instead gain rankings which gives them increased statistics or in some regards new abilities or traits. Units gain in experience from attacking a unit, killing a unit, engaging in combat, casting a spell or using an ability. They are limited to gaining only one rank per battle, but they can continue to gain experience until they reach the threshold for the next rank. Reaching elite rank causes some units to evolve into stronger units.
Attacks that can trigger 3 times
Note that attacking inanimate objects (e.g. city gates) DOES NOT award XP.
Most Other Abilities
Each use of an ability awards 2x Tier of the unit using the ability. This includes all single shot ranged attacks, but not area of effect attacks. Note that some abilities do not award such as War Cry, and most movement abilities like Sprint or Shadow Step.
Example: Consider the crusader/titan case above where the Titan kills the crusader on the second retaliation. The awarded is 2*2 + 4 = 8 for the Crusader (before it dies) and 2*2 + 4 + 5*2 = 18 for the Titan.
Area of Effect
Area of Effect attacks behave similarly to attacks that can trigger 3 times. The user receives equal to its tier for every unit hit with the attack. Killing a unit replaces the expected tier with 5x the tier of the dying unit.
Example: Suppose a Blight Elemental (tier III) is using Weakening Breath on 5 units (that can be affected) and kills one T3 and one T1 among these 5 units. It would have received 5*3 = 15 if none of them die. As two were killed, it receives instead 3*(5-2) + 5*1 + 5*3 = 29 .
Heroes and Leaders behave like T3 units with respect to all that they gain. Heroes behave like T5 and Leaders like T6 for the experience they award when they die, granting 25 and 30 respectively for the unit that lands a killing blow on them. 5 is added to this killing blow for every 5 levels the killed hero or leader had. Heroes and Leaders also passively gain 1 to 4 per strategic map turn: 1 by default, plus 1 for each 3000 the player has researched.
Spell Killing Blow
Example: Suppose that we have the same case as in the Being Attacked example, but the Titan has Static Shield. The Crusader has no new abilities. Both units receive the same , but the total value is 3*2 + 3*4 + 2*4 = 26 . Each static shield check after the Crusader attacks awards both units +4 (since the Titan is a T4 unit).
Units gain experience as they participate in battle but, unlike Heroes or Leaders, they gain medals and not levels. Medals give them improved statistics and sometimes new abilities. Units gain in experience from attacking a unit, killing a unit, engaging in combat, casting a spell or using an ability much like heroes or leaders. Units are limited to gaining only one rank per battle, but they can continue to gain experience until they reach the threshold for the next rank (beyond that point experience is not gained until the next battle). Reaching elite rank causes some units to evolve into stronger units. The amount of experience required to gain a new ranking is dependent on the tier of unit as shown by this table:
After getting Elite, units can keep getting Experience. For every time they gain a multiple of the Experience necessary to become Elite, they gain a Champion rank. Every Champion rank raises Health by 10.
Heroes and Leaders
"Experience counter" and limit of experience gains per strategic turn
- The unit uses a touch ability, giving itself .
- The unit is damaged by another unit, giving to the unit that damaged it.*
- The unit damages another unit with a melee attack, giving to the unit it damaged.
- The unit is killed, giving 5x its Tier to the unit that killed it.**
The counter resets each turn on the strategic map, so if you do multiple combats in the same strategic turn, the counter will be kept from one combat to the next.
"Experience Counter" Values
- Tier 1: 10
- Tier 2: 10
- Tier 3: 12
- Tier 4: 14
- Leader/Heroes: 12
PBEM & Single-Player Balance Mod
- Tier 1: 6
- Tier 2: 8
- Tier 3: 9
- Tier 4: 10
- Leader/Heroes: 9
Caution! Use the following advice at own discretion, and only if you enjoy min-maxing. Have fun!
Managing the counter of your own units
- The counter is to limit the amount of farming by restricting the each unit can give, and it does not prevent the unit from gaining from other units even after its own counter reaches 0. For example, after a hero stops giving to enemy through taking damage from previous battles this turn, he can still gain by attacking newly encountered enemys whose counter is still fresh.
- It is very easy for a high level hero to exhaust its own counter, so using self-cast ability early on would award the hero , but not after the hero's own counter become depleted. In short, use self buffs such as Iron-Heart as early as possible, and use healing abilities as soon as you take damage. It will help your hero level up faster.
Managing the counter of enemy units
- When facing enemy unit that is equal or lower tier than your own, it's better to let your high tier units attack until the enemy unit's counter is nearly empty while:
- When facing an enemy unit that is higher tier than your own, you can theoretically get the max by taking melee attack from them while:
- not retaliating with your own melee attack (often difficult or near impossible)
- not dying from the attack (very difficult)
- giving the killing blow to whichever unit you choose.