Experience points are a game mechanic in many Role-Playing Games, and by extension, Fire Emblem.
They are required for a character to Level Up. After 100 points are accumulated, the unit levels up to the next level. When a character participates in combat, they will gain experience points. The amount of experience points gained depends mainly on the class; lower classes such as Trainees will gain the most while higher classes like Paladins will gain the least amount.
The amount of experience gained also depends on how the battle went; no damage infliction results in very little, dealing damage will get you more, and killing the enemy will yield the most experience. Relative Class Power is also an essential factor in some games. Also, when fighting a boss or a thief, you will gain an increased amount of experience that does not adhere to some of the aforementioned conditions.
- Example: If Marcus killed a boss early-game, he would obtain the same amount of experience the lower-tiered units would have they done the same.
In the Tellius Series, you can also distribute Bonus Experience points as you see fit on the Base screen. The amount of bonus experience points you earn depends on certain circumstances from the previous chapter.
In earlier Fire Emblem games, starting from Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, (as in the first two Fire Emblem games, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Fire Emblem Gaiden, do not give EXP when a staff or White Magic is used), staff users gained a fixed amount of EXP based on what staff they used, and it was halved on promotion. However, in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the amount of experience gained is not reduced by promotion. In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, Fire Emblem Awakening, and Fire Emblem Fates, the amount of experience gained is reduced by the level of the healer.
Subjective: The following part of this article is based upon the editor's personal experiences and opinions, and therefore may not be applicable for all readers.
Experience Stealing is a fan term for the poor distribution of Experience between units in the army. Since units with very high levels relative to their opponents gain much less EXP than units with more comparable levels to that opponent, some players have argued that this results in a large drop in overall army performance, though this has generally been disregarded by more experienced players, who argue that pre-promoted units are the most powerful in their respective armies due to their ability to "snowball" easily.
While not a debilitating problem, it is worth considering Experience distribution when it comes to training units to maximize army strength.
Overleveled Experience Stealing
Overleveled Experience Stealing occurs when a character of a level far higher than the enemy it is fighting kills the enemy. Due to the way experience in the majority of Fire Emblem games works, a character of a much higher level will receive a lot less experience from killing the enemy than a character of a comparable or lower level than the enemy. This is not necessarily a bad thing however, as a lot of the time the lower leveled character is worse than the one who "stole" their experience, and killing bosses will award a large amount of experience to any unit.
- Killing the brigand closest to the start of the chapter with level 2 Cavalier Lowen gives Lowen 30 experience points.
- Killing the brigand closest to the start of the chapter with level 20/1 Paladin Marcus gives Marcus 3 experience points.
Unique to The Blazing Blade, it is possible for the reverse situation to occur, where a character who is higher level gains more experience compared to a character who is at a slightly lower level. This situation only occurs in the Normal modes of Eliwood and Hector's tales.
For example, take a Level 9 Archer from Chapter 23 of Hector's tale:
- Killing the Archer with a Level 9 Hector nets Hector 44 experience points.
- Killing the Archer with a Level 8 Eliwood nets Eliwood 33 experience points.
Here, 11 experience points have effectively been lost. This phenomenon occurs whenever a character's Level is close to (or slightly higher than) the enemy's level and has a greater effect for higher Level enemies. It can perhaps be thought of as rewarding players for keeping characters close to the average enemy Level.
Another kind of Overlevel Experience Stealing occurs when a character who cannot gain experience makes the kill. Because either they're at max level, or not allowed to promote for story purposes, no experience is gained at all from the action, attack, or kill. Similarly, the experience is often stolen by allied units, and units marked as 'Other', who generally cannot gain experience even if they are recruitable.
Wasteful Experience Stealing
Wasteful Experience Stealing refers to providing experience to units that the player will either not use or that are significantly sub-par to other units. Unlike Overlevel, Wasteful does not imply that any experience is lost, merely that it has been given to a character when other characters would have made better use of it. Since units that already possess suitable stats are better than units that do not yet have the necessary stats, the EXP is better used on the units with better stats as it will only serve to make them even better.