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Mass Effect[]

In Mass Effect, leveling up for both the player and NPC squad members requires experience points, which are gained from completing missions, assignments, and killing or destroying enemies. The amount of experience required to reach the final few character levels increases sharply approaching the maximum level of 60.

Experience Gain[]

The party gains experience (as a whole) by successfully completing missions / assignments, killing enemies or finding new Codex info. The experience gained is based on the level of the party. The higher the level, the more experience is awarded. The exact formula is:

Experience Gained = BASE x MODIFIER x AWARD TYPE (rounded down)

  • BASE: Levels 1-5 = 5; Levels 6 and higher = Current Level.
  • MODIFIER: This number ranges from 2.0 to 2.4 as per which Experience Achievements have been unlocked. Variations range from 0% to 20% total.
  • AWARD TYPE: The action for which the experience was gained, ranging from codex entries to Assignments to Thresher Maw kills and so on, where BASE is a fixed value for this AWARD TYPE.

For example, codex entries have an exp. AWARD TYPE of x1. This means at Level 5 the party should get 10 experience points for finding new info (without bonuses). In the Citadel: Scan the Keepers assignment, every scanned keeper will give experience points. Here the exp. AWARD TYPE is also x1, meaning that at Level 6 (BASE 6) with a MODIFIER of 2.0, 12 points will be awarded.

This means that normally it does not matter when missions / assignments are completed. It doesn't make sense to solve assignments later to get more experience points, because there will be less experience points for all other things until then - both effects will cancel each other out.

Award Types[]

Special Cases Level 1 to 5: Assassin (1.5), Geth Destroyer (1.5), Geth Recon Drone (1.2), Geth Shock Trooper (2.0), Geth Trooper (1.2), Husk (1.2)

Basic x1:

Moderate x2.5: Biotic Terrorist (3 shld), Adv Mercenary (3 shld), Asari Clone, Asari Commando, Assassin, Advanced Assault Drone, Batarian Shock Trooper, Batarian War Beast, Cerberus Commando, Cerberus Anti-Tank, Research Technician, Cerberus Sniper, ERCS Guard (Sniper), Geth Destroyer, Geth Shock Trooper, Krogan, Krogan Bouncer, Krogan Warrior, Mercenary Anti-Tank, Mercenary Engineer, Pirate Sniper, Rachni Soldier, Test Subject, Turian Bodyguard

Advanced x7.5: Batarian Engineer, Geth Armature, Geth Ghost, Geth Juggernaut, Heavy Turret, Krogan Commander, Krogan Warlord, Mission Boss (such as Crime Lords), Pirate, Rachni Brood Warrior

Difficult x15: Geth Colossus, Geth Prime, Krogan Battlemaster, Thresher Maw

Basic Mission x10: Simple mission objective completion can award anywhere from x10 to x50 (Specialization x25 Spectre Initiation x50) BASE depending on the number of objectives involved.

Advanced Mission x15: These missions usually offer only a one-time reward, though their objectives are more complex than the stages of a Basic Mission.

Maximizing Experience[]

Note: Even with putting a great deal of care into maximizing experience gains while having all experience buffing achievements, it is not possible to hit level 60 in a single playthrough without the use of exploits. If all you are concerned with is Spectre gear or maximizing import bonuses into Mass Effect 2, doing all assignments you come across and minimizing fighting in the Mako will ensure you hit level 50 by the end of the third "plot planet", even without said achievements.

As the number of enemies is limited, there is no way to fight endless hordes of enemies, so every experience point is valuable. There are several methods of getting the most experience out of the game. Beginning with a less effective means:

By trying to reach the needed experience points for a certain level exactly, the points that are "wasted" can be minimized. Example: Let's say that the actual value is 1490 (level 5 - level 6 starts with 1500) and there are two possibilities - earning 100 (exp. base 20) now or earning 10 (exp. base 2) now. It's better to take the 10 points now.

  1. If the 100 points are taken now, experience will be 1590. Then the 10 points will become 12 points (because level is now 6), giving 1602 points at all.
  2. On the other hand, if the 10 points are taken now, experience will be 1500. The 100 points will become 120 points (because of level 6 instead of 5), making it 1620 points together.

Of course, this method is not very effective, because it will only affect one experience gain after each level, making the effect rather small unless effort is made to reach each level using the smallest gain available, getting as close to the exact "level up" value as possible. This method can be tedious but will also result in several thousand more experience by level 60. The effect is capped at the largest experience multiplier possible, roughly 15, times the largest experience modifier possible, 2.4, times the number of level gains, 59, for a total of roughly 8500 experience. In practice, however, the gains will never be this large because even with careful planning experience gains will rarely line up perfectly with level cutoffs. For the same reason losses will rarely be large without careful micro-management since situations where only a few points are needed to level but the next experience award is that largest possible are equally rare.

Becoming a Spectre will usually give you enough experience points to reach the next level, particularly on new characters. It's recommended to become a Spectre as late as possible, directly after reaching a level, so the points gained can be maximized. This may make no difference on a high level repeat playthrough, however.

The last (and most effective) way is simple: Don't fight inside the Mako. Experience awards while in the Mako, regardless of whether the Mako damaged the target or not, are severely penalized at 50% on Normal level and 60% (granting only 40% xp gain) on Hardcore and Insanity Combat Difficulty. Using damage-over-time effects like Warp, Sabotage, Chemical Rounds, Inferno Rounds and so forth, or pushing the target over a fatal drop, still incur a penalty if you are inside the Mako when the target dies. By leaving the Mako, it is possible to get much more experience points for fighting on planets. The important thing here is the kill, so a good tactic (especially for bigger enemies) is to fight with the Mako's weapons until the enemy has only little health left - then leave the vehicle and kill it. This tactic works fine with Thresher Maws, for example. It is possible to overcome the experience limitation while in the Mako by editing the games DefaultGame.ini. Refer to the PC Tweaks section for more information.

Note: The Mako XP penalty does NOT apply if you are playing Mass Effect Legendary Edition[1]

There is a technique to gain more experience during the siege of the Citadel. When you first exit the elevator, or when you are walking on the exhaust plains just before the turrets, there is a corridor blocked by krogan and geth troops. Out of the far side a Geth Destroyer will come around the corner toward you; soon after you kill it another one will appear, then another. They stop coming when you reach the opposite corner. Another strategy is to leave one krogan alive and use AI Hacking on the Geth Destroyer as it comes around the corner. Unfortunately they will stop coming after a while (7 or 8 seems to be the limit) but saving and reloading the game will give you more Geth Destroyers to kill.

This "stream of spawns" also holds true in Bring Down the Sky for rocket drones launched from the top floor of the second torch station (the one with the mine field) on X57, as long as you leave at least 1-2 enemies alive on the ground floor.

Another opportunity for extra experience exists on Casbin during the mission UNC: Geth Incursions. After clearing the base on Casbin of the initial Geth Rocket Troopers and Geth Snipers, a Geth Dropship will fly in, dropping off wave after wave of Geth Troopers, until you choose to destroy the Dropship. If you destroy the Dropship first, you will miss out on the experience of up to 23 more geth before the Dropship flies off. You get no experience for destroying the Dropship.

Infinite Experience Glitch[]

The following approaches exploit a glitch in the save system which allows the player to receive experience after loading a previously saved game file. There are several areas where saving and reloading that same game file resets the particular trigger intended to reward experience points.

Note: It is impossible to reach level 60 in a single playthrough without using one of these experience exploits.

  • Found in the Prothean ruins located in Therum. After clearing the cavern of geth the player activates the mining laser and travels up an elevator the floor on which Liara is imprisoned. The player will receive experience points after stepping off of the elevator platform and onto the blue tile. Save immediately into a new slot, in case you need a prior load for backup purposes. It is critical to save before speaking with Liara. After the save is complete, proceed to the "Load" menu and select the file you just created. You will receive experience points again upon loading the game. This is also possible before doing the mining laser if you save on the ledge above before ever talking to Liara after you drop out of the elevator after it breaks down.
    • Alternate: On the 360, The points are given right after firing the Laser (Code A,X,B,Y). After firing the Laser, wait for the point to show up above the sensor (bottom right of the screen). Then save while the points are on screen. The reload. Wash, rinse, repeat to your heart's contentment.
  • A terminal inside the Feros freighter can be hacked after each save/load cycle.
  • A crate in the tunnels on the Prothean skyway on Feros can be unlocked after each save/load cycle. This will also spawn random loot each time.
    • Watch out - The game does not autosave at the beginning of the skyway, and even if you have killed all enemies on the Skyway, it's possible to wind up with a save game that will instantly go to a Critical Mission Failure on load if you save just before hacking this crate on PS3. The game does not explain the cause for the failure - but the symptom is an instant failure upon loading the savegame.
  • A crate in the last room inside the Science Station on Chasca can be decrypted after each save/load cycle.
  • The lock on the sewer door in the Virmire base can be decrypted after each save/load cycle.
  • During the UNC: Major Kyle mission, you hack the door to the first compound. If you exit again before killing anyone you can hack the door again. Each hack is worth XP, and if you click the button fast enough, you can sometimes trigger two hacks in a row before entering the compound. This method does not require a save/load action.

Gaining Items[]

Finally, it's important to bear in mind that your experience level affects the level of items gained from containers. Levelling up is strongly recommended before opening containers as you'll gain better equipment. For example, if you're playing an Engineer or rely on tech-savvy squadmates, it's often a good idea to leave Bring Down the Sky until later in the game when you have a higher level, as it will allow you to get high-powered omni-tools that are very difficult to find elsewhere. This effect works both ways, however, so any rank VII items desired should be focused on and acquired before the player character advances beyond the maximum level where they are available, approximately level 36 for vendors and 42 for basic drops. Many ammo, weapon, and armor upgrades change effects between levels VII and VIII or in some cases disappear entirely.

Starting with level seven, every sixth level you gain more advanced items from containers and enemies than you previously got.

The following table illustrates the point:
Player Level: 1-6 7-12 13-18 19-24 25-30 31-36 37-42 43-48 49-54 55-60

This table is meant as a reference and mostly applies to normal drops, such as containers. Hard decryption containers and special enemies may give you items one level higher than average, and merchants may sell equipment two levels higher, for instance.

Level progression[]

The following table illustrates the levelling scheme used in Mass Effect. The Incr column lists the incremental increase of required experience points. The experience points requirement are calculated based on the last level up – for example: levelling up from level 11 to level 12, requires 1,100xp. To level up from level 12 to level 13 will require 1,100xp + 100xp.

Level XP Required Incr Level XP Required Incr Level XP Required Incr
1 0 - 21 23,100 +200 41 126,100 +500
2 100 +100 22 25,900 +200 42 135,100 +500
3 300 +100 23 28,900 +200 43 144,700 +600
4 600 +100 24 32,100 +200 44 155,000 +700
5 1,000 +100 25 35,500 +200 45 166,100 +800
6 1,500 +100 26 39,100 +200 46 178,100 +900
7 2,100 +100 27 42,900 +200 47 191,100 +1,000
8 2,800 +100 28 46,900 +200 48 205,300 +1,200
9 3,600 +100 29 51,100 +200 49 220,900 +1,400
10 4,500 +100 30 55,500 +200 50 238,100 +1,600
11 5,500 +100 31 60,200 +300 51 257,100 +1,800
12 6,600 +100 32 65,200 +300 52 278,100 +2,000
13 7,800 +100 33 70,500 +300 53 302,100 +3,000
14 9,100 +100 34 76,100 +300 54 330,100 +4,000
15 10,500 +100 35 82,000 +300 55 364,100 +6,000
16 12,100 +200 36 88,300 +400 56 406,100 +8,000
17 13,900 +200 37 95,000 +400 57 462,100 +14,000
18 15,900 +200 38 102,100 +400 58 542,100 +24,000
19 18,100 +200 39 109,600 +400 59 662,100 +40,000
20 20,500 +200 40 117,600 +500 60 862,100 +80,000

Legendary Edition[]

In Mass Effect Legendary Edition, it is now possible to reach level 60 in a single playthrough, where previously exploits were required to do so. The level 50 cap on a first playthrough has been abolished, alongside the Mako XP penalty.[1]

Mass Effect: Andromeda[]

In Mass Effect: Andromeda, leveling up requires XP, which is gained from completing missions and killing enemies.

Mass Effect: Andromeda has no level cap but it should be noted that above level 133, no new skill points are awarded to Pathfinder Ryder. It should also be noted that as Ryder increases in level, enemies scale with Ryder. Above level 81 (where all Rank X items become available), gaining skill points is the only benefit of continuing to raise levels.

Scaled Item Rewards[]

Items scale with Ryder's level. A generic guide for items is as follows:

Rank I Rank II Rank III Rank IV Rank V Rank VI Rank VII Rank VIII Rank IX Rank X
Level 1 Level 6 Level 11 Level 21 Level 31 Level 41 Level 51 Level 61 Level 71 Level 81

Refer to specific item pages for level requirements for when items may be found during gameplay.

XP Strategies[]

  • Notes about strategies for XP in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Note: This section is for proven strategies for XP gain in Mass Effect: Andromeda. Glitches or bugs that give extra XP require the 3-man proof rule before they can be added to this section. Any strategies awaiting 3-man proof should be placed in the talk section of this article.

XP Rewards[]

Mission Rewards[]

For missions that award XP, see Mission Rewards.

Tempest Scanning Rewards[]

For scanning that awards XP using the Tempest, see Tempest Scanning Rewards.

Level Progression[]

Levels follow a predictable pattern of increasing XP. Approximately 101-103 additional XP points are added to the prior level's XP that was gained. Example: Level 5 requires 1322 XP. Level 6 requires 1424. This is a difference of 102 XP.

Level XP
XP Required
1 0 0
2 1017 1017
3 1119 2136
4 1220 3356
5 1322 4678
6 1424 6102
7 1525 7627
8 1627 9254
9 1729 10983
10 1831 12814
Level XP
XP Required
11 1932 14746
12 2034 16780
13 2135 18915
14 2238 21153
15 2339 23492
16 2440 25932
17 2543 28475
18 2644 31119
19 2745 33864
20 2848 36712
Level XP
XP Required
21 2949 39661
22 3051 42712
23 3152 45864
24 3255 49119
25 3356 52475
26 3457 55932
27 3560 59492
28 3661 63153
29 3762 66915
30 3865 70780
Level XP
XP Required
31 3966 74746
32 4068 78814
33 4169 82983
34 4271 87254
35 4372 91626
36 4474 96103
37 4575 100678
38 4678 105356
39 4780 110136
40 4881 115017
Level XP
XP Required
41 4983 120000
42 5085 125085
43 5186 130271
44 5288 135559
45 5390 140949
46 5492 146441
47 5593 152034
48 5695 157729
49 5796 163525
50 5899 169424
Level XP
XP Required
51 6000 175424
52 6101 181525
53 6204 187729
54 6305 194034
55 6407 200441
56 6508 206949
57 6610 213559
58 6712 220271
59 6814 227085
60 6915 234000
Level XP
XP Required
61 7017 241017
62 7119 248136
63 7220 255356
64 7322 262678
65 7424 270102
66 7525 277627
67 7627 285254
68 7729 292983
69 7831 300814
70 7932 308746
Level XP
XP Required
71 8034 316780
72 8135 324915
73 8238 333153
74 8339 341492
75 8441 349933
76 8542 358475
77 8644 367119
78 8745 375864
79 8848 384712
80 8949 393661
Level XP
XP Required
81 9051 402712
81+ Prior
Level XP
Level XP