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|“||Unit level. The unit becomes stronger as it gains levels.||”|
— In-game help text
A level (Japanese: レベル level), often abbreviated Lv, is a measure of a unit's growth and current relative strength. Levels are directly tied to unit experience, and every time a unit gains 100 experience, they level up (Japanese: レベルアップ level up) and gain increased stats.
All units start at a pre-set level, which tend to get progressively higher when units are recruited later and later in the game. Having units gain experience and increase their level is central to their growth and continued use, as every time a unit levels up, they gain stat increases depending on their personal growth rates. Units who are not given opportunities to gain experience and levels will quickly fall behind and be less useful as the game wears on and begins to set the player against progressively stronger enemies.
Just as levels require experience gain, experience gain is also affected by a unit's level. The lower a unit's level, the more experience they will obtain from performing the same action as a higher-leveled unit. The main effect of this is to encourage using weaker units to fight weaker enemies, as they will benefit much more from the experience than their stronger allies. For most units, defeating a boss with a higher level than themselves will usually be enough to gain a full 100 experience and guarantee a level increase.
In most games in the series, reaching Level 10 allows units in base classes to change class, or promote, into advanced classes by using certain items. When a unit promotes, their current level is reset to Level 1, and they are able to continue gaining even more levels and growing even stronger.
Across most of the series, the highest possible level a unit can reach is 20. As soon as a unit reaches Level 20, experience gain completely ceases. For base units, it is possible to continue to gain experience after this point by promoting, effectively giving units forty levels of potential growth. Once an advanced or special unit reaches their maximum level, though, there is usually no way to grow any further.
Genealogy of the Holy War is the only game to take a completely different approach, where the maximum level is 30 for all units. However, Genealogy does not reset unit levels on promotion.
Fire Emblem Heroes has a maximum level of 40, which get reset when potential is unlocked.
In later games in the series, it is common for certain types of classes to have a higher maximum level than ordinary human classes, often as compensation for that class's inability to promote.
- In Radiant Dawn, laguz units have a maximum level of 40.
- In Shadow Dragon, New Mystery of the Emblem, and Awakening, units in special classes have a maximum level of 30.
- In Fates, units in special classes, as well as Felicia and Jakob, have a maximum level of 40. All units can increase their maximum level even further by using Eternal Seals.
Items affecting level
|Items affecting level|