[Discussion, Rambling] Adjusting your leveling strategy based on play style, each hero, and current roster or 2019 knowledge of leveling factors
Empires is a game, level your heroes however you like.
There is no perfect strategy for leveling heroes.
But all strategies have advantages and disadvantages.
Off color leveling
As a general rule, off color leveling:
significantly reduces your chance of special skill increases,
significantly increases Hero XP required and,
significantly increases food required.
Anything else about leveling a hero gets complicated, but we can examine some factors based on the forum’s current knowledge base.
Food, same color leveling
For food, it makes little difference if you level “1 at a time” or “X at a time”.
If leveling with same color, any food saving is lost because you can only feed 10 at a time and food cost goes up only when the hero levels ( see notes).
Math, Food, same color leveling
3* Heroes, math
For 3* heroes +42 food per level versus a base of 2100 food and rough total of 0.69 m food ( see notes).
3* are most sensitive to food costs in 1x hero leveling versus 10x hero leveling, since you can jump multiple levels at once.
3* heroes are so tiny in total food required to level that the difference is lost when compared to player’s total food production and spending.
5* heroes, math
For 5* heroes +100 food per level versus a base of 5000 food and rough total of 15.3 m food.
5* are huge in total food required to level, but it turn out to be least sensitive to food costs in 1x versus 10x, since it can take more than 10x to level once when the food cost per hero used to level is significant.
5* heroes and farms
5* heroes use a huge amount of food per Hero XP ( see notes). Uncommon ( RT02 ), Common ( RT01 ) and Extra fast ( RT19 ) will easily outpace farm food production when leveling multiple 5* heroes.
Food, off color leveling
Leveling off color does significantly increase food costs because the lower Hero XP from off color results in significantly more heroes required to level. But the food cost per hero used to level is the same.
2,358 off color 1* heroes versus 1,965 same color 1* heroes for 5* 1.1 to 5* 4.80.
So generally a +20% food or +15.3 m food for a rainbow 5* team.
+4 from skill rolls
Some players only care about getting +4 from skill rolls for 4* / 5* heroes. The other +3 come from ascending the hero.
This is a viable strategy, especially when you have a deep roster of 3* 3.50, 4* 4.70 and 5* 4.80 so heroes without 8/8 special skill have little impact on your roster’s effectiveness.
This assumes you have ( or will have ) all needed ascension items, Hero XP and food, to max tier and max level.
This is why off color, 1 day, power leveling does not care about special skill roll.
4* 4.70 heroes versus 5* 4.80 heroes
5x 4* 4.70 heroes require roughly the same food as 1.25x 5* 4.80 heroes.
5x 4* 4.70 heroes require roughly the same Hero XP as 2.358 5* 4.80 heroes.
Most 4* ascension items come from Diamond chests and titan loot tier 9+.
If you are stopping at a lower tier, or using food for other things ( emblems, troops, battle items, etc.), things get more complicated.
I have many heroes stopped at 5* 2.60 and 4* 3.60 . They are more useful with 8/8 special skill.
Generally the lower level you are stopping, the more impact same color, 1x at a time, hero leveling has on getting 8/8 special skill. The higher level you are stopping the more all same color strategies are likely to be equal.
Titans are king
Several teammates are setting personal records with Miki, Tarlak, Ranvir, and Wu Kong not fully leveled but at 8/8 skill.
For them, same color, 1x at a time, hero leveling to get a faster 8/8 may be a good strategy. But eventually all same color strategies are likely to be equal.
I advise players to adjust their leveling strategy based on each hero, current roster and play style.
I usually same color level to save on Hero XP, food and special skill roll.
But I off color, 1 day, power leveled Proteus ( worth every Hero XP ) and Wilbur ( not as useful as Gormek on some of my accounts).
Depending on my roster, I would have done the same for Wu Kong, Rigard, Melendor, Grimm, Boldtusk, Kiril, Ranvir, Tarlak, Miki, etc.
Color training ( RT05 to RT09 and RT14 to RT18 ) is very resource intensive ( see notes ). So Extra low cost ( RT11 ) or Uncommon ( RT02 ), is a good use of ascension items, recruits, food and time.
1* Hero roster space
1* heroes and 5* heroes take the same roster space.
Off color feeding cuts the skill roll in half.
When using Extra low cost ( RT11 ) or Uncommon ( RT02 ), one disadvantage of 10x same color is the requirement of significant empty roster space. Depending on RNG 25- 50 hero slots.
For many players, this instead translates to “1 at a time” or “X at a time” with X being 1 to 10.
Where X is how many of that color a player collected from loot, or camps.
Because Empires has so much RNG, I like to assume something will change my plans.
Generally I like 8/8 special skill as soon as possible.
I have 3x Isarnia now, but my first is still stuck at 5* 1.35 due to changes in my blue hero plans, lack of Hero XP, lack of 3* / 4* ascension items, Grimm 4*+18, Paladin quests, all 3 Paladin blue HotM 5* 2.60+, Valeria 4* 4.70, recently getting Boril, etc.
My Play style
When same color leveling, I use “1x at a time” until 8/8 special skill and then “X at a time”. Where X is how many of that color I collected from loot, or camps.
When off color leveling, I use “10 at a time”.
Click for notes
Special skill leveling
This table has rounding so 100% on the table is not guaranteed. With no mercy timer, the longer the game goes, the more likely weird things will happen.
Special skill roll
Special skill roll is one more way Empires uses merciless RNG, and loot box mechanics, to generate revenue and hook players.
I am always grateful that Forge/ lodge does not have a fail/ crit failure roll. And Farm/ mine do not have a daily production roll.
Regular color training
Advanced color training
Food when leveling a single hero
Leveling 5* heroes
More discussion of food costs