Experience is a gameplay mechanic in the Total War series.

Empire: Total WarEdit

Units gain experience based on the number of kills they obtain. The precise number of kills needed to advance in experience depends on the regiment settings the player plays Empire: Total War on. Units that have suffered losses in battle may lose experience when they are replenished with green troops, especially if the losses are heavy.

Experience is shown as a small symbol on the top right of the unit card; on the battlefield, it is displayed on the small red flag just under a regiment's faction flag. Up to nine levels of experience (not including the base level) can be obtained. Each level of experience grants +2 accuracy, +2 reload skill, +1 attack and +1 defense. In addition, every odd level of experience grants +1 to morale. Melee units do not benefit from reloading skill and accuracy bonuses; ships do not gain benefits to attack and defense bonuses.

Icon Experience Level Accuracy Bonus Reload Skill Bonus Attack Bonus Defense Bonus Morale Bonus
Experience 1 NTW 1 2 2 1 1 1
Experience 2 NTW 2 4 4 2 2 1
Experience 3 NTW 3 6 6 3 3 2
Experience 4 NTW 4 8 8 4 4 2
Experience 5 NTW 5 10 10 5 5 3
Experience 6 NTW 6 12 12 6 6 3
Experience 7 NTW 7 14 14 7 7 4
Experience 8 NTW 8 16 16 8 8 4
Experience 9 NTW 9 18 18 9 9 5

Some training centers can train units that already have some experience by default. Line Infantry trained at an Army Staff College, for example, enter the game with one chevron of experience. Factions with a unique army building (France, Prussia, Poland-Lithuania, and the Maratha Confederacy) further benefit from one additional chevron of experience for those units that benefit in terms of experience from upgraded training centers.

Ship experience is gained through killing crew; damaging hulls and sails through Round Shot or Chain Shot grants no experience whatsoever. Ship experience is carried through capture; a captured four-chevron Fifth Rate, for example, retains its experience after it changes hands. 

Auto-resolving battles rarely gives experience in most cases unless a heavily outnumbered army wins an unlikely victory; for the best increases to experience, it's best to play through a battle and ensure as few enemy units escape as possible.

Due to the fact that newly-replenished regiments count their fresh troops as completely inexperienced soldiers, it is very difficult to have most units reach the highest levels of experience. A Line Infantry regiment at four chevrons of experience which suffered 50% casualties in a battle, for example, becomes a two-chevron regiment after replenishment. One way to avoid this problem is to merge existing damaged, experienced regiments together, creating elite units within armies while training new units from scratch.

Napoleon: Total WarEdit

Experience returns in Napoleon: Total War and functions in a near identical manner to previous Total War games: up to 9 levels of experience can be gained, and each level of experience confers a small increase to a unit's accuracy, reloading, melee, defense, and morale. Cumulative increases are listed below:

Land Unit ExperienceEdit

Icon Experience Level Accuracy Bonus Reload Skill Bonus Attack Bonus Defense Bonus Morale Bonus
Experience 1 NTW 1 2 2 1 1 1
Experience 2 NTW 2 4 4 2 2 1
Experience 3 NTW 3 6 6 3 2 2
Experience 4 NTW 4 8 8 4 3 3
Experience 5 NTW 5 10 10 4 5 3
Experience 6 NTW 6 12 12 5 5 4
Experience 7 NTW 7 14 14 6 6 4
Experience 8 NTW 8 16 16 6 7 5
Experience 9 NTW 9 18 18 7 7 6

Experience is no longer gained purely from a set amount of kills alone; instead, experience is based on both the number of kills a regiment achieves as well as the remaining number of men in the regiment. The relationship between the number of men remaining and experience gained is inverse: a heavily damaged regiment that still manages to kill many foes can gain multiple chevrons of experience in one battle, while a relatively unscathed regiment usually finds it difficult to advance beyond one or two chevrons of experience, regardless of its number of kills. Some actions that don't involve killing grants experience. Auto-resolving battles often grants units experience, making it a handy tool in battles where players are likely to win.

Artillery tends to gain experience much more quickly than other unit types due to their scant number of men per regiment. Cavalry gain experience more slowly, while infantry tends to gain experience at the slowest rate.

Due to the passive Replenishment system introduced in Napoleon: Total War, under-strength regiments with large amounts of experience that recover slowly enough do not have their overall experience level suffer. Players can take advantage of this by placing heavily damaged and highly experienced regiments in areas that have a slow replenishment rate. While this means that they will be battle-ready much more slowly, the end result is that such units are much more experienced than they would otherwise be.

Combining heavily damaged and highly experienced regiments after battles is another way of retaining experience. While this means losing regiments and having to deal with the trouble of replacing them, this method at least creates a few units that are much tougher and deadlier than average.

In the Italy Campaign, France is granted a mission that grants all units one chevron of experience after building a supply post. In the Egypt Campaign, France is granted a mission grantnig all units one chevron of experience after upgrading a school.In the Europe Campaign for France, a mission is granted where all French land units gain one chevron of experience upon constructing the Arc de Triomphe. In the Prussian campaign, a mission for constructing a drill school grants all land units one chevron of experience upon completion.

Ship UnitsEdit

Experience benefits ships differently from land unit, as follows (cumulatively):

Icon Experience Level Accuracy Bonus Reload Skill Bonus Morale Bonus
Experience 1 NTW 1 2 5 ???
Experience 2 NTW 2 4 10 ???
Experience 3 NTW 3 6 10 ???
Experience 4 NTW 4 8 15 ???
Experience 5 NTW 5 10 15 ???
Experience 6 NTW 6 12 20 ???
Experience 7 NTW 7 14 20 ???
Experience 8 NTW 8 16 25 ???
Experience 9 NTW 9 18 25 ???

Every level of experience grants +2 accuracy. The first two chevrons of experience grants an extra +5 reloading; every subsequent other level gives +5 reloading, with odd-numbered levels of experience not granting reloading bonuses.

Ship experience transfers with captured ships. For example, a captured 32-gun Frigate with 6 experience retains its 6 experience, even if it exchanges hands mulltiple times. Ship crews gain experience from sustaining and dealing damage, particularly killing enemy crews.

Ship experience arguably better benefit larger ships, as their poorer default reloading and accuracy means they benefit from the flat increases brought about by experience more.

Adding ExperienceEdit

In battle modes, players have the opportunity to add experience to units in their army during in set ups. This costs gold, so adding experience to units can mean having to play with inferior units in other parts of the army.

The amount of gold required to increase experience depends on the unit benefiting from the experience: the cheaper they are, the less expensive it is to add more experience. The more experience is added to a single unit, the more expensive it is to further add more experience: for example, a Bashi-Bazouk unit (250 gold) costs 45 gold to add one chevron, 50 to add a second, 55 to add a third, and so on.

Therefore, unless players have specific strategies in mind, the most cost-efficient way to add experience is to add low amounts of experience to large numbers of cheaper units. Adding odd-number chevrons of experience is also effective as units only gain more morale at 1, 3, 5 etc. chevrons.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Experience

  • NTW: How to get the most out of the experience system

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    • Further notes: the highest I can get light infantry in the French campaign is 7 experience (3 chevrons and a star). I cannot go higher beca...
    • Eureka! Replenishing in allied regions is slower than replenishing in your own. If you have a bankrupt ally with bad roads, you can work s...