Marvel’s Avengers, like most games-as-a-service titles, is all about the grind. The 10-hour main story is a solid introduction to Crystal Dynamics’ version of The Avengers, but the meat of the game is in multiplayer. You’ll need some powerful skills and abilities to make it through Avengers Initiative, the game’s post-campaign multiplayer content. In this Marvel’s Avengers leveling guide, we’re going to show you how to race to level 50 as fast as possible, as well as talk a bit about the campaign.
We’re focusing on Hero level in this guide, not Power level. If you don’t know the difference between the two, jump to the end for a full breakdown.
How to level fast in Marvel’s Avengers
There isn’t any way to cheat the leveling system in Marvel’s Avengers, so leveling fast is less about exploiting certain mechanics and more about optimizing your playtime to earn as much experience as possible.
Stick with a hero
Each hero levels separately in Marvel’s Avengers, so you shouldn’t jump around too much. Choose a hero and stick with them. Outside of being more efficient, leveling each hero individually gives you a chance to use the upgrades you’re unlocking. Skill points give you access to an expanded move set for each hero, making them infinitely more enjoyable to play (spamming the same attacks gets old after a while). There are 300 Hero levels for you to unlock across the game’s six characters, so it’ll take you a while to unlock everything. One at a time is the best way to go about it.
Grind experience in HARM rooms
There are multiple mission types in Marvel’s Avengers, the most prominent of which are Drop Zone and War Zone. Drop Zone missions are a few minutes long with a single objective, while War Zone missions are longer, multi-step missions with optional objectives. If you want to level up your hero as quickly as possible, skip these missions and head to the Holographic Augmented Reality Machine (HARM). You’ll unlock HARM rooms after the third story mission, so play at least that far in the story before concerning yourself with leveling.
HARM rooms are the best place to grind Hero levels. You earn experience in Marvel’s Avengers by defeating enemies and completing objectives, and HARM rooms allow you to defeat a lot of enemies quickly without running around a map or slowing down to complete objectives. It’s the fastest way to boost your Hero level, but there is a downside to HARM rooms.
You don’t earn any gear from them, so although you’ll boost your Hero level, you won’t boost your Power level. Completing HARM rooms is the most efficient route to Hero level 50, but it’s still a good idea to mix War Zone and Drop Zone missions in to loot higher level gear.
Complete optional objectives in War Zone
Outside of HARM rooms, you can play Drop Zone or War Zone missions. As far as time versus experience earned, both mission types are equal. War Zone missions are longer, but they give you more enemies and objectives, whereas Drop Zone missions won’t take any longer than 10 minutes but have far fewer enemies and only a single objective. Of the two, War Zone missions are slightly better simply because you can earn more experience in a single environment. It may not seem like much, but the time spent in loading screens and pre-mission launch screens adds up.
Building on that, there are optional objectives in War Zone missions, and you should complete all of them. Marvel’s Avengers doesn’t have a mini-map, but you can view all of the objectives in a mission by activating Tactical Awareness (up on the D-pad on PS4 and Xbox One). It doesn’t matter what the goal is — usually optional objectives lead you to an AIM prisoner or a rare chest — you’ll earn some experience from completing it. Make sure to get everything done before the main objective, though. After completing the final step of the main objective, the mission will automatically end.
Use a Catalyst to boost experience
You may find a Catalyst perk on uncommon gear or higher. There are a few different types of Catalysts, but all of them do the same thing: Boost your experience. For Hero level, keep an eye out for gear with the Prismatic Catalyst perk. It boosts your experience earned from all sources by 3.2%. Other Catalyst perks boost your experience with certain factions, allowing you to purchase higher-level gear from the faction leader.
Hero Level vs. Power level in Marvel’s Avengers
There are two metrics you need to pay attention to in Marvel’s Avengers: Hero level and Power level. Your Power level is a score determined by your hero’s stats and gear. The Power level cap is currently 150, and similar to Destiny 2, it’s an average of the Power level of all the gear you have equipped. For example, if all your gear is Power level 40, your overall Power level will be 40, and if your gear is between level 30 and 40, you’ll have an average between that. You can boost your level by upgrading your gear with resources you find around most missions.
It’s best to switch your gear rather than upgrade it, though. You can upgrade higher-tier loot more — epic gear and above has 10 upgrade slots compared to uncommon gear’s three — and doing so will unlock extra perks. You can freely upgrade major artifacts, though. Major artifacts give your hero a flat Power level increase, which is useful no matter how high your Power level is.
Hero level, on the other hand, gives you skill points to unlock more abilities in each hero’s skill tree. A higher Hero level doesn’t make your hero stronger on paper. Rather, it gives you access to an expanded move set and boosts the power of your specialty skills. Each hero has 50 levels to work through, giving you just enough skill points to unlock the entire skill tree. Although Hero level doesn’t affect stats, a higher level makes chaining together combos much easier.
Your Hero level isn’t a factor when it comes to choosing missions. You could have a hero that’s at Hero level 1 while having gear that puts them at around Power level 15, for example. That doesn’t make your Hero level obsolete, though. In fact, a fully kitted hero is much more enjoyable to play, opening up combo opportunities in combat rather than spamming the same light and heavy attacks.
Should you play the campaign first?
Crystal Dynamics makes it clear that you’re supposed to play the campaign before playing Avengers Initiative. If you’re looking to get the most out of Marvel’s Avengers, you should play the campaign first. It’s only around 10 hours long, and the story is excellent. If you’re only concerned with multiplayer, though, the campaign isn’t the most efficient first step.
Without getting into spoiler territory, you’ll play as multiple heroes throughout the campaign. Your gear and levels carry over from the campaign, but with all the jumping around between heroes, you won’t reach above Hero level 15 with any of them by the end. The main story path gives you a few missions where you can change your hero, but you won’t have access to most of the heroes for the majority of the game.
Thankfully, there’s a solution. If you play the campaign through Avengers Initiative, you’ll have access to the game’s six heroes, and can choose which hero you want to level for each of the story missions that give you that option. If you’d rather not break the immersion, you can get a lot of leveling done during the campaign by tackling HARM rooms once you unlock them. You’ll need to at least progress to the point in the story where you unlock the War Table on the Chimera before you can complete the campaign this way.
Regardless of if you play the campaign as Crystal intended it or through Avengers Initiative, you should complete it. Doing so gives you access to another story mission chain, as well as each hero’s iconic mission chain. Plus, the game hands out high-level gear to late-game heroes generously, allowing you to jump straight into multiplayer even if your Hero level is still low.