Levels in Icarus
Leveling up your character in Icarus is necessary to make any progression in the game. Leveling up is what allows you to make progress on the tech tree as well as accumulate perk points to improve your performance. The tech tree is what gates nearly every item in the game, including building materials and components, weapons, medical supplies, consumables, and armor. Effectively, if you want to explore and experience more of the game, you need to go down the tech tree to unlock more advanced technology. To do this, you will need to accrue experience to level up your character.
Experience and Leveling
Leveling is permanent to a given character in Icarus and will not reset between prospects. To level up, you need to acquire experience points. Most general activities in the game grant experience points, including:
- Gathering items off the ground
- Mining resources with pickaxes
- Felling trees with axes
- Crafting items
- Killing animals
- Skinning animals
However, not all activities grant the same experience. Higher level, difficulty, or rarity activities grant more experience. For example, you earn more experience using a pick axe to mine iron ore than from mining stone. Similarly, you get more experience killing a bear than a raccoon and more from a higher-level bear than a lower-level one.
Furthermore, you get experience based on the outcome. As an example, you gain experience from mining when you receive the resource rather than executing the action, so mining 1 stone grants 30 experience. Similarly, you gain experience from felling a tree at the point you break it down rather than when you can pick up wood.
Lastly, you also earn a 10% experience bonus for nearby teammates completing activities. For example, if they fell a tree and earned 250 experience while you were nearby, you will accrue 25 experience.
Experience Granted by Action
Loosely speaking, just playing the game more is going to level you at an appropriate pace. However, given how experience is granted, there are a few things to take advantage of. To level up as quickly as possible:
- Stay with your team to maximize shared experience, especially when focusing heavily on getting materials such as farming wood or stone for a base.
- Where practical, specialize in an area so you can complete your activity as quickly as possible to maximize experience earned over time. For example, spending early tech on advanced mining tools and talent points on perks that boost those tools. This will allow you to mine stone and ore more quickly, thus accumulating experience more quickly. This is similar to other areas of the game such as hunting.
- Try not to linger too long on lower tech and resources as you'll gain less experience from gathering the associated resources and miss out on the acceleration earned by higher-tech gear. For example, minimize your time spent on thatch and even wood bases. Ignoring their lower durability and higher flammability, crafting the building parts doesn't grant a lot of experience, and placing them grants none. Gathering sticks and fiber isn't going to level you up very quickly. It's better to get to iron tools and stone buildings.
That being said, felling trees and mining as a group is a decent way to level up if you want to power through a level or even a handful. Previously spamming stone mining was a great way to level up but the experience gains have been reduced making this less viable. I also recommend holding the gather button "F" pretty much constantly while you're farming or running around, even if you don't need sticks or fiber the additional 10-25 experience can meaningfully improve your leveling. Additionally, killing predators also grants a large amount of experience. However, You can't find them reliably enough for hunting alone to be the best way to level. That being said, if you see a predator, particularly a wolf, it will offer a good chunk of experience, particularly if it is higher level, so be sure to kill and skin it.
Beyond what is mentioned above, there are a handful of sneaky ways to level up yourself quickly.
- Craft items that can be broken down and crafted again. Some items can be destroyed for a partial refund and then repeat-crafted. A decent case for this is collecting fiber off the ground, crafting rope, destroying, and repeating.
- Using the talent that allows you to turn wood into sticks, chop trees, turn the wood into sticks, and spam craft tree sap with a mortar and pestle.
I personally find the second one the fastest way to level up and it can easily be done very early in the game.
Progression in Icarus doesn't do anything brand new or excessively innovative. The loop is fairly simple, just play the game, level up, and progress into more content. Beyond being mindful of having a group strategy of playing together and specializing in an activity you likely don't need to pay too much attention to grinding for levels. You can power farm trees and stone as a group in an attempt to skip tiers of the tech tree by leveling quickly. However, you'll need a lot more than stone and wood to do things in the game so it won't accelerate you that much. For the most part, stay as a group, invest in your tech tree and talents wisely, and enjoy the game!