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In the Options screen under Gameplay, there is an option to turn "Auto Level-Up" on or off. I understand the gist of auto-leveling to be that the game decides how to increase the abilities of your team. But what criteria does it use to decide what to focus on when it comes to a character-by-character basis?

  • Does the game always level up character X in the same way?
  • If I leave auto-leveling on for the duration, will my squad be underpowered toward the latter half of the game compared to the min-max approach that's typically done by the player?
  • Does the game attempt to min-max abilities, or does it put points in everything equally?

Here's the actual Options screen I'm talking about: enter image description here

Notice the lack of useful information being displayed at the bottom.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

As far as I know, each class has a predefined build, but the auto leveler also tries to allocate any skill points available. In ME1, this wasn't really a problem, as you only needed one skill point to increase any skill at any level. With ME2 and ME3, each time you advance a skill it requires one more skill point. You'd be prudent to save up some skill points for one of your key skills, but the auto leveler doesn't do this. Early in the game, this may be fine, as it unlocks all your skills, but later, you and your squad become jacks of all trades, but masters of none. It's a lot better to have one skill that does a lot of damage (or provides a lot of defence) and recharges fast, than having a lot of skills that do an okay amount of damage, but don't recharge any faster, and in some cases, recharge a lot slower.

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The skill points are randomly spend in different powers. So you don't have to manually set every point.

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