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While "XP is simply shared", when in a group with characters that are of wildly different levels (say 5 and 10), sometimes it seems like the high level character is quite effective in suppressing experience gains from the lowbie.

In another first-hand experience last night, two fresh level 1 characters started playing and included a level 3, but they all dinged level 6 at nearly the exact same time (all while fighting a given group of mobs). What is going on here?

Occasionally I've seen people say when they join (us lowbies) that they won't get experience if they don't attack; which if true may explain it if they kill them before others can even cast their spells (despite being right next to each other), but I have no proof of this. If this was the case though, classes that only did close AoE/single target damage might be screwed when playing with bigger AoE classes.

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4 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If players are within 4 levels of each other, experience is worth 100%. Starting at 5+ levels apart, experience decreases by 10% each level until it reaches 10+ levels apart, it then decreases by 95%.


Example: a level 1 being boosted by a level 60 will still receive 5% XP per monster kill.


However, if you legitimately kill monsters in a more difficult act with friends your own level (or solo) you receive the full amount of XP.

No solid citations yet, sorry.

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Tentatively accepted unless data proves to the contrary –  Nick T Jun 4 '12 at 3:18
    
The described behaviour does seem to be correct. I've done a lot of boosting recently and found that the bulk of XP gained at low levels while I'm boosting (I'm level 60) is from quest rewards (which are still 100%) rather than mob kills. –  kalina Jun 6 '12 at 13:57
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Data I have taken, in my answer, shows this calculation is not accurate. –  EBongo Jun 6 '12 at 18:54
    
one thing that makes me skeptical about this answer is that what it is describing seems to be the system found in f.a.q.s about Diablo 2 diablo2.diablowiki.net/Experience –  jzn Jul 9 '12 at 23:19
    
Why are you looking at FAQ with regards to Diablo II, Diablo III is an entirely different game, with its own design. The level requirements of an act or difficulity still apply. –  Ramhound Jul 11 '12 at 16:55
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Summary

Playing in a game with a significantly higher level player is bad for both parties. Lowbies get penalized by receiving less experience per kill just by having a high level character in the game. However, they will also gradually catch up to a higher level characters because the higher level character is getting almost no experience killing the low level monsters. Although there is a lot of conflicting information floating around, this seems to be supported by a recent Q&A with Blizzard.

Guest-224: Say for example that I am playing a high level character, but I want to play with my friend who only has a low level character. Will me joining his game ruin the experience for him because I could just blast through the content and make it too easy for him?

JayWilson: To Guest-224 You could blast him through the content, but his XP will be greatly diminished to the point that it's not very beneficial for your low level friend...unless he likes spoilers. But that's what Youtube is for. :)

For more details, read on.

Twinking is penalized

While it is true that there is no party experience split, there also seems to be an additional game mechanic to penalize twinking.

I captured some measurements when playing with several other noble Gaming.SE heroes, and I found an interesting result. For reference, in the case of interest, my level 12 character was playing with a level 3/level 4 character. Clearly, there is no party experience split, because when I was in range for experience sharing, and when I was out of range (say in town), party members still got the same amount of experience. So the fact that I was sharing experience did not affect how much experience they received.

However, I wanted to be double sure that I wasn't influencing anything, so I left the game altogether. When I left the game - my former party member got demonstrably more experience per kill, on the exact same monsters. Doing some back calculations, I find that the party member at level 3/4 seemed to get ~60% less experience when I was present in the game with my level 12 character. I couldn't figure out the exact calculation, but I expect it also varies based on the level difference. The level delta seemed to have no effect on the experience I received, but I was already getting very little experience due to the low level of the monsters. For those interested in the numbers, I recorded multiple results in two scenarios.

Level 3 with Level 12: 11xp per kill with level 12 present, 28xp per kill with level 12 absent = ~ 61% less

Level 4 with Level 12: 18xp per kill with level 12 present, 41xp per kill with level 12 absent = ~ 56% less

But there is more to consider...

In early levels, it will be hard to compare experience differentials based on level (as is done in this question), because the absolute amount of experience required to get to a level is so small.

From this excellent Google Doc that RavenDreamer linked in another answer, you can see the experience needed for each level. If we consider your example where one character had a head start at level 3, the may have had as little as a 2700 xp lead. To get to level 6 you would each cumulatively need 9k, and to get to level 7 you would need 11.7k. So if each character got ~9k, with the initially level 3 char getting ever so slightly less (100 xp for example), then all characters could end up level 6 together.

When you also consider experience bonuses like the Massacre bonus, and the fact that if members of your party strayed at any point during the session then not all experience may have been perfectly shared due to range, plus the fact that monster experience depends on your level... It seems clear that if you slum it with low level buddies, when you yourself are not at a huge advantage in terms of level, then your buddies are likely to catch up.

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To clarify, my position is the same as at this link which Sean provided in the question you reference in the title: there is no party experience split . I'm working to gather some personal numbers to back this up, but I believe there is already much out there on the web that supports this. I'll edit my answer when I have supporting numbers. –  EBongo May 23 '12 at 3:55
    
You don't need to keep your "old" answer still in the post if it's wrong; it might create confusion. It's kept in the revisions if anyone wants to look at it. –  Nick T May 25 '12 at 19:11
    
I already edited out the incorrect content. I assume that it is the bold statement at the top that is throwing you. I can change that to make it more clear. The old answer still explains why the lowbies catch up, the new answer explains the penalty the lowbies incur for being twinked. I believe the original question was interested in both behaviors, which are distinct. –  EBongo May 25 '12 at 20:04
    
this answer is still quite misleading. Your examples depend on the level of monster you are fighting, and there is no mention of that. If your example party is doing the first quest, no one will get xp, but if they are doing the butcher, everyone will get great xp. If your level 12 character left the game while they did the butcher, they would NOT suddenly get more xp (and of course have a very hard time beating him) –  jzn Jul 3 '12 at 21:01
    
I do make mention of the monster level issue, though I didn't cite the monster levels in my example. It's a complicated question to answer concisely, and I've already taken crap for being long winded. I'm not sure what you mean about the Butcher. If the high level character bailed in such a fight, it seems the lowbies would like be unable to kill the target. Regardless, I've cited my sources - including Blizzard. If you want to pose a different answer - go for it. –  EBongo Jul 4 '12 at 0:03
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I don't have the exact XP conversion but there is a built in system to compensate when you are in a party for XP distribution.

Tested Example:

I joined a party at level 6 while my friend started at level 1. We ended up finishing our gameplay session both at level 10. This makes me believe that the game compensates XP distribution for your [non-AI] companion's level.

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Short answer: In order for everyone to get good xp from killing monsters, you need kill monsters close to the level of the highest character in the party.

Long answer:

Each character receives full Monster xp for each kill, based on their level, and then further modified by the "Party Level".

In single player, every monster killed has a specific XP 'purse'. The purse scales with your level. Depending on the difference between your level and the monster level, you receive 0%-125% of the purse.

In multiplayer, you have a "Party Level",equal to the level of the highest character, which further modifies your rewards. If your party level equals the monster level, then, as long as you are within 2 screens of the kill, you get your character's normal XP allotment for that monster, modified by the difference between the monster level and the party level.

If the monster is above the party's level, you receive a bonus. If the monster is below the party level, you get a penalty.

So if a level 10 is helping you fight level 1 monsters, no one gets much XP from the monsters. But they might scream through the quests fast enough to get you good XP/time just from quest rewards (which are based on individual level, not party level).

The flipside is (and this is important), if you fight monsters that challenge your high level friend, you do get full experience for it. Of course, staying alive to receive the XP becomes your issue at that point. :)

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As an aside, I measured both characters in my example, and your assertion that everyone gets the same experience was not true. The level 3/4 character was getting decidedly more xp per kill than the level 12 - who was getting next to none. –  EBongo Jul 4 '12 at 0:14
    
can you include those differences specifically? I ask so that I can be certain you are going by numbers and not by growth of the xp bar, which would ostensibly look smaller for the level 12 –  jzn Jul 6 '12 at 21:01
    
Also, are you sure no one was wearing bonus xp per kill gear for your test>? –  jzn Jul 6 '12 at 21:31
    
Yes, I checked specifically with my friend agent86, and neither of us where using xp gear. In the first example above, we were killing Risen, stats for Lvl 3 Monk in my answer, my Lvl 12 Barb got 0 xp per kill. In the second example above, we were killing Fire bats, stats for Lvl 4 Monk in my answer, my Lvl 12 Barb got 2 xp per kill. In the first case, I didn't check the barb xp soloing, just the Monks. In the second case I captured solo xp for the barb as well - 2 xp per kill. All of these values measured by XP gauge mouse over (because reading the bar would be insane). –  EBongo Jul 7 '12 at 1:48
    
thank you ebongo, I will modify my answer even further when we can nail the mechanic down precisely. I am sure that there must be a "sweet spot" somewhere, in the ratio between low player, high player, and monster level. From your clarification, it looks like monster level has an effect on the xp the character recieves, even before the party level modifier is added. –  jzn Jul 9 '12 at 23:00
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