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What's the most efficient or easiest way to level?

In the world there are numerous quests that I can do on the side, and as I want to take my time I'm doing the main story quite slowly.

A lot of the quests are super high level - I'm being forced to do quests 2 levels higher then my current character level.

Is this normal? Should I have more XP? If I should, how?

Killing monsters and bandit camps gives me tiny amounts of XP, as I've noticed that even a simple talking quest can grant me upwards of 250XP.

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XP for killing enemies has been intentionally minimised in this game.

Quest XP is the best way to level - happily, side quests and Witcher Contracts are also a fairly good source of XP.

One thing to bear in mind is that you will get no XP for any quest more than 6 levels beneath your current level (it will turn grey in the Journal).

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    I should also note that many people seem to find levelling very slow, early in the game. – Jeeva Jun 11 '15 at 10:50
  • SPOILER Currently in the early game, all the quest I do are always a level or 2 ahead of me. I've also done as a level 4 a couple of level 7 quests which were fun as it was a challenge. But even with the banshee head I'm always doing quests lower than me, like the quest to go to the elf cave to find Ciri, ever single little boss was super hard! – Charkz Jun 11 '15 at 11:00
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    I think you're going about it wrong. You need to explore, take contracts and do side missions for that Xtra XP. However, the quickest way to level up is the Main Story missions. – Pribhat Jun 11 '15 at 11:10
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    Using notice boards to reveal question marks around your location is the primary way I've levelled. I also believe that you can get XP for completing lower level quests, but it's a token amount of 5 exp. – David Yell Jun 11 '15 at 11:21
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    I'd suggest just going and exploring a bit, doing some quests that haven't been on your path so far. Assuming you're out of the prologue (which based on your comment, you are) you should be able to roam anywhere. Go pick up some contracts, explore some villages! You'll find more contracts around your level in different areas. – Jeeva Jun 11 '15 at 11:37
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The main quest is by far the best source of XP in the game. This is probably intentional as it makes it harder to completely overlevel for the main quest by doing all the side quests first.

Contracts and side quests can give good amounts of XP, but that varies quite a bit between individual quests.

Quests that are at least 6 levels lower than your own level don't give any XP at all (those are marked in grey). If you want to maximize XP, you should do any quests before you outlevel them that much.

Monsters give almost no XP at all compared to quests.

The game is designed in a way that encourages you to follow the main story at least some of the time. Mixing main quests and side quests is the best way to ensure that you're at roughly the same level as the quests. Just try to collect a large number of quests, do any side quests at your level and if there aren't any more of those, do a main quest or two until your level increased. Then you'll be able to do some higher-level side quests or contracts.

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this is by far the easiest way to level but it is also a bug exploit and kinda slow: complete the skellige succession sidequests (given to you after you get there, and do a tiny bit of the main quest), then you get invited to a party, and there is fist fighting there (to clarify that is the second party with fist fighting there... yeah)

the male contender for the throne will challenge you to take on a fighter (you have to talk to him or the fighters, i don't remember), do so and win (you get a sword), after that you can speak to the fighters again and challenge them yourself this time, if you lose the fight you get to try again, however you get 50 xp even if you lose, so you can repeat indefinitely (i noticed this on the unpatched gog version, but i doubt the patches fix it, haven't looked through the notes though)

also monsters less than 10 levels above you shouldn't be a problem because the combat is ridiculously unbalanced in your favor (tip: add a bleed effect to your sword, it scales with enemy hp, and thus does not suffer from you being underleveled)

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