Death leveling is the process of leveling up a monster by dying repeatedly in its presence. Once the foe's level is high enough, you can kill it for experience or, in the case of animal companions, charm it as a pet. There are only two practical applications:
- In pre-Searing Ascalon, death leveling can be used to help maximize progress in the Defender of Ascalon title track. However, it is easier to use Lieutenant Langmar's daily quests for this purpose.
- Death leveling can also be used to quickly create a level 20 pet. This is useful in both pre-Searing (to bring a charmable animal to the player's level) and post-Searing (to create a Dire pet and/or to unlock other evolutions).
Pet leveling in the Zaishen Menagerie
The easiest way to get every evolutionary stage of any pet is to level it to 20 and then release it to Emryd the Tamer in the Zaishen Menagerie Grounds. Afterwards, you can visit Wynn to release a charmable animal with your choice of evolution, ready to be charmed. Although you cannot charm a charmable animal that is more than four levels higher than yours, this limit is usually not a practical obstacle outside of pre-Searing.
Party, skill, and equipment setup
The fastest way to death level a charmable animal is by use of heroes and sacrificial equipment or skills:
- Bring a vampiric weapon and a sacrifice skill (e.g. Blood is Power).
- Remove any health runes or insignias and equip as many superior runes as possible (this lowers your health and makes it easier to die rapidly).
- Include Charm Animal to capture the charmable animal once it reached level 20. (If needed, any of your heroes can also capture and release the desired pet.)
- Bring as many heroes as the area allows.
- Equip your heroes with several hard resurrection skills, especially Unyielding Aura.
- Although mesmers can cast spells faster than other heroes, the primary profession does not matter much.
- Quickening Zephyr will speed up skill recharging.
- Ensure that all heroes are set to avoid combat.
Finding the optimal place to level
The safest place to death level charmable animals is in the menagerie (the animals will not attack you and there are no foes). If the desired animal has not yet been brought to the menagerie, do that first and release it to Emryd. Then visit the menagerie habitat of the charmable animal (any Zaishen Handler can help you find the location).
However, the menagerie only allows parties of four, so you can occasionally death level faster in the wild (since more heroes can usually resurrect you more quickly).
Death leveling process
Once you are near the desired animal, aggro it by attacking it once. Repeatedly suicide (e.g. using BiP) until you have only 1 maximum health. Then switch to the vampiric weapon; you will now die within half a second whenever you are resurrected. Every time you die, the animal will gain XP according to the level difference between it and you. Now you can go afk or watch as the heroes resurrect you and the animal levels. Once the animal has reached level 20, switch back to a non-vampiric weapon and charm the animal as usual. You now have a level 20 animal ready to be released into the menagerie and the process is finished.
The following table provides an overview of how many deaths are required for each level the animal has to reach, assuming the player is level 20.
|Monster level||Exp to next level||Exp gained per death||Player deaths to next level||Total deaths since level 5 (charmable animal)|
With optimal hero skill bars and party size 8, a charmable animal can level from 3 to 20 in as little as 8 minutes. In the Menagerie and a 4 player party, expect around 13-15 minutes.
Death leveling in Ascalon (pre-Searing)
|Warning: This section is about a method that is now obsolete. Use the Vanguard Quests instead as farming foes from vanguard quests is significantly faster than death leveling, and there's also a high experience reward from the quest. It also is better if you care about the longevity of your computer, since death leveling requires hours of afk. See Legendary Defender of Ascalon for details on the currently used method.|
There are no hard resurrect skills in pre and no heroes, so you have to make use of a Resurrection Shrine. You can either death level the animal before charming or charm the animal first and then death level hostile NPCs, to help raise your pet's level.
The basic approach is to pull the enemy to the nearby resurrection shrine, and take off all armor (including shield and weapon with mods). Make sure the creature does not run away once you are dead; if they do, you may need to aggro a closer enemy or re-enter the area and hope for a better spawn. For Charr, only the roving patrols can be lured (the running patrols and stationary groups will not follow).
- Level first
If you use choose to level first, there are ideal places for charming various pets:
- Striders near Ashford Abbey.
- Warthogs in the Northlands.
Check after rezoning to be sure that you can lure just one animal (you could end up with three animals near Ashford or a half dozen near Baradin's estate). Since this can take several attempts, some people prefer the second technique. This method almost always produces an unevolved charmable animal.
- Charm first
If you charm first, you can death level the Charr in the Northlands (since they level in groups, this will be faster than other areas). In Wizard's Folly, you can level an ice elemental: run past the bears to the south and follow the river just east of the bears. Follow the river till you find the large aloe seeds: let them kill you. When you pop up at the shrine the ice elemental should be there but no monk. The monk is dead but if you watch them fight the monk wins each time.
- Techniques compared
|Level the animal||
- Exp to next level: the amount of experience required for the monster to advance from its current level to its next level
- Exp gained by monster per player death: The amount of experience the monster of a particular level will get when it kills you.
- Player deaths to next level: Number of times the monster must kill the player to advance from its current level to the next level.
- Total deaths: Total number of times the monster killed the player since level 1 or level 8 to attain this level.
- Min/max exp earned per death: The overall efficiency indicating how much experience you earn every time you die on average when you kill the monster of a particular level. The maximum (best case) represents the efficiency when you kill the monster when it just leveled, and the minimum (worst case) represents the efficiency when you kill the monster when it is just about to get to the next level.
- For Charr groups, the number of deaths to level up and the total number of deaths to reach a particular level, are based on a 1-monster groups. For Groups with multiple Charrs, multiply these numbers by the number of members in that group
- e.g. a level 18 character wants to death level a three-Charr group to level 19. The tables indicate that for a single Charr, it would take 320 total deaths to reach level 19, and 61 deaths to advance from level 18 to 19. For a 3 Charr group, the numbers will be 960 and 183 respectively.
Your level: 15
|Monster Level||Exp To next level||Exp gained by monster per player death||Player deaths to next level||Total deaths since level 1 (Strider)||Total deaths since level 8 (Charr)||Your exp gain||Number to kill to reach level 16||min/max exp earned per death (Strider)||min/max exp earned per death (Charr)|
Your level: 16
|Monster Level||Exp To next level||Exp gained by monster per player death||Player deaths to next level||Total deaths since level 1 (Strider)||Total deaths since level 8 (Charr)||Your exp gain||Number to kill to reach level 17||min/max exp earned per death (Strider)||min/max exp earned per death (Charr)|
Your level: 17
|Monster Level||Exp To next level||Exp gained by monster per player death||Player deaths to next level||Total deaths since level 1||Total deaths since level 8||Your exp gain||Number to kill to reach level 18||min/max exp earned per death (Strider)||min/max exp earned per death (Charr)|
Your level: 18
|Monster Level||Exp To next level||Exp gained by monster per player death||Player deaths to next level||Total deaths since level 1 (Strider)||Total deaths since level 8 (Charr)||Your exp gain||Number to kill to reach level 19||min/max exp earned per death (Strider)||min/max exp earned per death (Charr)|
Your level: 19
|Monster Level||Exp To next level||Exp gained by monster per player death||Player deaths to next level||Total deaths since level 1 (Strider)||Total deaths since level 8 (Charr)||Your exp gain||Number to kill to reach level 20||min/max exp earned per death (Strider)||min/max exp earned per death (Charr)|
- Charmable animals do not gain experience from the death of heroes. As such, a player character must be used in order to death level.
- Team chat will reveal the current evolution of a death leveled charmable animal when it is called.
- The Rainbow Phoenix can only be death leveled by a solo character using Eternal Aura. As such, only rangers and dervishes can death level a rainbow phoenix (since the character also needs Charm Animal).
- Before the March 3rd, 2011 update, death leveling was the only method available to become a Legendary Defender of Ascalon.
- Prior to the February 17, 2011 update, that made Eternal Aura a unique resurrection skill, it was impossible to death level the Rainbow Phoenix; see: its talk page for details.
- ~14 Minutes AFK Zaishen Menagerie Death Leveling team at PvX wiki
- YouTube video of death leveling an animal from 3 to 20 in 8 minutes