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Marvel’s Avengers guide: Hero Level versus Power Level

One ties to your skills and the other is your gear average

Marvel’s Avengers guide: All campaign collectibles Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

In Marvel’s Avengers, there are two measures of quality for your Heroes: Hero Level and Power Level. And each of these values is unique for every Hero, meaning you’ll start at Hero and Power Level 1 on each of the six launch characters.

These two stat types govern very different things in Marvel’s Avengers, and they’re both critical to the Avengers’ Initiative post-game. In this guide, we’ll give you a breakdown of the difference between Power Level and Hero Level.

What is my Hero Level?

You’ll eventually fill out the skill tree for each hero!
Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

Your Hero Level is the level of your individual character. Each time your Hero levels up, they gain Skill Points, so the Hero Level directly correlates to the number of abilities you’ve unlocked. You can up your Hero Level by earning XP from killing enemies or finishing missions.

You use your Skill Points to unlock new abilities across each Hero’s three skill trees. Sometimes these abilities offer a bonus move in a combo, or they change the way one of your abilities work. These bonuses add power to your Hero no matter what gear they’re wearing, and they generally make them feel better to actually play.

The level cap is currently 50, and you’ll have enough Skill Points to unlock everything on the character’s tree. If you want to max out each Hero, that’s 300 Hero Levels to get through.

What is my Power Level?

Upgrading Major Artifacts is very expensive, but it increases your Power directly, instead of contributing to the average
Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

You’ll be familiar with Power Level if you’ve played other loot games — it’s commonly referred to as gear score or item level. Basically, it’s an average of how strong your gear is. If you have all 140 Power gear, you’ll have a Power Level of 140. But if you have pieces that range from 40-60 Power, your overall Power Level will average somewhere between those two numbers.

In Marvel’s Avengers, your Power Level determines both which missions you can take on, and whether you’re stronger or weaker than your enemies. The Power Level changes your characters stats, how much damage they deal, and how much health they have. If your Power Level is too low, the game won’t let you take on certain missions. Your current Power Level also determines the Power Level at which new gear drops.

The current Power Level cap is 150, which you can only reach by finding all 130 Power pieces, upgrading each of them 10 times, and upgrading your Major Artifact to +10.

When should I upgrade my gear?

This piece of Epic Iron Man armor came with a locked perk
Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

In Marvel’s Avengers, you can level up some of your gear instead of finding a new piece to replace it. But like we mention in our beginners tips for the Avengers’ Initiative, you usually shouldn’t.

Upgrading your gear increases its individual Power Level, which will eventually contribute to your personal Power Level. But it’s expensive, and it requires resources you’ll need as you get higher and higher into the post-game.

The only exception here is when your gear has a locked perk — abilities that increase combat potency or defense. Legendary and Epic pieces of loot come with two locked perks. To unlock them, you need to level the piece up twice. This is usually pretty cheap, and perks can make combat go quicker, which ultimately nets you even more loot. Unlocking perks is the only reason to upgrade your gear prior to earning gear pieces with 130 base Power.

Once you find a 130 Power piece, then you can start dumping your resources into upgrading it.