- For the same mechanic in other games, see Affinity (disambiguation).
Development level is a gameplay mechanic in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 that measures the party's reputation and participation in the economy of Alrest's nations. Each inhabited Titan has its own development level, starting at level 0, which can be raised up to level 5. To raise a nation's development level, a certain amount of development points must be acquired for said nation.
A nation's development level can be checked while at a shop, in the Skip Travel menu, or in the Merc Group menu. The exact amount of dev points obtained is hidden and cannot be viewed; they are instead shown as one star per level.
Many actions done while in a nation's area will yield a certain amount of dev points, including:
- Completing regular quests - Most quests started in a nation will usually reward dev points for this nation, with some exceptions such as Nopon of Good Tastes.
- Completing Merc Missions - Every Merc Mission will award dev points for the nation they are given in.
- Selling and buying items at shops - Selling and buying items at a nation's shop will award dev points depending on the price.
- Discovering locations, landmarks and Secret Areas.
- Talking to NPCs - Talking to any NPC with a yellow star next to their name will award some dev points.
Raising the development level of a nation offers some perks:
- Prices at shops and inns will be discounted by 10% for each development level, meaning that all items will be half off at development level 5. Most shops abide by this convention, but some ignore it and offer no discounts. This does not affect money gained from selling or trading items.
- Some Merc Missions require a nation to be at a certain development level to unlock.
- Some NPC dialogue will become available after reaching certain development levels.
Leveling up the first nation
The quickest way to raise the first nation to development level 5 is mostly the same as earning gold through salvaging. Exchanging at item trading shops gives a good amount of dev points along with gold that can be spent on more cylinders, which in turn awards more dev points. As such, this is best done with the help of Golden Cylinders, first available during Chapter 4, though it can be done earlier and slower with Silver Cylinders. For this reason, the first nation to reach dev level 5 with this strategy is usually Mor Ardain, as Golden Cylinders become available when reaching Alba Cavanich and the salvage point at Port Anangham is both convenient and lucrative.
Leveling up all other nations
Once one nation's dev level has reached level 5, the most effective way to raise any other nation's level is to buy items in a level 5 nation and sell them in the target nation. Since (most) items at dev level 5 can be bought for half price, and all items are sold for half price regardless of dev level, this generates dev points at no cost (as long as the cash can be footed in advance). Golden Cylinders are also the best item to execute this strategy, as they are expensive and have a high capacity (99), allowing more dev points to be gained in fewer trips.