How does one level up in Battle Nations?
I've been on L6 for ages.
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Leveling up is painstakingly slow. As usual, it takes XP to hit a certain threshold to increase level. XP can be gain from various activities in game. The key is to optimize your gameplay for maximum XP. For example, BN introduces a demand function where if you consistent make short orders in your shops, the demand drops and the XP earn for subsequent order will drop. Also, BN discourages same shop types. Diversification of shops is important. Also, do not forget to go raid. Each successful raid/battle generates XP (as well as other goodies).
Be sure to fully utilize your population. Check your demand and population stats by clicking your population count in the bottom right corner. At every level you want to be sure that you are at the cap.
Excess population should be spent on either additional farms or other goods producers. To level up as quickly as possible you need to produce goods at all of your facilities as often as your time allows. If you can stop in every hour great but do keep track of demand as producing too much of one type of good will limit the experience you get. I have yet to hit that point and I run 6 farms hourly all day. At night the demand restores (since I produce either a 6 or 12 hour good) and I'm good to go again the next day.
Aside from that, the best you can do is try to complete every quest which offers some small experience rewards. If you can hunt down monsters to fight you can get a few more points here and there although it isn't a very effective use of your time as it would take hours to dent your level that way. The game is more or less designed to have a set time between levels. It is paced too slow but that's just how it is right now. I suppose they decided to err on the safe side and make it too slow than to have everyone at max level far sooner than they were ready to support.