How to level up new characters fast in The First Descendant

Level 40 Ajax in The First Descendant
All characters need to get to level 40 individually, so you're going to want a fast method of doing so. (Image credit: Windows Central)

The First Descendant from Nexon has enjoyed a successful launch, in spite of some initial server woes in the earliest days. The free-to-play looter looks and plays great, and microtransactions aside, has a fun core gameplay loop. 

When you start out, you're given the choice of three Descendants to choose from, with the rest available to unlock in the game (or with money, but where's the fun in that.) One of the early mission chains sees you unlock Bunny, your partner from the intro mission. 

As you unlock a new character, each will need leveling up on their own towards the level 40 cap. Character level is separate to Mastery level, with the latter universally applied across all of your characters. So if you want to level up your new characters fast, this is the best way to do it right now, thanks to the efforts of the community for figuring it out. 

What you need to do first

There's a required condition to unlock this mission in Sterile Lands, but you'll achieve it by playing the campaign.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

It's important to note this won't work for your first character, at least, not right away. This method relies on a couple of prerequisites that require you to progress through the main campaign to a certain point, first. 

Here's what you need to have done:

  • Progressed the campaign far enough to unlock the Sterile Lands map. 
  • Complete all missions within Sterile Lands. 

Once you've done this, you'll have progressed far enough to have unlocked the operation that we need to get some serious levelling done in the Classified Area of Sterile Lands. 

How to level up new characters fast in The First Descendant

The Block Kuiper mining special operation is close to a fast travel point in Sterile Lands.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

Once you've completed the steps above, you'll unlock the special operation in Sterile Lands, Block Kuiper mining. This is where we're going to jump in and start to level up quickly. 

It's essentially a horde mode, and it has matchmaking, so you won't go in alone. There are so many enemies here, which is what makes it a fantastic place to farm for XP. It's also a good way to quickly work on weapon proficiency, and an ideal location to complete some of the daily challenges on the battle pass relating to defeating enemies. 

All you need to do is go in and clear out the waves. After each two waves, you'll get rewards, and an option to abort or to continue. This is where the trick comes in. 

For maximum efficiency, don't do this after wave 4, abort.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

After the fourth wave, you want to abort and return to Albion. Why? Because from wave five things start getting harder. The enemies are tougher, there are even more of them, and each wave takes longer to complete. If you have a good team, you may still want to continue and get more rewards, but for simply leveling as fast as possible, I've found that quitting and starting again is more efficient. 

I've timed a run completing the first four waves at just over five minutes, plus the time it takes to load in and then return to Albion at each end. In each run, I've been able to add two levels from four waves, so in roughly 2 to 3 hours you should be able to fully level up a character to 40, including loading times. By contrast, going to the end of the sixth wave has, for me at least, added a further 10 minutes. 

All of your higher level weapons are available to new characters, so while you'll start with a low character level, your gear will be more than capable of clearing the special operation with ease. 

At the end of your run, you'll also see how much weapon proficiency you've been able to get, and it'll be a significant increase.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

You'll also be able to level up your weapon proficiency pretty fast by running this special operation, too, and of course, it'll also count towards Mastery. That will be slower to level up, but as you're completing runs it'll all start to add up. 

As an aside, this is also worth running to make sure you're levelled high enough to take on the Dead Bride Void Intercept battle, which has to be done as part of the campaign progression. You don't want to be anything below level 36 really for this, so if you're short, jump in and do some runs of this to get ready for it. 

There is an alternative special operation in Kingston that you can use before you get to Sterile Lands to juice up your XP, but it's not recommended over this one long term. The waves take longer to complete, and since speed is what we're looking for here, Sterile Lands is the place to be.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at