Some skills have their experience rate modified by the "strength" of your opponent. The logic behind this is never explained in-game, leaving many players in the dark about how it works. This page is an attempt to explain exactly what it's checking to determine these modifiers.
When an attacker swings their weapon, a check is run against their stats to determine the multiplier. This check is always run between two skills, one from each character, though the specific skills changes depending on the role of the character in the engagement and their fighting style (more on this later). This exp rate multiplier scales from x0.1 at 25 levels above the opponent's opposing skill, to x6.0 at 50 levels below the opponent's opposing skill.
As of right now there are five known stats that are affected by this logic.
While not technically part of this system, it is important to note that exp gain will be drastically altered based on if the swing was a hit or not. Both the attacker and defender gain more exp if the attack hits, rather than if it's blocked or dodged (dodging can also sometimes reduce exp gain to 0, as the attack needs to make contact with their hitbox to trigger exp gain at all for either side, and some dodges will cause the character's hitbox to avoid the attack altogether.)
The skills checked depend on whether you are wielding a weapon or not. These are explained below.
Offensively, this style will use Melee Attack as its offensive stat. It will challenge the opponent's Melee Defense if they have a weapon, or Martial Arts skill if they are unarmed (Note: Only for the purposes of exp calculation, it will still challenge the Dodge skill to determine if you hit or not, it just has no bearing on exp rate here).
Offensively, this style will use Martial Arts as its offensive skill. It will challenge the opponent's Melee Defense if they have a weapon, or Martial Arts if they are unarmed (Note: Only for the purposes of exp calculation, it will still challenge the Dodge skill to determine if you hit or not, it just has no bearing on exp rate here).
Defensively, this style will use Dodge as its defensive skill (Yes, despite the other skills not challenging it to determine their exp gain, it will challenge them to determine its own exp gain). It will challenge the opponent's Melee Attack if they have a weapon, and Martial Arts if they are unarmed.
Dexterity is unusual, as it is never actually used in any of this logic. It is however modified by the results of the challenges mentioned above. It only gains exp on attacks. And it will check your offensive skill vs the opponent's opposing skill (using the logic from before), and then modify its gain by the result.
There are many sources of modifiers to the skills involved in these calculations, and you might rightfully question whether they affect the results of the challenges. Yes they do, in most cases. The following modifiers will affect all challenges, which will use the modified levels of the stats in the calculations, rather than the base levels.
- Armour Modifiers
- Backpack penalties
- Encumbrance penalties (though the penalties are only applied to Martial Arts and Dodge)
- Indoor bonuses/penalties
- Injuries (though the penalties themselves are only applied to Dodge)
- Weather penalties
- Weapon modifiers (though obviously only weapon users get the modifiers themselves)
Then there is one more source of modifiers, and it is treated differently depending on the skills. Blocks Mode will be ignored by Melee Attack, Melee Defense, Martial Arts, and Dexterity Challenges. The only skill that accounts for the bonus provided by Blocks Mode is Dodge, which will gain less exp with the mode toggled on, as it increases your effective level.