Level 0 is a bot of a slog, but getting to L1 is a good feeling. Although, contrary to AZ I generally counsel levelling up as early as possible (and I promise I'm not just saying that because you are a 'bot. Or am I...)
I got the last one of my crew out of level 0 not all that long ago. It is a slog.
With level one, I've seen some of my characters finally (and rarely) get a nice hit that earned them a large chunk of XP (large by Level 1 standards
It is getting better. Fun little distraction between writing "upstairs" on the RPG, anyway.
Oi! Enough of your adverts!
I promise I will re-join eventually though, your RPG here is sadly lacking in anarchic evil genius...
See I disagree. Looking at numbers from here
At Level 0 there are 650 bots and 485 cons
At Level 1 there are 350 bots and 406 cons
At Level 2 there are 253 bots and 274 cons
At Level 3 there are 149 bots and 168 cons
Level 0 is the only level where you can only fight matched levels. Moving to 1 you get 2 types of fights (Level 1 and 2 fights) and (Levels 1 through 3) fights. You get to join in on the universal level 1 through 11 fights as well. While you do typically make more xp as you level, just walking in on the lower half of the level is pretty much a hurt to your side (faction) and to yourself.
Also at level 0 you get free CRs. Starting at level 1 you start paying for it. If you jump in on the lower end of the level 1 you have a much higher chance of getting wiped on most missions (excluding the missions where its just pure bots, or the bots outnumber the cons 4 to 1). Take a look at the bragging thread, you will see many fights where the cons win even though they are outnumbered. This is not because the game favors them, its simply because some of the bots entering the mission are on the "lower end of the level". It really sucks to go in with what you think is a fair fight of 3v3 and come out to be a 4vs2 because of the configs of your enemies being at the high end and your partners are just entering the low end or decided that 4 points into int was good so they could move up a level on their rammer. (Super Secret mod is only for cons).
To put it plainly there is very little difference between 4 upgrade points and 5 upgrade points in effectiveness. There is a much larger difference between 4 points and 9 points in terms of effectiveness.
One final thing to make note of. N_V mentioned making a repairer for the 1-11 missions. This will earn you a ton of XP but not at early levels (0-4). You may get lucky some time and net a large pay out, but typically you will walk away with much less than if you took a defensive (Avoid) or focused attack(Ram). Repair is much like strafe, you have to invest a lot into it to get a lot out of it. Trust me the boredom sucks, but if you figure your netting 100per round and each round is roughly 25 minutes (20 minutes for game time and a 5 minute buy in) you can earn 200-300 points an hour. While I don't like the arena at higher levels, at level 0 its also a fast deploy time if you see cons just sitting there. At level 1 you can earn 200 points, but the chance that you walk into a match and earn 0 is much higher. Couple that with CR time and you are looking at 200 points on average every 2 hours at the lower levels, vs jumping in halfway and cutting your normal CR times down by a few good invested points.
Level 0 is a good place to save up some Energon and bank some XP so you can jump out of the gate and do some decent damage in level 1 instead of putting yourself into the fodder rounds. Taking a few days of harvesting at lower levels and putting the time in means when you are going from level to level it will be easier as the multipliers work well for you when you do score and you do get to last a bit longer.
Imagine how bad it stinks when you go in to the CR Chamber for 700 Energon and enter a fight with say Colonel Mustard (N_V's char) and get wiped before you even got to open your optics just because you wanted the opposition. I've rush to move a level up before my bots were ready and I regretted it and brought them back down where they were better suited.