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This game is awesome, and i've passed the intro stage without really knowing what i'm doing, and then i jumped to original Gundam and killed Char. Is there a useful FAQ or guide that will tell me ALL about how these SDG games work ? WTF is groups, and why is there no exp, and how do i upgrade my units ? It's much, MUCH less intuitive than japan-only SRW games.
Groups are how you sortie units. Each group has 1 Master and up to 2 Teams which are assigned to 1 Warship. These Maste/Teams can only dock (to repair and refuel) on the assigned Warship.
At first I believe you can only sortie 1 Group (as you only have 1 WS anyway), but later on you will get another Master unit which will unlock the 2nd Group. You can have up to 4 groups, but you can never sortie more than 2.
As for experience, only the killing blow grants exp (divided into everyone that took place in it as in support attacks). GUEST units aren't part of your team and DO NOT get exp (as you don't keep em after the stage) This confused me the first time as I took Amuro as my first Master and the first stage has a GUEST Amuro which I thought was mine -_- lols
Both pilots and MS/MA get exp. Pilot levels grant stats and unlocks skills (that need to be purchased) while MS/MA levels grant stats and unlock possible upgrades (if you take a Zaku I to level2 you can turn it into a Zaku II). It also unlocks exchanges.