I think it takes around 3-4x as long (on average). If you consider your max xp is around 2K/match.
if you play safeguard, you can get 20-30K xp by getting to a decent round (I hear around 100K if you make it to round 100... not an easy thing to do).
But getting to round 25+ is easily doable. The only thing is: It takes hours to get to higher rounds.
I leveled from 23 to 45 (give or take a level) over the weekend, playing safeguard alone (never getting past round 60).
I have found each of the last 4 prestiges have taken ~ 24 game hours to complete. I had slightly higher on my first one because I didn't know what I was doing. I'm trying to see if I can get that under 24 for the last 5.
You squads will level up a LOT faster if you just prestige yourself in multiplayer. What you can do is prestige up as many times as you want and then your primary weapon for the squad members you choose for Squads will be the weapon they use.
I have 2 different squad members, the first one is a Prestige level 60 and the other is a level 20. Whatever is in Loadout 1, those characters will use.
Level 1-10 = Recruit
Level 11-20 = Regular
Level 21-30 = Hardened
Level 31+ = Veteran
That is how your characters will play depending on the type of level they are as their own difficulty.
I was not aware that they smartened up as they leveled.
As far as the loadouts, that is not true. You can choose which loadout they use (not all of mine use loadout 1)
That was my mistake, I keep my defaulted to Loadout 1. But yes, if you play against bots, change their difficulty and you will see their levels change, same for your squad members. I can take on Prestige squads easily but it's an even faster win when someone is not above level 10. It shows the way the bot plays.
Hmm.. Maybe I will level my 1st 6 members to at least lvl 21. My 1st is level 60, 2nd is lvl 45+ and others are around lvl 10ish...
As well I have a question (likely noobish): Do your squads gain XP when you re not playing (e.g. when they are challenged).
From my understanding, no. If you are offline, it is so that other players can find a match to test their skills against your squad themselves. Offline wins and losses DO NOT count against your win streak or even W/L ratio. It is just to show how you have leveled your squad, chosen the class for them as well as how your play style is. Offline is just to protect your squads dignity. Best suggestion, power level to level 20 as most people have trouble from what I have noticed. I have a squad of prestiged players so I don't see a lot of challenges anymore.
It takes an average of 19.381 hours to level up.
But that depends. It could be more time or it could be less.
If it is less time, then it takes about 9.652 hours to level up. It it is more time, then it takes 24.101 hours to level up. In either situation, in depends. It could be more time or less time in either situation.