Arena guide

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Conquer the Arena - A Guide to Survival

A few rules to live by

Drops generally won't be that good, and that's okay as you shouldn't be expecting drops at all, really. The drop code used for the Arena is the same code used in Vanilla T4 - so expect what you expect in the real game, without shops. This does create a bit of a problem for some of the more equipment dependent classes, but unless they are extremely reliant on a particular weapon (Archer/Slinger) and that is about all they have, then the class should still fare okay.

You will find a good assortment of runes/infusions; even the 'bad’ ones will have use here, except the sun light one. You will need to be mobile, and be capable of either preventing or healing damage regularly and often. So, keep your eyes out for runes of Phase Door, Speed, Invisibility and Shielding, and infusions of Wild, Healing, Regeneration and Movement.

Even though kit drops won't be often or grand, 'kit required classes', such as Fighters can shine despite this. Their talents actually shore them up against this limiting feature - with the change to Shield Wall it makes it much more useful with low quality kit. Arcane Blades will need to avoid melee combat for most the beginning until they are able to trigger the Flame/Lightning spells off of attacks with great accuracy. Rogues/Shadowblades will need to utilize their mobility to survive. In the end, you will be forced to play a style perhaps differently than what you would otherwise.

You must to be flexible. You simply will not have much success trying to transfer a character build from T4 into the Arena. The reasoning of this is that the situations you find in the arena are different at different levels, and require [what I consider] unique play. For instance, you will need to use a lot of turns repositioning yourself [and possibly allies] to avoid bad match ups or getting too overwhelmed. In regular play, you can just stand in a corridor and fight 1 v 1, but that option is not there in the Arena.

Mobility is an absolute necessity. Even the classes that do not have good mobility talents [looking at you Fighters, Sun Paladins and ilk] cannot stand in one place; you have to hit and move, hit and blink, hit and heal. You will not survive huddled in a corner being wailed on by 3 rats when there are 20 more waiting in line. Preferably, the mobility would come from such things as Phase Door, Switch Places style talents and increased speeds. However, talents and activations such as Rush, while not ideal, do warrant a bit of practice.

You should get into the habit of activating your regenerative and healing options before you actually need them, especially mana regenerative ones. As a wave is a wave, meaning a group of npcs and then a secondary group of ncps [and in the later levels up to 7 groups] in 1 'wave', you never know when you'll need that Phase Door, Inferno or other highly necessary/damaging talent ready and available. Having as many options available at a time is the key to success.

Along with the previous lines, at the end, right before you down the last enemy, activating your regenerative abilities if that ability is <85%~ filled. The down time between actual waves is usually long enough that the ability [whether a talent or inscription] will mostly be recovered from cool down, and by the time you need to use it again, it will be ready.

If you are being presented with difficulty, focus on a class or on talents that are more defensive or mobility oriented. Having the ability to survive attacks will allow you to play further and live longer, giving you more information about what to expect, and when. Being a stone wall is fine, but a wall will fall. A shadow, however, is never crumbled.

Debuffs are almost as good as sustains in the arena. If you can blind, disease, poison, slow, stun, freeze, pin, burn; then you will definitely need to focus on those talents after either regenerative/defensive or mobile/escaping talents. Due to the swarm nature of combat in the arena, being able to weaken that ranged attacker or that next turn coming big melee hitter turns in advance is invaluable. However, do not rely too heavily on debuffs unless they are wide spread in their AOE, as completely hindering one out of twenty enemies isn’t beneficial.

Cool downs matter more so, than the effect that they bring. Options are needed and more options at a time in the Arena lead to greater success. You will need multiple ways to recover life, your main resource bar, escape, and do AOE damage. So, having sources alternating on cool down [by having short cool downs or many repetitive sources of it] will greatly help ensure your survival.

Activations, lots of equipment have them and they are secondary cool down relief resources. Use them often, especially in place of talents when applicable. Specific things to look for are things that let you blink, Rush, Disengage, and use talents such as Tidal wave and other AOE effects. Anything that lets you summon something is also extremely valuable. If the enemy npcs have more than 1 target that isn't you, then that is less damage to yourself.

Important resources needed:

There are several very important things you need when you venture through the arena. They are all important for different reasons, and you may not have access to all of them with any given class or build, but you should always strive to meet as many of these as you possibly can.

Healing / Regeneration / Damage Absorption

The ability to recover life via means other than Resting, or to lessen or prevent damage altogether is perhaps the most important aspect in the Arena, T4 and any other rogue-like.

Regarding life to the player, there are three main ways it can be influenced positively: Healing on the spot, Healing over Time and Prevention of Damage.

With these three core ways to alter your life, you have to balance them out the best you can. As all classes have access to Regeneration, Heal and Shield runes, but not all races [Undead cannot use Infusions {Regeneration/Heal} however they start with a shield and phase door rune in place of a wild and regeneration infusion], the ability to pick and choose the methods are varied. Keep in mind however; the talent options that can replicate these inscription effects, so that you do not weigh too heavily in one type, as that does not allow the flexibility needed for play in the Arena.

Escape Options

Having the ability to move your self a distance greater than one in a single turn is always beneficial. In fact, it is absolutely necessary in the Arena, as its nature is to push you into a corner and not let you relieve yourself from this position. So, escaping via just about any means is obviously, important.

Escape options are not entirely things that let you move more than a single tile a turn – no, an escape option is something that lets you decide a location (unless it cannot be blocked by something in your way) to move to, with little or no chance of it being blocked.

Rush and Disengage are not actually escape options – they require a target, and you move to or away from that target, and this movement can be blocked by any solid object that takes up a tile [such as a wall or npc]; and that is bad in the Arena, considering how cramped it will get. However, Ghoulish Leap, which is a similar talent, actually is a true escape option – it cannot be blocked by a wall or npc, and it does not require a target to be present, just a location. However, if Rush or Disengage are the only multi-tile movement options that you have available, use them regardless.

True and good escape options are Switch Places, Summon Swap, Phase Door and other such talents. While some of these require a target or have harsh requirements [Switch Places], are still very much good escape options. They cannot be blocked, and can be very helpful to create the path to escape.

The only common escape option that you cannot use in the arena is Teleport and all of its various sources. The Arena is too small to make use of it, it will fail every time.

Status Infliction Recovery

The ability to recover from status effects, especially Stun, Freeze, Blind, Slow, Disease and Pin, are essential in the Arena. Unfortunately, there are very few ways to do this, but they are: Wild infusion, Providence and Restoration. Providence is the best by far, as it will remove an effect every turn and will grant a life regeneration effect, but it is limited to just the Divine classes. Restoration will only recover Poison and Disease, but even that limited scope will be helpful to the only class that has it (Archmage) and will help relieve the strain from the every useful Wild infusion. A Wild infusion is an inscription that will recover minimally Poison, but also up to ALL status effects in the game, however, it will only remove one per activation. That is okay though; as it does not require class or generic points to get one, and it also rewards the player with a x% resist all bonus for a duration. The only limitation of availability for Wild infusions however, is that they cannot be used by Undead races.

Fast Cool Downs

Having short or shortened (Quicken Spell) cool downs on your various options is very important. The best way is to have multiple sources of a desirable effect, such as: Phase Door rune, Phase Door spell, Boots of Phasing all on the same character. This allows you to rotate the cool down on each effect, granting you a sense of a faster reuse time. However, the chances of this happening in the Arena are not very good, as equipment dropping will be quite rare, and usually not exactly what you are looking for. However, this is not the only option, there is a second, more specialized option, and that is Quicken Spell. However, this is limited to just Archmages and Shadowblades, and only shortens the cool down of spells. A third option is having multiple effects that are similar, such as Rush and Disengage and Ghoulish Leap. These three are all movement talents, while different, are similar. Rush and Disengage are also available either separate or in tandem, to many classes. And, all but Divine classes can be a Ghoul, to allow access to Ghoulish Leap.

Speed Altering

The ability to alter either your various speeds (positively) or the enemy actors speeds (negatively) can swing the advantage greatly in favor of one side or the other. The most efficient for the player in the Arena specifically, however, is to increase their own speed, if at all possible. The best examples are Essence of Speed, Blinding Speed and Speed or Movement infusions. There are, various types of speed: Global, Attack, Movement, Spell, Summon and Shoot.

AOE Damage

Being able to deal damage is very clearly a need in the Arena, but a particular type of damage is needed above all others: AOE. Now then, AOE damage types are attacks that deal damage to an area greater than a single tile. These are: Ball, Beam, Wave, Cloud, Burst, Cone and View. Bolt or Melee are not applicable, as they will only effect a single tile.

Classes that will Have it Easy

Generally, there are a handful of classes that will find the Arena overall easy, or at least, easier than others will find it. They are: Archmage, Anorithil, Berserker, Cursed, Sun Paladin and to some extent Summoner.

The reasoning behind these classes is one of three: Extremely flexible, extremely defensive or extremely controlling.

Extremely flexible – [Archmage, Anorthil] The extreme flexibility and the amount of good options open at the right times offer a good deal of chance towards survival in the Arena. Whether it be multiple escape options, AOE effects, fast cool downs or easy to replenish resources, the Archmage and Anorthil match up very well in the Arena.

Extremely defensive – [Berserker, Sun Paladin] The extremely defensive nature of these two classes helps them cope with the massive amount of enemies that will come flooding out. While they will take a bit longer to fall into their safety zone than the extremely flexible classes, they may be the best suited towards life in the Arena. The Berserker and Sun Paladin go about defense in very different ways however. The Paladin goes through the ability to heal and prevent damage outright, where as the Berserker goes about it via rapidly increased regeneration rates and extremely high hp. Which class you choose though, leads to the same end – a very tough opponent for anyone in the arena.

Extremely controlling – [Cursed, Summoner] The extremely controlling classes may be a bit different than the previous four, in that they are not really affecting themselves as much as they are affecting the space of the Arena itself. A Cursed main controlling ability is the Gloom tree, and it is an awesome utility in the Arena. As the size of the Gloom cloud is about the same size as the Arena itself, almost immediately, all enemies will become debuffed in some manner. The Summoner goes about control differently however, but attempting to reposition the availability of room in the Arena. By having multiple summons out, that creates two things: 1) Less maneuverability for enemies to get to you and kill you; 2) More targets for the enemies to bother with, giving you effectively more life. Regardless of which class you play, both are almost equally well at handling the Arena.

Classes that will have it rough

Generally, there are a handful of classes that will have a hard time in the Arena, or at least, harder than others will find it. They are: Arcane Blade, Archer, Reaver, Rogue and Slinger.

The reasoning behind these particular classes having it rough is pretty simple; they just are not built for that environment. The Arena is small and has columns to hide behind, making ranged attacks not that great as you cannot create much space between yourself and the enemy[ies]. Not having mobility or much of it that is not breakable is also a death sentence. And, DOT, while good in the main game, is not very applicable in the Arena mostly due to the shear number of npcs you will be facing – you do not have time to kill them off slowly. Also, being very dependent on multiple stats being high or high enough early enough will make the class just too weak. Also, the lack of options that some of these classes have, is very troubling.

The Arcane Blade, while very offensive and having access to a good escape [Phase Door], is mostly a melee class that cannot defend themselves against a swarm style battle. Even focusing on magic doesn’t help, as the Manasurge rune that they start with will be used ASAP, every time all the time that you never get a sense of rest or at easiness to calm down to.

Archers and Slingers together, are not well suited at all in the Arena, being completely dependent on keeping out of melee and attacking from a distance. Disengage will work fine until you start to get to the points of being surrounded, or there being so many npcs that you will only be able to move very few tiles [if any at all]. The low damage and very specific weapon dependent makes them very hard to play with any real success.

Reavers fall into a bad balance of needing to deal damage via a resource, and needing to fend for them via melee combat. They are similar to how an Arcane Blade cannot make up their mind. You can go the magic route, but then you will be so constantly starved for a resource or you will be doing so little damage that being overwhelmed will happen naturally and quickly. If you go the melee route, then you are putting yourself into a position that you cannot defend yourself, due to your lack of defensive abilities, armor and hp.

The Rogue is a bit of a pain in the Arena to play as. You want to go slow, stealth around and try to stun and pick off as much stuff as possible, while trying to stay out of a multiple opponent situation. The problem arises, however, that your damage potential and defensive abilities come at the same time and you have to choose which to develop. In the end, you are too weak in either area when you need to be strong, that it makes it very difficult for success.

Things to avoid:

While there are things that you will find very useful during your conquest to celebrity, there are also a few things that will be utterly useless. You don’t necessarily need to avoid these, but they will have no real effect. They are: Light and Light Sources, Mapping, Teleport (as in the spell, the rune the wand and all other sources of Teleport itself), High Single Target Damage (unless that is all you can offer), and Overkill.

As the Arena is small, and permanently lit, you do not need lightning or light sources (unless they grant you some extra ability), or Teleportation (as it will fizzle). High Single Target Damage is practically useless in the arena because most every single enemy you will confront will be low in hp/armor/resistances and you will be more concerned about the swarming nature of the combat that takes place there. Overkill is the least desired aspect in the Arena. Yes, you want to kill fast, but if you are dealing greater than 150% max hp damage to enemies, then the entire extra offensive is going to waste, when it could be turned into some other, more positive aspect.