A Noobs Guide To The Elder Scrolls: Arena | GameGrin (2024)

A Noobs Guide To The Elder Scrolls:Arena | GameGrin (1)

// Articles // 11th Jan 2023 — 1 year ago // By Niall Cawley

It's the year 3E 389 and the continent of Tamriel has become a very dangerous place — hence why its inhabitants now refer to it as "The Arena''. The Imperial Battlemage, Jagar Tharn, has seized control of the Empire through nefarious means, and plunged the lands into chaos; in its many forms, great evil now stalks the dungeons and pathways of Tamriel enacting the bidding of its villainous master. But wait! You are the Eternal Champion, the courageous hero, chosen by fate, to venture forth into the wicked wilds to save the Emperor. The journey, though, will not be an easy one for it is long and arduous, and even the bravest of warriors may perish during its many trials. With that said, I'd recommend taking some time to familiarise yourself with this perilous task, and the world it takes place in, by reading my handy guide below.

Below are five important things to consider, as you quest across Tamriel. Understanding them may just let you live to fight another day.

1. Day & Night

The daytime is ideally where you will want to spend all of your time; nights are considerably more dangerous and will only hinder you.

Daylight hours allows you to interact with the local palace, shopkeepers, guilds, and holy places — all very important establishments. During the day, NPCs will also roam the towns and roads of Tamriel; they can provide you with valuable information such as tips on potential work, gossip about Artifacts, and can give directions. Just make sure you've put down your weapons, otherwise people will flee from you.

During the night, however, the game gains a noticeable difficulty spike. Most properties close, forcing you to cower helplessly on the streets. Enemies also spawn far more frequently during this time and can even do so inside of towns! The only safe places are inns. Unlike other service providers throughout Tamriel, inns are open 24 hours and allow you to rest safely in them. In this regard, they are invaluable, and the only downside is finding one once night has already fallen. Alternatively, you can also survive the night through pure luck by either hanging around in real-time or using the wait feature and hoping enemies don't disturb you while you're sleeping.

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2. Travel & Directions

Just to clarify, because the game doesn’t convey this to the player at all: you can only move between towns or dungeons using fast travel on the world map. You cannot walk between world map locations; it is literally impossible.

Going back slightly to point number one — if you find you're in a town and it’s night, you can fast travel around in circles, between cities, until it's daytime. This avoids both enemies and inn room charges.

If you'd prefer, you can otherwise simply wander the wilderness, and have your own mini adventures (I consider the wilderness to be any area in The Elder Scrolls Arenathat is outside of a town's/dungeon's boundaries). All that you need to do is leave through the front gates of the town you’re in. Remember that this same wilderness infinitely spawns as you walk, and you cannot reach other towns this way. There are still other people and businesses to stumble across outside cities, but there are also enemies and dungeons too, so take care. Ultimately, as intriguing as this feature is, the wilderness is useless and probably best avoided.

While you're in a town, you can speak to any local and ask for directions. Ask them "Where is..." and a list of options will appear; asking about the nearest business is self-explanatory, but you can ask about specific places by clicking on a category and then selecting the business you need from it. Whichever you decide, the NPC will then give you a compass direction; line yourself up and follow that direction (note that NPCs will never direct the player to go outside of the city.) Once you're close enough, speaking to an NPC will mark the exact location on your map (also note that the name of the business will spawn directly to the right of its main entrance on your map).

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3. Buying & Selling

Speaking of businesses in Arena, selling your plundered riches and buying new kit is an important aspect.

Any and all items can be found randomly throughout the world, and none are level dependent like more modern Elder Scrolls titles — I acquired a high-quality Mithril helmet from the first Imperial Prison dungeon. However, hitting the big time is never a guarantee on any expedition, so purchasing new gear is usually essential. What the game refers to as "stores" are where you'll be doing most of your buying and selling; these are blacksmiths that carry most of what you'll need. Know that stores are the only places in the game where you are able sell your items — literally no other vender offers this service — the good news though, is that you can haggle. Quite frankly, haggling is broken, as you can almost bully the shopkeepers into handing you a better price with zero repercussions. Always haggle and be bold with it, nothing bad will ever happen. Stores also offer equipment repairs too, which is a point we'll revisit further into this guide.

Often, you'll see items within your inventory with ludicrously high monetary values, but you cannot see why they are so special. More often than not, these items will be labelled in blue rather than the standard yellow and this means they are a magical item. These always fetch a high price tag, however, to see their hidden abilities you must have them identified at the local Mages Guild (note that some magical items will already have visible effects when examined, however, they will always have additional hidden effects too. That's just how the game works). The cost of the service is dependent on the item, and in this situation, you cannot haggle; better equipment and potions simply cost more to identify. You can equip these magical items regardless of if you know what they do, but I'd recommend seeing what they are before committing to them to maximise your build's effectiveness.

The Mages Guild's second unique service is the sale of potions. Now, there are many potions available in Arena, but it's imperative that you're always stocked up on True Heal and Cure Disease potions specifically. Both will keep you alive longer; be aware most diseases in Arena end in death, unlike other games in the series.

Religious places aren't particularly useful, but will heal or cure you, for a fee of course, if you find yourself potionless.

Finally, if you're feeling brave you can even attempt to steal an item. The item will be random, and the chance of success is determined by your skills. If you fail the guards will turn up immediately to fight you — much the same as if you attempt to break into a house. However, if you leave the business the guards will not follow you, meaning you get away scot-free with no repercussions. A limitation in the game means NPCs of any kind cannot travel between areas and can only exist in the one in which they spawned — it's a good trick when trying to dodge any enemy.

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4. Equipment & Using It

Moving slightly on, there is a vast array of weapons and armour that you can utilise on your quest to stop Jagar Tharn. These include both magical and non-magical items, from basic leather up to solid ebony plate — no, unfortunately this game has no Daedric — and your class will determine which armour you can use.

Enchanted items are a funny one in Arena, and that is even after you've gone through the hassle of having them identified by a mage. Simply equipping them does not automatically use their abilities; once equipped, magical items must be turned on through the magical item menu. When they have been toggled on, they will work for a few seconds before turning themselves off again. Annoyingly, they don't actually tell you when they switch off, and it's all handled in the background by a hidden timer. All magical items have active effects, such as improved armour rating or a flat skill bonus, that are constantly applied to your character, but they will sometimes also have additional abilities. It's these extras that you'll need to activate during battle to gain their benefits for a short time.

Potions are also considered magical items and the only way to use them is through the magical items menu; they can be viewed in the main inventory display screen, but not used. This is the case for all items the game tags as "magical".

Equipment degradation is also something else to keep an eye on. Honestly weapon degradation is a far more pressing matter; getting lost in a dungeon whittles down your weapon's health much quicker than you may think and once it's broken it's gone for good. It's always worth collecting a backup weapon and using that if you need to. Armour, at least in my experience, seems to degrade very slowly and will stay in the "new" condition far longer than any weapon, even when you're being clobbered. Equipment can also take multiple days to fix, so keep that in mind; all stores offer equipment fixing and they will tell you a price and how much in-game time is required to fix it. Rejecting their initial offer allows you to alter the terms of the job somewhat, but it will always be a single day minimum, and that carries a high price tag.

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5. Saving & Waiting

Finally, you need to abuse both saving and "waiting". Saving can be done at almost any time, the only places off-limits seem to be shops. There are ten slots available so make use of staggering your saves at various intervals of your progress. Don't really want to spend that money? Don't want to risk being caught when thieving? Simply save before committing to an action, then if you don't like the outcome, you can reload your save with no harm done.

Waiting too can be a godsend, it however is a little more finicky. When you wait, you basically camp down and sleep (well, that's how the game sees it anyway). This means it's not as freely available as saving and far more areas won't allow it, such as town grounds or inside shops. Enemies can disturb you while you're doing it. You can only bivouac in the wilderness or inside dungeons. It's a risk/reward system, as it replenishes health for free — a nice perk – but it can also cause enemies to spawn and attack you, and you know how that usually turns out. I'm unsure if the Luck stat affects waiting, as from my experience, it's totally random as to whether you'll be attacked or not. You could always save before attempting a wait and repeat the action until you get the outcome you'd like.

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There we go, five important things that any wannabe explorer can't function without knowing. As Arena is now free in several places on PC, I recommend you seek it out and give it a go. Or, if you are already a veteran, do you have any other essential tips that noobs would need to know? Pop me your thoughts and survival tips down in the comments.

A Noobs Guide To The Elder Scrolls: Arena | GameGrin (2024)


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