Arena New Player’s Guide (DOS) – RetroMaggedon Gaming (2024)

Arena New Player’s Guide (DOS) – RetroMaggedon Gaming (1)

The Elder Scrolls Arena New Player’s Guide (DOS)

The Elder Scrolls Arena Home PageDOS Game Catalog


If you’ve played The Elder Scrolls: Arena, you may have noticed that it is vastly different from later games in the series and can be difficult to understand at first. This guide was designed to clarify how classes and stats work so players can make informed decisions when creating a character. As such, the classes have been broken up into groups that are in line with how easy or difficult they are to play as, with the easiest classes being listed first and the more difficult ones towards the bottom. Information on weapons, race, and what steps should be taken early on are also included in this guide. Finally, this is a revised version of the original The Elder Scrolls: Arena New Player’s Guide, that I posted back in 2016. Several errors have been fixed in this version and I have included new information on race as well as equipment.

~by tankMage (August 2016, Updated November 2018)


Choosing Your Class and Race

Recommended Stats

Getting Started

Equipping Your Character

Buying Spells

Obtaining The Oghma Infinium

Tips for Running Arena

Choosing Your Class and Race

While Bethesda breaks up Arena’s classes into the mage/warrior/thief archetypes, I have organized them into different categories based on ease of play, survivability, and common defining traits. Please be aware that these groups contain diverse sets of classes that vary from one another in terms of strength, but are all on the same tier relative to classes from other groups. While race does not usually play a huge role in a character’s performance, I have included recommended races for each class, because some classes perform better when combined a with certain races.


Anyone who has a magic pool falls into this group. This is the most powerful category by far and even classes with small amounts of magic have a distinct advantage over everyone else, because they can create powerful defensive and offensive spells. High intelligence, potions of restore power, and well made spells are vital to Spellcasters. The best classes in this group are as follows:

Sorcerer: While they can’t regenerate magic from resting, Sorcerers have huge magic pools and can absorb hostile spells. Between spell absorption and the availability of cheap potions of restore power, this class should have little trouble maintaining a magic pool as long as you are well prepared. In fact, Sorcerers can create and use some of the most powerful spells in the game thanks to their huge magic reserves. Sorcerers also have the added advantage of being able to wear chain armor and use decent weapons.

Recommended Race: Just about any race can make a good Sorcerer, though the Breton’s magic resistance goes to waste with this class.

Suggested Equipment: Dai-Katana, Chain mail, Ebony Blade (Artifact)

Mage: While unable to wear armor of any kind and limited in terms of weapon choices, this class is powerful nonetheless thanks to its respectable magic reserves. Mages are also able to regenerate spell points from resting, which can help conserve potions. Recommended Race: Breton, High Elf, Argonian

Suggested Equipment: Dagger, Buckler, Staff of Magnus (Artifact), Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact)

Healer: This class can wear chain mail, gets a decent amount of magic points from intelligence, can use some fairly strong weapons, and can cast certain defensive spells cheaply. However, healers tend to lack the shear magical force of the Mage and Sorcerer. They also have a limited selection of weapons, which makes them less efficient in physical combat than many other Spellcasters.

Recommended Race: Dark Elf, Redguard

Suggested Equipment: Mace, Round Shield, Chain mail, Staff of Magnus (Artifact), Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact)

The following Spellcaster classes are not quite as powerful as those listed above, though they are good choices nonetheless

Bard: A personal favorite of mine, the bard is a Jack-of-all-trades that is surprisingly effective in most situations. Bards can wear chain armor, use most shields, and even get a small chance to inflict critical hits with weapon attacks. They are also decent thieves, but they suffer from low damage output and a limited magic pool. Most Bards will have to use their magic defensively until higher levels when powerful spells can be cast cheaply.

Recommended Race: Dark Elf, Redguard, Breton

Suggested Equipment: Saber, Kite Shield, Chain Mail, Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact)

Spellsword: This class has a moderate amount of MP and can use any weapon, they also have decent HP for a Spellcaster. Chain armor and the ability to use most shields bolster the Spellsword’s defense. This class can also use decent weapons.

Recommended Race: Dark Elf, Redguard, Breton

Suggested Equipment: Dai-Katana, Katana, Kite Shield, Leather Armor, Staff of Magnus (Artifact), Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact), Ebony Blade (Artifact)

Battlemage: With a decent magic point reserve, the ability to wield any weapon, and lowered costs for offensive spells, this class is fairly competent in combat. Unfortunately they can only wear leather armor and have rather limited shield options.

Recommended Race: Dark Elf, Redguard, Breton

Suggested Equipment: Katana, Buckler, Dai-Katana, Leather Armor, Auriel’s Shield (Artifact), Auriel’s Bow (Artifact), Chrysamere (Artifact), Ebony Blade (Artifact)

Nightblade: This class has low defense and HP, but can inflict critical hits. Nightblades also have a fairly large pool of magic points to draw from. Their poor options when it comes to weapons and armor hold them back, however. Pairing your Nightblade with a race like Dark Elf or Redguard is a good way to give them some extra power in melee combat.

Recommended Race: Dark Elf, Redguard, Breton

Suggested Equipment: Saber, Buckler, Leather Armor, Auriel’s Shield (Artifact)


These fighters are significantly weaker than Spellcasters in terms of raw power, but are generally good with weapons, have high hit points, and can wear plate armor. In fact, plate armor is what grants Tanks much of their strength, thanks to its high armor class and ability to be enchanted. Even with plate armor, Tanks tend to be weak against magic compared to mages and will need magical devices, artifacts, and potions aplenty to succeed. Finally, Tanks tend to level up more quickly than some other classes, which can prove helpful.

Knight: Arguably the strongest of the tanks, Knights have one major advantage: they automatically repair weapons and armor when the player opens the inventory*. This means the Knight can use a powerful artifact like the Spellbreaker or the Lord’s Mail with impunity, giving him or her excellent defensive or offensive power.

Recommended Race: Dark Elf, Redguard, Breton, Wood Elf

Suggested Equipment: Katana, Tower Shield, Dai-Katana, Plate Mail, Ebony Blade (Artifact), Spell Breaker (Artifact), Lord’s Mail (Artifact), Auriel’s Shield (Artifact), Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact), Ring of Phynaster (Artifact)

*The Knight’s ability to repair equipment seems to be based on character level and may be limited to one use per day.

Ranger: While unable to repair equipment like the Knight, this class is still a force to be reckoned with thanks to the damage bonus they get when fighting living things, which is equal to the character’s level. Rangers also get a decent hit point boost with every level and travel faster on the world map than any other class… which is somewhat irrelevant. Rangers will have to use magical devices and artifacts more carefully than Knights as well as stock plenty of potions, but still make a solid choice.

Recommended Race: Dark Elf, Redguard, Breton, Wood Elf

Suggested Equipment: Dai-Katana, Katana, Kite Shield, Plate Mail, Ebony Blade (Artifact), Spell Breaker (Artifact), Lord’s Mail (Artifact), Auriel’s Shield (Artifact), Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact), Ring of Phynaster (Artifact), Auriel’s Bow Artifact)

Warrior: This tank lacks the power of the Knight and damage potential of the Ranger, making it overall the weakest of the three. At any rate, Warriors level up very fast and are second only to Barbarians in terms of HP, so they are still a solid choice.

Recommended Race: Dark Elf, Redguard, Breton, Wood Elf

Suggested Equipment: Dai-Katana, Katana, Tower Shield, Plate Mail, Ebony Blade (Artifact), Spell Breaker (Artifact), Lord’s Mail (Artifact), Auriel’s Shield (Artifact), Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact), Ring of Phynaster (Artifact), Auriel’s Bow Artifact)


Play as one of these classes, If you are looking for a challenge. Fighters have no spell casting ability and cannot wear plate armor. One of the few advantages they enjoy is that many of them are considered thieves and get a critical hit bonus, which can result in a melee or bow attack doing three times its normal damage. Anyone playing one of the following classes will need to prepare carefully and choose things like stats and race wisely. In fact, I almost universally recommend Breton as the go-to race for this category, because of their powerful magic resistance which allows them to completely nullify a resisted spell rather than cutting its effectiveness by 50%. Potions are especially important to Fighters and a good stock of Healing as well as Resist Shock/Frost/Fire Potions can save your life. Finally, Marks of Force Wall (which can can cast the Shield spell) are a Fighter’s best friend, because they can help mitigate some of the damage that enemies will inevitably pile on them; try to bring several of these items into a dungeon and repair them at a shop when needed.

The following are perhaps the easiest classes out of this group to use:

Barbarian: These tough brawlers get the highest hit point bonus out of any class, can wear chain armor, use tower shields, and wield any weapon. If that’s not enough, poison is useless against them and they recover large amounts of life while resting. Of course, Barbarians lack a damage bonus, which hurts their survivability somewhat, since fights will take longer compared to some other classes.

Recommended Race: Breton

Suggested Equipment: Dai-Katana, Katana, Tower Shield, Chain Mail, Ebony Blade (Artifact), Spell Breaker (Artifact), Auriel’s Shield (Artifact), Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact), Ring of Phynaster (Artifact), Auriel’s Bow (Artifact)

Rogue: The Rogue gets a healthy critical hit bonus and can really pile on the damage with a good weapon as well as wear chain mail. Unfortunately this class is a bit fragile thanks to its low HP bonus, but is still a viable choice.

Recommended Race: Breton, Redguard, Dark Elf, Wood Elf

Suggested Equipment: Dai-Katana, Katana, Kite Shield Shield, Long Bow, Chain Mail, Ebony Blade (Artifact), Spell Breaker (Artifact), Auriel’s Shield (Artifact), Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact), Ring of Phynaster (Artifact), Auriel’s Bow (Artifact)

Assassin: This class is another melee class that can use powerful weapons and gets an excellent critical hit bonus, in fact the highest in the game. Problem is, Assassins can only wear leather and get feeble hit point bonuses.

Recommended Race: Breton

Suggested Equipment: Dai-Katana, Long Bow, Leather Armor, Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact), Ring of Phynaster (Artifact), Auriel’s Bow (Artifact), Ebony Blade (Artifact)

Here’s a few glass cannon classes for those who are looking for a super challenge:

Monk: This class gets decent hit points, critical hit chance for melee weapons, can use any weapon, and gets a bonus to evade and magic resistance. Too bad they can’t wear armor and their abilities don’t really shine until higher levels. Anyone who wishes to play a monk is going to have to use some brilliant strategies, build their stats up wisely, and get high octane items early on. This is the one Fighter class that should probably choose a race other than Breton, since the class itself has the same inherent magic defense.

Recommended Race: Red Guard, Dark Elf, Wood Elf

Suggested Equipment: Dai-Katana, Long Bow, Ebony Blade (Artifact), Ring of Phynaster (Artifact), Auriel’s Bow (Artifact)

Burglar: This class gets a hefty bonus to lock picking, can steal quite easily, and gets a small critical hit bonus. Aside from that, you’re going to have to deal with a poor choice of weapons, low hit points, and low armor class as the Burglar can only use leather. The good news is the Burglar’s ability to steal from just about any building will net you a lot of loot, so use the money you make to buy tons of defensive potions and items.

Recommended Race: Breton

Suggested Equipment: Tanto, Short Bow, Leather, Ring of Phynaster (Artifact), Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact)

The rest of the Fighters are somewhere in between the aforementioned classes in terms of viability, but still require a bit of luck and skill to pull off:

Thief: Thieves have more HP than Burglars and get a better selection of weapons. They also enjoy a decent critical hit bonus. Needless to say, they are also very good at stealing.

Recommended Race: Breton, Dark Elf, Redguard

Suggested Equipment: Saber, Short Bow, Buckler, Leather Armor, Ring of Phynaster (Artifact), Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact)

Acrobat: A fast class that gets a natural evade bonus as they level up. Acrobats are limited to only leather armor for defense and get few Hit Points per level, so they tend to be fragile even as glass cannons go.

Recommended Race: Breton

Suggested Equipment: Broad Sword, Short Bow, Leather Armor, Ring of Phynaster (Artifact), Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact)

Archer: Those using the Archer will always want to have a bow on hand, because of the massive damage bonus they get to ranged weapons. They also benefit greatly from the Auriel’s Bow. Archers will need plenty of potions to stay alive in the more advanced dungeons, just like any other glass cannon.

Recommended Race: Breton, Wood Elf

Suggested Equipment: Long Bow, Chain Mail, Ring of Phynaster (Artifact), Necromancer’s Amulet (Artifact), Auriel’s Bow (Artifact)


Race can have low or high impact on how a class performs, depending on the race’s attributes and those of the class. For example, just about any race makes for a decent Sorcerer, but someone who wants to play a Knight may want to choose a Redguard to take advantage of their natural damage bonus. Below is a brief description of each race and its strengths. I advise players to find a class they prefer before choosing a race, because class has far more impact on how the game is played. The best races in general are Dark Elves, Redguards, and Bretons.

Update: It has come to my attention that some of the racial damage bonuses listed in the manual and elsewhere do not actually apply due to a bug. Keep this in mind when considering races like the Dark Elf and Red Guard.

Argonian: These reptilian humanoids can swim quickly and have a natural bonus to agility as well as intelligence. Well suited to the spell casting classes that rely on high intelligence.

Breton: While one may think Bretons are best suited to the spell caster classes, because of their high will and intelligence, they perform best as non-magical classes. Bretons can completely resist spells, which are the number one threat in Arena to a character who cannot cast spells like Shield or Spell Absorb. The down side to this race is that they start with low agility, strength, and endurance, which are important to non-magical classes.

Dark Elf: A decent all around race. Dark Elves are good at just about everything, though their starting stats are spread out. They also get a +1 hit/damage bonus to melee and ranged attacks every four levels, which can give classes that are limited to light weapons a little more stopping power.

High Elf: With naturally high intelligence, will, and agiltiy, High Elves make great Spellcasters. They are also immune to paralyze, which can be helpful in some rare situations, but players will likely want to avoid making non-magical classes this race.

Khajiit: Players will likely want to avoid this race, because they bring little to the table aside from high agility and the ability to scale walls quickly. With that said, Spellcasters can get away with being a Khajiit.

Nord: Another race that is not really worthwhile, Nords resist cold damage, which is not terribly common. They have high strength and will.

Redguard: Players who wish to roll a Knight or melee character should consider the Redguard, because of the +1 to hit and damage they get to melee weapons every three levels. They are also well suited to the magical classes since their natural damage bonus complements magic very nicely.

Wood Elf: Good for classes that can use bows, Wood Elves get a +1 damage bonus to bow attacks every three levels. They also start with high agility.

Recommended Stats

Each family of classes has a basic set of stats which should be prioritized early in the game. Almost all stats are useful for every class and should be kept high enough to prevent penalties with the exception of personally, which has little practical use. Bear in mind that even classes in the same family may need one stat more than another. This is especially true for Spellcasters, since some have rather limited magic pools and may need to engage in physical combat more than a Mage; in such cases agility and strength are beneficial to such characters. Also keep in mind that character generation allows you to re-roll your bonus stats as many times as you like. Try to roll until you get a decent stat bonus (17 or higher), a desirable base stat spread, and a fair amount of hit points.

Here is a list of the stats and some notes on what classes need them:

Strength: This stat is not as important as it appears, but should be kept high enough to prevent penalties. Tanks may want to build this stat or find armor that gives them bonuses to it relatively early on due to the weight of their gear. Fighters may want to hold off on strength until other, more vital stats are maxed out. Powerful Spellcasters can all but ignore strength since magic can make up for it.

Agility: This stat is important to everyone, since it determines your ability to avoid physical attacks and land your own attacks. Everyone should try to get enough agility to give their character a +2 or higher bonus to hit and evade on character generation. Tanks and Fighters need more agility and it’s advisable to get +3 or +4 to hit and evade early on for them.

Willpower: Enemies throw out a lot of spells, especially later in the game. While a starting character won’t need it, getting high willpower should be an early goal for Tanks and Fighters. Tanks can get armor that adds ten points to willpower per piece, which is a good option for them, while glass cannons will have to build it up another way. Spellcasters, once again, can ignore this somewhat (although Sorcerers get a magic absorption bonus from this stat) thanks to their ability to create elemental resistance spells.

Intelligence: This stat is absolutely vital to all Spellcasters and should be maxed out immediately if you play as one. Tanks have little use for it, but many of the Fighter types can use it for stealing, though they should build other stats up first.

Endurance: This stat is useful to everyone since it adds a set bonus to hit points at each level. It’s especially useful to Tanks and Fighters who cannot create powerful shield spells to absorb damage. It’s best to max this out first if you need hit points, since the bonuses only count when you level up and are not retroactive.

Personally: This stat is all but useless. It does have an impact on bartering and NPC interactions, but every class can get away with ignoring it until everything else is maxed out.

Luck: This stat helps in many small ways, most notably by improving the quality of loot you find. Luck is worth investing in if you have some extra points and it is wise to avoid a luck penalty if you want to find decent lot. This is especially true in the first dungeon, where a player with +1 to luck will likely walk out with a decent weapon, armor, and accessories.

Getting Started

Here are some tips that should make life early in the game much easier for just about any class, even the Monk. What you do early on will have a lasting impact on how your character performs and developing not only a strong character along with a solid strategy will increase your odds of successfully completing even the most difficult dungeons by a wide margin.

The First Dungeon

Arena throws you into a dungeon right away. The first dungeon can be perilous for even well built characters, because of disease bearing rats; save often. There is quite a bit of treasure laying around, so be sure to explore if possible. Items like bracelets, amulets, torcs, and rings weigh little and are often valuable. It’s wise to pass up weapons and armor unless you can use them in favor light valuable stuff, since you will need money. Do not be afraid to equip rings, torcs, belts, and amulets, because they often increase the player’s armor class, which is vital to survival. There’s no shame in sprinting through this dungeon as quickly as possible if you cannot survive, especially since there are easier ways of making money in Tamriel. The exit to this dungeon is at the end of a long passage in the southwest corner of the map.

Here are a few more basic tips for this dungeon that will serve useful throughout the game:

Resting: Most players will probably need to rest often. Save before resting and try to do so with your back to a wall in case you are attacked while sleeping.

Combat: Try to fight groups of enemies in narrow hallways or doorways in order to squeeze them all into one place if you are using a melee weapon. While this will not prevent the enemies in the group from attacking you, it will allow you to hit all of them at once with your attacks, because the game allows multiple mobs to occupy the same point in space. Players using a bow or spells should try to “kite” enemies by backpedaling to a safe area while firing on the creature.

Hidden Passages: There are tons of hidden passageways in Arena and you will even encounter them in the first dungeon. It’s worthwhile to find secret passages and rooms, because they often conceal shortcuts or treasure. Look for dead ends or suspicious areas on the map and try clicking on the wall to reveal hidden doors.

Equipping Your Character

After emerging from the first dungeon, you’ll land in a random city in the province associated with your character’s race. It’s likely that you did not find much gear or could use something better at this point. Just about every character can benefit from a decent weapon and it would be wise to invest in a dwarven or even mithril weapon if possible. There’s a good chance that you have little to no money at this point, but fear not: there’s plenty of loot lying around for those who know where to look. Sneaking into a shop at night and snatching up the treasure piles on the floor is a quick way to make money and possibly even find a few good bits of gear, if you do not mind stealing. There’s no bounty system in this game and the only repercussions you will face for stealing are the random humanoids that will spawn to stop you.

Those who are role playing an honest adventurer may not want to steal, which is fine since there are small dungeons located outside of town that are often filled with treasure or you can visit a previously explored dungeon and clear out all the treasure. It’s possible to force loot piles to respawn by leaving and re-entering the dungeon/shop/house, so players can quickly pack their inventory full of goodies to sell. If a structure has more than one level to it, you can get the loot piles to respawn simply by going onto the next floor and the reentering the previous one. If you do the Oghma Infinium quest early on and max out your luck, you will likely find some really good items in even the smallest dungeons.

Before setting out for Artifact Quests or the Main Quest, players would do well to have a full set of basic armor, a decent weapon, a belt, torc, bracelet, and amulet (items like “eleven belts” and “mithril amulets” will improve a character’s Armor Class, which is very helpful). Potions of restore power (for magic users), healing, cure disease, and free action are highly recommended. Expensive, bracers, rings, marks, and crystals enchanted with spells (like healing, wizard fire, and shielding) are also highly recommended for Tanks as well as Fighters.

The following is a brief list of important items and where they can be found:

Potions: Elemental magic is commonly used in Arena and players will either have to rely on potions or a powerful artifact in order to survive magical attacks if they cannot cast spells. Luckily, potions of Resist Fire, Shock, Cold, and Poison can be bought cheaply at any Mage’s Guild. Players may also want potions of Heal and Heal True to cure wounds. Potions of Free Action and Cure Disease are also a necessity for curing paralysis and diseases carried by animals. Finally, magic users should carry tons of Restore Power potions.

Mark of Force Wall: This mark creates a shield around the player that grants him or her extra life (possibly 50 points +5 per level if the mark functions like the spells) which can help keep Tanks and Fighters alive. Any non-magical class should carry one or two of these. The Mark of Force Wall can be found in loot piles or bought at the Mage’s Guild in Meir Darguard, High Rock for 4300 gold.

Mark of Shielding: While not as potent as Force Wall, a Mark of Shielding can grant the player extra HP. If the Mark of Shielding works like the spell, it will grant the player 15 points of shield + 5 points per level. These can be found or purchased for 2400 gold at the Norvulk Hills Mage’s Guild in High Rock.

Bracers of Healing: Heals player for 1-15 + 1-5 HP per level (assuming it works like the spell) when used. Players should carry one of these in case they run out of potions. Can be bought at the Greenwall Mage’s Guild in Skyrim for 7875 Gold.

Crystal of Heal True: A more powerful version of the healing spell, heals player for 25-50 +5 HP per level if it follows the same rules as the spell. Available for purchase at the Skaven Mage’s Guild in Hammerfell for 8500 gold.

Note: These are just a small sample of protective items that players can acquire over the course of the game.

Buying Spells

There’s two options for purchasing spells at a local mages guild: Buy readymade spells or make your own. There’s really no reason to purchase a prefabricated spell since anything you can make will be more efficient as long as you know what you are doing. A good rule of thumb for making spells is to keep their base value low and the bonus they get per character level high, which will make your spells quite powerful as you level up while keeping their cost down. Also keep in mind that casting cost is divided by character level, so a spell that costs 100 magic points at level 1 will only cost 20 at level 5. While it’s up to you what type of spells you want to make, here’s a list of spells that are helpful.

Shield: This is perhaps the most important spell a caster can have in his or her repertoire. The shield spell acts as a secondary hit point pool that protects your character from damage. Set the base value to 1 and the bonus points per level as high as your current magic pool will allow. Don’t worry if it costs all your MP to cast shield, since it doesn’t wear off until enemies reduce its value to zero by damaging it. You can either rest to restore MP after casting it or use a restore power potion. At any rate, a shield spell that gets a bonus of 50 shield HP per level, will grant the caster 500 shield HP at level 10 on top of his or her base HP. To put things into perspective, I had a level 20 ranger that only had about 280 HP, so a Mage with a mediocre shield spell blows most other classes out of the water in terms of survivability.

Direct Damage: Spells that damage enemies are devastating and can kill monsters in a single hit at high levels. Players have the option of setting a destruction spell to ranged, melee distance, or area of effect; while all three options are useful, melee range (touch) is the cheapest. It’s also wise to make several spells with different “save” types (IE: Fire, Cold, Electricity) in case you encounter foes that are resistant to certain types of magic. Battlemages are especially adept at attack magic thanks to the discount they get to casting cost and can make some really powerful spells.

Resist/Absorb Magic: It’s possible to create spells that reduce the damage from incoming magic attacks or absorb them all together. Players should probably consider making one of each of these spells (unless you’re a Sorcerer) since magic casting enemies are quite common.

Invisible: This magic effect will keep enemies from seeing and attacking you, which is good in many situations. Just be warned: things that hurl spells will still fire at you when you are invisible.

Light: This illuminates the dungeon and expands your field of vision considerably, allowing you to see enemies from a distance. The foe will also be able to see you from a greater distance, so take care when using this spell.

Healing/Regenerate: Everyone needs Hit Points, so it’s handy to have a spell with one of these effects in case your shield gets knocked down and you take a hit. It’s not a terribly vital spell, since potions of healing are cheap and have no weight, but it’s good to have in case of an emergency.

Levitate: This spell will allow you to travel over water, pits, and deadly lava. Not a bad thing to have on hand.

Passwall: The ability to destroy dungeon walls can be extremely useful since it allows players to bypass large portions of dungeons.

Miscellaneous: There are a variety of other effects that may be useful to some players. Magic can boost stats, cure diseases, and create walls to name a few. While I did not list these spell types, because they are not mandatory, players that have a solid spell book set up should take a look at them.

Obtaining The Oghma Infinium

The Oghma Infinium is the number one, absolute must-have artifact for any class. The Oghma grants the person who finds it 50 stat points that can be allocated however you wish….even better players can acquire it as many times as they want given that they are not already holding another artifact. I strongly recommend getting it at least once unless you are looking for a challenge; those playing a Fighter class should consider getting it two or more times.

While the two dungeons you will need to explore to find it are relatively safe, small, and simple, the process of getting the Oghma can be tedious. The Oghma Infinium can appear either in Skyrim or Elseweyr. Asking NPCs in those provinces about general rumors will initiate the first step of the quest if you are lucky enough to find one that mentions the Oghma. You can also ask NPCs in the imperial city about general rumors to trigger the quest, which is probably the best course of action. At any rate, once you get an NPC to tell you about the artifact, he or she will tell you to speak to someone in a particular inn, which varies. Go to the inn and speak to the innkeeper as if you are renting a room. This should initiate special dialogue concerning the Oghma and you will have to pay a small fee (roughly 500 gold) for the information, which will lead you to a dungeon that contains a map with the location of another dungeon that holds the Oghma Infinium.

It’s best to get the Oghma early on as the dungeons will only spawn weak enemies at low levels, plus it will give your character a nice power boost. Most players will want use use it to max out endurance right away so they receive higher HP bonuses with each level up. As stated before, characters from weaker classes will benefit greatly from collecting the Oghma several times since they will likely need plenty of endurance, willpower, and agility to make up for their lack of magical defenses.

Hunting for Other Artifacts

After getting the Oghma Infinium a few times, players may wish to return to the Imperial City and see if they can find info on other artifacts. Spellbreaker, The Ring of Phynaster, Ring of Kajiti and The Necromancer’s Amulet are all very useful artifacts, especially for Tanks and Fighters. There are also several decent weapons available like Auriel’s bow that players may want to consider. Just keep in mind that these items can break and will disappear once that happens. It can also be time consuming and expensive to repair them, often taking an absurd amount of gold and hundreds of days. On the bright side, Knights can repair some artifacts themselves and it is possible to hold multiple artifacts by leaving those you already own at the blacksmith and running artifact quests as you would normally.

Tips for Running Arena

The Elder Scrolls: Arena was made way back in 1994 and modern machines will have some difficulty running this title without the help of a DOS emulator. As of the writing of this guide, DOSbox is the optimal method of running this game and Bethesda not only recommends it, but provides instructions on how to set Arena up in DOSbox with the game download on their site. This section of the guide will not go into how to install DOSbox or how to acquire/setup Arena since it is covered on Bethesda’s official site (which is where the game can be found for free) quite competently. The purpose of this section is to provide advice for getting TES: Arena to run smoothly in DOSbox, which is not covered well and often requires research to learn unless you are already familiar with DOSbox.

Save, Save, Save

This does not necessarily apply to emulating the game, but it’s good advice nonetheless. This title was very prone to crashing in the past and may occasionally do so even today. There are also a few bugs and design flaws that can ruin your journey through Tamriel. Making two or even three separate saves for each character is highly advisable. One should be used as a backup before undertaking important quests and the others should be saved in often in case you die or get stuck in order to avoid backtracking.

Speeding Up the Game

You probably noticed that this game runs very slowly and sometimes feels like it is chugging along at 6 FPS. In 1994 you would have just had to deal with this, but luckily we can turn the speed at which the game is emulated up. You can adjust the emulated CPU cycles by hitting CTRL+F11 to lower CPU speed or CTRL+F12 to increase it.

While it’s tempting to crank the CPU up as high as possible, I advise against doing so. The game may run slowly on its defaults, but enemies still attack at a fair rate and turning the CPU speed up will cause them to attack even faster. You may find yourself dying quite easily if you have the game running so fast that you can’t react to ambushes, so be sure to tinker with the CPU rates and find a comfortable speed.

Getting the Game to Run More Smoothly

Arena may still run a bit poorly even with the CPU cycles cranked up, but fortunately this can be remedied by going into the DOSbox config file and setting “memsize” to 64, which will give the emulator some more space to play with. Those running this game on a lower end machine may want to consider using windowed mode to play Arena instead of fullscreen. Just about any laptop or PC made in the last ten years should have no problem running Arena, but full screen mode can be taxing on your computer’s resources since the game was originally made for low resolution CRT monitors and modern computers have to do extra work to upscale the image to fit an HD display.

More Resources

Looking for more guides? check out the site below:

Thanks for using our New player’s Guide for the Elder Scrolls: Arena (DOS)!

Arena New Player’s Guide (DOS) – RetroMaggedon Gaming (2024)


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