AFK Arena — Comprehensive Beginners Guide (Chapters 1-6) – First Week of the Game

AFK Arena — Comprehensive Beginners Guide (Chapters 1-6) - First Week of the Game Guides

So I noticed a severe lack of “wtf do I do?” guides here. So I figured I’d throw up a list of tips on a per-chapter basis so people know wtf to do, as well as avoid some mistakes that can set them back.

Note that this guide is very long. The attempt here is to be as detailed as possible. This is, essentially, a hand-hold until you get the hang of things.

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How AFK Arena Works

If you haven’t played an idle game before, the basic gist of this game is that you don’t have energy restrictions – you can attempt a stage as many times as you can stomach – the stages just get harder and harder and harder to defeat the further you get. The only way to beat them is to make your heroes stronger. You do that through three (well, technically four) different methods:

  • Level ups. You get resources to level up from your AFK chest on the “Campaign” screen. It will slowly fill up with resources – including hero XP, player XP, gold, hero “essence”, and gear, as well as other resources. You will also get significant boosts in these resources through daily, weekly, and campaign quests. As well as by completing stages and through other content.
  • The further you are in the story, the more you’ll passively obtain in this chest per minute. Later in the story, you’ll start obtaining new resources as you open more and more buildings as well. 🙂
  • Ascensions. This increases the ‘quality’ of your hero and gives them an instant, very-significant stat boost immediately, as well as better stats-per-level in the future. You’ll see heroes start at green, blue, or purple. Green heroes literally only exist to be sold (except for maybe 1 copy of each faction). Remove Ulric from your party as soon as you can.
  • Gear. You’ll get better and better gear as the story evolves (the further in the story you go, the better the gear will be when it drops). Starting at blue gear onward, you can also feed older, useless gear to it to increase its star level, which gives roughly +10% stats per star level. Blue gear can get 3 stars, purple 4 stars, and so on.
  • So a blue weapon that gives +50 ATK will upgrade an additional +5 ATK per star level for a total of +65 ATK once it’s maxed out at 3 levels.
  • Note that a higher-tier of weapon significantly increases stats at base level over even a fully-maxed lower tier. If blue is +50 ATK to +65 ATK when maxed, then Blue+ is maybe +80 to +104 (max) ATK or so.
  • Formation and Composition. Honorable mention, this is just adjusting the locations of your heroes and/or including different heroes. You can also get bonuses by having a certain number of the same ‘faction’ in your group. We’ll go over this in more detail later.


I don’t want to beat this section to death, because the resources in the game are pretty intuitive, I just want to provide some info as well as a few warnings:

  • Gold – Used mostly for level ups. I wouldn’t purchase equipment in the shop, though I do purchase the hero’s essence in the shop with gold every day, it helps.
  • Hero’s Essence – At levels 11, 21, and every +20 from there (41, 61, etc.) you use this as another resource to level up your hero. Essentially any time your hero gets a new ability or upgrades an existing one. Any chance you have to get this, get it – OTHER than with crystals. It’s definitely a limiting resource, and having to sit at a level 60 when 61 gives you a huge upgrade is sad.
  • Crystals – You should only use crystals on two things:
    • 2700 crystals for 10 hero summons in the tavern. The 113 crystals to purchase 5 epic soulstones in the shop are arguably a good purchase as well.
    • Occasionally you will want to reset a hero to refund all the resources you’ve dumped into them (they’ll return to level 1, and you can use those resources to level up a different hero). We’ll go over resetting in more detail later.
    • Do not use crystals for gear early on. Even if you’re whaling. Funnel it into summons, summons > gear. Until you can purchase gear that you won’t feed to other gear (read: Mythic or higher), don’t purchase it.

Chapter 1 Progress

To keep this guide succinct and within the word limit, I’m going to do an outline form of guide, rather than the original ‘talk you through it’ style that I had here.

  • First – Power through the levels until you can’t anymore, level your BLUE-BORDERED characters to 11. Start with Mirael, then Hogan, then Ira. You can level Ulric because those resources will be returned to you later (when you retire him, more on that later), but there’s no need to do so.
  • Once they’re level 11, they should be able to complete the first chapter. If they can’t, level up Hogan first, or try the level a few times, you may have just gotten unlucky.
  • Once you’ve finished the first chapter, Ranhorn will be open to you (the game prompts you to visit it). Only a few buildings are available.
  • Store. The only one available to you right now will be the ‘Barracks’ store, but there are three others that you will eventually unlock (all are located inside this building).
  • Store – the first tab is also called Store, and it contains equipment and resources that you can purchase for gold or crystals. I usually purchase the Hero’s essence with gold and nothing else unless there’s a decent piece of gear for a reasonable amount of gold. Don’t waste crystals on gear. You can buy the 5 epic soulstones for the 113 crystals, it’s a pretty good deal. Unlocked after beating 2-8.
  • Guild Store – When you open up Guilds (after Chapter 2, stage 20), you’ll be able to spend guild coins here, try to save up for the higher tiers of equipment available instead of the lower tiers, you’ll only be able to purchase 1 or 2 things before it resets. Unlocked after finishing 2-20.
  • Barracks – When you retire green/common heroes, you’ll get “hero coins” to use here for summons. Try to save up for the elite (purple) hero soulstones. Should be unlocked for you now, but you don’t have coins to spend anyway. 😉
  • Labyrinth Store – After Chapter 2, stage 4 (so another 4 stages) you’ll open the Labyrinth. The coins you obtain there are used here. For now only purchase Shemira for 45,000 of these coins (she’s on the far right). Nemora (second from the left, the lamb girl) is a viable purchase as well, but Shemira is considered much better because she’s a later-game solo carry, and you’ll want as many copies of her as you can get. I’ll explain why later, for now just trust me. Unlocked after 2-4. 🙂
  • The Noble Tavern – you will be prompted to visit here first, as you will get a hero scroll to use here. This scroll is, I believe, a guaranteed, random Ascended-tier hero (they start at purple). Immediately you’re probably asking yourself “Is the hero I got from the scroll good or bad?” It’s most likely good, but whether it’s amazing is another question:
  • Shemira/Nemora/Lucius/Brutus are all top-tier heroes that will be awesome from level 1 to level 240+.
  • Lyca/Fawkes/Raine/Khasos/Belinda/Tasi/Safiya/Eiron are all pretty good early and get a bit better late game as well.
  • The only truly disappointing pulls will be Skreg and Warek. Might be a few others, but these heroes just aren’t that good early, and don’t get much better later.
  • Vurk is a really good hero early on (deals a lot of damage) but falls off hard later. He’s fine to use to launch you forward for now, though!
  • Here is a tier list that is pretty comprehensive on all the heroes.
  • Temple of Ascension – This is where you ‘upgrade’ the quality of your heroes. It’s through a somewhat-complex system called Ascension (hence the name). We’ll go over it in its own section later.
  • Rickety Cart – You can’t quite use this yet because you don’t have enough heroes. You’ll usually be using this to sell off (“retire”) your green/common heroes for hero’s essence and hero coins. Later, once the Resonating Crystal is open to you (after you finish Ch. 4, see below for more details), you’ll use this every so often to ‘reset’ the resources you’ve invested in one of your heroes, in order to level up a different one. Again we’ll go over that in way more detail later.

If your elite hero is one of the ‘very good’ ones mentioned above, then level them as high as you can (should be about level 26 iirc). If you got unlucky with something like Warek or Skreg, then just level them to 11, and level up Hogan as high as he can go instead. Hogan’s still a pretty good hero and you want him delaying the enemy as long as possible so your back line can deal damage, CC, or heal. There’s not much else you can do after this, so just continue the campaign with Chapter 2.

Chapter 2 Progress

Progress through the next 4 levels, then when you beat the boss of 2-4, you’ll open the Arcane Labyrinth! This will be a hefty detour in the guide, because the Lab is a big piece of content.

Note that you should ONLY be investing resources into 5 characters at this point. Having Ira/Mirael at level 11 is fine for now, even if you aren’t using them, but don’t level up more than that, you’ll understand why when you finish chapter 4.

Pick a good team with your summons that has decent synergy (1-2 damage dealers, 1-2 supports/healers, 2 tanks – bonus points if at least 3 of them are the same faction), and run with it all the way to the end of chapter 4.

  • If you absolutely have to level up another character, it’s not the end of the world, it’ll just cost you 20 crystals down the line.

Arcane Labyrinth

  • Completely different from the Campaign – you progress on tiles toward a ‘chest’ at the end, and do this a total of 3 times. Each tile has different events – a battle, healing, a new (temporary, for this lab run only) hero, or a mini-store that lets you purchase gear for crystals (don’t do it, at least not yet).
  • Damage and Energy is retained after each battle, plan your fights intelligently.

How it Works

  • Relics – After each combat you’ll be offered a relic to empower your troops. Here is a pretty good tier list for what to take.
  • Red Flag Battle – The tiles with a red flag are more difficult than the brown flags, but offer a better quality relic after winning. Relics from these battles will be either epic or legendary quality.
  • Brown Flag Battle – Easier, but offer relics starting at blue/rare instead of purple/epic. Take red flags when you can.
  • Abandoned Wagon – Offers a selection between four random heroes to join your fights. For a new player, these are important to visit, later game when you have a larger personal roster, these do less for you. Keep in mind for every battle you skip, you are losing a relic that may help out later.
  • If you don’t have a healer, or two front line tanks, you should visit these if they have one. You can tap them in the fog of war and see what they contain beforehand to plan your route.
  • Healer – Nemora is amazing, as is Numisu for your first run or two.
  • Tank – Lucius is a front line tank that also provides a hefty shield for your allies as well. Golus is a pretty good tank as well.
  • Damage Dealers – If you’ve visited this sub at all and/or done some other research, you’ve probably heard how good Saveas is, however, early on he doesn’t have the healing to sustain himself, so don’t take him early unless you have a ton of life leech relics.
  • Shemira Carried me every time I nabbed her in these early levels.
  • Athalia is amazing early as well.
  • Fountain of Vitality/Mystic – The fountain heals your party for 50% (can be increased by a relic, I don’t recommend taking it), and the Mystic revives a random fallen hero.
  • Wandering Trader – Offers permanent gear and/or resources for crystals, kind of like the store. I don’t recommend visiting him, especially early on. Anything you purchase will eventually be consumed by a higher-tier piece of gear within a day or two. Massive waste of crystals.
  • Later game he probably offers really good, high-end gear. In this case it might be worth visiting, but you won’t get to that point for months, and by then you’ll have a decent grasp of the game anyway.
  • Boss Tile – Significantly harder than the other tiles. Otherwise pretty straightforward. Always offers legendary relics after beating each one, and the chest at the end gives you loot (usually resources like gold or hero essence) as well.


The strategy for your first time or two is simple – obtain a healer, obtain two front line tanks (Hogan is one, you will probably have to scavenge for another and/or a healer), hit the red flags and heal as necessary on the fountains.

You can nab a damage dealer or two if the carts are offering S+ tier heroes you don’t have, like Shemira.

After your first couple of labs, the strategy changes a little bit. Visit less carts – ONLY fill out your roster with an S+ healer or tank. Visit as many red flag battles on the first ‘floor’ (since these are easier) as possible. Keep doing red flags where possible/your health allows. Also make sure you’re taking good, synergistic relics. Consult the above tier list.

Tips and Tricks

  • You can pause and restart a battle that is going south with no penalty. If you get the ‘defeat’ screen you lose your heroes, but if you pause just before and quit the fight, you’ll retain your heroes as they were before the fight. 🙂 Pay attention while fighting.
  • Turning off auto-mode also lets you preserve ultimate abilities. If you’re in an easy fight, just turn off auto, keep all your heroes’ energy at max, then in the next, harder fight, you can unload all your ultimates at the beginning.
  • If you are struggling on a particular stage, leave it, progress through the campaign, level up your heroes and give them better gear. Use a Dura’s tear if you need to (it revives all your heroes and gives them full energy in the Lab), and try it again the next day or after you’ve progressed significantly in the Campaign. I had to do this once. Just make sure you don’t delay beyond the Lab’s 48hr timer.

Your first mass summon

  • After finishing your first lab, progress through to 2-8 and take a quick pause. A new store tab will be available. HOWEVER, at this point you should have 2700 crystals if you’ve been able to complete the lab.
  • Summon 10 heroes. Consult the tier list. For your green heroes – try to keep 1 of each faction for now (the little icon on the top left). They’ll be used for passive questing later. Look at your rare and epic heroes:
  • If you’ve pulled Saveas he’s an instant investment.
  • Arden – Good CC, decent AoE Damage.
  • Golus – if you lack a better second tank, he’s a good option. Hogan will probably be one of your tanks for a while.
  • Vedan – damage dealer that has a really oppressive ult – makes him untargetable and he dances around on the battlefield as a flock of bats, has self-heal, etc.
  • Silvina – She’s anti-mage. She teleports to a mage and saps their energy, which heavily delays their ults.


Let’s pause for a moment and talk about rerolls. If you want the best possible start you can get, you can easily ‘reroll’ your account to get different RNG on your first 11 summons (the guaranteed epic, and the 10-summon after defeating 2-8 and Lab). Click on your profile picture, click “settings” down on the bottom right of the window that pops up, and “Select Server” – choose the next server down the list, and do this whole process all over again. Takes 30-45 minutes per account. I rolled four, pulled Shemira and three Saveas on my now main account, and stopped.

  • Keep in mind that the further down the server list you go, the ‘older’ it is. The game opens 1-2 new servers a day, so if you do 5 rerolls and keep the fifth account, you’ll be 2-3 days behind most of the server. It’s not that big of a deal because the whales are going to outpace you anyway, but it’s worth noting.

King’s Tower

  • Once you defeat 2-12, it will open the King’s Tower. This is extremely straight-forward. It offers rewards for every floor you beat, and just like the campaign, you will eventually hit a wall that you can’t pass. Wait to level up your heroes, just like the campaign, and return to it.

Guilds, Friends, and the Library

  • Progress all the way to 2-20. Join a guild, and fill your friend’s list with 30 friends.
  • Open up chat on the bottom right, and just type “add me!” You may need to do this a few times, but filling up your friend’s list is pretty easy.
  • Visit the library now. You can fill each of these little sections with ‘copies’ of your or your friends’/guildmates’ heroes, and based on the quality/ascension-level of these heroes you get bonuses to ALL your units. So it pays to befriend whales, but you can’t really control that, haha.
  • Fill up all the slots you can, and then continue the campaign.


  • When you’ve finished chapter 2, you will have access to the Arena of Heroes, which is AFK Arena’s PvP area. Down on the bottom right you’ll see a “Formation” button, be sure you check this every now and then to ensure your ‘defense’ is as strong as it can be.
  • You can refresh as many times as you want, so refresh until you see a favorable match in the 3rd slot or higher, to maximize your total points. Beware of ‘trap’ defenses that have lower scores but have like a level 100+ hero in there or something, he will slaughter all 5 of your level 41 (or whatever) heroes, trust me.
  • Don’t sweat it if you lose a few matches, it’s not a huge deal. Do note, however, that reaching certain milestones in ‘rating’ gives you crystals and more arena tickets (check the campaign quests for your next milestone and the rewards it gives).


After joining a guild, you can participate in “guild hunts”, which is just a special battle against one opponent. Wrizz is available daily, while Soren can only be opened with “participation points” that each member earns for the guild.

The basic strategy is just deal as much damage as possible, and he drops chests for different thresholds of damage. Since AoE spells usually do less damage to single targets, the general rule of thumb is bring single-target damage dealers like Saveas. I will say that my Shemira does work against him at my level, though, because she can basically full-heal herself after her ult.

Eventually his damage will be too much to handle and your heroes will start dying off, that’s fine. You’re just trying to dish out as much as possible.

Soren is very similar, I’ve only fought him once, so I can’t really say much more about him.

Ascension Explained

Now’s a good time to go over Ascension in the Temple of Ascension. This will be a bit longer.

The general gist is that you are feeding duplicate copies of heroes to themselves to increase their ‘quality’, which also increases their stats. There are two general stages:

  • From “Tier” to “Tier+” (e.g. Rare (blue) to Rare+) – feed a 1-2 copies (depending on which stage you are at) of the same hero to itself.
  • From “Tier+” to “Next Tier” (e.g. Rare+ to Epic (purple)) – feed 1-2 copies of heroes of the same faction to the hero.
  • NEVER use Ascended-tier heroes (the ones you summon at base-purple) for this step, even (and especially) the same hero. You should only be feeding Ascended-tier heroes to themselves for the Tier to Tier+ step.

Each stage has different specific requirements (sometimes it’s 1 copy, sometimes 2, sometimes it’s the same ascension-level, sometimes it isn’t), but that’s outside the scope of this guide. Here is a good visual that demonstrates the full process pretty cleanly.

Know only that Rare to Rare+ and Epic to Epic+ are always worth doing immediately. There is literally NEVER a drawback to these steps, so don’t feel like you have to ‘hold on’ to Rare or Epic copies of heroes, you don’t. The “+” copies are a bit more nuanced, and you’ll pick that up as you start deciding which heroes to ascend first. Again that’s outside the scope of this guide.

Note that the later processes for ascension require you to juggle quite a few heroes for fodder, keep track of which heroes in a given faction you’ve ascended for future fodder. If you’re wanting to ascend your Shemira to Legendary, and you ascend a Vedan to Elite and then ascend a Niru to elite, both as fodder, this is counter-productive, because two Elite Vedans or two elite Niru’s can be further ascended to Elite+, but an Elite Niru and an Elite Vedan cannot interact with each other. Make sense?

Chapters 3 & 4

From here on out, it’s more of the same. It’s probably worth going over the nuances of battles at this point, though:


Beyond just leveling your heroes and throwing equipment on them, battle formation and composition play a role in battles. If you’re wondering why you’re suddenly getting decimated by a level, there are several reasons why:

  • You could just be underleveled. Some levels are just really hard and a big step up in difficulty.
  • Chapter 9-20 is apparently notorious for stumping players for days. I haven’t reached it yet, but just be aware that having a hard stop is part of the game.
  • I haven’t really noticed a difference in leveling my gear up on the margin, but it definitely helps over the long run. Make sure you don’t have a bunch of unused gear sitting in your inventory that could be used as more stats on your characters through gear level-ups.
  • Pay attention to how the enemy units ‘funnel’ themselves around your battlefield – do your damage dealers get engaged on early? Then rearrange your tanks and/or damage dealers accordingly, so that your highest-damage-dealing hero is the last to survive. Sometimes it’s a bitter fight to the end and your last hero survives with like 5% HP.
  • Faction advantages play a role as well. If your tanks are getting utterly decimated, it might be because they are at a disadvantage against their foes. It’s a 4-way rock-paper-scissors:
  • Lightbearer > Mauler > Wilder > Graveborn > Lightbearer – So for example Lightbearer’s deal 25% extra damage to Maulers, but take 25% extra from Graveborn.
  • Check the library semi-frequently. Players change their heroes around frequently, and if they haven’t logged in for a few days, their heroes are no longer usable. Make sure all slots are filled that can be filled, the stats you get here make a big difference, especially the flat stats early on.

Bounty Board

  • This opens after 3-12. It’s pretty intuitive, just fill the faction/ascension requirements and send heroes on quests for loot. This doesn’t make them “unusable” in battle, by the way.
  • You may have to keep some common-tier heroes around as fillers for these for a while.
  • Finishing chapter 3 opens up 2x speed battles, hurray!

Wish List

  • Opens after 4-4. Just choose whatever heroes you’d like to see more of, it’s a passive thing, and the subreddit jokes that it doesn’t do anything because the effect is definitely minimal. I’ve pulled ONE Saveas since obtaining the wishlist on two accounts, and he’s been there the entire time.

Resonating Crystal

Okay, our second-to-last section of the guide is the Resonating Crystal. This opens when you finish chapter 4. It’s a little complicated at first sight, but it’s actually pretty simple.

Up to this point you should have a ‘main team’ that you’ve been using as I suggested in chapter 2. If you open up the Resonating Crystal you’ll see all 5 of them standing on the screen. The resonating crystal automatically takes your highest-leveled 5 heroes, and places the one with the lowest level in the middle.

Upon obtaining the building, you’ll have two slots available to put other heroes in. A hero in one of these slots will ‘artificially’ have their level increased up to the fifth-highest hero in your inventory. Once you remove the hero their level will be returned to level 1, and that slot will go on a 1-day delay before you can put anyone in there.

THIS is why you you only level 5 at a time, though. Because you can focus ALL of your resources into 5 heroes, and then sort of ‘cheat level’ heroes in the Resonating Crystal.


So what’s the strategy, here? Who should you manually level and who should you stick in the Resonating Crystal? Primary damage dealers should ALWAYS be manually leveled. For instance if you are using Saveas, you’ll probably be leveling him before your other heroes to the next ability-tier (41, 61, 81, etc.). You can’t do this if he’s in the resonating crystal, because he’ll only match the LOWEST of your five.

So pick a leveling order for all the heroes that you want to use. Heroes #1, 2, and 3 should be manually leveled, 4-? can be put in the resonating crystal. I would manually level your highest-ascended heroes, simply because their level cap is higher and they’ll likely also reach higher ascensions sooner as well. I’ve found that the first 3 heroes to the next ability tier are important, but the last two members of your team don’t really matter.


That also brings up leveling strategy. I’ve seen a lot of players leveling all of their heroes “evenly,” and this is a mistake. You gain some stats over those 20 levels, sure, but the MOST important level is the ability level that costs hero’s essence. You get to that level faster by focus-leveling one at a time.

A general rule of thumb is “primary damage dealer first, then primary tank, then secondary damage dealer and/or tank, then the support(s).”

Resetting your Heroes

So once you’ve decided on leveling order, you’ve probably realized that your #4 and #6 or 7 (or whatever) are currently already leveled up to 41 or 61 or whatever. That’s fine!

That’s what the rickety cart’s OTHER tab is for. For 20 crystals you can ‘reset’ any hero back to level one, and it fully refunds all the resources you’ve dumped into them, including unequipping their gear. You can then level up another hero to where they were, easy as pie!


NOTE: If you have level 11, rare-base heroes, don’t reset them. You can use them as ascension fodder in the Temple of Ascension and it will refund their resources for free. 🙂 I had a level 40 Mirael that I totally reset for 20 crystals, and then later used as ascension fodder anyway. Woulda been 20 crystals richer had I just used her as ascension fodder to begin with.

If you have a level 11 elite-base hero that you don’t want to manually level, then wait until you get another copy of them, and ascend a LEVEL 1 version of him to get those resources back. 🙂 The resources to level 11 are small potatoes anyway, but this is how you do things “fully efficiently”.

Peaks of Time

We’re here, at the end of the guide! Hurrah! Getting to Peaks of time takes a full chapter and a few more levels beyond at chapter 6, level 4. Just power through chapter 5, adjusting formations and maybe messing with the resonating crystals and/or resetting heroes if you made a mistake or whatever (100 crystals-worth of mistakes is really no big deal over the long run, that’s one daily reward at 80 points. ;))

The Peaks of Time is pretty straightforward and kind of fun. It’s similar to the Labyrinth, but it’s more of an exploration than a straight-shot to the end. You have a certain number of chests you can obtain (and one is VERY important), and you have to find them by defeating enemies in key locations. You have less resources than lab (there are only like 5 or 6 total battles for relics, one or two healing stations, and IIRC only one wagon to hire a hero to help, might have been two), so you have to be a bit more tactical. You can get all of the chests in one go, though, I did! 🙂

  • You can ‘redo’ the stage to obtain the other rewards if you missed them the first time and all your heroes were wiped out. Don’t worry about failing it. It’s pretty straight-forward as well.
  • It doesn’t scale to your level, so you can wait a bit and complete it later if you want. Do keep in mind, though, that the rewards are really good. The earlier you obtain them the faster you’ll progress. 🙂

For now this is the only scenario available here, but a new one opens after the 4th stage of every chapter, each with really good rewards like epic-tier heroes (you can get another copy of Shemira later on, for instance), great equipment, and other things.

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