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The complete beginner’s guide to Arena of Valor

The AoV basics you need to know

In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of Arena of Valor and how to get going. Whether you’re still thinking about downloading it or already dug into the game, this guide will ease your start. If you’re a passionate gamer, make sure to check out our other guides as well!

  • What is Arena of Valor?
  • How to play AoV?
  • Game Mechanics
  • Heroes
  • The 5 Roles and Classes
  • Armory
  • The Map
  • Phases of the Game
  • Different Game Modes
  • Get Started!

What is Arena of Valor?

Arena of Valor is a free-to-play 5v5 Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, also known as MOBA. AoV was developed by Tencent Games and released in 2017. It’s exclusively playable on mobile and tablet and currently one of the most popular mobile MOBAs. Our guide will help you to get familiar with the Arena of Valor basics.

In a standard game, you will find 10 players split among two teams fighting against each other for victory. Each player can choose to control one of many heroes to participate in the game. The arena the standard battle takes place in is called Antaris Battlefield and whoever destroys the enemy’s core first will claim the victory. On average a game will take you about 10-15 minutes only.

How to play AoV?

To start the game all you need to do is to download the game. It is available for Android, iOS and Nintendo Switch. You can simply download the game from the respective stores and enjoy the game right after finishing our Arena of Valor guide!

Game Mechanics

When you’re getting started there will be a couple of helpful tutorials that introduce you to the basic mechanics of the game. Nonetheless, it can be pretty overwhelming to remember all the information at once. That’s why we’ll take a look at the basics step by step in our Arena of Valor guide.

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In-game screenshot of the Arena of Valor main screen

Everything around the Game

  • At the top of the bar to the left, there is your Profile where you can find and adjust your personal information.
  • To the right of your Profile, you’ll find an icon that opens the AoV Prime offer. Prime is purchasable with money and grants exclusive free heroes and skins as well as other privileges.
  • In the Shop, you can purchase heroes, costumes (“skins”) and in-game items.
  • The Heroes section provides a list of all available heroes. By clicking on individual heroes you can read about their stats, abilities and history.
  • We’ll cover Armory in detail later. Here you can customize several tools to enhance your hero’s strength.
  • In your Backpack, there is an inventory with all items and gifts you received in-game.
  • The Guild section provides an overview of the existing Guilds and allows you to apply or create a new one.
  • At the bottom you’ll find the Event icon; however, there will only be an accessible page when there are current events happening.

Special Events

  • On the upper right hand side there are a couple of icons: friends, messages and settings.
  • Below you will find Xeniel’s Codex. It’s a pass that rewards you with rare skins, items or other rewards that switch every couple of weeks. You level up by completing in-game quests or can spend money for extra levels and rewards.
  • Next to the Codex there are the Daily Battle Rewards. Here you can collect free heroes and gold as well as experience for playing regularly.
  • The Events also grant you rewards such as free skins for logging in and playing games.
  • You’ll also find the 3 currencies (gold, gems and vouchers) next to the friends icon.

Matches and Background

  • At the bottom of the menu, you can choose the game mode you want to play. We’ll dig into the different types of games later.
  • Right next to it there is an icon of Liliana, one of the Arena of Valor heroes. Clicking on her leads to a map (the Encyclopedia of Athanor) where you can explore the different factions and origins of all heroes.

Heroes

Currently, there are a total of 90 heroes available to play in Arena of Valor. You can obtain heroes by spending gold, the main in-game currency, or vouchers, a currency you can purchase with real money. However, you can earn 15 heroes simply by playing at least 3 games a day from the Daily Battle Rewards. You’ll also get chests or other rewards from time to time that grant you heroes for free.

New heroes are added every couple of weeks. There is also a free hero rotation that allows you to play 6 heroes for free. The free heroes change every week. AoV Prime allows you to play another 5 selected heroes for free for 1 month.

Coming to the actual gameplay all heroes have different strengths, purposes and roles. All of them have 3 active spells (usually referred to as S1, S2 and S3) and one passive. Those abilities provide damage, crowd control (CC) or buffs to strengthen the hero or his allies.

Every player can freely pick one hero for a game. Over the course of the game, you will control the hero you pick during the Draft.

The 5 Roles and Classes

Looking at some more in-depth aspects of the game our guide will also cover the different Roles and Classes in Arena of Valor:

As you advance you will realize that there is a certain strategy behind which heroes should be played in which lane. This has to do with the different traits of the aforementioned heroes. The Classes sort heroes depending on those traits. Many heroes fit more than one class and can serve different purposes.

The main roles in the game are the DS laner (Dark Slayer laner), the Jungler, the Midlaner, the ADC (attack damage carry) and the Support. Usually, every team should have each role covered. It’s not a necessity but it helps you to win games to have a balanced team.

The Dark Slayer Lane

Here you’ll usually find tanks, assassins or warriors. They lane all by themselves and don’t get as much support from the team. Therefore it’s important that they have sufficient constitution, mobility or durability.

Tanks are beefy frontliners that can soak massive amounts of damage and often provide CC while lacking in the damage department. Assassins are a lot more slippery and provide burst damage but lack the defensive stats. Warriors are the happy medium, providing some durability and damage but not excelling in one or the other.

The reason for their allocation in the DS Lane has to do with the Dark Slayer the lane is named after. He is a very powerful monster that provides a huge buff for the team that defeats him. However, he spawns late into the game so players usually prioritize the other side of the map where you can defeat the Abyssal Dragon that spawns much earlier.

The Jungle

The Jungler doesn’t lane like his 4 teammates. He clears monsters in the jungle, the area between the 3 lanes. Here you will find a large variety of hero classes with marksman, mages, assassins and warriors being the most common.

The Jungler always equips Punish as his talent (more about talents in the Armory section). It allows you to deal huge damage to monsters and temporarily stun them to defeat the camps faster. You also gain access to special items that increase your damage against jungle monsters when using Punish. Those monsters provide gold and experience, some even grant the killer buffs. They also respawn regularly and should be farmed frequently.

There are major monsters on the map who are all located in the river. Two of them are on the DS laner’s side, the Dark Slayer and the Spirit Sentinel. The other one can be found in the Abyssal Dragon lane (guess what the Dragon’s called).

The Middle Lane

In the midlane you mostly find mages, sometimes assassins. They provide CC, Area-of-Effect (AoE) or burst damage for their team in order to defeat their foes. Most midlaners deal magic damage.

Often the midlaner also has good waveclear (which means that he can clear the minions that grant gold and experience very quickly). This is mandatory to be able to roam around the map and help his teammates in the sidelanes or the jungle.

The ADC

The Attack Damage Carry should generally be a marksman. Marksmen deal massive physical damage at the cost of no defense and no mobility and/or CC. Therefore they are squishy, need many items and protection from their team. Their early game is weak but as the get more gold and experience they grow massively stronger. That’s why the ADC usually takes the Abyssal Dragon lane paired with a support to help him through the first couple of minutes.

The Abyssal Dragon is a powerful objective that spawns early into the game and respawns after one team defeats it. It’s located in the river between Abyssal Dragon lane and mid. The team of the slayer gets additional gold and experience which is why often times teams will play a lot more around the Abyssal Dragon lane than the Dark Slayer lane.

The Support

Supports provide CC, durability or powerful buffs for their teammates. Most supports are either tanks or mages and most of them work well without a large amount of gold.

They guide their ADC in the Abyssal Dragon lane or roam around different lanes to ambush enemies and gain advantages. Unlike the other heroes they don’t actively farm but instead buy a support item that grants them additional gold as compensation.

Armory

Armory is what makes your hero grow stronger. There are 4 major tools you can use and customize to prepare your hero for the battle. Our guide will give you a brief introduction to clarify their purposes in Arena of Valor:

Equipment

Equipment includes all items from the shop. As you kill minions, monsters or enemy heroes you’ll earn gold to purchase those items. There are default item builds set for each hero. However as you become more familiar with the game you can exchange single items, copy pro builds and adapt during the game.

The items provide different stats to strengthen your hero. Some also grant powerful actives with long cooldowns or passive effects that activate under certain conditions.

Talents

As you’ll level up you will gain access to up to 9 talents. You choose a talent in the champion selection screen. Those talents provide different, very strong effects with a long cooldown.

Sprint, for example, is the very first one you unlock. Activating it increases the movement speed of your hero for a few seconds at the cost of 100 seconds cooldown.

Arcana

Once you made it through the first couple of levels you will unlock the Arcana. Arcana pages contain 30 spots: 10 for the red, blue and purple arcana each. You get 2 free pages to modify as you like and a couple of pre-set pages that cannot be modified.

To strengthen your hero’s power even further you can upgrade those Arcana sets to improve the base stats of your hero. There are 3 levels and with each level upgrade the Arcana stats grow more powerful. To level up your Arcana you need to invest gold or Arcana fragments. The latter can be collected through levelling up and participating in events.

Enchantments

Enchantments provide further powerful effects to increase your hero’s survivability, damage or overall impact in the game. There are 4 Enchantment Masteries named after the 4 fractions: Veda, Afata, Lokheim and League of Humans.

You get to choose one major Enchantment and two minor Enchantments. There are 3 stages of each Enchantment with tier 3 being the most impactful. For the two minor Enchantments you can either decide to pick up two tier 1 Enchantment from the 3 others you didn’t choose as your main Enchantment or a tier 1 and a tier 2 Rune of the same Enchantment.

The Map

Now that our guide has covered the majority of the Arena of Valor knowledge for starters, let’s take a look at the Map.

The battle takes place on the Antaris Battlefield – everyone calls it the Map. There are 3 Lanes and the large Jungle area in-between as we already know. In order to destroy the enemy core and to win the game you first have to take down the 3 towers that guard each lane.

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Image of the Antaris Battlefield 5v5 Map

It isn’t necessary to take down all 9 of the enemy towers even though doing so will deploy very strong siege minions. Instead, you only need to push through the 3 turrets of a single lane to gain access to the enemy core.

In-game you will always have a small version of the whole Map at your disposal. It will show the towers and their condition, show monsters and grant vision on your allies. You will also see the enemy if their are in sight of you or your allies.

Most importantly though you will see when they are missing! Always be on your toes if the enemies aren’t showing on the map. They might look to gank you or even set up an ambush. Use the information the Map provides to your advantage and outsmart your enemies.

Phases of the Game

In most MOBAs you’ll find a similar structure when it comes to the stages of the game.

Before the game actually starts you have to select your hero. This happens during the Draft. Here everybody gets to pick a hero and prepare their Equipment, Talent and Arcana.

In Arena of Valor, the heroes spend the first couple of minutes farming minions in their lanes (or the jungle). This is considered the early game. Some midlaners and supports might seek for ganks already but overall it’s just farming and levelling.

During the midgame the first towers may have fallen, some skirmishes are going to happen over Dragons or even jungle camps. Each team will eventually start to group up and gather for teamfights.

In the lategame it’s all about winning or losing. One teamfight can decide the outcome of the game so a single mistake can be a death sentence. Therefore most teams stay grouped and are careful to hide from their enemies. Depending on how things are going you will eventually even stay close to your base to defend the last towers standing.

Different Game Modes

While 5v5 is the most played and known there are many more Modes that can be played. Aside from traditional 5v5 the main modes are the 3v3, Valley Skirmish, or the 1v1.

There are also many Arcade modes like Abyssal Clash where you get to play a 5v5 in a single lane with randomly assigned heroes. Many of them are only available for a limited time.

5v5 is the only Game Mode that provides a Ranked Mode which is more competitive. You also get rewards for ranking up and the games are often a lot more thrilling because people try harder to win.

Get Started!

Hopefully, you found some helpful tips in our complete beginner’s guide for Arena of Valor. If there is anything you feel is missing please let us know in the comment section.


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