Veteran Maelstrom Arena - A first timer’s guide.
Disclaimer: There is always more than one way to accomplish a task. This is the way I did it and my observations from a ranged dps magicka point of view. Playing stamina or melee range will be different although you will still get value from reading the guide. Just keep in mind, because of play styles and a myriad of other factors,.. your milage may vary.
Key Build points:
1: I found the arena really favors DPS focused builds over sustain focused builds. If you have higher DPS, there are a boatload of super dangerous enemies you won't have to deal with. The lower your DPS, the exponentially higher difficulty it will be and the more resources you’ll need to use to get the job done.
2: Survivability skills: Magicka users should have a shield and a healing ability always active, that’s all you really need. Stamina users i’m less familiar with but I imagine Vigor and Rally would be a must have.
3: Resource management - Don’t use super expensive potions,.. the cheapy cheap ones work just fine. On the last round on the last boss you may want to invest in tri pots to make life easier, but every other round, no need to waste resources on expensive potions, they WILL NOT make or break your runs. Learning the below key arena points will however.
Key arena points:
1: If you get frustrated (and you will),.. log off and take a break. Even a quick 10min coffee break does wonders.
2: Don’t expect to complete this in one sitting the first time around, you will die, even hundreds of time. I died 194 times my first time through it. (although I didn’t have the benefit of this guide :) )
3: Learn the mechanics - this can’t be stressed enough. Most of your time through the arena you will be learning the mechanics. Most of your deaths will be about learning the mechanics. You will die, and when you do it may seem random and senseless, I assure you it’s not! There is a reason you died and it has to do with mechanics. Try to objectively determine what killed you and adjust your strategy.
4: Target prioritization - Once you learn the mechanics, you need to identify who to target first. Is it the archer in the back that shoots that “taking aim” that will one shot you? Is it the giant troll that will break the ice platform?.. once you identify who to target first your time in the arena will get much easier.
5: Have fun and don’t get discouraged! - You CAN do this,.. it is challenging content so it will take time and persistence but don’t forget to have fun. If you aren’t having fun and are getting frustrated, take a break right away, go get a coffee or a cookie and come back to it, even if its just 10-15min.
Note about the sigils:
Since this is a guide for one who hasn’t completed the arena yet, please USE THE SIGILS!! Goal here is to just complete the arena and learn the mechanics. Then, once you’ve done it once, you can start not using the sigils to get a higher score. The sigils are available EVERY ROUND, not just each stage, so make good use of them your first time through. I found (except for just a few exceptions) Using the healing sigil as soon as a round starts really helps, each round, every round.
The 4 sigils are:
1: Haste - Makes you run around very fast.
2: Defense - Makes you more tanky.
3: Healing - Basically gives you a running HoT.
4: Power - Similar to the SPC buff, gives a buff to your Spell/Weapon Power.
-- START GUIDE --
Round 1 - 4:
This stage is a good test to see how your build will fair in the arena. If you struggle AT ALL in the first 4 rounds (save for the last boss) unfortunately you won’t have what it takes to finish the arena. Rework your build, get more champion points,.. whatever… but until the first rounds in this first stage are easy for you, don’t try to continue onward, it will just cause discouragement and pain.
This is a good DPS test actually. I was able to just burn the boss without paying attention to any adds. If you can do that, you are in good standing DPS wise for the arena. If not, your DPS is a little lacking, but if so, worry not! (assuming the first 4 rounds were easy for you). The boss will spawn adds which if they aren’t dead after a certain amount of time will heal the boss. So if you can’t burn the boss directly, kill adds first then focus on boss. Better yet would be to AoE boss and the adds together but the boss will also teleport so if you are a melee DPS keep that in mind. You’ll have to manage having adds and the boss in two different locations with the constant teleporting. During all of this a circle of death myst will be following you, as long as you keep moving it won’t hurt you, just try to not stay in it for very long if you do end up in it, staying in the death myst for a second isn’t a big deal, but longer and it will kill you. This boss is the “easiest” compared to the others in the arena.
Bottom line: Try to directly burn the boss ignoring adds, if you can’t do that, your DPS is a bit lacking, but assuming the first 4 rounds were easy, the strategy would be to kill adds first then focus on the boss because if the adds are left alive, they will heal the boss.
This stage is a touch harder, but not that hard in difficulty. All the rounds are similar and basically the same enemies. There are 3 things you need to be aware of though.
1: There are spinning blades moving around, I was able to just shield spam my way though them, and basically ignore them, but you can also pull the levels on the outside perimeter that stop the blades. The blades don’t stop spinning when you pull the lever, they just stop moving. So if you stop them right on top of you, or you stand in them, even after you pull the lever, they will cause damage to you. Once you pull the lever the blades after a time will pickup moving again.
2: Don’t go into the middle of the arena unless you pull the lever. The middle is electrified.
3: The most damage you will get is from the Dwemer Spheres and big Centurions. Whenever you see a Dwemer Sphere, burn him. (same applies for the upcoming Stage 4) A trick with the centurions is to get close to them for them to initiate an attack, then move out of the way and they will stay in place executing either an AoE or a cleve attack. Since they are stationary during this attack, it’s easier to burn them down, otherwise they will just chase you. The spheres are more mobile and have some nasty attacks so get ready to block their heavy attack if you’re not ranged DPS.
There will be 3 big Centurions that will spawn. You can only DPS one at a time. I found DPSing these Centurion bosses the same way I suggested in point #3 above, by getting close, letting them initiate an attack, stepping back and DPSing them, to be the best strategy. Then once the first Centurion’s health goes down, it will crouch down and become immune to damage, time to focus on the next one, and then the next. They will tend to bunch up together the father into the fight you go, so an AoE attack helps in the later stages of the boss fight, but you can focus on one at a time and be equally successful. Be careful to not get several big hits from them in this stage though. The Haste sigil or defense sigil can help here. Once you learn the type of attacks they do and how to avoid them, this stage becomes fairly easy.
Bottom Line: Either heal/shield your way through the spinning blades or use the lever to stop them. Use the trick of getting close to the centurion and then moving away to burn them down easy. Watch for heavy attacks from Dwemer Spheres and Centurions and block them. Use defense or haste sigil on last boss round to make things easy.
This is a slightly harder arena but as long as you keep a few mechanics in mind, it won’t be that hard.
1: Plants will spawn in 4 locations. (On the far side of each little island and in the middle of all the islands.) PRIORITY is to kill these as soon as they spawn. They have very low health (a heavy attack is basically all it takes) but if you don’t get them down first, they will spit at you and snare you to a excruciatingly painful slow pace, which will basically not allow you to move out of the red and you will die. They can spit at you from very far away (farther than you can attack) so if you are snared, dodge roll closer to them, or use a gap closer, and range them down. You will need to do this during all fights. THESE PLANTS MUST DIE!! It will make everything so much easier.
2: Don’t stand in the water for very long. Stay on the islands.
3: Block mini bosses heavy attacks (he does an uppercut thing that will knock you back and if you land in red you are dead). He turned electric so its difficult to see when he does a heavy attack so pay extra attention to this.
4: Stay out of the cleave attack of the Final boss,.. if you aren’t fully shielded up and do stand in the cleave attack, you will die. It does this thing that stuns you, and while stunned you take heavy damage.
Kill ALL plants as they spawn. Kill ALL plants as they spawn. Kill ALL plants as they spawn. Block the two hander Melee attackers heavy attack . If you can do these two things, the rounds aren’t that difficult. AoE attacks help here as things can get crowded since you can only stand on a tiny island. Bunching enemies together and AoEing them I found to be very effective. If you can’t move and are super slow, and it causes you to die, you didn’t kill the plant fast enough!!! Always keep an eye on the plant spawn points.
Kill ALL plants as they spawn. Kill ALL plants as they spawn. Kill ALL plants as they spawn. Then burn the boss down as fast as possible (use an Ultimate which you should have saved up for this boss) and always keep moving, you do not want to get caught in her cleve attack as it will stun you and you’re basically dead if you do. The faster you can burn her, the less you need to worry about adds.
Bottom Line: Kill ALL plants as they spawn. Kill ALL plants as they spawn. Kill ALL plants as they spawn. Block the two hander Melee attackers heavy attack. Do not stand in water. Do not get caught in final boss cleve attack.
This was the first stage where I had to take a break because I started feeling a twinge of frustration. Once I learned the mechanics though, this is now one of the most enjoyable stages.
There will be little small spheres that spawn then go into the center, they will be vulnerable to damage for a short time then shield up, if you don’t kill them before the shield up, they will become immune to damage for a while and shoot electricity at you. The damage isn’t that bad so you can heal/shield through it, BUT don’t ignore them, if you see one, kill it, but if you do miss one or two its okay, it won’t make or break your run.
Priority are the Dwarves Spheres, they do a ton of damage in the stage. There heavy attack as well as their electric wave. You must burn them ASAP when they spawn, because if two or more gang up on you, it’ll be a tough grind.
The mini boss is a two hander guy similar to the ones in stage 3, you must block their heavy attack or else it will catapult you into red death. They are a bit tanky, luckily their AoE damage isn’t super strong so you can stand in it if they are coming towards you and shield/heal through it but you must block their heavy attack. You really need to do lots of damage in this round as you can easily get overwhelmed with adds. AoE is a big help here. (sorry if I sound like a broken record, but for me, AoE skills were so incredibly helpful). Always keep moving, do not stand still. As you’re moving, if you see the little sphere’s that shield up int he middle, burn them quick, otherwise prioritize the Dwemer Spheres and the two hander mini-bosses. Feel free to use a haste sigil or a defense sigil here if you get overwhelmed.
DPS, DPS, DPS. This round will either be the easiest boss or a huge pain. Strategy is to grab the power sigil right away, then stand right underneath the boss (in the green circle) and DPS, DPS, DPS. Burn him as fast as possible. During this phase the boss will be moving so do not use an ultimate that requires the boss to be stationary. As soon as the green circle disappears under the boss, drop an ultimate and high-tail it out there and continue doing ranged DPS. I was able to burn the boss by the end of the first “Fire” stage (the stage where he stands still). There are no adds to deal with if you can burn him that fast and this makes life much easier. If you aren’t able to burn him that fast, and it takes a few cycles of electric phase and fire phase, you will need to deal with adds, but DO NOT focus on the adds, just shield/heal through it and continue to focus on burning the boss. If a two-hander mini-boss spawns, you’ll need to block his heavy attacks as if you get hit with that you’ll surely die. If you can’t burn the boss fast here, you will be overwhelmed with adds so save up your ultimate for the first Fire stage of the boss. As soon as the power sigil runs out (your hands aren’t glowing blue anymore) get the defense sigil as you’ll need it.
Bottom line: Don’t worry too much about the little spheres that shield up in the center, but do try to kill them if you can. Prioritize the Dwemer Spheres as they do a TON of damage. Block the two hander melee mini-bosses heavy attack. Burn the final boss as fast as possible ignoring all adds and save your ultimate for first fire stage.
The stages are now getting more difficult, needing more strategic mechanics. There are several things to keep in mind here.
1: Do not stand in water for very long.
2: Trolls will spawn and go to an island and stand pounding on it. If you do not burn the troll he will destroy the island. Trolls are priority, as soon as they spawn, you need to burn them.
3: Archers are a big pain. You’ll have a melee and an archer spawn together. The archers like to stand in water so you’ll need a ranged DPS preferably to burn them. You can also go to the far end (into the water) of the archers are they will move closer to you sometimes on to the platform which can make it easier if you’re a melee DPS, but I went close to the archer and AoE’ed both the melee attacker and the archer together which made things pretty easy. But First priority are the trolls that break the platforms, and second are the archers as they do a lot of damage.
4: Big trolls and ice atronachs are the mini-bosses. If you keep moving you won’t get hit by there big heavy attacks, if you do get hit by their heavy attacks, it will most likely die, you need to avoid them. While fighting these mini-bosses, trolls and archers take priority so it’s completely okay to not DPS them and focus on a troll or archer then go back to the mini-boss. Just keep on moving in circles and the mini-bosses shouldn’t be able to hurt you too much. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with what seems like crazy incoming damage, but if you take care of the archers, you should be in good shape.
Unlike the last boss, this Boss you DO NOT just DPS like crazy. If you do, you will die. It needs to be more strategic. So here is the stragegy.
Start off on the haste sigil island. DPS the boss until 70%. Once the boss is at 70%, she will turn red and break the platform, you need to high-tail it outta there before she breaks the platform. If you’re not ready for the platform to break, stop DPSing the boss and adjust your DPS accordingly to control when she breaks the platform. We start on the haste sigil platform because it’s the sigil we don’t need. When the platform breaks, go to the island without the power sigil, we will save the island with the power sigil for last. All the while, you NEED to kill trolls as they spawn because if they break even just one platform you’re dead. A troll CAN NOT break a platform during the boss phase, if he does, just wipe and start over. Now, once the boss breaks the first platform, you’ll already be at the second platform, as soon as the boss and adds start coming your way, grab the defense sigil. A white ghost add will spawn at each platform break. At this stage you need to take care of the adds. Kill the white ghost and any archers/melee guys around. DO NOT dps the boss to 35% before these adds are dead. Once the boss hits 35% she will break the second platform, which by that time you will already be on the 3rd platform, the one with the power sigil. Once the boss comes your way to the last platform, grab the power sigil and DPS DPS DPS. It is now a DPS race. Save your ultimate for this last phase. Burn the boss as fast as a possible only worrying about trolls and ignoring all other adds. Burning the boss down as fast as possible is priority at this point.
Prioritize Trolls first, then archers second. Keep moving to avoid heavy attacks from mini-bosses. Stay out of the water. In boss phase you need to strategically DPS her at the specific platforms at specific health percentages, then at last platform save your ultimate and burn her fast.
This stage is mechanic heavy. No amount of DPS or awesome build will get you through this if you do the mechanics wrong. So here it goes:
There are 5 pillars arranged like the number 5 on a dice. One in the middle and 4 at each corner. These pillars will have webs on them. Priority is to deweb them. A big beetle looking thing will spawn, it has really low health, and if you kill it next to a webbed pillar, the pillar will deweb. The beetles have really low health, so hit them with a light attack to get them over to a pillar, not a powerful skill, just a light attack, or else you run the risk of it dieing before it arrives to the pillar. There is also another spider that will web dewed pillars, you must kill this spider, you can not allow it to web a dewed pillar. The reason we need to deweb the pillars are twofold:
1: A super crazy spider mob will spawn and chase you, if you do not making it a glowing pillar, (only dewebed pillars glow) you will die.
2: Once all 5 pillars are dewebed EVERYTHING in the arena, including the final boss, will be stunned and immobile. (an invaluable asset)
So you need to deweb and prevent from rewebing the pillars all the while you fight the mobs. The mobs aren’t super hard, the hard part will be getting the beetle things over to webbed pillars, and killing the spiders that web the pillars. Once the big mob of spiders that you can’t kill come towards you, you NEED to get to a glowing pillar as it will neutralize the spider mob. If you don’t have a glowing pillar you are dead.
Ideally you would arrange it so that you deweb all pillars so that when the boss arrives she’s stunned, so you can burn her down fast. Otherwise it’s basically the same thing as the rounds. Just dewed pillars, kill the spider that webs pillars as priority, and then DPS boss.
Bottom Line: Priority is to deweb pillars by killing beetles next to webbed pillars. Also, kill the spider that tries to reweb the pillars. Run to a glowing pillar when big spider mob attacks you. When all pillars are dewebed everything in the arena (including the final boss) will be stunned. Use this to your advantage!
This is where things start getting real. I found this (especially round 4) the hardest content in all of vMA. (save for the final round of the very last stage)
Rounds 1 -4:
Things to keep in mind:
Plants will spawn at random places throughout the arena, if you walk into them, they trigger an AoE that put a super nasty DoT on you that will kill you if you don’t cleanse by going into a green circle of which there are two, on either side of the arena. Once you use a green circle you can’t use it again, so you only have two shots at cleansing yourself from this plant AoE. YOU NEED TO BE MINDFUL OF THESE PLANTS AT ALL TIME!!
A trick that I used was trigger boundless storm (which increases movement speed) and I sprinted through the plants to trigger them, but since I had the movement speed buff from boundless storm the AoE didn’t hit me and I “neutralized” the plant so then I didn’t have to worry about it. It’s risky, but I got the hang of it to where that’s the strategy I used because sometimes the plants spawn to where there are so many of them you can’t avoid hitting them.
Priority targets are:
1: Archers - At a certain point (especially in the dreaded round 4), the archers will hold their hands up and glow red. At this point you only have a certain amount of time to interrupt them. If you don’t, they will do a “taking aim” attack that will basically one-shot you. In round 4 there are lots of these archers so save your stamina for interruption of these archers.
2: Casters - There are two little cement looking things at each side of the arena (near the green cleansing circle) and a caster will spawn on this. Your screen will change color when they spawn, when this happens PRIORITY is to kill the caster. They will set the ground with a ton of exploding plants that will surely kill you.
This boss requires both DPS and strategy, but I found it MUCH EASIER than round 4. The main mechanic is this: The boss will spawn two archers, when you kill one of the archers the boss will enrage. When the boss enrages the other archer will create a shield for you to stand in. YOU MUST STAND IN THIS SHIELD, otherwise you die. So do not AoE both of these archers. Choose one to kill and another to keep alive. Then when the boss enrages, you are protected by the shield. When inside the shield use your ranged DPS to DPS the boss. Once the shield goes down because the boss is not enraged anymore, kill the archer that just gave you a shield. Watch out for the spit that the boss will throw at you so keep moving around to avoid it. When another two archers spawn, same deal, kill one of them, then run to the other to shield yourself from the enraged boss, DPS boss while in shield, rinse and repeat. If you can get the archer shield mechanic down, this boss isn’t actually that hard.
Bottom Line: Watch out for Plants!! Disarm the plants by using a speed buff (or dodge roll) to trigger them but not get hit by their AoE. If you do get hit by their AoE, run to the green circle to cleanse. Prioritize Archers and Casters. Interrupt archers when their hands turn red. On Boss round, strategically keep alive one archer and kill the other so as to survive the bosses enrage phase by the remaining archer giving you a shield. DPS boss or drop an ultimate while you are in the shield.
If you got through stage 7, stage 8 will be a breeze. It’s one of the easier stages. (a much needed breather after Stage 7).
There are 3 large crystals on the perimeter of the map. When a boss or mini-boss spawns, it will be immune to damage until the crystals are destroyed. with the mini-bosses you just need to destroy one crystal, but the boss you need to destroy all three before you can start DPSing.
Priority targets are:
Fire mages: The fire mages will lift there hand in the air and a swirling fire ball will appear above them. YOU NEED TO INTERRUPT THEM! or else you die. Other than that, this round is much easier than the other rounds.
Before you can DPS the boss, you need to destroy all three crystals. Then DPS LIKE CRAZY, because a short time later, the crystals will reform and the boss will again be immune to damage. Then rinse and repeat.
Bottom Line: You need to interrupt mages when there is a fire swirl above their heads. For both the final boss and the mini-bosses, you need to destroy the crystals before you can DPS them.
THE FINAL STAGE!! Congratulations on making it this far. If you did make it this far, YOU DO have what it takes to finish the arena so pat yourself on the back,.. but not for too long because we have a difficult stage ahead of us.
Rounds 1 - 5:
Things to keep in mind:
Grey ghosts if you run into them will hurt you, not a lot, but if you aren’t expecting it or more than one hits you, you can die. Gold ghosts,.. RUN TOWARDS THEM AND COLLECT THEM!! If you get 3 of them, you have a special ability called “spectral explosion” which will stun ALL mobs in the arena. Leave the healers to last. DPS right through the healers attempt to keep things alive, then once the big dangerous guys are dead, kill the healers. I tried the other way around and it just didn’t work for me.
1: Summoners that go into the middle of the circle. KILL THESE RIGHT AWAY. If they are allowed to finish their summoning process, they will spawn a big old skeleton monster and make your life very difficult and filled with pain and anguish.
2: Giant lizard that breaths fire. Kill these right away. They do a ton of damage. Do not let them stack up on you.
3: Archers - The taking aim thing again. When their hands glow, interrupt!!! or die :)
On round 5 (i think) a giant dragon thing will spawn in the middle, just burn him down fast, DPS him, save your ultimate for him, the faster you burn him the better because he does this AoE similar to Molag Kena but fire instead of shock.
This one is a hard one, i’m not going to lie. It took me a while to fully understand what I needed to do as there are a lot of things going on here. I suggest tir-pot potions or if you are a magicka with good sustain, use stamina potions.
Boss will spawn in the middle, DO NOT GRAB ANY SIGILS. Goal is to DPS him to 70% as fast as possible because when he does reach 70% health, he will teleport to the top. Once the boss first spawns he will charge a heavy attack and shoot a big skull at you, you need to dodge roll or block this. Once the boss teleports from the middle where he spawned, he will appear somewhere in the arena, you will need to interrupt him or else you die. He does this thing where a green/blue energy swirl is created and small skulls will start shooting at you progressively increasing in damage until you are dead. Priority is to interrupt that. Then, a big fire breathing lizard and a healer will spawn. Kill the lizard first, and then kill the healer. Once the boss is at 70%, he will teleport to the top. What you need to do now is grab the Haste sigil, run over to a glowing teleportation pad, and kill the clan fear (spectral dinosaur looking thing) on top of the glowing pad, when you do that you can then teleport to the top by pressing “E” on the pad.
Once you are up top, it is easy to fall off so I chose to not dodge roll here just to be safe. With the haste sigil you will have plenty of speed to do everything without sprinting. So do not use stamina EXCEPT to block the heavy charged skull attack from the boss which he will do right away when you teleport to the top. You need to destroy the 3 crystals on top of this ring. It is easiest if you destroy them all in one go. If you get knocked down you will have to kill a bunch of adds and the clan fear again until you can teleport back to the top which you won’t have the haste sigil anymore,.. so lets get the job done of destroying the crystals in one shot! (to make life easy)
You will need to dodge red circles, block bosses heavy attack all the while DPSing the crystals. At a certain point the boss will life up into the air and a rock wall will appear, spinning around the ring, you NEED to get behind this rock wall or else when the boss comes down he will knock you off the platform,.. but DO NOT chase the rock wall, go in the opposite direction of it’s spin. Each time the boss goes up and does this, the rock wall will get progressively faster so ideally you need to destroy the crystals within 3 rock wall boss explosions. All the while you will need to dodge the heavy attack skull and avoid red circles. Sometimes the red circle will be right in front of the rock wall, in this case you have to stand in the red circle and hope you’ll make it out alive.
Once all three crystals are destroyed, you will be knocked back down to the bottom platform. Now the fight is similar as to what it was before the top platform part. You need to interrupt the skull swirl when the boss does that, you need to block or dodge roll the heavy attack skull the boss does, you need to prioritize the Fire Lizards if they spawn, (i just ignored the healers on this last part), and DPS the boss to victory!! If you try to burn the boss down during this last phase you will most likely be overwhelmed by adds, so play it safe, kill the priority targets, interrupt and block the bosses main attacks and DPS him as much as possible using all your ultimates in this last phase. You have all 3 sigils availble now for this last final burn. I would recommend using the defense sigil, then power sigil, then healing sigil. One BIG thing to keep in mind is that the gold ghosts are back!! If you collect three of them you can stun EVERYTHING in the area. I was able to burn the boss before 3 gold ghosts spawned but if the fight is dragging out for you COLLECT THE GOLD GHOSTS!! It will almost assure you victory!!
That’s it! These are my thoughts and observations on vMA. My first time through i died 194 times and it took me about 5-6 hours of gameplay. My second time through I died maybe 20 times and it took me alittle more than an hour to do…. so you get the picture. Learning mechanics and learning who to prioritize, knowing the spawn points etc… is the name of the game here.
Good luck, have fun and enjoy the Maelstrom weapon farming!