Character classes in Arena are broken down into three main classes: thief classes, warrior classes, and mage classes, they also have their own subclasses, listed and summarized in alphabetical order per class group below.
Character classes in Arena are broken down into three main classes: thief classes, warrior classes, and mage classes, they also have their own subclasses, listed and summarized in alphabetical order for each of the three classes below.
This table summarizes the statistics of the various classes for ease of comparison. There are several things to note in reading this chart:
- The exp Chart column indicates which of the columns in the exp Thresholds table the class utilizes.
- The Hit Die column indicates the value range used in determining Health for each level up. At first level, all classes begin with 25, plus the random result of the Hit Die, plus a bonus from the Endurance attribute. Every time the Hit Die is used, a random value between 1 and the listed number will be chosen.
- The Armors a character can wear, from worst to best, are Leather, Chain, and Plate. For this table, the best variety of armor available to a class is listed, and they can generally use all armor qualities below that one.
- The Shields a character can wield, from worst to best, are Buckler, Round, Kite, and Tower. For this table, the best variety of shield available to a class is listed, and they can wield any shield of a lower quality.
- The Spell Points column indicates the calculation for how many Spell Points are available to a class. You take the multiplier listed times the Intelligence score of the character. If no value is listed, the class does not have any Spell Points and therefore cannot cast spells.
- The number listed under Critical Strikes is the chance, per level, to inflict a hit that does three times the damage to an enemy. To use the Thief as an example, at level 1, there is a 2% chance to land a Critical Strike. At level 10, that chance has increased to 20%.
- This Critical Strike chance only applies to attacks with melee weapons.
- This Critical Strike chance only applies to attacks with missile weapons.
- A Knight cannot wear Leather armor.
- The Max Mana multiplier displayed in the manual is incorrect.
- Each level up to 10 requires 1.875 * the previous level's exp requirement, rounded down.
- For every level past 10, the total exp needed is the previous level's requirement multiplied by 1.5, rounding down.
- To calculate the experience points required beyond Level 10, multiply the experience you needed to level up the last time around by 1.5 and round down. The resulting number is the experience you need to get to the next level. For example, as a Level 10 Thief, you needed 122,171 exp to get to that level. Take 122,171 and multiply it by 1.5, giving you 183,256.5. Rounding that down, you need 183,256 exp to reach Level 11. If you multiply that latter number by 1.5 and round down, you will then determine the experience you need to reach Level 12 (274,884)
- The exp tables listed in the Codex Scientia and Player's Guide are incorrect. They use the same multipliers, but the decimal value is maintained when calculating the next level's requirement, rather than rounding after each stage. As such, the exp values needed in game are slightly lower than those listed in those documents.
Although all thieves and thief sub-classes have the ability to pick locks, pick pockets, and steal items, various classes have certain advantages or disadvantages in these areas. The governing statistics for all thief classes are Agility and Intelligence. A high Speed rating is also very desirable.
Thief class enemies have a 10% more chance to have gold on them.
Acrobats are Thieves who have honed their physical skills in agility and balance to such a degree that they are almost supernaturally adept at scaling walls, running, jumping, and tumbling. They retain the ability to score a critical hit. They also have the ability to leap great distances and climb walls more securely and faster than the average Thief. They are, in general, the fastest characters on foot. Further, because of their nimbleness, Acrobats deduct a certain percentage from their opponent's base chance to hit when engaged in combat with them. This makes them difficult foes to hit, and dangerous adversaries.
- Acrobats are naturally quicker, jump further, and are harder to hit.
- Limited weapon selection
- Can not use shields.
Assassins are the dark hand of the night, their skills honed to the killing of others. They are very adept at this, able to find weak points or areas to strike, often felling opponents much more powerful than themselves. Assassins have the greatest chance per level to score a critical hit (triple damage) when attacking.
- At first level, Assassins are 1.5 to 3 times more likely to perform a critical hit than any other class; by level 10, about 1 in 3 attacks will be a critical hit.
- Assassins can use any weapon in the game.
- Assassins are one of the deadliest classes in melee combat.
- Can only wear leather armor and cannot use shield spells.
- Worst thievery skills out of the thief class.
- The d8 hit dice gives Assassins relatively poor starting health.
A Bard is the proverbial "Jack of all Trades". They are able to perform many tasks, including but not limited to critical strikes, weapons skill, picking locks/pockets, and magic. They are a very versatile class, able to take up slack in almost any situation. Bards receive an amount equal to their Intelligence in spell points. A Bard's critical strike capability is useful when cornered by stronger opponents, though their chance to score is not as great as Thieves and the others in this subclass.
- The Bard can cast spells, engage in both melee and ranged combat, pick locks, and steal items.
- Bards can maximize their attributes with spells, which helps them in combat.
- Tied with Mage for the fastest leveling spellcaster. This makes them able to make the most of spells with high "per level" growth, which are already more efficient than spells that don't scale.
- Though Bards can do everything, other classes can usually do any one of those things better. Warriors will out-fight them, Mages will do magic better, and Thieves will outperform them in critical hits.
- Though they can handle weaker monsters a bit better than Mages can starting out, their low spell points mean they will be unable to heal in combat as often.
- Unless you level very carefully, you will probably have some problems taking on the harder quest dungeons.
Burglars are adept at picking locks and infiltrating different areas. They do this better than any other class, honing their skills to be able to find ways into areas thought inaccessible. They are very useful when eexploring new dungeons, palaces, or other areas where others may be stopped by locked doors and/or chests. Burglars also receive a chance per level to score a critical strike (triple damage) when attacking an opponent, though they are not as adept at this as Thieves.
- Burglars have the highest chance of successfully picking a lock.
- Limited weapon selection .
- Can not use shields.
Rogues are Thieves who have also trained in using arms and armor. They have combined the agile and cunning of their brethren with the skill of arms found in Warriors. This makes them formidable and versatile. They are comparable in combat to the Warrior class, but still retain the ability to pick locks and pockets. Rogues have a slight chance per level to critical strike an opponent (triple damage).
- Having access to all but the heaviest of armor and shields grants the Rogue a somewhat better degree of physical protection
- Lessened chances of Critically striking their opponents
Quick, agile, and cunning, thieves use agility and speed to steal for a living. They are useful in combat to surprise the enemy, scout, or try for critical hits. Thieves have a chance per level of experience to score a critical hit when attacking an opponent. A critical hit is defined as triple the damage the weapon normally does. Thieves are the fastest to rise in experience levels. Thieves can pick locks and pockets. This ability increases as the Thief increases in levels.
- Thieves have the 2nd best chance at successfully picking a lock.
- Thieves get a d14, better than any other Thief class.
- Thieves level up faster than any other class.
- Lower health than most other thief classes.
Warriors and their subclasses are the strong arm of the Empire. They are versatile and useful in most situations, since there is no question that any problem can be solved with a sword. Warriors and their subclasses cannot ever cast spells without the aid of enchanted equipment. The governing statistics for Warriors and their subclasses are Strength and Endurance, although high Agility is also desirable, as without it, Strength and Endurance have little meaning in terms of survival- if one can't hit often enough, the damage bonus is wasted, and if one cannot dodge, his Endurance can only do little at best.
Archers are the marksmen of the Empire, adept at using any missile weapon during melee. Archers have a chance of causing a critical strike upon a target per experience level when using any missile weapon (long bow or short bow). A critical strike causes triple the normal damage caused for the weapon used.
The archer is the perfect class for the player with lightning reflexes that uses both hands and feet on the controls. With a higher powered bow like Ebony, or Auriel's Bow, and the detail level turned all the way down, archers can fire about 15 arrows per second. This is the highest hit probability of any character in the game. Added to that, though hardly necessary, is the triple damage that becomes notable up around the 20th level.
One downside is that archers miss out on 7 magical items that plate armor potentially offer, plus the extra protection, an additional -21 to the armor class, that a full set of plate receives. Making matters much worse, archers cannot wear ebony armor that can offer a whopping total of an additional -35 to the protection for a complete set.
Then, to make things more difficult, the archer has to rely entirely on the 8 supplemental items plus artifacts and potions for magical abilities and protections. The rot sets in in the higher levels where nearly all enemies are blasting you with long range spells, hitting nearly as fast as you can fire arrows. You will find yourself being killed almost instantly without magical protections and your only way to prevent this is constantly dosing on potions or using up your magical items limited number of charges, when you can't bring your firepower into play and almost instantly kill your enemy. At the higher levels this boils down to slowly creeping through every dungeon level, and blasting any enemy that appears before you. If they appear behind you and you don't have an appropriate magical protection going, you are probably toast.
Another issue is that, until rather high levels (when level based spell cost reduction eventually makes it possible to create a weak light spell that costs zero spell points), Archers can't use the Light spell. This means they must rely on magic items with finite uses to actually see targets past melee range, severely hampering their ranged attacks.
- The Archer gets the same brutal +3% Critical Strike chance per level with a dagger, a short bow, and a long bow that the Assassin has with melee attacks.
- Archers can wear Chain armor.
- Archers can hit faster than any other character with the right bow and high Speed and Agility.
- The Archer is a distance combat expert in a game that nearly always places you in close combat melee situations.
- The d16 hit dice are better than the Assassin's, but not quite as good as some of the other Warrior-based classes.
- Archers are not adept thieves, and will likely have to earn their gear the old-fashioned way.
- Archers have no ability to see in the dark, limiting the distance they can make ranged attacks.
Barbarians are Warriors who have learned to fight in order to survive the harsh life of their homeland. Barbarians begin with the most hit points of any character class. Because of their hardy upbringing, barbarians have a natural immunity to poison. barbarians, because of their incredible physique, heal additional health points based upon their endurance.
- The barbarian's d30 for Hit Dice lands them among the toughest to kill; they could potentially have more HP than Jagar Tharn himself as early as level 14.
- Immunity to Poison often means less Potions to carry in your bag.
- Their Healing bonus reduces time spent healing wounds, giving them more leeway before failing quests.
- Barbarians cannot equip Plate Armor, and thus, cannot have as much of their gear enchanted as that of the Warrior. The Barbarian may therefore need to rely more on potions and other magical items than some of the other Warrior sub-classes. Their high hit points can help, but below-average rolls can make playing a Barbarian significantly harder at later levels.
- Cannot Critically Strike their opponents.
Knights are the fighters of the noble class. They are well schooled in the ways of chivalry and conduct themselves with honor and dignity. Because of a knight's innate strength of character, he or she is immune to paralyzation, whether they be carried by spells or poison. They also have the ability to repair damaged weapons or armor. This ability is done automatically to any weapons or armor in their inventory. Knights and the other Warrior subclasses do not rise in experience as quickly as a Warrior.
- Knights have decent vitality levels.
- Immunity to Paralyze effects keeps a knight going against Spiders and spellcasters whereas others require a Potion or enchantment.
- Being able to automatically repair your gear means you won't have to visit blacksmiths to repair for a fee. In addition, if a knight possesses a renowned Artifact, unless it is the Oghma Infinium, they will not need fear of losing it at a critical moment. Repairs occur at midnight.
- Granting access to Plate Armor, knights can have more enchantments on their gear.
- Cannot equip Leather Armor, making for a slightly weaker start armor wise.
- Cannot critically strike their opponents.
- Cannot cast any magic. This means that knights must use potions where other classes can use a spell (most importantly, the ability to heal), and might have difficulty facing the variety of enemies that are immune to lower class weapons.
- As knights automatically repair equipment, they cannot use the Artifact duplication glitch the same way as other classes do. (but is still possible, as the equipment repairs itself once every day.)
"Monks use the discipline of their mind to hone their bodies into lethal killing machines. Monks may not wear armor or use shields, but may use any weapon they prefer. Monkshave a chance per level of experience to deliver a critical strike (3x damage) when engaged with an opponent. They do not have this ability with missile weapons. Further, Monks deduct from their opponents base chance to hit for each level of experience they have attained. Because of their mental discipline, Monks can actually reduce the amount of damage they would normally take. If they successfully save versus a spell, it will result in no damage, as opposed to the normal result of taking half damage."
You will have a hard time surviving as a Monk, especially if you cannot make lots of saving throws and bring firepower into play quickly. Like the archer, at the higher levels, you will get annihilated by distance spells without various resistances up, and to make matters more interesting, you will have less hit points to start with, and of course, no armor. Even the goblins and rats hand the monk severe damage in the training dungeon, and it doesn't get much better as you progress. Grab a melee artifact, even Auriel's bow, if you can find it. The loss of the measly triple damage from a melee weapon doesn't mean much when several fireballs are headed your way and you can't even touch your enemies.
- Can use all weapons in the game.
- Has a higher chance of getting a critical hit compared to? but not with a bow.
- Lower chance of being hit per level.
- Will take no spell damage with a successful spell save instead of half damage.
- They can not wear any armor, and can not cast spells to shield themselves.
- Monks get a d14, resulting in lower health than any other warrior class.
Rangers are woodsmen and hunters, adept at tracking, survival, and pathfinding. Rangers, because of their skills at tracking and survival, automatically decrease their traveling time between cities. In addition, Rangers do extra damage equivalent to their level to their opponent.
- Rangers, like Warriors, get pretty high hit points.
- Being allowed access to plate armor, Rangers can prove to be a difficult target to hit, potentially going to the mid-late -30's range if everything was maxed out.
- The Ranger gains a bonus to damage equal to their level.
- Rangers have their travel time reduced by 2.34% per level, but only if it is 43 days or more.
- Rangers cannot cast spells.
- Rangers are slow to level up, which makes their level dependent bonuses less useful.
Warriors are the basic stock of the world of Tamriel. They are a versatile character, able to employ their skill at arms in almost any situation. Warriors are one of only three classes able to wear plate armor. This fact is important, for only plate armor is strong enough to be enchanted. Therefore, only Warriors, Knights and Rangers may wear enchanted armor. Warriors are the second fastest to rise in experience , thieves being the fastest. At high levels this, along with the use of magical equipment, puts them in equal standing with Mages and their ilk.
- Warriors can use any combat item in the game, including plate armor.
- Augmented with magic items, a Warrior can be one of the most dangerous classes in melee combat, and not too bad with ranged attacks either.
- Warriors have d20 hit dice, which amounts to an excellent degree of vitality, topped only by Barbarians.
- Warriors take less experience to level up than the other Warrior-based classes.
- Warriors can't cast spells naturally, and can't break into houses or steal at lower levels.
- The Warrior doesn't have Critical Strike.
Mages and their subclasses use and manipulate the essence of magic. They are, at high levels, some of the most powerful characters available to play, mainly because of the wide variety of spells they can employ. Wizards and their subclasses use Intelligence and Willpower as their governing statistics. They can increase their survivability by using spells to fortify their attributes to maximum. Because of this, it is most important for mages to naturally raise Endurance and Intelligence, for permanent gains in hit points and spell points. They are the only class (with the exception of Bards) that can cast spells.
Battle Mages are trained and bred to manipulating the essence of magic in battle. They are highly skilled at delivering offensive spells at their targets. They have 1.75 times their Intelligence in spell points. Certain offensive spell effects in the Spellmaker are cheaper for a Battle Mage to buy. In combat, a trained Battle Mage has few equals.
- Can use any weapon and round shields, which also gives them a decent pool of available magical items
- Cause (Disease/Curse/Paralyzation/Poison), Continuous Damage, Damage, Drain Attribute, Elemental Resistance, and Silence spell effects cost less to cast
- Cure, Fortify Attribute, Heal, and Regenerate spell effects cost more to cast
- Can only use leather armor
Healers are Mages dedicated to treating injuries and helping those in need. Their powers tend to be powerful in a defensive nature, and weak in an offensive nature. Healers have an increased base healing rate. Certain defensive spell effects in the Spellmaker are cheaper for a Healer to buy. Despite what the manual states, Healers have double their Intelligence in spell points, not times 1.75.
- Good spell point multiplier, same as Mage. Only Sorcerer has more spell points.
- Cure, Drain Attribute, Elemental Resistance, Fortify Attribute, Heal, Transfer and Regenerate spell effects cost less to cast This is the only way for a spell with the Transfer Spell Points effect to restore more Spell Points than it costs to cast before high levels.
- Limited weapon selection
- Damage and Continuous Damage spell effects cost more to cast This can be worked around somewhat by using Transfer effects to damage enemy HP.
- Category E level up rate makes them less able to take advantage of spells with high "per level" scaling.
Mages are born and bred for manipulating magic. They may however use a limited assortment of weapons. They depend upon spells for defensive and offensive power. Mages have double their Intelligence in spell points.
- Mages, along with Bards, level up faster than any other spellcasters. This makes them able to make the most of spells with high "per level" growth, which are already more efficient than spells that don't scale.
- Compared to the Bard, the Mage has twice as many spell points.
- Along with Sorcerers, have the lowest health of all the classes.
- Can use only two types of weapons, less than any other class.
- Cannot equip any armor, not even leather.
Nightblades are those Mages who have perfected their arts to help in activities involving infiltration, spying, and stealth. They are much like Thieves, creatures of the night, able to use their considerable powers to help them in their nocturnal activities. In combat, Nightblades receive a chance per level of scoring a critical hit (triple damage). Nightblades can pick locks about as well as Rogues. They also receive 1.5 times their Intelligence in starting spell points.
- Like the Bard, Nightblades can critical strike, steal items and pick locks reasonably well, and fight with some potent weaponry (including ranged weapons).
- The Nightblade has 50% more Spell Points at its disposal than the Bard, which means that it can cast better spells at lower levels, or cast weaker spells more often.
- Cause (Disease/Curse/Paralyzation/Poison), Designate as Non-Target, Invisibility, Levitate, Lock, and Open spell effects cost less to cast.
- Nightblades sacrifice some of their fighting ability in exchange for increased spellcasting ability.
- Nightblades are unable to equip chain mail or any shield larger than a buckler.
- The Nightblade levels up much more slowly than Bard and pure Mage. This makes them less able to take advantage of spells with high "per level" scaling.
- Only Sorcerers and Mages have worse hit point gains than a Nightblade.
- Continuous Damage spell effect costs more to cast.
Sorcerers are a strange breed of magic users. They are those born with the potential of casting spells, but with no power to generate spell points internally. This does not make them any less powerful; in fact, Sorcerers have the potential to be the most powerful of all the Mage classes. This is because of the unique way in which they manipulate magic. Sorcerers are in essence magical batteries. They absorb spell points from spells that are targeted at them. Sorcerers may absorb up to triple their Intelligence in spell points. If a spell is absorbed, the Sorcerer takes no damage, but instead adds the spell's total power points, divided by the Sorcerer's level, to his/her spell points. These points are permanent until used. If the Sorcerer fails to absorb a directed spell, they take the normal effects, whatever they may be. The chance a Sorcerer will absorb the spell is equal to minimum of 75% and the sum of his Intelligence and Willpower divided by one hundred (min[75/100,(INT+WIL)/100]). Sorcerers do not regenerate spell points and they do not absorb points from their own spells. If a Sorcerer has absorbed spell points to his/her maximum, he/she will be unable to absorb more spells, and will take damage from spells just as any other character. Regardless of these restrictions, they have the ability to cast more powerful spells because when they are fully charged, they have more spell points than any other Mage class. They can therefore cast more powerful spells at lower levels, provided that the spell is in their spellbook.
While the Sorcerer may not absorb their own spells targeting or centered on themselves, they may absorb the effects of a ranged explosion of their own making.
- Sorcerers have the unique ability to absorb spells projected at them.
- Sorcerers have a natural spell point multiplier of three. (With INT maxed out, a Sorcerer has at least 300 SP to play with, meaning you can get out high-power custom Shield spells or "God's Fire"-style combat effects at much lower levels than other classes, and much more frequently).
- The Sorcerer can use any weapon, and can wear chain armor.
- Sorcerers cannot regenerate spell points through resting.
- The Sorcerer, along with the Mage, has the worst hit dice in the game (d6).
- Sorcerers will progress at the slowest rate possible in the game. This makes them less able to take advantage of spells with high "per level" scaling.
Spellswords are those few Mages who have found that they have an unique ability to cast spells while in armor or using weapons. They are warrior-mages, dedicating their lives to learning not only the arts of war, but the ethereal ways of power. Spellswords, because of their dedication to learning both arts, receive only 1.5 times their Intelligence in spell points. This is more than made up for by their versatility in combat and their increased starting hit points.
- Are capable of, and often do, possess the highest amount of health out of the mage classes.
- Possesses a nice balance of spellcasting and melee capabilities.
- Rather taxing on optimal stats. Spellswords will need a good mix of Strength, Endurance, Agility, Intelligence, and Willpower to perform nicely, compared to other Magi.
- Spellswords have one of the worst caps on their pool of mana; only 150 spell points at max Int.
- Very slow to progress in levels. This makes them less able to take advantage of spells with high "per level" scaling.
- Sorcerer is incorrectly spelled 'Sorceror' throughout the game. It is spelled correctly within the Arena Player's Guide and Codex Scientia and only uses the misspelling when using direct quotes from the game.
- "Lockpick Effectiveness" is not the "chance of success" when a character attempts to pick a lock; it actually refers to how able a character is, with all other things being equal (such as race, attributes, and level), at picking a lock. For example, a Burglar with 50 AGI, INT and LUC, at Level 10 will be able to pick a lock four times better than a level 10 Knight with the same amount of the aforementioned stats. After a certain point, all classes will be able to pick locks effectively. However, classes with stealthy backgrounds will become proficient at lockpicking much faster than those that do not have stealthy backgrounds.
- There are times you may find the game slowing down, especially during extended play times. This may become a critical issue for archers that depend on the speed which they can fire arrows. Because their best defense is their offense, a lack of consistency in speed may leave them open to attack. Saving often and reloading will sometimes alleviate this problem.
- The max level for E classes (such as Battlemage) is 38. For C classes it is 31. When leveling up from 26 to 27, you will get the remaining levels immediately. Could be around 34 for D and 27-29/30 for A-B classes(source needed for classes A, B and D).
- While non-mage classes have zero maximum spell points, they can still cast a spell if its spell point cost is zero. It's possible to make such spells at higher levels due to how a spell's spell point cost decreases with character level. This gives these classes access to several useful utility spells, provided one doesn't mind repeatedly recasting them due to their short duration.
- Battlemages are quite different from later depictions as lightly armored, spellcasting and weapon using fighters, unlike later games where they are able to use heavy armor.
- The Game Director of Arena, Vijay Lakshman, explains the origins of the Sorcerer class: "I’m an avid reader, I think I’ve read over 2000 fantasy and sci-fi novels to date. One of my favorites is Elric of Melniboné. He had a sword, Stormbringer, which would absorb the life force of his opponents and sometimes his friends. I wanted a class to become the Stormbringer of The Elder Scrolls world, and so I made the Sorcerer this living weapon."[UOL 1]
- The hit points used in game are incorrect for several classes: Acrobat, Assassin, Burglar, Rogue, and Thief. The spell points used in game are incorrect for Healer. Based on class descriptions, the values found in the manual were the intended values.
- Despite the manual stating that Rangers don't get the damage bonus against undead monsters, due to a bug it is almost constantly applied.