Maelstrom Arena

Location Wrothgar
Stages 9 stages normal and veteran modes
Rewards Maelstrom Weapons
Achievements Maelstrom Arena Champion
Maelstrom Arena Conqueror
Maelstrom Arena: Perfect Run

Maelstrom Arena is a solo progressive challenge in Elder Scrolls Online. It was added with the Orsinium DLC and is  located Wrothgar. As part of a solo challenge, this area gives players a normal and veteran mode to complete, and will likely frustrate many players.


Maelstrom Arena Walkthrough & Strategies

Maelstrom Arena is a single-player progressive challenge located in the northeastern mountains of Wrothgar. To enter the Maelstrom Arena, simply travel to Orsinium and navigate to the arena's POI icon on the map. You can also directly travel into the Maelstrom Arena via the fast-travel network by selecting its map icon.

Once inside, you'll need to battle your way through nine arenas, all with a different theme. You'll be thrown into Sheogorath's Realm to face-off against Dark Seducers and Golden Saints, fight Lamia and Argonians in a Murkmire-themed arena while avoiding electrified water, balance on rickety icebergs in a Wrothgar-themed arena while avoiding giants and trolls, and more! You'll also want to pay particular attention to your surroundings as there may be ways to use the environment or certain features to your advantage.

While fighting to survive, you can get an edge by taking advantage of four different types of Sigils that appear in each arena. They're easily identified as floating blue icons on the arena floor. To use a Sigil, simply walk near it and the Synergy prompt will appear. Press your Synergy key or button, and the Sigil will be activated, providing you with a powerful, temporary buff. Sigils will re-spawn between each round within an arena, so don't be afraid to use them! The Sigils that will be available to you include:

  • Sigil of Defense: Grants damage reduction to all attacks, and reflects physical- and spell-based ranged attacks.
  • Sigil of Haste: Grants increased resource regeneration and the Major Expedition buff.
  • Sigil of Healing: Grants you a powerful heal over time.
  • Sigil of Power: Grants increased weapon power.

There are leaderboards for every class, and at the end of each week the top 100 players of each class will be granted special rewards via in-game mail. Points for the Maelstrom Arena leaderboards are rewarded in multiple ways:

  • You will be granted points every time you complete an arena.
  • The Sigils that appear in each arena can bestow special powers, but each round that you survive without using a Sigil will grant you bonus points.
  • If you complete the Maelstrom Arena in full (all nine arenas) within 1 hour and 30 minutes, you will be granted additional points. Faster times net increased point gains.


Necromancer Build for Maelstrom Arena




Joy Division's Guide to Maelstrom Arena

This guide was created by user Joy Division, and you can find it on the official eso forums here. Republished with permission!

In addition to competing against other players to be the best on the leaderboards, there are also new item sets available specifically to the Maelstrom Arena that you can receive in both the Normal and Veteran versions. You can also obtain unique weapon and jewelry sets in Veteran Maelstrom Arena, similar to Veteran Dragonstar Arena.

This guide is meant for people trying to clear vMA for the first time. One of the big differences between November 2015 and now is that veteran players will have very different builds and capabilities than newer players. Back then, everyone had the same builds (magicka players wore Martial Knowledge + Willpower for PvE, Kagrenac’s Hope + Willpower for PvP). If you watch a Youtube clear by one of the top players with a 550K score and try to replicate their strategy, you are going to be in trouble because they have a build you can’t match and their strategies are dependent on memorizing spawn locations and burning down primary threats.

I heard Maelstrom is for players who mix-max, have max CPs with end-game gear, and beyond the capability of average players
I understand vMA has a reputation of being elitist, but I believe that is a false impression. Unlike most of the content in ESO, vMA doesn’t just rollover and die when confronted by experienced players. It fights back and humbles everyone who tries it, forcing them to alter their approach. This, quite frankly, is a step not everyone is comfortable taking.

Zos did make the veteran version accessible to the ESO masses by including the Power Sigils. These are incredibly powerful, are available every single round of every single stage, and can carry decent players through the challenges vMA throws. The best ESO players are not supposed to use them (and get rewarded with a higher score). Difficulty is not the primary obstacle you will face. Rather you will be challenged mentally because vMA will attack your self-confidence, your patience, and your fortitude. You will die. Repeatedly. You will be humbled. You will doubt your ESO competence. But it's not the difficulty of these challenges that's killing you. It's because you don't know the mechanics and thus lack a strategy to defeat them. You going in deaf, dumb, and blind. If the arena did *not* challenge you under such circumstances, then it would be a poor design. You've been face-rolling ESO content for probably over a year now. Even the DLC dungeons don't challenge you (provided you get in a good group). You've been bashing a target dummy that doesn't even defend itself let alone move. You aren't used to ESO content pushing back. Don't back down. Don't take the easy way out. Undergo some honest introspection. Have a build that useful against something other than a target dummies. If you are decent player, you can clear this if you do not let your frustration and your ego get the better of you.

I heard vMA is all about DPS.

You do need DPS. You can't heal or block things to death. And you gonna need a fair amount of it because there are DPS checks. Not going to lie, it's important because the more you have the easier vMA gets. But it's not necessary to have elite DPS. VMA was cleared way back when 20K was considered a lot. My wrong race healer who used no DPS gear and did not respec has the Flawless Conqueror achievement.

I included a video below of me clearing VMA not using any spellpower potions, having zero "end-game" gear, only using 300 CPs (yes, 300!), and using a build that was not mix-max for DPs (I used a resto staff). It's totally possible and I was kind of surprised that stuff still died pretty quick.

What's more important is learning how to survive Vs. multiple attackers and environmental hazards. By far the easiest, most efficient, and most effective means to doing this are two skills that every player has access to. If you are magicka, that is Harness Magicka (this morph, you need resources) and if you are stamina, that is Vigor. You must get in the habit of using these skills before you take damage. Other things you will have to do include: "Block-casting" (holding down block while using an ability), Dodge roll (for both damage avoidance and mobility when snared), use skills that DPS and heal you at the same time (even if these aren't your best damage skills).

Why Run vMA?

There's the obvious reason: the two best PvE weapons in the game drop here (Destruction Staff, Bow). I also think the Restoration Staff is a strong option for healers and PvP players who use the Regeneration skill.

But I would not recommend you doing content that you don't find fun because you feel like you "need" one of these weapons. VMA will humble you and if you are doing it for any reason other than the (accepted) challenge, you are going to subject yourself to too much aggravation. Especially since the weapon you want is more than likely not going to drop until you finish this enough times to be good at it.

So run it for that challenge. There really isn't much in ESO that can challenge a high CP player except 12 man trials and PvP. There was once a time when Spindleclutch tested our builds. Once a time when Craglorn was full of delves that players could go and test there their mettle. Once a time when even the questing zones occasionally required players to use their abilities and do things like block. If your someone who like fantasy / progression games whose whole concept is built around overcoming challenges by formulating strategies and using interesting abilities, then vMA is pretty much all ESO has to offer unless you got 11 friends handy who want to run Halls of Fabrication. I have 20 destruction staffs and I still come back to vMA from time to time because I want to stay sharp, want to see if I can do better, want to test builds under real conditions (as opposed to defenseless target dummies), and because one of the reasons I became addicted to ESO in the first place was because I liked having potent character abilities to deal with enemies that were actually threatening (I was in Beta). If you game because you are competitive and like a challenge, that's why you should do vMA.

What class should I play?
The one like and feel most comfortable playing. Just about everybody will say sorcerer is the easiest and best class, but the sorcerer does not make Maelstrom “easy,” rather it is knowledge of the mechanics and the experience of the player.

You probably going to doubt what I say here when you get to stage 5 for the first time and get Rekt repeatedly and then again on the last boss, when he kills you dozens and dozens and dozens of times. It’s not your class that’s getting you killed, it’s your unfamiliarity with the mechanics. The first time I did this on my sorcerer, I got Rekt and stage 5 and the final boss killed me time after time after time after time, and that was when sorcs shields lasted 20 seconds, critical surge could grant 20K heals, and Overload was OP. What people mean to say is that sorcerer has the potential for a little higher score than a dragonknight, which is a very different thing than being “easier.”

What about my build?
You're going to be better off with a more versatile and well rounded build than the DPS glass cannons who get a 550K score. The easiest way to go about that is to use damage oriented sets, have some extra regen, and add a few utility/defensive oriented skills on your bars. As for what specifically to go for, it doesn’t matter too much. The differences between many DPS sets and Mundas stones are so slight and situational that it’s not going to make or break a vMA run. As long as you avoid the many bad or overly specialized gear sets available in the game, you’ll do just fine. Julianos is strong for every magicka class, it’s a good default. Hunding’s the stamina equivalent, though if you’re not adverse to running Blackheart Haven a few times, the Bone Pirate set is very versatile for the demands vMA makes. If you hapen to have Trials gear lyin around (a lot of newer players won't), Vicious Serpent Set (I always though it was Vicious Ophedia?) is a really good 5 piece.

No matter what you wear, you want to have at least 17K health (preferably 18K) and somewhere in the neighborhood of 1300ish magicka recovery (I’m not much of a stamina player so I'm not sure of the sweet spot). The most efficient means of doing is to use Witchmother’s Brew / Dubious Camlorn throne drinks and to get some health somewhere else. Valkyn Skoria is great for this because it is a good DPS set and has the health bonus you need. The only class I would not recommend Valkyn for is Warden because some of their DPS skills are bugged and won’t proc it (Consider Infernal Guardian or Nerien’eth as a substitute). Best stam monster set don’t have a health bonus, that’s fine, enchant one of your big armor pieces for health.

Supplement that with a couple skills that are more geared to keeping you alive than damage (such as Inhale, Funnel Health, Healing Ward, Leeching Vines, Reflective Scales, Refreshing [Instead of Twisting] Path, etc.) and don’t fret too much because it really doesn’t matter. Whether you use Lover, Mage, Apprentice, or this damage set, that damage set, infused or divines, the differences are in the grand scheme of things are so marginal it’s not going to prevent you from dying until you learn the mechanics.

Aren't you oversimplifying? Yes, but not really. That extra 5% you're going to get from min-maxing isn't going to be the difference between you beating the final boss. You rotation is way way way more important for your DPS than your gear. Your ability to shield, dodge, interrupt is way way way more important to survival than your resistances. In short, it's not your build that's going to get you a clear, it's your skill as a player. You'd be better served practicing a DPS rotation or going open world in Cyrodiil than calculating the minute differences between two solid gear sets.

Magicka tips:

  • I would not go double destro staff. You are not doing a DPS parse Vs. a stationary target dummy that doesn’t fight back. The more difficult the content, the more kiting you have to do, the more incoming damage you take, the less and less that other destruction staff is helping you. It's not like you can't slot Elemental Blockade on your front bar and equip a damage glyph on a backbar resto staff.
  • Harness magicka is on your front bar. It is up before you take damage. Often it is recast as soon as it drops.
  • Elemental Drain is very handy. Drain anything elite or higher. Drain single mobs when not under threat.
  • You want to kill things with your Destruction Staff because of the Destruction Mastery passive that returns magicka on a kill is key to sustain. On the last add on a pull, consider Elemental Drain + Heavy attack kill + Destruction Mastery = your sustain.
  • Inferno or Lightning is personal preference. Most of your attacks are going to be single target (favoring Inferno). You’re going to be heavy attacking a lot (favoring Lightning). For DKs, I’d go Inferno though.
  • Elemental Blockade is 1000% the best skill you have, it is always down.
  • I’m going to be blasphemous here: I would recommend not using Inner Light because the extra skill is going to help keep an inexperienced player alive more than 7% extra magicka. When you stop dying, then consider putting it back on.
  • You don't need Trap Beast. You do need skills like Reflective Scales, Healing Ward, and Elemental Drain.
  • If you are not under pressure and your magicka pool is under 60%, a heavy attack is almost always better than a spammable skill.
  • Your DPS ultimate is always Elemental Rage. Yes, even you DKs. If you PvP and use Eye of the Storm, that’s still better than anything else. A DK with Eye of the Storm might consider Banner, though I still think Eye is superior because its AoE is larger and it’s burst.
  • Sometimes you’ll need a heal rather than a shield, so...
  • I recommend your off weapon to be a nirnhoned restoration staff with a spell/weapon damage glyph. You’ll have some damage skills here you want to hit hard and are not doing a predictable DPS rotation, so I like setup because it’s always good as opposed to potentially the best. Healing Ward is an amazing skill, such that even Templars and DKs who have strong native burst heals are going to consider running it. Of course, you always want to use destro ultimate, however Light’s Champion is a great “oh crap” button.
  •  If you are a DK, Templar, or Warden and have the Lich set, you can use a sword and shield as an off bar relying on your native burst heals (Honor the Dead, Dragon Blood, Mushrooms) instead of Healing Ward. Sword and Board ultimate isn’t a bad “oh crap” button either. Stop looking at me funny, yes Sword and Shield DPS ftw :smiley: What do you think vMA resembles more, PvP or a Target Dummy test? How many good PvP templars, DKs, and Wardens you know that go double destro? Pros and cons in lieu of a resto staff. Your resource management will be better and the ability to block more damage without blowing your stamina is welcome. You’re losing damage though (the glyph is going to be harder to proc) and Healing Ward is not only a better heal, but it’s one that can be cast preemptively. I unquestionably liked Resto staff on my DK. Sword and shield I liked for Warden (use Tree ultimate for “oh crap”). Templar either or.
  • I am a sorcerer, watch me shield spam! Yes, and watch you die when you need an actual heal and your crit surge is only getting you 3K instead of 40K from Healing Ward. Either use a Twilight heal or get a restoration staff until you actually know what you’re doing in vMA. I prefer resto because you get an extra bar spot and the ultimate. Once you know the mechanics, then use your double destro target dummy build if you are so inclined.

Stamina Tips with caveat that I’m not a great stam player.

  • Bow is your back bar because Endless Hail is your best skill. Poison Injection is also fantastic.
  • Caltrops is strong. Vigor is arguably necessary. Zerg surf in Cyordiil for a weekend to get these skills.
  • A really good stamina player told me that Vigor should be used exactly the same way as shields. Preventatively to ensure 5 seconds of survival.
  • Although dual wield is stronger DPS and Blade Cloak is really helpful for survival, a player used to and likes the two handed can certainly clear the arena (stun, execute, stam on kills, and Rally heal are all good).
  • You need to make sure you have incoming healing active at all times. I would take the healing options of the dual wield weapon skills or use Rally and even then, top this off with vigor.
  • Rend, Ballista, Dawnbreaker (Smiting preferred) are all legit ultimates

Some general principles:

  • Every stage is "hard" until you get accustomed to the fights, opponents, threats and develop a strategy for defeating them.
  • Learning this will make you cry and want to quit ESO. We've all been there. You're not alone. That being said, every stage becomes considerably easier once you are knowledgeable of the mechanics.
  • Once you develop a strategy, you will wonder how it was you died so many times before.
  • Target recognition and prioritization is absolutely essential. When you are dying, you will get frustrated, but it is critical you objectively assess what is killing you. You *cannot* clear these stages without recognizing priority threats.
  • You should take breaks. You will get frustrated. Don't compound the problem playing mad. Eat lunch, call a friend on the phone, stretch out, etc., just move your mouse every 5 minutes or so and you will be fine.
  • I highly recommend using generic blue magicka potions instead of spellpower or tri pots for every round until you get to the final boss (and even then keep using blue magicka pots until you can at least clear the crystals consistently). This will be an EXPENSIVE undertaking and you don't want to waste your resources when you are wiping because you have not developed a strategy yet. Use your good stuff when you actually get good at the arena.
  • It is generally better to burst down single targets than trying to AoEing them all at once.
  • Let me say that again: burst down single targets rather than AoEing them. Seriously, Pulsar is a suboptimal skill that only works in easy as pie overland PvE content.
  • The Best DPS skills are Ground DoTs, then AoE Dots, then single target DoTs, then DPS skills that heal you, then last and certainly least: single target spammables. If you do not heed this advice, you will run out of resources
  • Use the power sigils. When you master downing a Crematorium Guard while the final boss is channeling a necrotic storm that kills you in two seconds, then go ahead and practice getting that higher score without using the power sigils. All of them are strong and useful.
  • Don't waste your soul gems. Just rez at wayshrine. Your PvP healer friend would love those Soul Gems, trust me. Besides, the amount of time you’re stuck in ghost form and for the arena to reset is about the same as if you rode your horse from the wayshrine.
  • Your overly complex super duper killer combo that works on target dummies won't work in vMA. Keep it simple.
  • I shouldn’t have to write this, but I will. vMA (and for me all Instanced areas) begins to lag noticeably the longer I am in it. It is bearable for me because I can finish it in under an hour. When I was first learning this, when it got so bad, I found it necessary to restart my client (back then no save feature, so I would Task Manager force shut-down rather than log out).

OK, Joy, I'm trying this but it's getting too expensive.

  • Stop wasting your soul gems and repair kits. Rez at wayshrine.
  • Stop using expensive spellpower and weapon power potions when you are dying trying to learn a strategy. You can get 90% of your DPS without them and that extra 10% is not going to make you learn the mechanics. Use these after you've nailed down a successful strategy, not before.
  • You don't need to respec your CP points doing the arena coming from other ESO content. I PvP, heal, and do DSA with the same setup and it does fine.
  • Don't gold out anything (except your weapon), thinking it will give you that extra edge you need. Difference between gold and purple on everything but weapons is tiny. Gold should be reserved for absolutely 1000% sure I will use this build for a long time.

Maelstrom Arena Class Advise

eso-templarTemplar Specific advice:

I believe the best Templar skill for this content is Reflective Light (get this morph. Hitting three targets is better than hitting one). Don’t rush to enemies to jab them. Instead use Reflective Light + heavy attack until they come to you and then use your Sweeps.

  • Don’t get cute with two swords. Much of your DPS and sustain is going to come from heavy attacking.
  • Also: If you are not under pressure and do not need melee heals, the combination of Luminous Shards, Elemental Wall, Reflective Light – all AOE skills – kills stuff a lot faster than Sweep spam
  • Radiant Destruction (Glory morph is better for this content) is really only good Vs. bosses at under 20% health (other stuff should die quickly and scaling is busted). And even then, it’s not that great. Consider this a flex skill; the only two fights I think the “Jesus Beam” is a net positive is the spider boss of stage 6 and the Final boss (if you have the glory morph, it’s good Vs. the Lamia boss of stage 3 as well).
  • Puncturing Sweeps can keep you alive in sticky situations for a while so don’t be afraid to be aggressive. But, you *must* maintain your DoTs while sweeping because Sweeps DPS on its own isn’t great.
  • Skills I’d recommend: Reflective Light, Sweeps, Channeled Focus, Harness magicka, Spear Shards (either morph), Elemental Blockade, Elemental Drain, Heal (either Honor the Dead or Healing Ward), Structured Entropy. That leaves one flex skill: Purifying Ritual (Retribution is better but if you PvP, I wouldn’t bother respeccing), Radiant Destruction, Purifying Light are all decent.

Joy, I'm a healer, what do I do? Hi there! I'm a healer too :smiley: Distribute your CP such that it helps your healing and DPS. Craft a set of Julianos. Rank up your skills like Reflective Light (note: you should use this instead of Jesus Beam when healing content). Now go get the Flawless achievement like i did. Some added bonuses. When your group or guild needs a DPS, you can now do this. Variety is nice. When you go to Cyrodiil, you can actually kill other players without feeling defenseless when mean Nightblades come after you.

eso-sorcerer SorcererAdvice:

The class has two ways to go, Pets or the sort of self-sustainable PvP meta build you find in Cyrodiil.

Pet are strong DPS contributors, can sometimes draw aggro, and the Twilight offers a strong native class health. For players that are accustomed to running them, it’s a very strong setup. It does come at the cost of bar space and it takes a bit getting used to so once again it boils down to you’re better off playing what you know and like, rather than what other people say is strong.

The PvPish build relies on great single target burst and a restoration back-bar for heals. Experienced vMA players can get by without using a restoration staff; but this is “advanced tactics" since at some point if you are learning this, you’re going to need more than a 3k surge heal.

  • Take the Endless Fury morph. You’ll need the magicka sustain.
  • You don’t need Hardened + Harness if you’re running Healing Ward.
  • I would use a Lightning Staff.
  • Crystal Frags is still efficient and good DPS when it procs (only ever use this skill when it does proc), but the loss of the stun dropped the skill’s usefulness down a notch or two. Especially since it doesn't return magicka on a kill. So if you’re short on bar space, don’t feel obligated to slot this.
  • I used to like Daedric Minefield, but the cost is so outrageously high I’m not sure the value is there anymore.
  • I would not rely on Dark Exchange as you will need stamina, and a fair amount of it, to beat the Final boss.
  • I’d rather have two skills than +8% magicka form Bound Aegis.
  • Skills I’d recommend for PvPish (I don’t use pets): Endless Fury, Liquid Lighting, Critical Surge, Harness Magicka, Force shock (Crushing is going to be convenient for interrupts, but if you're comfortable bashing, go Force Pulse), Elemental Blockade, Healing Ward, Elemental Drain. That leaves two flex skills: Crystal Fragments, Haunting Curse, and Boundless Storm are all useful. I used to like Rune Prison when it disorients targets for 20+ seconds, now I'm not sure a 3 second stun is going to make that much of a difference.

What it comes down to is this: you've got to play a build you're comfortable with and you've got to be just as comfortable adapting to the challenges that vMA throws at you. If you really want to go with that double destro build, then by all means have at it. If you start dying a lot and find some stages to be really difficult, then here is where the adaptation thing comes in. If you are going to shield stack anyway, won't Healing Ward be a bigger "bubble" than Hardened when you are at low health and have the extra benefit of actually refilling your health bar after 6 seconds (unlike Hardened which just goes away)? Wouldn't Light's Champion be a potential more useful ultimate than the Meteor you're never using anyway? It's not like you can't get strong DPS with a resto staff backbar.


 dragonknight-eso Dragonknight Advice:

My highest vMA score is on a DK. Very underrated for this content and this is the best class to use if you want to get a leaderboard time since you merely need to finish. Reflective Scales is very useful on stages 3-8. Burning Embers is a fantastic skill as it’s cheap, does very efficient damage, and heals. Moar DoTs. A lot going for this class.

  • Before Morrowind, I would have said have at it in vMA with your heavy armor blockcasting PvP build. Not anymore, go for the caster archetype.
  • Force Shock is a more versatile spammable than Flame Lash. You need range. And Flame Lash is only going to pay off if you can consistently get targets off balance which isn't easy to setup when you have to tank and heal yourself. Plus that means double barring a destro (or forgoing Flame altogether), which makes for a more fragile build. I believe Flame Lash spam falls under the category of "advanced tactics" that beginners struggling to survive is going to find it difficult to count on.
  • With the above two in mind, I like Inferno / Resto staff. I like Healing Ward can grant you a 40K health bubble that Dragonblood cannot do.
  • If you need resources and are in trouble, drop your destro ultimate on a bunch of trash rather than trying to save it for a boss that you won’t get to anyway because you’re going to die.
  • Eruption + Fire blockade + Inferno + Burning Breath + Burning Embers spam kills Crematorium guards almost passively.
  • Skills I’d recommend: Elemental Blockade, Elemental Drain, Burning Embers, Force Shock (either morph), Harness Magicka, Eruption, Healing Ward, Burning Breath, Igneous Weapons. That leaves 1 flex spot. My advice: Inferno for stages 1 and 9, Mutagen for stage 2, Dragonfire Scales for stages 3-8. You can free up another slot by using expensive tri-pots, a course I’d recommend once you aren’t wasting your money by dying so much. Once you free up a slot, always slot Inferno. Note: I used to use Inhale and think it’s a fantastic skill. Could swap it out for Eruption or Burning Breath for more survivability, though your DPS will take a bit of a hit.

If you want to use that Trap Beast or a Charged Lightning staff back bar spec, have at it. Through experience, if you find this "super duper killer combo" that works on a Target dummy is more difficult when a Crematorium Guard is in your face and you're dodging Lich Crystals, then it's time to adapt. DK clears and kills this content without having to use Flash Lash just fine. In short, I think this is "advanced tactics," something that an experienced DK can use to improve their score, but akin to trying to run before you walk for those unfamiliar with vMA.

warden-eso  WardenAdvice

Took me a while to get used to this class. The class isn't great with DPS, but it can take a beating even in light armor. Pros and cons. Fights will be more drawn out, but you’re more apt to survive in dangerous situations.

  • I dislike how the generic Force Shock is a superior spammable to Warden’s own native skill. I used Birds anyway because I’m spiteful like that, plus the minor heal made me feel like it wasn’t a total waste.
  • Deep Fissure on cooldown. It’s your best skill. When you are getting mobbed, you’re not going to want to cast this, do so anyway.
  • Leeching Vines + Harness Magicka is such a strong combination that you can rely on Mushrooms as a legit burst heal option. So this opens up options. Sword and Shield gives an extra 5 piece bonus, stronger blocks, less bar switching under pressure. Resto offer Mutagen, which makes you even more tanky. Double destro for masochists (or experienced vMA players) who absolutely have to squeeze out every drop of DPS.
  • Be sure to have Animal Companion and Green Balance skills on both bars for the passives.
  • Healing Thicket is your “Oh crap” ultimate.
  • I found destro ultimate better than the bear. It’s hard to maximize the bear since you’re going to be too busy trying not to die rather than using it whenever you get 75 ultimate accumulated against the correct target.
  • Skills I’d recommend: Elemental Blockade, Elemental Drain, Winter’s Revenge, Deep Fissure, Swarm (either morph), Leeching Vines, Harness Magicka, Heal (Mushroom or Healing Ward), Blue Betty, DPS spammable (Force shock recommended, Birds if you’re spiteful like me). It’s a pretty strict list. I like Lotus Blossom and Frost Cloak, but what to drop? Advanced players can get away without that Mushroom Heal. You could drop Elemental Drain if you are not adverse to heavy attack spamming.

Keep your Deep Fissure up! And don't forget to be facing the bad guys when it goes off. If your a stamina player, this class strikes me as your best option: You've got a burst heal, Lotus Blossom and Leeching Vines as native HoTs, class DPS options not tied to weapons, really strong single target burst (which ideal for vMA).

The most difficult issue I found with Wardens is I find it unnecessarily difficult to "animation cancel" skills and swapping bar is an issue. The animations for this class and their timing are not consistent with the other classes and because a long time ago Zos introduced a dubious animation priority system that makes it so what you see on your monitor is not necessarily what your character is doing, this class can be frustrating to play in difficult content.


nightblade-eso  NightbladeAdvice:

I actually ran my first Nightblade run a few months ago. With just generic gear and the alliance War Blue potions (I am both too lazy to switch my "BiS" gear from character to character and cheap), I missed a flawless run by a stupid plant spawn in Stage 7. Very strong toolkit for this content, in particular the incoming HoTs while dealing damage is ideally for vMA.

  • You probably have Twisting Path. Remoprh to Refreshing until you can beat vMA.
  • If you absolutely hate resto staffs, I actually think NBs have an easier time doing without one than sorcerers. (Though if you use one, you're really hard to kill and can almost stumble into a Flawless run like I did).
  • Unlike sorcerers, your heavy hitter (Spectral Bow) does return magicka on a kill. Fire away!
  • I like Double Take - speed plus having those 7K unkitable ice bolts miss is very valuable utility. It's prefect for folks while learning vMA.
  • Sap Essence is a strong skill. It's not used by advanced players, but it can be very helpful for you say in the Ice Flows stage when you have multiple trolls, werewolves, and mages beating on you. Plus it allows you to be cheap and get Major Sorcery without using spellpower pots.
  • I am not a very good NB player, yet I found it had a very strong toolkit, almost as if ZoS designed the class specifically for this sort of content.
  • Siphoning Strikes is probably better than Elemental Drain
  • Skills I'd recommend: Actually too many! Swallow Soul, Cripple, Refreshing Path, Elemental Blockades, Impale, Merciless Resolve, Double Take, Harness Magicka, Leeching Strikes, Healing Ward, and Sap Essence are all going to be really useful strong for beginners. There are enough HoTs here that even newer players might not need two shields (instead use Double Take to prevent incoming damage).

No class is more flexible than a Nightblade, no class can more freely succeed without running a "meta" build. Whatever 10 (good) skills you put together, your build is going to be strong, so have at it. The one thing I would recommend is don't be a slave to a Target Dummy DPS parse. Nightblades have such a strong toolkit dedicated for survival under duress that would be wasting the class's strengths just to squeeze an extra 5% DPS or something. If you find yourself dying in VMA, be quick to load up your character skill sheet and slot the right tool for the job.

General advice for stamina Players, again with the caveat I'm a magicka player.

  • Each stam class has a strong magicka skill that helps keep them alive: Igneous Shield, Leeching Vines, Restoring Focus, Power Surge (couple with Hurricane is ridiculous self healing), Leeching Strikes (get those weaves in!). Couple this with options like Blood Craze, Rally, Rapid Strikes, Blade Cloak, and Vigor (not optional I'd argue) and you have a strong toolkit to beat vMA. Don't feel the need to roll a pet sorc!
  • One of the rare times I'll suggest DPS over versatility: Poison Injection is too strong of a DPS skill to drop for Venom Arrow. You are stamina, you shouldn't have an issue bashing for interruptions.
  • If you can get your hands on it, Vicious Ophidian set is very good for this content because while it isn't "best in slot" for DPS, it offers strong versatility, which is exactly what my guide advocates. You can still do this with Hunding's, Nightmother's, etc. (if anything, your DPS might be higher) so if you don't have a regular group that runs trials, don't sweat it too much.
  • If you go Two-Hand route, I'd take Dizzying Swing. Two-Hand I don't think is popular, but it has an execute, a burst heal, Carve is *really* good with a Master's Weapon, it's totally doable if that's your preferred style.
  • If you want to be cheap and use Green Potions (which you should while first starting), Momentum and Shrouded Daggers (take this Morph) can give access to Major Brutality if it's inconvenient to get from your class kit. As @Asmael points out, while Steel Tornado is the popular morph, you usually don't have more than three mobs to begin with, and the longer range + snare makes the dagger option more beginner friendly.
  • I've been hit with the Blood Craze skill more than enough times in PvP to know it's great - cheap, strong DoT, heals, everything you want for vMA. Take this morph!
  • While I'm not 100% sure on how Blade Cloak's mechanics interact with some of the environmental hazards in VMA, I want to say every stage is AoE and should be reduced. Throw in passive DPS (and proccing weapon enchants) and this strikes me as a skill I'd highly recommend for duel wielders.
  • Can a primary bow build do this? It's been done. Here is one exmaple from Nov. 2016. . I think Bow is better now (Magnum shot got reworked), so probably better options now.

Some Overall General Guidelines.

In general, I recommend the same outline for each class: trading some DPS for versatility and survival. This is probably the one thing that some players are going to disagree with me. Again, this guide is meant to help folks get their first clear; my advice is not intended and indeed may not be productive for maximizing a score. I think people who clear this in under an hour forget that vMA is easy for them, not for folks who are struggling so much that their frustrations unfortunately carry over to the people they are living with. The devs have designed a lot of skills that we as DPS never use in group content because they are not needed. Don't forget you have them!

I have found that depending on too many or precise bar switching to be more trouble than it's worth, at least before your first clear. The best PvP players typically have an "offensive" bar they do damage on and a "back bar" with heals, utility, and buffs to keep things simple so the can react quickly and consistently depending on the situation they are in (PvP typically has attack and defensive phases). PvE players, on the other hand, will treat their "back bar" as a place to put their DoTs and have their switches depending on buff and DoT timers. You are going to have to react to enemy threats, so it's going to difficult to switch back and forth when you want, which may result in even lower DPS (every second your Elemental Blockade is not down, you're losing a ton of DPS). I found it much more natural to adopt a PvP "off bar" method which has my "nice but not necessary DPS" skills intermixed with my primary defensive skills, whereas I have my best DPS skills available for convenient use on my front bar. This ensure I always get consistent good (even if not the best) DPS and can "turtle up" effectively without relying on bar switching.

When I first cleared vMA, I found that having DoTs do passive damage and DPS skills than heal at the same time was the key to beating it. That advice is even more relevant now with the nerfs to resource management than came with the Morrowind update. Your DoTs kill things without expending resources and even when you are desperately trying to survive rolling around and shielding. Spammable DPS skills that do nothing but instant damage are almost obsolete, a luxury to use only when your resource bar is nearly full. Heavy attack stuff in your ground AoE DoTs is the most efficient means to kill stuff. I'll cast Harness Magicka and a DPS skill that heals me if to deal with incoming damage to speed up the process.

The other thing I would say for all builds is to have a higher resource management than your dungeon DPS builds. But don't go overboard here. In ZoS's mind, 129 Magicka recovery is equivalent to 129 Spell damage. They're not. The 129 Spell Damage is more valuable. The trick is to just get enough recovery and devote the rest to damage. For me, I use Elemental Drain, heavy attack spam, and make an effort to get a kill with destruction staff and that's barely enough. You are often not going to have the luxury of choosing how to kill a mob (you're just going to hope it dies) and you going to have to shield, heal, block, sprint more than me, so you're going to need more. Change a glyph (I recommend recovery, there's downtime in vMA), go Atronach, do something. Don't forget the Haste glyph

My favorite trick for magicka characters: you can go all out damage if you use the Lich set as a "back bar" with Lich weapons, ideally sword and shield though Destruction and Restoration Staffs work too. Sword and shield works like a charm for Templars and Wardens

In short you want as much damage as possible while subsisting on the minimum "sweet spot" of resource recovery.


Maelstrom Arena Stage Advise

Stage One: Maxus the Trash-Talker
The stage is easy peasy until you get to the boss. He's a gatekeeper of sorts, meant to let you know "if you can't beat me, you have no shot at completing this."

Regular rounds Sleepwalk through them.
Boss: This is a DPS race and if you fall behind you're in trouble. Do *not* underestimate him. He will split off adds, one in first phase, one in second phase, two in third phase, if you get to a fourth phase, then you need to rethink you approach. The adds will combine with the boss and heal him so take the first two out (passively, your ground AoEs and maybe a good single target DoT is enough). Boss's most dangerous mechanic is the blackened ground he conjures. Avoid or dodge out if it if he gets you in it. Other than that, he'll teleport around and has a fairly potent ranged attack meant to let you know that you will need to move and if you don't passively heal or use Harness Magicka/Vigor, you'll never complete this. Never let your ground DoTs fall off. One the third set of adds spawns, ignore them and burn down the boss. If things get hairy at the end, and they probably will until you get used to this, grab the Shield Sigil when he spawns near it. If your DPS isn't there, grab the Power Sigil at some point. Also, one reason I like resto staff back bar is you will have that ultimate up for the burn phase, which can provide the critical difference if your DPS isn't on point..

Stage Two: Dwemer Centurions
The stage is nothing but a heal and resource check. It is rather resource intensive as healing is more expensive than damage. The unavoidable spinning blades are much more dangerous than dwemer mobs.

Regular rounds
The best way to limit your damage from the blade is to always stay in one spot, and that spot is going to be where a switch is. If you stay in one spot, you'll never move in the same direction as the blades, (they go in different directions, so this is hard not to do), which is what kills you. you'll also have maximum up-time on switches, which stop the blades. Mutagen is a really convenient and efficient spell for this round, consider using it you are having resource issues.

If you stay in place, the little ranged adds are easily killed via a heavy attack. The spheres require a bit more; Elemental blockade (great with elemental drain, especially when finishing off with a heavy attack) or Poison Injection + heavy attack should do the trick. Everything else will walk towards you (and into your ground DoTs). The only real threat the mobs offer is the centurions slam attack that you will have to block/dodge.

Boss: Three centurions that aren't particularly difficult, but the fight does take some getting used to. What will happen is they'll go into inactive phases, which serves the purpose of dragging the fight out so you'll have to continue healing/mitigating the swirling blades, which means it's testing your resource management. Note: You can heavy attack the inactives and that still gives resources back. The Centurions have two primarily threats: the slam attack, just dodge/block and the electrified ground DoTs. That ground DoT does enough damage to a low CP character to be wary of it, you better have good incoming healing/mitigation if you're going to elect to stand in it. The more conservative approach is to stay out and rely on your Ground Dots, single targets dots, and ranged heavy attacks (for resources). Prioritize survival over DPS. It's not a hard fight, just a pain because it's resource intensive because of you must heal through unavoidable damage. Don't forget the Sigils if you are running dry on resources.

Stage Three: Lamia Islands
The first stage where the early rounds will start killing you. Do *not* stand in the water for any length of time unless you enjoy 9k shock damage. This stage requires a lot of mobility because the ranged adds can't be kited and the stranglers put a 90% snare on you that's super frustrating, so you they have to die as soon as convenient (as opposed to possible). This stage mostly tests target prioritization, the snakes and melee adds just get in the way. Note: Remember the defense sigil! You get it every round.

Regular Rounds Mostly covered above. The ranged lamias will put out a shockwave that staggers, which is potentially lethal in combination with the many other threats. It's hard to see or keep track of it so the best thing to do is kill them first. The mini bosses also start being a pain. Two-hander's uppercut needs to be blocked/dodged. Hag puts up a reflect shield and has a black drain attack (which is bashable). I recommend heavy attacking the hag so you have full resources for boss.

Boss: She is faster than you and has melee attack that hits for 9K. Kiting is hard. So I recommend going toe-to-toe with her and absolutely make sure you use your burst heal/shield or dodge/vigor you ever go below 50% health. This is why I think heal+DPS at the same time is so strong, you don't have to worry about kiting bosses. The adds are annoying rather than dangerous, except the mage in the first add wave (it spawns on the "far" island from where you enter the arena). Then, of course, are the stranglers. They also need to die (although if you've got the boss to low health, consider just burning her even if you are super-snared).

She does a lot of melee damage - even to max CP players - so this fight is going to seem hard at first. You must be disciplined with your mitigation/healing while you have your DoTs ticking on the boss or else you're going to run out of resources before killing her. Occasionally she'll stay at range and do this scream thing: get your resources back! Until you get the hang of this fight, the Shield, Haste, and Heal Sigils are all extremely useful and using them together you can have 90 seconds of a super survivable build.

Stage Four: Big Huge Spider
The most prominent feature to this round are the sentries. I'm going to tell you that they should be destroyed before they reach the middle, however the reality is that if you are at all behind on DPS, you are not going to be able to do this. As annoying as they are, they won;t kill you if you move and are disciplined with your Harness/Vigor. The Dwemer Spheres, on the other hand, will. So I see the little sentries as targets of convenience rather than priority.

Regular Rounds
The majority of your opponents are ranged mages and little Dwemer spiders. Annoying, but manageable. Do not single target spam them. If there is only one, heavy attack it. If there are multiple, move next to ranged, put down your ground DoTs and be effecient with your resources. The big threat in this stage are the Spheres. The have a deadly Lightning Wall and their "bounce" melee attack does a ton of damage. On the third round, you'll get a double sphere spawn. Ultimate or shield sigil!

The mini-bosses do a lot of trash-talking, but aren't very dangerous. The first two are mages and the third one is a two-hander. As long as you block the Uppercut and don;t stand in red, they go down easily enough provided your ground DoTs make short work of the regular mobs.

Boss: Easy once recognize it is a DPS race and nail down the right strategy. The power Sigil is your friend if your CP isn't maxed. This is the only boss fight that sort of resembles a DPS rotation, just stay inside the green circle and do your thing (and your thing better include having HoTs to mitigate the residual damage. If possible, I recommend using your Destro ultimate when the spider stops, to ensure you get every tick (as a bonus, you'll also catch the sphere that spawn). When the boss stops and goes to his fire phase, do not forget to reapply your ground DoTs and then you have a choice to make. What's going to happen is a bunch of fire is going to spew, ground DoTs will appear, and a spider and sphere add will spawn. The more experienced players stay right there and continue DPSing the boss, but that's hard. I find it safer to move *ahead* of the boss toward the spider add. The further away you are from the boss, the more time you have to react to the fire spewing. Ideally the sphere stays next to the boss and dies in your destro ultimate/ground Dots, you take out the spider, and from there toss out a couple ranged attacks until the Spider resumes moving and you repeat the process.

Ideally. Sometimes you don't have a destro ultimate. Sometimes the sphere follows you. If that happens, you've got to destroy that sphere. It's more important than waiting for your ground DoT on the boss to expire. The Shield sigil is right there (you ran past it if you moved ahead of the boss), if you feel like you need a little help.

Once the adds are destroyed and the bug Spider gets moving, repeat the process of your DPS rotation. Ideally, there's the word again, you destroy the spider before it stops and a mage add spawns. It does take good DPS to do, though not strictly necessary. Again just reapply the ground Dots and move ahead of the boss to deal with mage. She's a glass cannon and easily taken down, although you should not ignore it because streak-stun in combination of a ground AOE can kill you. When she dies, you do nothing else but DPS the boss. No matter what spawns, burn the boss. If the spider stops a third time and more adds spawn, you either need to improve your DPS rotation or grab the Power Sigil.

****Incoming Difficulty Spike******

Stage Five: Ice flows
The water has a large freezing DoT. Trolls will smash the ice flows and spawn mini-boss Nereids. And the biggest threats are the ranged sets of adds that stand in an environmental hazard tossing out 7K attacks that you cannot kite. These have to die. Also of note, the ogres enrage and do very high melee DPS. What is crazy is that there are sometime 4-5 adds in the middle of your ice island pounding away at you. Learn where and when the adds spawn and make intelligent use of the defensive sigil!

Regular Rounds

  • DK Reflective Scales makes this stage so much easier
  • Sometimes you'll forget to damage/attack the archers and mages while you are desperately blocking, shielding, and dodging the multiple melee adds. Huge mistake. You've got to put DoTs on them so they'll die even when you got your are in "turtle" mode.
  • About the trolls breaking platforms; they are targets of convenience rather than priority. If it's too dangerous or risky to kill a troll, the correct move is to make a beeline for the shield sigil.
  • About the giants, their shatter attack will one-shot a DPS spec. Attack them from behind or have a shield up / prepare to roll dodge away.
  • For the 3rd round, there are three waves, all dangerous. When first learning, gonna want the shield sigil. Best time to grab it is when you are low on ultiamte and when it's running low, make your way to the Heal sigil just in case you need an extra boost.
  • For the 4th round, a good beginner strategy is to start on the island with the shield Sigil and grab it as soon as the bad guys spawn. Also you dont need to kill the spectral dogs, just the last giant and the mage add.

Boss: This is extremely *hard* if you do it wrong (too much DPS...the only fight in the game where DPS punishes you) and super manageable once you have a strategy. The key to this fight is the boss destroys the ice and the adds spawn based on health. So YOU control the pace of the fight. Be intelligent and not in a rush. If you are low on resources, just heavy attack and reset the fight so to speak. If you try to burn her too quickly, you will get overrun by adds. K, first priority in this fight are the trolls; if they succeed breaking an ice flow, you will lose because you cannot stop the boss from breaking two ice flows. You need to learn the tell for when the boss breaks an island because it is a one-shot if you are even near the island. The following strategy works every single time:

  • Start on the island you first spawned at (the one with the haste sigal). DPS the boss a little and grab the haste.
  • Troll + adds spawn at the same time. You go to the island where the troll goes. Kill the troll. Kite/CC melee (you are hasted, should be easy). Kill archer. If you are on the island with the 2 sigals, MOVE BACK TO THE FIRST ISLAND.
  • DPS boss + regain resources.
  • Boss will break island
  • Troll + nereid spawn. Kill them while kiting boss. Again, if you are on the island with two sigals, get off
  • When boss around 55% or so, second adds appear. Kill priority is: troll, mage, Nereid, melee. If you are magicka, I like using destro ultimate for this situation. If you are on the island with two sigals, get off
  • Boss will break island, be sure the last island you have is the one with 2 sigals.
  • Go to the 2 sigal island, grab the power boost.
  • Deal with troll + nereid, DPS boss.
  • Two ranged adds will spawn the third wave at about 30%. Immediately grab defensive sigal and just LAUGH at how you can ignore this otherwise very difficult tasks of killing the adds, healing yourself, and DPSing the boss before she breaks the third platform. You can just concentrate on boss and execute her (though if a troll sneaks in there, kill it. Neried is also a range attacker so she can be ignored as well).

Works every single time and turns the most difficult part into a breeze. You need that be on the island with two sigals for last phase.

Stage Six: Spider Daedra.
This round is also hard and not going to lie, the boss is pain because it does a lot of unavoidable damage and there is an automatic "you lose" mechanic. The key to this whole area is to make sure you have at least 2 and ideally 3 of the obelisks free of webs. You deweb them by killing the horvors near them (you can interact with the grenade and throw it at a webbed obelisk ala White Gold Tower, but a high damaging AOE will spawn under you making this something best avoided). You keep them dewebbed by killing the webspinners that try to web your open ones up. If you deweb all of them, every monster is stunned. You want 3 of them clear because when the spider swarm appears, you need to go to the lit obelisks; if you only have one or two obelisks free, you might not get a safe zone.

Regular Rounds:
You first priority is not dying. Everything else takes a backseat to killing webspinners. Everything else.
Note: You *must* kill the first horvor that spawns after you use a a super-stun anything because there is only one safe zone.

The enemies start CCing and snaring you which is a pain. The lurcher adds hit hard and the range adds are dangerous. The 3rd and 4th rounds are hard because mini-boss two-handers spawn; if you can’t super-stun them, you are going to need strategies to deal with them.

  • Round 3 the two-hander mini-boss will negate you. Wait until he uses his negate so he doesn't use it to erase your 250 cost ultimate! IF you are new, at some point when he is under 50% health, grab the defensive sigil because two archers are about to spawn.
  • Round 4: Begins with a lurcher + two adds and then another pattern of a high damaging mini-boss and two archers that spawn afterward. The defensive sigil is best used when the mini-boss is at 50% to neutralize the archers. If you are having trouble with the lurcher, I’d recommend the healing sigil. The last wave of this round sees two lurchers where put out a lot of damage. The haste sigil is ideal to use Vs. them since it make kiting their slow lumbering melee attacks easy.

Through all this don't forget the webspinners!. It isn't easy but once you get the hang of it, you will succeed more often that you die.

Boss: When I was first learning vMA, I hated this fight. Not because it is hard. But because it was so unforgiving. The whole key to this fight is that the boss will enrage and just insta-kill you every 150 seconds you do not stun her by clearing all the obelisks. [I am told throwing a horvor poison grenade at her will reset the timer. I cannot confirm this but if you know you are way behind clearing the obelisks it’s worth a shot]. Nothing is more important than killing webspinners. Nothing else is more important than killing horvers next to the obelisks. If you miss more than 1 webspinner/horver, you will lose and there is nothing you can do about it.

Like the Stage 2 (Centurions), this fight is resource intensive because you are going to get hit with unavoidable and unkiteable 7K spits the boss and the little spider add hits you with. The little spider add snares you so it has to be killed quickly, but do *not* miss any horvor/webspinners while doing so. Webspinners spawn about every 10 seconds after you kill them so you must remain vigilant. The boss has a large ground AOE that does 25K damage. She will use it while you are standing in the only safe spot when the spider swarm appears, so you might want to ensure no children under 13 are bear you when trying to do this fight. It will take you a while to get accustomed to the fight so that you can consistently clear all 5 obelisks and stun the boss.

You just have to be efficient with your resources. I would not once use a spammable on the main boss. Save these expensive skills that don't do much Vs. the Webspinners and perhaps the mini snaring spider. I try to kite the horvor near an obelisk and finish it off with a heavy attack. You don't do a DPS rotation on the boss, rather you use every single DoT on her and then hunt for Horvors/Webspinners. If you get in trouble, Heal Sigil is the way to go because you want to save the Haste + Shield for the lurcher spawn (you can safely get in a bunhc of heavy attacks with Heal Sigil active).

When you stun the boss, you are going to be tempted to blow all your resources DPSing the crap out of her. Inadvisable, unless you can outright kill her right there. After you stun the boss, you have to repeat this resource intensive process all over. Just be mindful a spider swarm will appear about 10 seconds after the stun: you will only have 1 clear obelisk and of course a webspinner will appear. You must kill the spinner and kill a horvor near a webbed obelisk to ensure you have two clear spots for the safety zone to spawn.

A lurcher will spawn when the boss gets to around 50% and it's at this point the you want to use the Haste + Shield sigils. Shield because it reflects all the spits (so you take zero damage!). Haste because you want to avoid lumbering Lurcher and it can be hard to find the little snaring spider. Even if the boss get's low on health, I still always kill webspinner/horvors to ensure the maximum amount of safe zone when a spider swarm spawns.

It took me a long time to get accustomed to the fight and I found it very frustrating because it seemed like there was too high potential for death by random stuff you have zero control. In retrospect, I think a lot of my failings were L2P issues. Sure, the boss did her AOE while I had to stand in a safe zone once in a while, but my DPS was inefficient and wasted too many resources; I was too concerned with doing a DPS rotation on the boss instead of allowing my DoTs to do the work and keeping an eye out for hovors/webspinners. In my belief, the Spider Boss is something of a gatekeeper as I found everything in the arena is more manageable until the final boss. So take that as some encouragement, if you can beat the Spider Daedra, you have the build and the skill to get to the final boss.

Stage Seven: Argonians
This round is noticeably easier than the previous two. But it's one that just about everyone hates because if a poison plant explodes under your feet, you are going to take very high poison damage every tick and you have to go to one of the green pools at the top or bottom of the map to cleanse it. It's basically death unless you spam a shield (the poison is also a huge heal debuff).

There are three types of adds. The venomcallers that spawn in the corners will turn the arena into a poison mess, kill them quickly. The archer adds are high damage, but since you have access to the defensive sigil, you can neutralize them every round. The melee adds like to stun you (which in combination with the archers, would normally be deadly). It doesn't take long at all to get accustomed to the rhythm of these rounds and you will find most of the times you die is by carelessly going near a poison plant.

Note: the archer’s conal Acid Spray attack. That’s not like the regular ability, it counts as a poison-plant proc. Move out of it!

Regular Rounds:

Not much to say here because these are pretty easy. Archer does high damage, prioritize them. Put down ground AoEs that also kill the melee adds with them. Make sure you have good incoming HoTs or shield occasionally because there is a fair amount of damage. Wehn the screen turn greenish, that means a venomcaller has spawned; look for it and kill it now. Most difficult trash pull is the three archers wave that spawn in round 4. Grab the Defensive Sigil. Bonus: it will also reflect the two trolls rock attacks that spawn afterward. It’s an obvious strategy

The whole round is all about avoiding poison plants. If you can do that, quite frankly you shouldn't die to the regular adds. Pretty much ever.

The mini-bosses, however, are dangerous and have mechanics that you have to know. The trolls are annoying because their rocks snare you and hit for high damage ... do not let your health go below 50% Vs. them. When the trolls do their ground pound, immediately move out of the area. Note: the rock tosses are reflectable. When the trolls transform into big trolls, they are invulnerable. The first two round just have one troll and it's pretty easy to deal with. Round 4 has two and they put out a lot of aggregate damage so you'll have to do more healing / shielding than normal. Focus one down, but be sure to DoTs so the trolls die to your passive damage (the Heal Sigil can help a lot here).

The Wamasu in round 3 has two attacks that can kill you pretty much instantly. One is a lightning spit that snares you for 90% (fun times, a plant will spawn under you for sure) and is also a high damage DoT. The other attack is lethal; it will shake and fire 5 lightning spheres. If you're hit, it's basically a one shot. If you're struggling (and you might, I think it's the most dangerous mini-boss in the whole arena), you can do something to make it easy peasy, lemon squeezy: grab the speed sigil before it spwans (I believe it spawns after killing one of the archers). The Wamasu kills players because they can't move away from poison plants or the lightning spheres.

Boss: Not hard, just requires correct execution of mechanics and not running into a poison plant. When the adds spawn, they have high damaging lighting attacks. The idea is to kill one and then move next to the other one as it will put up a shield to protect you from the Behemoth's scream. Be careful not to interrupt either the add or the boss, else the boss enrages and his attacks become one-shots (if crushing shock was your DPS spam, just heavy attack). Believe it or not, that's the whole fight.
So what kills you then?

  • The poison plants that spawn under the shield! Annoying, but 90% avoidable. Let’s be honest, we tend to be lazy. When the 2 shield argonians spawn, I usually kill the first one I see and just hope there isn’t a mushroom by the other :smiley:
  • You didn’t take your Grothdar monster piece off and killed the shield argonian while the boss screams. Switch to Valkyn Skoria.
  • Lizard Boss CC with bite attack in combo with lightning attack. When the argonians spawn, immediately deal with them.

All these precautions being taken, there still is one danger that is a bug and I’m not sure there is anything you can do about: If the boss stomps after one argonian shielder is dead and before it does the scream attack, it hits you as if it was enraged. This one shots any glass cannon that isn’t a warded sorcerer. It’s just rotten timing. Not a big deal. Rez at waysrhine. Once you get use to the rhythm, it's not a stressful fight and you’ll clear it without too much difficulty.

Stage Eight: Daedra Island
I also didn't think this stage was particularly that hard. The first time I got to it, I cleared the four rounds with only like three deaths without even knowing the mechanics. The most dangerous attack comes from the mage adds who have the spinny fire twirl that is *not* reflected by the defensive sigil. You need to interrupt this one way or another. The two-handers have high damaging gap closers, so it's best to melee them. Block / Dodge their wrecking blow! If you stay in one spot near the edge, a lava AoE will spawn under you so keep mobile.

Regular Rounds:
Again, not hard at all. Just keep an eye out for the spinny fire twirl. The 4th round can be a bit tricky as 4 fire mages spawn immediately and they will heal each other. They happen to spawn right next to the defensive sigil, which makes for an obvious strategy.

For the mini-bosses, you need to destroy a totem first. The 3rd and 4th round boss mechanics deserves mention as they are not easy.

In the third round, a fire-spinner will spawn with the tree mini-boss. Melee players are especially vulnerable because the tree hits like a truck and the two fire atros lobbing in homing attacks complicate matters. The fire-spinner needs to die ASAP (even before the totem). The defensive sigil here is particularly strong.

The mini-boss at the end of the fourth round puts out a *lot* of burst damage with her flame breath, fire trail, and whip attack. The breath attack needs to be cleansed, shielded, and healed through quickly. She will drop a standard and then try to chain you in. Be sure to hold block when you hear the standard drop. Even with the healing sigil, the cumulative effect of her fire attacks is quite high. You have to make sure your health pool is topped off when fighting her. Either grab the Heal Sigil or pretend you are a PvP sorcerer and shield spam.

Boss: Easy peasy if you have high DPS. Can be complicated if you do not. Basically you got to burn all three totems, which gives you about a 15 second window to DPS the boss. The monkey in the wrench is the fire spinny mage that spawns. I want to say he spawns on a timer because he usually comes after you burn two of the totems, but I think if you destroy the three totems quick enough he doesn’t spawn. Don’t quote me here though. I do know that if you try to straight out DPS the three totems and aren't super quick, then the mage spawns just as your 15 seconds of burn time starts and then you are in trouble.

So, be super quick about it! However, this isn't the only way
If you're just not fast enough or if it's too much trouble, the safest approach is to leisurely destroy two totems and put a DoT on the third such that you do NOT destroy it. Deal with the add first. While you are attacking the add, the boss will catch up to you and try to unleash hard-hitting and stunning melee attacks. You have to avoid / dodge them. There is a rhythm to DPSing the add, dodging the boss, and going back to that third totem. That's the whole key to the fight. Afterward, you have a 15 second window to DPS the boss without having to worry about interrupting the spinny mage.

Flame atros will spawn; ignore them. When the totems reappear, go toward the one with the defensive sigil and grab it; that will protect you from the flame atros and the bosses breath attack. Repeat the process: destroy two totems, DoT up third, kill flame spinny add, finish off totem and boss.

Note: If you do not finish off the boss after two burn phases, and you might not if you're not at max CP and have strong DPs, then things get dicey. At this point your resources are low, you no longer have the defensive sigil, and the bosses gains a chain-pull attack that will kill you if you do not CC break super fast. Grab the haste sigil; you need speed and stamina. Your biggest threat is the fire spinny mage that spawns. Use your ultimate in it; the boss is low enough health you don’t need to save it. If the boss is not at low health, you just messed up with your tactics. Just jump in the lava because failing to burn the boss after three phases is death due to her new attack: a fire wave that covers the whole arena and is a one shot.

If your DPS is not high enough you must maximize the Power sigil so it is used in conjunction with your ultimate. Grab it just before you deal with a fire spinny mage if your ultimate is up.

Stage Nine: Theatre of Pain

The preliminary rounds are legit hard. You will begin to wipe on round 2 and you will wipe a lot until you learn the cadence of the fight and how to deal with the CC nightblades and Crematorium Guards. You need stamina this stage. Don't waste your by needlessly sprinting.

General stuff to be aware of: Gold Ghosts - prioritize getting these. Even if you have a Crematorium Guard chasing you, get the ghost. Gather 3 of them and you can stun everything on the screen and turn a wipe into a win. White Ghosts - annoying environmental hazards that do 8K damage and snare you. Obviously avoid but it's hard not to run into these things when you are focused on something else. If you stand near the edge of the island, a lava stream will target you and the hit is pretty nasty- upwards of 10K and a stun. Try to stay away from the edges. All the adds are dangerous: the NBs stun and hit upwards of 18K, the mages have a high damaging fire-line attack, the DK adds snare and hit hard, archer have one-shot taking aim. The Ogrim does a lot of ranged damage and is difficult to melee because of its belly stun attack. But by far the biggest threat are the Crematorium Guards. You *have to* figure out a way to kill these things quickly without dying for you to have any hope. Using a gold ghost explosion is highly recommended, although not always available. They are scary but it is totally manageable if you have allow your passive DoTs to do their thing.

It's hard to describe what I do to kill them, but if you look at my video below, you can see that even with just 300 CP and meh gear, I don;t have a problem killing them. You might not always have an ultimate available or a Gold Ghost explosion, but you will always have the choice of these two sigils: the Heal and the Shield. People say that circle around the daedoth that it will miss a lot with its breath attack.
I have not found it makes much of a difference. I think the people who say that just happen to either be shielding instinctively or using skills that heal while you DPS (which you should be doing!) and thus think a lot of damage is missing when it's really being mitigated. If you want to circle strafe it like the cool kids did back in 2001 when when playing Quake 2, go ahead, but it's not necessary.

The key to killing them is NOT to rely on your spammables. Rather fight in within multiple ground DoTs while having more direct damage DoTs ticking on it. This way even when you go into "turtle" mode healing, shielding, blocking, etc., the Crematorium Guard dies soon enough. When you DoTs fall off or if you move, *reapply them*. If they are still scary, just grab the heal or shield sigil.

Regular Rounds:
One: Pretty easy. Grab the three ghosts or us a sigil to kill the Crematorium Guard at the end.

Two: Noticeable difficulty spike because the last two waves have difficult pulls: A Crematorium Guard + adds and then an Ogrim + NB stunner + DK taloner. Lot of damage in both pulls so you're probably going to need help from the sigils with both until you gain experience.
Don;t get frustrated if you die a lot here, I still find those two pulls not easy.

Three: Perhaps the most difficult in all of vMA. It starts off with a Crematorium Guard plus a healer. Ideally you do not want to use an ultimate/sigil/gold ghost; if you must use one, I’d recommend the Power Sigil. You then get 3 annoying and dangerous adds. Not terribly difficult, top off your resources with heavy attacks if necessary after killing two of them. A mini-boss that spawns next. By this point you should have an ultimate, a gold ghost explosion, and the healing & defensive sigils available to you. He needs to die quickly (perhps use the power sigil), but I would hold off with the Gold ghost explosion until the next wave spawns since it is at this point when the round is most dangerous. If you don't have a Gold Ghost, you're in trouble, get the shield sigil. You might want to grab it anyway. Once the original two hand boss is dead, kill that Ogrim quickly, you don;t want it alive when the next wave spawns: a Crematorium Guard + a soul tethering NB. On this round I really really really find using a restoration staff on a magicka build extremely helpful because 40K shield that refills your health bar is really strong and you're only going to have 1 Destro ultimate. But I will have the Light’s Champion ultimate up for the Crematorium Guard.

Easier. Summoners will walk to the center and try to conjure a Bone Colossus. If they succeed, you are screwed. There are 4 waves of adds; once you learn where the summoners spawn and correctly prioritize them, the round isn't that hard (but until you do you will wipe) Get those Gold Ghosts! A crematorium guard spawns at the beginning of wave 3 - use your spectral explosion then.

Five: Crematorium Guard and a soul-thethering NB spawn at the start. Not easy, Grab the heall sigil if you need the boost (you want to save the others). After you kill the CG, grab the power sigil and do as much DPS on the titan as possible (if you are melee, dodge/block his slap attack). Do you DPSing next to the shield sigil. Before the third add wave spawns, grab the sigil (there are going to be two archers). The defensive sigil allows you to keep DPSing the titan and ignoring the adds. Note: it's hard to get the ghosts in this round, can't rely on them. I'm telling you right now even though the Ash Titan is big and ugly, the last wave of adds is actually the most dangerous since the soul tethering NB will stun you and usually you have no stamina by this point in the fight. That NB will kills you more than the titan.

After this, all that's left is the final boss!

Maelstrom Arena Final Boss Advise


This is why you are here, right? Back in the day, the first time we got to him we had hundreds and hundreds of lives. And he killed us hundreds and hundreds of times. That's just the way it was. Now that there has been some serious power creep, it is certainly easier, but I am telling you right now you are still going to wipe and wipe and wipe until you get accustomed to the fight. There actually isn't too many mechanics here and executing them is not terribly difficult. So what makes this fight so hard? It is very unforgiving. If you make a mistake, miss a dodge roll, run into a white ghost, lose track of the boss, etc., you will probably die.

Note: I recommend tri-stat food because this stage requires a lot of stamina. I also recommend tri-pots once you can get past the top crystals consistently … do NOT start using tripots the first time you get here because it will be a waste of expensive assets and I’m telling you right now they will not prevent you from constant wipes. Tri-stat food is enough for just starting this. Back in the day when we just used blue food, it wasn't a big deal switching to purple tri-stat food. If you rely on Witchmother's for regen, it might not be a bad idea to have an extra ring or necklace with a regen glyph to replace your spell damage.

If you watch a Youtube video this fight will look incredibly easy because the best players in the world have enough DPS to avoid the most dangerous mechanics and never see a Crematorium Guard. They enter the round with an ultimate charged up and burn the boss to 70%. Then they know the exact pattern of the Crystal phase so they always destroy them before the soul churn damage is too high, and then just come down, use their ultimate and flat out burn the boss.

It works great … until you die, have to start over without any ultimate, which means you don’t get him down to 70% and thus have to deal with a Crematorium Guard. Or get thrown off the top because you are not accustomed to the timing of the skull attacks and walls. Or the boss teleports out of your ultimate. You are going to have a very difficult time replicating those Youtube videos until you become experienced

So the advice here is geared toward the actual mechanics.

Stage 1: The boss will be on the bottom until you get him down to 70% health. You want to do that as quickly as possible because the Crematorium Guards spawn on a timer. I recommend saving your ultimate for the first CG spawn until you’re good enough to unfailingly burn the boss to 70%.

You are introduced to the boss's two special attacks in the first 10 seconds. He will throw a skull at you (it's a lot like the Crypt of Heart boss) - dodge or block this - and he will then teleport and then begin to channel a necrotic wave - if you don't interrupt this, you die in like 3 to 4 seconds. When he teleports a healer and a crematorium guard will spawn and until you learn how to consistently beat this, you will *never* finish. Period. End of story. You will get Rekt repeatedly. You will get mad, frustrated, and want to quit. You *must* objectively analyze what is killing you as you develop your strategy.

Use the Healing Sigil. (I'd grab it after the Boss’s first skull attack). Ignore the healer, it won’t kill you, the CG will. The Daedroth spawns right next to the boss you just interrupted; drop your ultimate, ground DoTs on CG and Boss, single target the CG. The biggest danger is a lich crystal that will spawn at your feet that can be difficult to see with all the stuff going on. As long as you dodge out of it, you should be fine. When the boss teleports, in a few seconds he is going to throw a skull at you. The Healing Sigil should be enough to keep you alive through this provided you do not make a mistake. Also, I really like a back bar cheap ultimate (resto staff) if your big one isn’t up. The combination of the Healing Sigil, avoiding the Lich Crystal, disciplined DoT placement, and proper play that is not undermined by anger, is more than enough to beat this pull consistently (note: I didn't include an ultimate in that list for a reason. As wonderful as it is to have, it's not strictly necessary and you might not have one if you are just re-spawning).

Once the daedroth is down, you just have the boss to deal with and the healer. You only care about one thing: getting to the top and stage two. Ignore the healer and put DPS on the boss while dodging skull attacks and lich crystals. This part of the fight is as easy as it gets; do *NOT* be careless as you will get really mad for having died after doing the tough part.

Stage 2: At 70% health, the boss will go up top. A clannfear will spawn. All you have to do is kill the clannfear next to the glowing portal. Take out the healer before using the portal. Do not underestimate the clannfear's damage: its regular attack does 6K and has an annoying snare and its tail swipe does 15K.

If a second Daedroth spawns, you took too long. You have to kill it because if the CG breathes on you, you now have a fire dot on you that you cannot purge and does not go away until it dies. Don't mess around. Burn the boss to 70% quickly.

Stage 3: At the top level, there are three Crystals to destroy and you must do so while dodging random red circles that spawn on you and skull attacks from the boss. There is a pattern to this that you will get that basically involves moving from side to side and keeping the camera on the boss so you know when to dodge (or block) the skulls.

Dealing with the skull attacks is very stamina intensive. Every little bit helps and blocking costs less than dodge rolling. Also, you can block with just 1 stamina :smile: If you use a sword and shield Lich back-bar setup, you can almost get away with keeping Witchmother's since blocking is much reduced. Sword and Shied DPS ftw!

All the time you are going to be taking constant soul churn damage that will increase the longer you stay up there. After throwing a skull, the boss will rise in the air and build up an explosion that will knock you off the top if you are not behind the moving wall, so once he does this you are forced to move and follow the wall. The pattern then repeats itself with higher damage and a faster wall. You'd like to destroy the three crystals in one go but that's going to be require disciplined and correct play; just another mechanic that requires getting used to.

General principles:

  • First priority, don't get hit by the comets that land in the red circles. It's a stun, snare, and it's not easy to CC break and dodge the skull the boss throws at you. Nothing is more important than avoiding these.
  • DPS + healing skills are super useful here. So are harness magicka and blade cloak.
  • DoTs are better than instant casts here.
  • Chasing Walls is almost always bad.
  • Try to still DPS the crystals even during the wall phase. The first wall is slow, move to the Crystal just ahead of it and do your DPS there. When the wall gets near, then get behind it. Note: The first wall is the only one you' might move forward to and chase. The second wall is considerably faster - do *NOT* chase it and try to catch up. Instead turn around and get to where it is going (about two crystals lengths from where it spawns).
  • Be careful where you dodge, it's very easy to fall off. Generally I block the skull attacks if I'm not near a red circle.
  • I believe it is more efficient to DoT up and DPS whichever crystal you happen to be around rather than one at a time. The walls will force you to move.
  • DoTs DoTS DoTs. Every single person who has come onto these forums saying they can't DPS the crystals down has not used enough DoTs and relied too much on Force Pulse, Surprise Attack, and such.
  • This is very stamina intensive. When you are drained of stamina and die to a comet because you thought a bit extra DPS with blue food was a good idea, remember I recommended purple food for Stage Nine. This stage is the only one I use tri-stat potions for.
  • When the third wall spawns, it’s faster than you can run. You'll never catch it. Anticipate where it will end up, I want to say a little more than one complete revolution around the top. If that last crystal is low, it might be a better idea just to burn it down.
  • If you are low on DPS, the soul churn damage may become too much: you can always jump down (as opposed to getting thrown off). THIS IS A LEGIT STRATEGY!

If you get thrown off the top. Immediately head toward the Defensive Sigil. Grab it, and prioritize killing the Crematorium Guard while avoiding the Lich Crystals. With the defensive sigil it's very manageable; I used to do this all the time back in the day before the power creep. So not a huge deal, which is why I recommend simply jumping off the top if the Soul Churn damage is too much. Once the CG dies, just kill the clannfear and go back at top with hardly any soul churn damage and a slow first wall. Trust me, it’s a completely legit tactic if burning the three crystals at the top is too difficult.

Let me repeat that. If you are dying because the soul churn damage is too high, JUMP OFF. If you are intimidated by a Crematorium Guard while having the defesnive sigil by this point, you are not in the correct state of mind. Once you go back up, the Soul Churn damage is reset and you can easily finish the job and even take you time getting your ultimate back while you do.

Stage 4: Super easy if you have good DPS. Gets complicated if you don’t. Another potential complication: resource mamagements:

If you are running out of resources, then some reexamination needs to be done. Take off inner light and put on elemental drain. Put on a recovery glyph. Harness magicka instead of Hardened Ward (seriously, it's way more efficient). More DoTs and heavy attacking, less Surpise Attacking. Finally, if you know you are running low on resources, the best thing to do is heavy attack the crystals, get some resources back and jump off. Yes jump off. The Soul Churn damage will kill you faster the CG. Once you go back upstairs, the Soul Churn damage is minimal and walls are slow-moving (they reset). Just heavy attack the remaining crystals. There, now we have 100% full resources to deal with Stage 3


If you watch the pros do this, they just flat out burn the boss. The boss will begin his necrotic wave attack. Interrupt this, grab the Power Sigil, drop you hard hitting ultimate, and DPS the crap out of him. After about 10 seconds or so, he will teleport, follow him and keep nuking him. This does require quite a bit of DPS, you can’t waste time chasing Gold Ghosts (they move to boss grab them then). Done correctly, boss should die before the intended mechanics kill you: CG spawns and the bone colossus summoners who also appear.

If your DPS is not on point, or if you have like 300 CPs, then this gets complicated. You are going to have to do this fight the way the devs intended. It’s not too hard so I wouldn’t beat my head against the wall if your DPS isn’t high enough.

Here is how you do the arena if burning the boss is not an option. In essence you had to do all this at the same time:

  1. DPS boss
  2. Grab gold ghosts
  3. Prevent summoners from spawning Bone Colossus
  4. Not die to boss’s two special attacks: skulls and channeled necrotic waves

That’s a lot for an inexperienced player. That is what is killing you. Just got to get used to it.

Know that the CGs spawn on a timer, they come about the same time as the third ghost. So the intended strategy is obvious: grab every gold ghost, you can always super-stun the CG and avoid that mechanic as well. Nothing is more important than getting the ghost ghosts if you are going the non-burn route. GET THE GOLD GHOSTS.

Here's what I would do. Proceed calmly toward the boss (Harness magicka eats up that channeled attack ... stamina players Vigor and be a bit more hasty getting to him) and interrupt the boss. You need to to three things, the order in which you do them depends on where the gold ghost spawns. The order listed here is your preference, but if gold ghost is near the boss, you get that first.

  1. Ground DoTs + signle target DoTs on boss
  2. Grab Haste sigil.
  3. Get gold ghost

Do NOT sprint. You need stamina to block, dodge, and bash.

What happens next is the Summoner will walk toward the center and the boss will teleport and a second gold ghost appears. I'd love to say ignore the summoner, but if some of your wipes are because of a bone colossus, you CANT. Killing him isn;t a huge deal so if in doubt, I'd absolutely do it. Anyway, here's again the lst of things you need to do.

  1. Ground DoTs + signle target DoTs back on boss. Really, really, really, really try to do this first. You almost never want to use a single DPS spammable on boss. DoTs are how he dies while you are multi-taking elsewhere. This is why recommend you using the Speed sigil so you can get the ghost after doing this.
  2. Gold Ghost
  3. Kill summoner. At this point you Ground DoTs expired and the boss will teloport away so no need to reapply them. You can use them to kill the dumb summoner.

The third ghost will spawn and the boss will then teleport and do a channeled attack. Then the CG will spawn. This is what you want to do:

  1. Get gold ghost (You have ground DoTs on summoner, you can leave him to die)
  2. Wait until boss teleports. Interrupt boss
  3. Wait until CG spawns. Should be right net to boss. Use gold ghost super explosion.
  4. AoE ultimate on both CG and Boss. Ground Dots on both. Singjle target Dots on both. CG should die passively. Now, finally, do you concentrate your DPS on boss. It should be close to execute range by now

After this, do nothing but finish off the boss. Grab gold ghosts is they come near the boss, don't run out chasing them.

Monkeys in the Wrench:

  • Running out of stamina. There's a reason I recommended purple food + switching out a recovery glyph. Also stop sprinting. The speed sigil is right there.
  • The boss got a gold ghost. Sometimes he'll teleport right there. Some players recommend you grab the defensive sigil first. I don't. I want to save it just in case the boss grabs a gold ghost because that means you have to actually fight the Crematorium Guard as you won't be able to stun it. If the boss grabs the ghost, you grab the defensive sigil. When the boss channels his necrotic attack, you don;t have to interrupt it (indeed you shouldn't as the boss will damage himself). You instead get the gold ghost that spawns, move to the boss while the CG follows you, then stun both. Now they can be AoEd together. If you think about it, you'll actually be doing more DPS on boss this way since he'll be damaging himself so it's not a big deal if the boss gets a ghost
  • The boss had a lot of health after the first gold Ghost explosion and CG death. You can't just execute him. This is because you were not disciplined putting DoTs on the boss. It's not your build. Look at the video below, that's my 300 CP resto staff wielding no Inner Light no end-game gear DK being able to finish the boss off.

The biggest issue here is you have to do those 4 mechanics simultaneously: gold ghosts, DPS boss, avoid boss special attack, deal with summoners. That’s legit hard. Ye second biggest killer is running out of stamina on a magicka build. This fight is going to be hard until you get used to it, that’s just the way it is. Do not be discouraged!

As a general rule, here is the ideal order to do last phase:

  1. First time you come down, boss needs to be interrupted.
  2. Ground DoTs on boss
  3. Single target DoT on boss
  4. Speed Sigil
  5. Gold Ghost (if near boss, moves up priority list)
  6. Reapply DoTs on boss
  7. Gold Ghost
  8. Kill Summoner. You can you your DoTs because boss teleported
  9. Gold Ghost (if boss gets one, this changes to Shield Sigil)
  10. Interrupt boss
  11. Make sure CG spawn is next to boss, then explosion. If boss teleports, wait until CG spawns and comes to you before exploding so they can be AoEed down.
  12. AoE ulimate
  13. Ground Dots
  14. Single target DoT on CG and boss
  15. Burn boss

I'll give a bit more explanation for this video, but I'll put it up for now.

I am a bit out of practice and it’s been a long time since I’ve had 300 CPs, but if I can get a 400K score on a class that isn’t considered strong for this content, then I think that undermines the claims made by some (frustrated) players that vMA is inaccessible to the masses of the ESO community. You don't need to have "BiS" gear, don't need to be a magicka ranged class, don't need a "meta" build, don't even need max CPs.

I did use power sigils at certain points as there’s only so much 300 CPs with meh gear and no spellpower potions can do, but I believe that’s precisely why Zenimax included the sigils: so people with a middling build who don't have the greatest twitch reflexes can still beat vMA. All of these sigils are incredibly powerful and you get all of them every single round of every single stage. It was ZoS's way of adding a difficulty switch: if you want to be challenge, don;t use them (and get rewrded for a higher score). If you want to complete the content, get the achievement, get that Destruction staff or bow, use the sigils when first learning!

In my run, I tried to follow the advice and the tactics that I advocate in this guide, that is practice what I preach. The tactics I used were not meant to get the highest score, rather the path of least resistance so to speak. If I made a mistake (and they are quite a few of them!), I did point them out in the video.

The biggest difference I noticed between this 300 CP run and my regular build is that I was taking a lot more damage. Surprisingly, my DPS felt comparable and not too bad at all (even more surprising since I opted for a resto staff. You can pull a respectable DPS parse with a backbar nirnhoned restoration staff with spell/weapon damage glyph).

I would also say it *felt* like my resource management was worse, but it wasn’t. If anything, it was better (I added a recovery glyph and Morrowind changes to Champion System made having max CPs much less relevant). As to why it felt worse, it’s simply because of the main problem you will face: it is very resource intensive to heal, tank, and mitigate a lot of incoming damage. And because I was taking more damage, that manifested in draining my resources faster. With 300 CPs, having 800 regen is no bueno. Make some Witchmother's Brew / Dubious Camlorn Throne and get some health into your build from somewhere.

A video is provided here.

Maelstrom Arena Rewards





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    • Anonymous

      I know the likely hood of somebody responding to this is low but I've scoured damn near every corner of the internet and can't find any answers, HOW DO YOU QUEUE VETERAN MODE, I've done maelstrom arena around 5-6 times, but cannot find out how to enter it on the harder dificulty, and before you tell me to press 'P' key, I am on Xbox, dungeon finder doesnt include vMA

      • Anonymous

        There's no RNG here, everything targets you - everything stacks so you can't target what you need to, and conveniently enough, everything stuns you at exactly the right moment when the AoE hits. This is *****ED developing, and anyone who'd completed it did on EZ-mode with a werewolf or some other stupid*****. This is piece of***** developing from piece of***** developers. Anyone who says otherwise is full of it as well - it's a total lucky crap shoot if you're able to make it, and definitely not something that should be part of any MMO where pings and response times play a factor. ***** ZOS devs and product managers for even putting this absolute piece of***** instance in the game.

        • Anonymous

          Why in the world does Maelstrom Arena need a walkthrough? Just go dps with at least 1 heal, and your golden.

          • Anonymous

            Since I skimmed through and didnt see/probably passed stamina class advice, I'd like to note a few tips for us stam sorcs: 1. You don't need whirlwind. Hurricane+Deadly cloak active is like a free whirlwind every second for 15 seconds which is free stamina. 2. Bound armaments is a take or leave skill. If you're doing a legit trial, it's necessary. Take crit surge instead and decide if you wanna use armaments or one of the flurry morphs. 3. Your back bar should be bow and you NEED Poison Injection, Caltrops, Endless Hail, and Dark Deal. You can switch between trap beast and vigor accordingly depending on which boss you feel strong or weak against. 4. Make sure atleast hurricane and crit surge is active at ALL times. If you don't have enough stam for deadly cloak to be active, that's okay. You can heal with hurricane and crit surge as you pop a potion and heavy+dark deal to full stamina again. 5. Don't be afraid to use the buffs in the arena. It's just you in that arena and nobody is gonna judge you for using them. Just make sure you use them when you REALLY need to. For example: While the boss is at full health, don't grab the damage buff option. Use the defense buff instead. Burn it down to half health and then grab every other buff. 6. The boss burning rotation standard is as followed: Endless Hail+Light Attack+Caltrops+Light Attack+Poison Injection+Light Attack+Bar Switch+Light Attack+Rend+Light Attack+(Flurry+Light Attack)*5+Reactivate Hurricane and Deadly Cloak+Repeat whole process=Success. (These tips are for players who can not parse over 30k dps as it's gonna be hard for them to burn bosses down)

            • Anonymous

              Can someone edit a shorter version of this, aint no body got time to read the authors first chapter on Eso

              • Anonymous

                Totally ruined these weapons when you took away the weapon dmg pointless, should at least change the skills most of them work off

                • Anonymous

                  VMA is fun. it was fun learning each painful stage over a few months and dying hundreds of times and now it's super fun that i'm good at it and finally got a flawless run. i can't wait until there is another solo arena released. i can't stand fishing or housing but i don't complain about those aspects of the game. if you don't like it, stop running it and go back to what you do like in the game.

                  • Anonymous

                    VMA is easy when you understand the mechanics. Thoes who say you need all gold gear and have to be max level just don’t run the right setups. It’s a 100% mechanics arena. It took me longer than most I was around 550 when I beat it the first time but after the first time I can beat it in about an hour and 15 minutes now. Just have to run the right builds and have good placed champ points. Anyone can do it. Just takes practice wouldn’t be any fun if it was easy and they just gave you the items. Sometimes it’s fun when it’s hard tests you to get better and not just be a 1 trick pony

                    • Anonymous

                      vMA was the reason im not playing this shit of game anymore. Wasting toons of time and gold and end up with junk

                      • Anonymous

                        Thank you for this guide! I used it, took it slow and got my first vMA pass with my DE DK. Now to perfect my own mechanics to try for some scores.

                        • Anonymous

                          Thanks for the guide. It may be extremely hard but at least we can read this and hopefully learn any mistakes we are making.

                          • Anonymous

                            Maelstrom arena is *****in retarded! I googled several different guides and they turned out to be bull*****! you have to be wearing bis gold gear to farm this content for bis weapons! waste of *****in time and gold to get different gears sets to run this on just to *****in fail! another *****in thing in the game that caters to the elite gamers!

                            • Anonymous

                              Can you get maelstrom weapons from normal maelstrom runs?
                              Will a lot of champion points in the thief improve the odds of getting the maelstrom weapons from any chest?

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