Tencent Games and Garena’s multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game Arena of Valor (Honor of Kings in China) is highly popular in Southeast Asia, and a lot of people have been playing it on their mobile phones and consoles.
For new players, we have prepared this guide to learn the basics of a Classic 5v5 match in Arena of Valor. From heroes and their skills down to the game’s economy — we’ve got you covered.
The main goal of Arena of Valor’s Classic 5v5 mode is to destroy each other’s base. The team who accomplishes this first, wins.
On average, a match lasts from 12 to 18 minutes.
Teams and roles
A team consists of five players with different roles.
- Tank – the hero that soaks up all the damage; usually has the highest health among the team.
- Warrior – these melee heroes have high attack statistics and a fair amount of HP, typically played in the Dark Slayer lane (top)
- Assassin – they like to roam around the map, gaining experience by killing jungle monsters and performing ganks to help get their laners ahead.
- Mage – the mid lane is their playground. Mages have magic abilities that deal burst damage against enemies.
- Marksman – on the opposite side of the map, Marksman heroes are assigned to the Abyssal Dragon lane at bot. Their basic attacks scale off items, which is why they are usually the ones raking up all the kills throughout a match.
- Support – these heroes sustain, heal, and provide crowd control for the team. They play a crucial part in the early game, acting as babysitters for Marksman heroes in the Abyssal Dragon lane.
The game’s controls are simple and straightforward. On the lower left side is the joystick, which is used to move heroes towards any direction of your choosing.
The lower right side is picture of a clenched fist, your ‘normal attack’ button,
Located above the normal attack button are your hero’s skills. The skill directly above the attack button is the hero’s ultimate. As the player gains experience and levels up, an upgrade (+) button will appear right above the skills that you can press to upgrade.
Sending signals or pings is also possible in AoV. Simply tap on the area of the map to send one.
Map and the brush
The classic map consists of three lanes, with brushes, the jungle and towers in between.
Hiding in the brush grants players a vision share effect, which means that teammates would be able to share your vision of an enemy hero.
Each side has a total of nine defense towers, three in the top, middle, and bottom lane. Tier 1 towers are furthest from the base, while Tier 3 towers are those located within the base.
On the team’s base lies the core (sometimes called the nexus). The first team to destroy the core wins the game.
There are five main jungle monsters in AoV.
Killing the Abyssal Dragon will give the whole team gold and experience. It appears two minutes after the match starts, and refreshes once every two minutes after being killed.
The Abyssal Dragon evolves to the Enraged Abyssal Dragon after ten minutes. Defeating its enraged state grants different buffs according to the hero’s primary roles.
Defeating the Dark Slayer will give players increased attack damage and ability power, faster health and mana regeneration, and movement speed bonus.
Additionally, killing the Dark Slayer will enable players to summon the Drake, which can be utilized to push and destroy towers. Located in the top lane, the Dark Slayer spawns every five minutes starting at the eighth minute mark.
For monsters that give buffs, downing Spirit Sentinel grants the player 50 HP regeneration per second and 20 bonus movement speed for a minute.
Recommended for mage heroes, defeating the Sage Golem will give players 20% cooldown speed and 2% mana regeneration per second for a limited duration.
For heroes that want to execute early game ganks, it’s a good idea to first secure Might Buffs, which come from killing Might Golems.
Might Buffs reduce enemy movement speed whenever a normal attack hits, and deals extra burn damage to the enemy.
There are four ways to gain gold in AoV: Killing enemy minions, killing jungle monsters, destroying towers, and killing enemy heroes.
Melee, ranged, and siege are the three types of minions in the game.
Melee minions are the tankiest, while the ranged minions have less HP and deal more damage. Siege minions are minions who ride a vehicle. They are the strongest, and have a high amount of health and damage. Last-hitting minions (delivering the killing blow) grants players more gold.
Jungle monsters give off different amounts of gold, as their bounty increases with game time.
Golems give a maximum of 140 gold while smaller monsters like spiders and goblins give a maximum of 90 gold when killed. The Abyssal Dragon gives 120 gold when killed by or past the ten-minute mark.
Destroying towers also rewards players with gold. Tier 1 towers give 60 gold, Tier 2 towers give 80 gold, and Tier 3 towers give 100 gold.
Gold gained can be spent on different items to strengthen your hero’s statistics. There are over a hundred items to choose from, divided into attack, magic, defense, movement, jungling, and support categories.
Players start with 300 gold and can purchase starting items like Short Sword for +20 physical attack, Spell Tome for +40 magic power, Ring of Vitality for +300 Max HP, boots for extra movement speed, and even Wind and Water stones for gold and mana regeneration.
From mid to late game, you would want stronger items which are also more expensive, like the magic power item Holy of Holies for mages or Fenrir’s Tooth to increase physical attack.
Most items in the game are passive — meaning if you equpi them, they automatically give you the additioanl stats — but some like the lifesteal item Bow of Slaughter and the damage immunity item Arctic Orb, need to be activated to utilize their effects.
A player can equip a total of six items. A Quick Buy option will appear on the top right area of the player’s screen for recommended items or pre-ordered items.
Only components of pre-ordered items will be displayed on the Quick Buy option. For instance, pre-ordering War Boots will show Boots of Speed and Dagger on the Quick Buy.
Each hero has one passive skill and three active skills, including their ultimate.
Passive skills grant heroes additional stats. For example, Arthur’s Paragon gives him 88 armor. There are also passive skills that require certain conditions to be fulfilled, like Lindis’ Tread Softly which temporarily increases her movement speed and strengthens her normal attack whenever she passes through a brush.
Meanwhile, active skills can be cast depending on the situation, and have an average 10-second cooldown. Some skills have longer cooldowns, especially those do not require the use of mana. Skill effects vary from buffs, crowd controls, heals, movement, to damage and damage reduction.
The third skill is the strongest in a hero’s kit, and it is called the ultimate skill. Ultimates have longer cooldowns and can turn around the results of teamfights when used in the right situation at the right time.
AoV players start the game with one active skill. As players gain experience and level up, they gain a skill point that can be used to strengthen other skills.
Talents are abilities that sustain heroes during battles. Talent cooldowns range from as short as 30 seconds to as long as 120 seconds.
- Sprint – players gain 70% movement speed which decays over time. Use this to escape dangerous situations or to chase enemies.
- Execute – deals damage equal to 16% of the HP the enemy hero has lost as true damage. Execute is ideal for dealing the final blow.
- Punish – this talent will greatly help assassins as it deals 800 true damage to minions and monsters and stuns them.
- Roar – attack speed will increase by 60% and attack damage by 10% for five seconds.
- Heal – you and nearby teammates regain 15% HP and 15% movement speed for a short while.
- Disrupt – structures will be disabled for five seconds. Disrupt is very useful during under-the-tower teamfights.
- Daze – enemies affected by Daze will be stunned for 0.5 seconds, and their damage dealt reduced by 40% for two seconds. This talent can be used when initiating a clash.
- Purify – aside from removing all debuffs and control effects, Purify also grants users brief immunity against these effects.
- Flicker – teleports your hero to a short distance.
Talents unlock as players level up their AoV accounts. The last talent, Flicker, unlocks at level 17.
These magical stones called Runes enhance heroes’ skills from various aspects. Depending on the players’ style and equipped hero, Runes can be combined and customized.
At least four types of Runes exist in AoV.
This rune magic line is suitable for ranged heroes like archers and mages.
- Holy Summoner – sends in a Fairy familiar to give additional damage. The Fairy automatically attacks the enemy after a number of consecutive normal hits.
- Holy Thunder – the first normal attack or ability that lands on an enemy calls forth a strike of lightning that deals damage.
- Sacred Protection – players will temporarily gain movement speed, shield, and magic life steal when they take damage equal to 30% of their maximum HP.
Take this rune if you are playing as melee, warrior, or assassin.
- Desperate Duel – movement speed is gained by hitting enemies. Desperate Duel stacks up to ten times, where the hero gets healed and gains armor pierce and magic pierce at the maximum stack.
- Curse of Death – gives opponents a curse buff that causes magic damage to all targets within a range.
- Devil’s Awakening – reduces cooldowns of other skills when the ultimate is used. This rune also grants cooldown reduction and increases damage dealt.
Players can try equipping the Afata rune line to support and tank heroes with crowd control skills.
- Nature’s Rage – any immobilizing ability inflicted to an enemy will also cast a burn effect.
- Explosive Shield – gains a stack whenever damage is taken. At 20 stacks, an explosion will set off that stuns enemies. Players also receive a boost in healing effect.
- Forest Wanderer – players regain health and mana shortly after exiting combat. The next normal attack also slows enemy movement speed and reduces enemy damage.
Suitable for almost all types of heroes in AoV.
- Endless Cycle – instantly resurrects your hero in the game. Resurrected heroes will spawn back to the base. Endless Cycle can only be used three times in a match.
- Visceral Boost – useful for getting additional gold and experience during the early game. Spawns at level 2 until level 12.
Runes unlock at player level 5.
Later on in the game, the concept of Arcanas will be introduced to players at player level 7 and will be added to the Armory alongside items, talents, and runes.
Arcanas are attributes that improve the base statistics of your hero. There are three types of Arcana:
- Red – increases hero attack
- Purple – improves HP recovery
- Green – focuses on defense
Arcana attribute levels range from I to III, III being the highest. The higher the level of the Arcana, the greater are its bonus effects to heroes.
Having Arcana bonuses make a big difference during the early minutes of the game. Arcana can be bought in the shop or obtained through achievements.
To date, there are a total of 100 heroes to choose from in Arena of Valor. These heroes can be categorized into six roles: Tank, warrior, assassin, mage, archer, and support.
- Diao Chan
- The Flash
- The Joker
- Lu Bu
- Wonder Woman
Aside from the tutorial hero Valhein, we recommend the warrior Arthur for beginners because of his versatility and newcomer-friendly kit.