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Abyssal Expedition Guide

The Abyssal Expedition is a cooperative feature added to AFK Arena in patch 1.39. In patch 1.44, the feature was re-tuned and added back into the game.

The event for it is called the “Vault of Time” and lasts for 16 days. However, during the last 24 hours there is a “Quiet Time” period, where it’s still accessible, but stamina and resources no longer generate.

It also can be found within the Dark Forest.

In order to enter the Abyssal Expedition, players must first enroll for it. This can either be free, or cost diamonds. The diamond option will reward players more diamonds as a reward if they reach a certain rank during the event.

The current requirements for entering is to complete Stage 15-40.

Beginner’s Guide

Welcome to Typogean’s Abyssal Expedition (AE) Guide.
This guide is made with newcomers to the event in mind.

If you have participated in the previous AE(s) but would like to know more, feel free to stay and read the guide. AE unlocks for players who have reached chapter 16 (cleared 15-40) so try to reach that chapter before the enrollment window for the event closes.

Credits to Jaeoof (ID: 16030255) and Styleane (ID: 8360863) of Guild: Typogean for bringing this guide together.

Special thanks to Arty#9980 (Discord) for giving insight on the content and direction of the guide.

Pre-Abyssal Expedition

Enrollment

2 days before the start of the event, you will have to enrol into 1 of 2 modes in AE; Casual or Honorable. There are no differences in gameplay between the two, but do note that you will be grouped with players that made the same choice as you.

Enrolling into Casual is free and players will be able to receive the standard rewards (image on the right).

Enrolling in Honorable costs 3000 diamonds. The bonus being that 6000 diamonds are added into the Rewards List, netting you a profit of 3000 diamonds if you reach the highest Title (Prince) and complete the event.

Commencement

Spawning into AE

AE will begin once the server resets (at 12 am UTC). You will only spawn into the map after logging in and clicking on the AE event (via the events tab or from the Dark Forest) after the event officially starts.

Based on the test server, the earliest players will spawn at [1], with each subsequent player spawning 4~7 tiles away in a clockwise fashion. Once the border of the Verdant Prairie is almost reached, the spawn location shifts to [2] and continues clockwise as per normal .

Tips for a better experience

If you are participating in this event with your guildmates, communicate with them! Coordinating with those who can be active at the same time as you, and spawning close together will ensure that you are all able to help out one another right away. 

Otherwise, if you are playing with random pubs, consider spawning as early as possible to get a spawn location closer to the more eager players.

Listen to the coordination efforts of your Militia. Planning and deciding which boss gate to group up at will save a lot of time and effort.

Be willing to communicate! There are incentives for getting as many members of the militia as possible to the max Title. People will be willing to help.

Read our tips on how to effectively approach this event at the end of the guide.

Heroes

Heroes Tab

After spawning, what’s next is choosing heroes to fill the starting 10 available slots (image on the right). Do not just pick your most ascended heroes. Which heroes to pick?

Note that only heroes of Elite+ (E+) or higher can be employed in this event.

All employed heroes will be scaled to Martial Ratings.

Food

Placing a hero in a new slot will grant the hero 60 Food. Food is used in attacking, to capture tiles and defeat bosses. 

Every employed hero will regenerate 1 Food every 15 mins, equaling 4 Food per hour; there is no limit to the amount of Food a hero can have.

An empty slot does not regenerate Food, so do not leave slots unoccupied and remember to fill your new slots as they are unlocked.

Removing a hero will set the Food value of that slot to 0, effectively wasting all Food that was there previously.

Picking Heroes

Just like the Library’s Elder Tree, Heroes in AE are categorized by the “Branches” they belong to; Rangers are grouped under Celerity, Mages under Sorcery, Supports under Sustenance, Warriors under Might and Tanks under Fortitude.

Generally, Celerity or Sorcery units are the best and quickest at dealing damage. Choose 1 of those 2 classes and fill your starting 10 with 7~8 heroes from this class, even if they are just Elite+. Ascension Tiers do not matter in completing this event.

Fill the remaining slots with Sustenance units and/or units that help deal more damage (Lyca’s haste, Lorsan’s link, etc). Avoid pure defensive or crowd-control units (Lucius, Tasi, Nemora, etc).

If you are not sure to go with Celerity or Sorcery, here are some things to consider:

Celerity units are generally better. More dodge, and less reliance on Ultimates (ults) for damage.

Look at the spread of units you have. Even with point 1 taken into consideration, if you have only 2 employable Rangers but 8 employable Mages, go Mages.

Hero Related Questions

Why don’t Ascension Tiers matter?

AE has its version of an “Elder Tree”, and the bonuses conferred are massive, easily dwarfing the stat differences between ascension tiers.

In the first few hours of the event, before you acquire any Relics, you can choose to employ your highest ascended heroes to carry you through your battles. This is due to the significance of the power differences between higher and low ascended heroes.

However, when you have depleted their stamina and/or have gotten 1 to 2 Relics on your main branch, you should switch them out to heroes in your main branch.

Why focus on one main class?

The Relics system in AE does not improve linearly. The growth between Levels 1 and 2 is a fraction of the growth between Levels 3 and 4 (image below). Enemies in AE also scale with this system in mind, meaning an equal distribution of resources in multiple Branches is very impractical.

A team of 5 units with Relic level 2, spends way more food to partake in battle and will have worse results than just 1 unit with relic level 4. (image below: 1 focused Ranger has similar power to 4 units of other classes)

Some of the requirements to increase your Title Rank require you to push just 1 tree to a certain milestone. Evenly pushing multiple Branches delays the completion of this task, and will delay the important gameplay bonuses conferred by ranking up your Title.

What if I don’t have enough Mages or Rangers?

You will have to use both Mages and Rangers to occupy your hero slots.

You should still make 1 class a priority and only upgrade secondary classes (Sustenance and whichever of Celerity/Sorcery that isn’t your main) after the main class is capped out.

Why are pure defensive or control units bad?

AE introduces several new stats, 2 key ones being Tenacity and Insight.

Control heroes lose a lot of their effectiveness when fighting the important and tougher battles.

To fight efficiently and save food in the long run, requires you to win battles within 30 seconds (non-sped up time). Purely defensive or control units are hence terrible because they do minimal to help achieve this condition.

Hero Priority 

The heroes below are all great when you invest in their Branch.
Heroes with the highest priority are on the left. (Solise comes after Safiya in terms of priority)

Gameplay

Basic Gameplay Loop

Spend Food taking battles.

Capture higher quality Tiles, abandon lower quality Tiles if you have to while moving towards objectives (Gate Bosses and Final Boss).

Upgrade your Relics and wait for Food to regenerate.

Repeat.

My Guild’s Strategy

Tiles

What are Tiles

The Abyssal Expedition Map is made up of Tiles and every unclaimed Tile is populated by formation(s) of enemies.

Tiles that you own are coloured in Green while Blue tiles are owned by your Militia allies. If you are connected to an ally’s tile, their tile will turn greenish-blue. You can only attack Tiles that are adjacent to your owned tiles OR next to an ally’s tile of which you are connected to. This allows you to hopscotch your way from one corner of the map to another (image below).

Owning a tile generates 2 types of resources for you, Relics and Blessed Essence. Blessed Essence is used to make Relics and Relics are used to upgrade Branches. Relic drop rates per tile.

Claiming Tiles

Claim Tiles by attacking and defeating the enemy team(s) that reside on that Tile. The number of tiles you can own at once is stated at the top of the screen, between your Title and Essence gain rate (image on the right); and is increased by raising your Title.

If a Tile has more than 1 formation, the player that wins the last battle claims the tile. Don’t worry about militia mates stealing your tile, there’s a window after attacking in which only you can continue attacking the tile. 

Garrison

All Tiles except Blank tiles can garrison a hero. Heroes used for Garrisons are taken from the pool of heroes that you have and do not affect your employed heroes, similar to how the Bounty Board works.

By Garrisoning a hero on the tile, the tile generates 20% more Blessed Essence.

Types of Tiles and their specifics

Attacking

Food Cost of Attacking

Default Battles: 12 Food

Hard Battles: 24 Food

Tier 1 and 2 Bosses: 24 Food

Tier 3: 36 Food

Final Boss: 48 Food

Only heroes with sufficient Food to afford the cost can participate in the battles.

Some Tiles have more than 1 formation and thus take more than 1 battle to be defeated. Heroes cannot participate in more than 1 battle per tile.

Winning a Battle

Every hero that participates in a battle spends the full Food Cost of the battle (12, 24, 36). 

For non-boss battles, however, meeting certain criteria will refund up to 50% of the Food cost. 

Each criterion (star) met will return one-sixth of the Food Cost, with a 3-star Victory returning half (image on the right).

If a Tile has more than 1 formation, the player that wins the last battle claims the tile.

Restarting or Quitting a Battle

Restarting or Quitting a battle is NOT free. Choosing to do so will waive the full cost but one-sixth of the required Food will still be deducted (1 Food for default battles and 2 for harder battles). This can be rather frustrating but is still better than the other outcome known as…

Losing a Battle

If you lose a battle (all your units defeated or out of time), every participating hero will lose the full Food Cost of the battle. Pay attention and lower the speed settings if you have to. It is better to just pay the cost when things look unfavourable, and either restart or quit the battle to try again later after powering up.

Similar to the Arcane Labyrinth, after a loss, enemy heroes will retain the health that they had at the end of that battle but not their energy. Furthermore, the heroes used in the lost battle can no longer be used to fight any of that Tile’s battles.

Either you use another team of heroes or ask someone else to take the tile instead. Giving up the weakened tile to someone else is better than letting the tile reset. When a tile resets, all Food spent in previous battles is wasted, but letting someone else take a weakened tile at least reduces the Food Cost for them

Tiles Resetting

If the tile isn’t taken, a countdown timer will start to tick; the duration of the timer depends on the type of tile. At the end of the countdown, the tile will reset, resurrecting fallen units and restoring all back to full health.

Suiciding / Suicide Attacking

This is when you intentionally sacrifice a lineup to make a battle easier, be it for yourself or another. You can do so by using less/weaker non-main units, or playing the battle manually and avoiding the use of certain key ultimates.

Tips for Attacking Efficiently

You can save Food by attacking tiles with less than 5 heroes. 

When pathing towards locations (Boss Gates, clusters of better quality tiles, etc), the majority of battles faced are barely an inconvenience and do not need a full lineup to be defeated.

Rangers excel at pathing due to their natural dodge and tenacity gain through relics. Mages are less favored due to fewer defensive capabilities and a greater reliance on successful ults for the bulk of their damage, but can still get the job done. Units from the remaining classes generally pale due to lack of AOE damage, or insufficient survivability. They can still be used, but are unlikely to be as efficient as Rangers or Mages.

Coordinate with your militia mates! Especially in Tiles that have multiple battles. Everyone likely has a stronger main team. If you and a partner both take 1 battle each, you both get to use your strongest teams. Rather than trying to solo, and realizing that your secondary team cannot clear the final battle.

Relics System

Relics Tab

Relics are equipment pieces that are either acquired from tile drops or made with Blessed Essence.

When slotted into a Branch of the tree, they boost the stats of all the heroes under that branch. Filling a branch with Relics allows you to Level Up the branch (image on the right), unlocking higher level Relic slots and unique passives for the heroes. 

These Unique passives (image below) are unlocked at level 2, 3 and 5 of the Might, Fortitude, Celerity, Sorcery and Sustenance branches respectively.

Higher-level Relics can be made with Blessed Essence, combining lower-tier relics or a combination of both.

Upgrading

Focus on equipping Relics into the Branch which you have the most heroes in, that being either Celerity or Sorcery. 

This Branch will be your primary focus for the majority of abyssal, up until the last boss where you will need to expand into the other Branches.

3 Reasons to only invest in your main Branch

More investment into one tree gives you the most efficient scaling. 3 Branches at Level 3 is incomparable to one Branch at level 5 especially if most of your Heroes are employing in that one Branch.

Using your strongest Heroes for battles will result in more efficient use of food as you can use fewer heroes to achieve 3-Star Victories.

Title quests require your Branch to be at a certain level. Acquiring better Titles a priority as they increase your maximum tile capacity and heroes slots.

Titles

Acquiring titles grant you most of the rewards in this event. However, titles are also heavily tied to the progress of the event as shown in the following sections.

Title Rank Up Requirements and Unlocks

Push to rank up your Title as soon as possible as the benefits have a compounding effect on your progression.

How?

  • More hero slots provide more food regeneration which you can use to get better tiles; 
  • More tile capacity (image on the right)provides more blessed essence and relics to boost your Heroes’ Power rating which allows you to acquire higher tier tiles and achieve 3 Star battles more consistently;
  • Same applies for being able to equip Higher level relics.
Capping out

Earlier titles have a max relic level that will prevent you from leveling your Blessed Relic past a certain point. When that happens you are effectively capped out (image below) on your main relic(s). When that happens, just focus on clearing whatever remaining task(s) prevent your Title ranking up.

Help I can’t clear X task to rank up

Most ranks up tasks are easy and just a matter of time (e.g. Acquire X Blessed Essence). However, if you are a lower leveled player, you might find certain tasks (e.g. Occupying 1 hard to capture Tile), difficult or downright impossible. And as a result, you might find yourself completely stuck, being capped out and unable to further power up your main units to clear the remaining task(s).

The solution to this problem is either suicide-attacking or better yet, seek help from your Militia Mates. By getting a stronger player to defeat the first battle of a 2 battle fight or suicide-attack for you, harder tiles are made easier for the weaker player to acquire.


Don’t be afraid to communicate! There are incentives to get as many members of the militia to as high a rank as possible. People will be willing to help, so don’t be shy and don’t feel embarrassed about requesting aid.

Bosses

Boss killers

These are the heroes that we know are the best against Kane, Azmonath and Gouldos. If you do not have them, there is nothing to worry about. You don’t have to ideal formations to take the Bosses down.

The arrangement is in no particular order.

Recommended Boss Formations

Will be updated as the event progresses.

Heroes are arranged based on their position in the formation (5, 4, 3, 2, 1). 1 being top frontline, 2 bottom frontline, 3 top backline, 4 middle backline, 5 bottom backline.

Safiya Formations

Recommended Relic level: Main Branch Lvl 3 with 1-2 Purple Relics Equipped

Wukong Formations

Recommended Relic level: Main Branch – Lvl 4 with 2-3 Relics Equipped, Secondary Branch – Lvl 3

An Effective Way to Play

Log in as early as you can when the event starts. 

Log in at least once every 2 hours to collect resources and upgrade tiles.

If fights are too hard, save your food and wait for resources to get better relics

Don’t waste your energy and fight Gate bosses if you do not meet the recommended relic requirements. (show example)

If you’re around the top 30% of the Militia

Help others to defeat the first fight of Tiles with 2 battles.

Help guide others through the event and focusing targets. Every bit of communication often makes a large impact on a guild’s results

If you’re a beginner (around 160 to 200 hero levels)

Focus on upgrading your economy by getting better tiles. Do not worry about fighting Boss gates.

Ask others to help defeat the first fight of 2 Battle Cities before taking the 2nd battle yourself.

Return the favor to people that have helped you.

Be polite. Try to educate yourself as much as possible on the event. Even if your account isn’t amazing, helping guide those with more powerful tools may be worth the effort!

General rules you should follow

Make it a point to keep 2-3 empty tiles as “bridges” for other Militia Members to travel through.

Do not take half beaten Tiles before asking.

If you lose a battle and cannot continue please let people know so that they can take the tile.

If you are at the front of your Group, do not abandon tiles that are on the path towards the Militia’s main objective (Boss gate). Help your Militia by allowing your Militia Members to use your Bridges and build ahead towards the objective. This way, your allies do not have to spend food to recapture the empty tiles you just abandoned to progress ahead of you. (An example on what you should not be doing on the left)

If your Allies are pathing towards desirable tiles, do not cut in and capture those tiles. Allow them the opportunity to take those tiles for themselves as they have spent food to travel to those tiles. Stealing their tiles will result in problems listed in Point 4 as they would most likely abandon their empty tiles to travel to the next desirable cluster of tiles. If unsure, it’s better to ask them first. (An example on what you should not be doing below)

Beginner Strategies

If you are at the corner of the map and/or have few allies around to help you with capturing difficult tiles (e.g. T6) and Bosses, it is better to hopscotch your way to the main group. You will save more food traveling across the map to link up with your allies compared to fighting the Boss gates yourself, especially so if you get capped out.

An example is using the hopscotch method to travel from the top right of the map to the bottom left to link with the main group. (image on the right)

Future updates

Next Abyssal Expedition’s Guide (next AE) will be an intermediate guide that will be geared towards players and guilds who want to optimise their strategies for maximum rewards (dragon crystal). This beginner guide will be updated alongside the introduction of the next guide.

Features:
  1. Dragon crystals
  2. Tile ratios
  3. Enemies formations to avoid
  4. Relic slot priority
  5. Relic benchmarks vs content
  6. Progress Timings and the strategies to hit those timings 
  7. In depth Kane, Azmonath and Gouldos strategies.
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