New Player Tips
This is less of a formal guide and more of a haphazardly put-together list of things that I think would have been nice to know when I started playing.
Table of contents
- The most important point here: Do not rush to build 6 stars and ignore everyone else. Arknights is the inverse of most other games in that it actively penalizes you for not using lower-rarity units, especially when you're new.
- 2 stars are perfectly usable in early game. If you have holes in your team, use 2 stars to fill them.
- If you still haven't been able to get a fast-redeploy unit, Yato works great!
- Level your entire team roughly at the same pace. Resources are pretty scarce when you start out, and you will suffer if you go all in levelling a few units instead of spreading them out around your team.
- There are missions that refund you the cost of building two 3 stars. Build those first, then you can use the kickback on other units.
- Melantha, Kroos, Ansel, Steward, Popukar, Orchid, and Midnight are good choices for first 3 stars, but picking your favorites is fine too!
- Once your characters are at E1, levels start getting much more expensive past 50/60. Get 3 and 4 stars to their level cap, but for 5 and 6 stars, level 50-60 is a good stopping point until you have the resources.
- Ranged enemies will pick the most recently-deployed unit in their attack range to target. (In other words, deploying your defender last probably won't help much if your ranged units are more than 1-2 tiles in front.)
- Your units will target the closest enemy to the blue box. If there are multiple blue boxes, this is determined using the blue box a particular enemy is routed to. If your units aren't hitting who you want them to, this is probably why!
- Retreating characters refunds half of their DP, except for charger vanguards, who refund their entire DP cost. Retreating characters also increases their DP cost for the next time you deploy them.
- Charger vanguards are very good for holding a lane for a few seconds if you're only a few DP short for a stronger melee unit.
- You can’t use autoplay on stages you cleared with a support character, but in situations where you’re just trying to brute force stage progression, you should use them.
- Supports are at the promotion level of your strongest character, so some broken characters like Silverash aren’t useful supports until you’ve promoted someone to E2.
- Fortunately, there are plenty of units who make good supports at E1. Examples include Exusiai, Blaze, Mountain, Eyjafjalla, Siege, Saga, and nearly any DPS-oriented 5 star.
- Events give you substantially more bang for your buck than regular resource grind stages. Unless you’re in dire need of chips or have already cleared the shop, prioritize grinding event stages.
- Even if you can’t clear all the event levels, clear what you can and grind the highest level you can comfortably do. There's no advantage to doing harder maps because event currency is given out at a 1:1 ratio with the sanity you spend. (A stage that costs 10 sanity gives 10 currency and a stage that costs 18 sanity will give 18 currency.)
- If you grind a lot and are smart with saving your sanity refills, you can clear out most, if not all, the event shop. New players should focus on buying materials that are immediately useful to them first (EXP, low-tier materials, skill summaries), but if you can afford the higher-tier materials, buy them.
- For new events, furniture is also a smart buy if you have currency burning a hole in your pocket, even if you're not particularly interested in it. When an event is rerun, the furniture will be converted into tickets that can be used to buy high-tier materials and orundum.
- Events are only rerun once, so if you don't want the furniture from a rerun event, don't buy it for the sake of buying it.
- Don't skip out on tokens for the event operator! Event characters are designed to be used at max potential, and most of them will be really nice to have for new players.
- My preferred setup is 3 power plants, 4 factories, and 2 trading posts.
- I have 2 factories producing EXP and 2 producing gold.
- Some people like 3 each of trading posts and factories. This is also feasible, but I find that 3 trading posts eat gold so fast that running 3 factories on gold is the only way to break even. Great for LMD generation, but not for EXP generation.
- Put units in the control room even if you don't have any with control room skills. They'll reduce the amount of morale that gets used for the entire base.
- Prioritize upgrading your power plants/factories/trading posts (i.e. the left side of the base). You should also aim to upgrade your HR office to open up 3 recruitment slots. (One of the daily missions is to do 3 recruitments, which is much easier to remember to do if you can do them all at the same time.)
- In your friend list, you may see people with spinning orange circles by their names. Visiting their bases will get you extra credits that you can use to buy materials.
- There are certain tag combinations in recruitment that guarantee 4 or, less frequently, 5 star characters. It takes time to remember them all, so always plug your tags into a recruitment calculator to see what you can get!
- Once you've gotten your characters to around level 30-40, start working on the first annihilation map. Even if you don't finish it, you'll still get orundum.
- Each annihilation map will be very difficult for a while. This is normal!
- Until you feel like your roster is sufficiently diversified, you should spread out your pulls across banners by only doing solos until you get the guaranteed 5 or 6 star. There are no guarantees after that first one, so pulling further is much less efficient when you're new.
- In general, soloing is better than doing a full 10 roll because 10 rolls don't have any special advantages. It takes forever, but you'll likely save pulls by soloing.
- The 6 star pity mechanic kicks in after 50 pulls. It incrementally increases the 6 star rate by 2% for every roll after 50 until you get one, at which point it resets. (In other words, every 100 pulls, you WILL get a 6 star.) The pity rate carries over between permanent banners.
- There is basically no reason to use originite prime on pulls or sanity refills. You should save your OP for skins, since there's no other way to get them. You'll get enough to spend on skins very liberally.
- Skins rerun for the first time a year after their release, so if you really love a skin but don't have the operator yet, don't be afraid to buy it anyway!
- It's a good idea to save your yellow tickets for 6 stars. But if your favorite 5 star is in the shop, yellow tickets are so easy to get that it doesn't hurt to buy them.
- It might be tempting to use yellow tickets on gacha pulls, but it's only a good deal if you buy out the entire stock, which is 238 tickets for 38 pulls. It's far more worth it to just buy 6 stars until your roster is sufficiently padded, which takes a while.
- The green ticket shop inventory refreshes every month. It takes a while to build up enough of a stash to clear the shop, so you should prioritize the gacha pulls (tickets and orundum), LMD, and EXP.
- Once you've been playing for long enough, clear the first page of the green ticket shop to get access to the resource page. It will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes you to E2 your first 6 star.
This part is written for people who want to spend a little bit of money. Whales aren't going to be coming to me or anyone else for financial advice.
- As mentioned in the previous section, I don't recommend buying OP. (Disclaimer: I don't think you should spend money on gacha in general.) If you're an active player, natural pull gain will be more than enough as long as you keep an eye on the Chinese server and plan accordingly.
- The monthly pack is far and away the best deal in the shop. It's $5 and gives you a nice chunk of extra sanity in addition to an extra 10 pull worth of orundum every month, all just for logging in every day. It also doesn't auto-renew or otherwise try to manipulate you into paying for it for longer than you want to.
- About twice a year, they sell packs that let you pick a 6 star for $25 along with some other goodies. This is a pretty good deal, considering 10 pulls cost about that much. Be aware that the selection lags behind the current releases by quite a bit, so check the roster before you buy it.
The most important part of the game is having fun, so don't stress out if you don't feel like you're playing early game "correctly." I started out feeling around in the dark with absolutely no idea what was happening, and I turned out fine... I think...