It’s rare that you play a video game these days that doesn’t have some form of combat implemented into the core gameplay. It isn’t always brutal gore and unrelenting violence, but even in the most kid-friendly games out there, you’ll often find a button that will allow you to bonk your adversaries in-game.
However, as this is the case, it is rare for a game to provide a combat system that does something different to break the mold.
Thanks to the success of Call of Duty, most FPS games use this as a template, most first-person RPGs take the two-handed combat first seen in Bioshock, and just about every 2D action platformer out there borrows from Castlevania and Metroid.
However, sometimes you don’t have to rely on your combat mechanics to get players engaged with in-game combat. Sometimes you just need a cool gimmick to get players hooked, and that much was true in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion.
Within this title, the player would be able to head to the Imperial City and sign up as a combatant in the Imperial City Arena. This was a fantastical re-imagining of battlegrounds akin to the Roman Colosseum and allowed players to face up against the best and boldest warriors Tamriel had to offer.
In terms of gameplay, this was a fun gimmick, but the fact that this doubled up as a rich questline, with adjoining side-quests and, of course, the reward of a certain Adoring Fan if you managed to become the Grand Champion of Cyrodill.
This quest ran the risk of highlighting how limited Oblivion’s combat mechanics were, but in a shocking turn of events, this questline would be fondly remembered by the TES faithful and is right up there with dedicated guild questlines in my book.
However, you may have missed this one if you weren’t interested in rising through the ranks to become the Grand Champion, and you may want to know what all the fuss was about, or why so many players keep taking a spiky, blonde-haired boy to the top of Dive Rock just to stick an arrow in his head and watch him cascade down the cliff face.
Well, all will be revealed, new meat, we promise. So without further delay, here is our Elder Scrolls Oblivion Arena Guide.
What is The Arena in Oblivion?
Simply put, the Arena is a gladiator-inspired questline that sees the player face off against a series of competitors in deathmatches, aiming to be the last one standing and walk away with a nice little purse at the end of the fight.
The vast majority of the questline and adjoining quests take place in the Arena District of the Imperial City, and more specifically, The Bloodworks, which is the combatant’s area of the Arena. The way to progress this questline is simple, go to the Arena, agree to participate in fights, climb the ranks and become a household name within the Imperial City, and before you know it, you’ll be the Grand Champion.
It’s easier said than done, obviously, but if you have the grit, determination, and the right sharp object, you might just make it happen.
How to Begin The Arena Questline
To begin this quest, you must make your way to the Imperial City and head to the Arena District. This is where you will find the Arena. It’s the huge structure in this area; honestly, you can’t miss it. Once at the gates, you should head left and down to The Bloodworks.
This is where you will find fellow warriors, and more importantly, Owyn, you will act as the primary quest giver. Speak to Owyn, and you will be able to offer yourself up as a combatant for the Arena.
Now, be prepared, he’s a little skeptical that you could even last one match in the Arena, but regardless, he’s willing to give you a shot. He will give you the option of Light or Heavy Rainment Armor which will be mandatory for all fights in the Arena, and from there, all you have to do is tell Owyn you are looking for a fight during the Arena’s working hours and he will oblige, usually accompanied with a snarky comment.
How Does The Arena Work?
Okay, so you may be wondering how the Arena works. Is it a no-holds-barred free-for-all? Or does the Arena have strict rules and procedures?
Well, there are some rules and procedures, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say they are strict. Here is a little rundown of the main rules that you will need to be aware of so that you don’t get cast into exile and locked out of this questline for good. Check it out:
- You can only fight between the hours of 9 am and 9 pm unless you are the Grand Champion.
- You must wear your Raiment at all times as soon as a fight has been scheduled. If you take off your armor during a fight, or even in The Bloodworks, you will be disqualified. If this happens twice, you will be expelled forever.
- You cannot scavenge items from the corpses of your fallen adversaries.
- You cannot place bets on your own fights. All bets must be resolved before you schedule a fight.
Other than those rules listed above, you can do whatever you like. You can use whatever battle strategy you like, whether that be with swords, archery, sorcery, or stealth. You can also use any helmet, jewelry, and shield that you like, and you can use any enchantments that you like.
It is also worth noting that as you win matches, you will earn a new rank every so often. Much like other guilds in the game like the Dark Brotherhood, The Mages Guild, and the Thieves Guild, the player will be periodically rewarded with a new title to signal their growth within the group.
These are mostly for show, but it’s good to have a point of reference to see how far you have come and how far you need to go. Here are the ranks listed below:
- Pit Dog
- Grand Champion
Then lastly, let’s cover the potential cash money dollars that you can earn from becoming a seasoned veteran in the Imperial Arena. The player will earn a payout from Owyn after every victory in the Arena. The first payout will be 50 Gold, and with each rise in rank, the player will earn 50 gold extra, up to 500 Gold.
If you partake in all of the battles throughout this quest and win each of them, you have the potential to earn 5,650 gold, and since you can do this fairly quickly and without any requirements right at the start of the game, this makes this a great opening questline for new players.
Hint and Tips for The Arena
So, you are about to completely ignore the impending doom of Tamriel at the hands of Mehrunes Dagon and embark on your gladiator experience. Well, you might want some advice and some handy tips to make sure you don’t end up looking like a shishkebab at the end of your opponent’s blade.
Well, you are in luck, as I’ve been around the block, I’ve been crowned Grand Champion many times, and I want to pass on these best practices to you so you can ace the Arena. Here are some general tips for making the Arena questline a cakewalk:
- If you win a match and intend to fight immediately afterward, be sure to refill your health at the Basin of Renewal located in the Arena between the Bloodworks and The Arena.
- If you are having a lot of trouble with one particular fight, you can remove your armor and be disqualified from this fight. You won’t receive a reward, but this will progress you to the next fight. Just be sure not to repeat this trick
- Don’t skip Owyn’s pre-battle dialogue. He briefs you on what to expect in the battle ahead, and this can help shape your overall strategy in the upcoming fight.
- When fighting melee warriors, opt for a ranged approach with destruction magic, or archery. You can also hop up onto ledges and become invulnerable as you slowly whittle their health down to zero.
- When faced against ranged attackers, make use of the pillars in the Arena as a means of cover and use your own ranged attack to take them down
- When faced with a mixed fleet of fighters, prioritize the ranged attackers.
Becoming Champion – A Roadmap
Okay, so now, with all the general hints and tips out of the way, let’s get into the nitty-gritty and break down each and every fight that you will face throughout this questline. Here we go:
Fights 1-3 – Pit Dog Fights
We bundled all of these fights together because they are pretty straightforward and offer little challenge. In the first two fights, you will face off against two basic combatants equipped with a basic longsword and shield. If you stick to the perimeter of the arena and cast destruction magic or pick them off with arrows, you should get out of these encounters unscathed.
Then as for the third fight, you will be paired off against an Argonian Marksman. So you have two options, either use the pillars as a makeshift cover and pick him off with ranged attacks while dodging his, or you can pop in and out of cover, close the gap, and wail on him as he has no way to defend himself. All in all, a pretty easy introduction to the Arena, and you earn the new rank of Brawler.
Fight 4 – Nord
Your next battle is against a burly Nord who wields an axe. It’s nothing more complicated than that, but thanks to the change in weapon, he has more of a chance to stagger you and can deal a little more damage with a single hit. However, the same strategy as the initial three fights should do the trick here.
Fight 5 – The Elven Sisters
You now have two combatants to deal with, an archer and a swordswoman. There are two ways to approach this battle. You can either make a beeline to the archer and take them out while the melee warrior is hot on your tail, then turn your attention to them after. Or you can use the pillars as a shield between you and the archer and take care of the melee warrior in this safe zone. In truth, the latter is probably more effective.
Fight 6 – Khajit Axeman
Now you have the Khajit axeman, a warrior who brings a silver axe to the party, meaning he hits harder than the Nord you faced earlier and can break your guard much more consistently. However, from range, he can’t touch you, so pick him off, and this one will be over before you know it. Congrats, you are now a certified Bloodletter!
Fight 7 – Redgaurd Bloodletter
Your first fight as a Bloodletter is against a Redguard who can be armed with a sword, but usually comes bounding at you holding a Silver Mace. He also has the ability to perform special Blunt attacks that can stagger and even knock over your character, which can lead to a flurry of free hits for your opponent.
Once again, it’s an opponent you want to keep at arm’s length and attack from range. We would also suggest using a summon if possible to help distract your opponent and perhaps take a special attack instead of you.
Fight 8 – The Cumbersome Breton
This battle is an interesting one, but also an easy one. This Breton is kitted out in a Heavy Rainment and is armed with a short sword. So not only is this enemy quite slow, but he also doesn’t deal a lot of damage when he does land a hit due to his weapon choice. We recommend you take the fight to him and dance around him, getting in a flurry of hits until he eventually falls.
Fight 9- The Versatile Dark Elf
The gimmick of this fight is that this Dark Elf has the ability to change his weapon loadout whenever he likes and will have the choice of a basic bow and sword. However, he’s a very flimsy enemy, so if you can get the jump on him, the battle could be over in mere moments.
The best course of action here is to bound out the gate and close the space, dodging arrows as you go. Then by the time they change to their sword, they will be on their knees, and you will have earned the rank of Myrmidon.
Fight 10 – Shimmerstrike
Ready for another fight with a gimmick that doesn’t quite work in practice. In this fight, you stand against an Elf with an enchanted dagger called Shimmerstrike, which has the ability to deal frost damage.
However, due to the low base damage of the dagger, this doesn’t really pose any more danger than a swordsman would. If you want to be super careful, you can take some potions which offer frost resistance, but truthfully, we don’t think you’ll ever need that to beat this guy.
Fight 11 – The Elven Swordsman
Okay, so now you are up against a warrior that actually has some uncommon weaponry to call upon. With an Elven Greatsword in hand, this High Elf packs a punch, but just like the last fight, they are pretty flimsy when you land strikes on them. So in this fight, keep your distance and pick them off with ranged attacks to avoid getting rumbled by their dangerous sword.
Fight 12 – The Charging Orc
The next battle gimmick is a powerful Orc with a silver axe that only attacks with charged attacks. These attacks are well telegraphed and take seconds to get off, which works in your favor.
All you have to do here is rush them, get a few shots in, and then back off, allowing them to make their lunge. They will swing and miss, and then you can simply repeat this process until they bite the dust. How does it feel to be a Warrior?
Fight 13 – The Mithril Maiden
After a series of gimmicks, the battle landscape changes, and you are faced with a basic battle format against a fighter with strong weaponry, decent armor, and a Mithril Shield for added protection. As a melee battle, this one will be a real test as you will struggle to break through her guard. However, with a constant stream of ranged destruction magic, you will slay her in no time.
Fight 14 – Shock and Awe
Next up, you have a High Elf to deal with who is a skilled swordsman, and get this, a skilled mage too. They have the ability to cast lightning destructive magic and can also deal huge damage with their Silver Long Sword. This battle can get a little intense if you get caught on the back foot, so the best way to approach this is an all-out offense.
The Elf won’t cast lightning unless you are far away, so close the gap and make this fight a melee brawl. You’ll have to pick your moments and block quite a lot throughout, but it beats getting toasted with his far superior lightning attack.
Fight 15 – Hammer to Fall
To wrap up the warrior rank, you will have to best a powerful Orc wielding a Glass Warhammer. This is a very powerful weapon, and even if you hide behind your shield, any attack will deal devastating amounts of damage, so defense is not an option here.
The good news here is that the Orc is really slow, and his attacks with the bulky hammer mirror this. So you can either use ranged attacks to slowly whittle his health down, or you can hit him with melee attacks in-between his lumbering hammer swings. Also, he will heal with a potion when his health is low, so be prepared for a longer fight.
Fight 16 – The Blood-Lusty Argonians
So I hear you are a Gladiator now. Well, It’s time for a real challenge then. In this fight, you will be at a real disadvantage as you face three combatants. They are fairly weak on their own, and two of them are unarmed, while one has a short sword.
However, the volume of attacks can lead to you getting overwhelmed, cornered, knocked down, and eventually, bleeding out. So the best way to approach this is by staying mobile, running backward and pinpointing the Argonian with the sword, then nailing him with destruction magic.
Then when there are only two unarmed enemies, change tactics and battle them head-on. Try your best to keep them separate and battle them one at a time, and due to their inability to block, you’ll have this battle won in no time. This is easily one of the hardest battles you will face in this quest, so bring plenty of health potions.
Fight 17 – Speedy Kitty
Is this kitty hopped up on Skooma or something? Whatever it is, it makes him super quick. That’s the gimmick here; you have a Khajit in heavy armor that can move unnaturally fast. This means that it’s really difficult to use the typical running backward and using ranged attacks tactic that has been so useful so far.
Basically, you will have to engage with this guy, and he’s a bit of a tank. Just keep moving, don’t get greedy with your attacks, and you will eventually best him. Just don’t run, as he will always catch you and stick a knife in your back.
Fight 18 – The Rejuvenating Breton
Then the only fighter standing between you and Hero rank is a burly Breton with a high restoration magic skill. This means that if you try to fight from range, this will offer them a chance to heal and elongate the fight. So the tactic here is to get up close and personal and never let up on the attacks.
You’ll have to produce a constant barrage of hits to take him down, but if you can keep his magical abilities locked away, you’ll win comfortably.
Fight 19 – Don’t Mess With The Blades
Next up, you have a former protector of the emperor, complete with his own Blades Armor and Akaviri Katana. This level of swordsmanship and training means that this fighter will be able to block with ease and parry for smooth counterattacks. So unless you fancy your skill with a blade, this is another fight you can win from afar. Use ranged attacks throughout, and you should walk away the victor.
Fight 20 – A Defensive Mage
You now have to fight a skilled destruction mage who also carries a Grey Aegis Shield to make sure you can’t just rush her and hack her down. The best course of action here is to still get up close and personal; however, you will need to time your attacks well when her guard is down and avoid the inevitable spells that come your way when she drops her guard. This one is all about patience and timing, and if you persevere, you will win this one.
Fight 21 – A Championship Bout
So here it is, the fight with the Yellow Team Champion, oh, and an extra archer for good measure. You were supposed to have support, too, but the best you got was a Boar named Porkchop. The good news is that he’s actually pretty useful in the fight.
When the fight begins, let Porkchop attack the lower-level fighter and allow the Champ to run at you. This is a good time to get some early damage in and potentially hit them with some poison potions.
While doing this, keep an eye on Porkchop and when he falls, rush to the other fighter and finish the job to ensure you aren’t outnumbered. Then when left with the Champ, simply put all your training into action. Block carefully, parry when appropriate, stay mobile, and avoid all charged attacks like the plague, and when in doubt, duck out and cast destruction magic. Congrats, you are now a champion of the Arena.
The Grand Champion Fight – Agronak Gro-Malog
Becoming Champion is neat and all, but I’m sure you want to take down Agronak and become the Grand Champion. Well, there are two ways to do this. The legitimate way is by asking him to set up the fight and then heading up to the Arena and facing him. However, this is a really tough battle; he has tonnes of health, hits like a train, and knows tonnes of special moves. So if you want an easier way to win, we would urge you to complete his side quest, The Grey Prince.
If you speak to Agronak at any point before your battle, you can ask him about his heritage, and he will tell you he has a problem that needs solving. You see, he has a lead on his royal lineage and wants to find out who his father is, and he has tracked him down to a fort called Crowhaven, just north of Anvil.
So your job is to head there and find out who resides in this fort. Well, spoilers are ahead, but it turns out that it is none other than Lord Leviticus, a vampire. Agronak is of vampiric blood, and with the help of a journal you find in Leveticus’ private quarters, you can relay this information to Agronak, completing the quest, earning yourself a tasty +3 buff to Athletics, Blade, and Fortify Block, and horrifying the poor guy.
If you complete this quest and then decide to fight him when the battle commences, he will simply stand motionless in the Arena and allow you to hack him down with no reply. This is a great time to whack up the difficulty slider and work on boosting your stats with no fear of being killed. Once you win, you have crowned the Grand Champion and awarded all the spoils that come with that accolade! Oh, and don’t forget to loot Agronak’s corpse here, as, in this fight, you are allowed to take his stuff.
Life as Grand Champion of Cyrodill
So what are the spoils of becoming the Grand Champion of Cyrodill, you ask? Well, we won’t leave you hanging. Here are the rewards for completing this questline:
- You will gain access to a weekly fight in the Arena as the Grand Champion, where you can pick your opponent and fight against level-scaled opponents. This level will determine the potential payout, and this can range from 50 gold up to approximately 4700 Gold.
- You will gain 31 Fame points
- You will receive a Raiment of Valor, an enchanted version of your standard garb. This armor fortifies Personality or Athletics and Health depending on if you pick the light or heavy Raiment, respectively
- You will Gain 1,000 gold for beating Agronak Gro-Malog
- You will also be met at the gates of the Arena after the quest concludes by the adoring fan. He is a very obnoxious and annoying companion that the character can choose to ignore or take with them on their journey.
By Azura, By Azura, It’s The Grand Champion!
As you can see from the information laid out above, this questline succeeds in spite of the game’s underwhelming combat mechanics and provides a fun way to engage in battle with a litany of varied foes, not to mention a vampire lord who is pretty stacked. This questline is one in that players can get stuck into early doors and build up their combat competency while earning a boatload of Gold to set them up for the rest of the game.
It’s a no-brainer, and best of all, it’s bundles of fun, provided you can take a few insults that Owyn hurls your way. We hope that this guide serves you well on your quest to become Grand Champion and as always, thank you for reading Scrolls Guided.
Elder Scrolls Oblivion Arena Guide: FAQs
Question: Can You Choose Your Arena Name?
Answer: When you reach the final fight with Agronak Gro-Malog, Owyn will prompt you to choose a gladiator name that will serve as your alias and spread across the region of Tamriel. Here are the set choices you have access to
• The Messenger of Death
• The Black Arrow
• The Crimson Blade
• The Butcher
• The Divine Avenger
• The Spellslinger
• The Tamriel Terror
• Man O’War (Male character)
• Sir Slaughter (Male Character)
• Lady Luck (Female Character)
• The Iron Maiden (Female Character)
Question: Can You Kill The Adoring Fan?
Answer: Yes, mercifully, you can kill the Adoring Fan. Imagine if this guy was marked as an essential character. We would urge you to do this in the most creative way possible, like telling him to wait in the flooded well in Cheydinhall or taking him to the peak of Dive Rock and sticking an arrow between his eyes. Get creative!
Question: Can You Bet on Arena Matches?
Answer: Yes, you can, just not on your own matches or on anyone you know from the Bloodworks. You can take the door at the gates to the right up to the gallery after placing a wager at the main gate booth, and then the battle will commence. The outcome is completely random, and you simply bet on the Yellow or the Blue team. Simple as that!