Your Guide to Total War: Arena

total war arena tips

Breaking Down Total War: Arena

In Total War Arena, YOU are the Commander! The Legendary Generals of history are under your command to send into battle!  Don’t have any command experience? No problem. I’ll get you through everything you need to know about Total War: Arena.

Commanders and Units

Commanders are great military leaders from history. Leonidas, Caesar, Alexander the Great, and more. Click on your commander menu in the top left of the screen. You’ll get a menu that has each faction on a tab at the top, and several commanders to choose from.  Each commander has different abilities, which makes them better suited for certain types of Units.

  • Infantry – Germanicus, Leonidas, Miltiades
  • Ranged – Cynane, Boudica
  • Cavalry – Scipio, Alexander, Arminius
  • Artillery – Ceaser

These are not mandatory roles, just guidelines. In fact, several generals like having a mix of troops. Boudica for example is the only Barbarian general with range improving abilities, but she also has abilities beneficial to melee units.

commander abilities total war arena

total war arena unit upgradesSome unit types may get no benefits from a Commander, so be careful with your selection. The unit types are pretty straightforward. Infantry walks on foot, and attacks with melee weapons. Skirmishers walk on foot, and attack with ranged weapons. Cavalry rides around the battlefield looking for targets of opportunity, and can attack with ranged or melee weapons. Artillery fires from great distances, allowing a small measure of safety.

You can pick any three you like. I’d suggest you either go with the default unit loadout for a few games, or pick all three of the same unit type. Don’t worry about the Variety Bonus at early levels, you’re going to breeze through quickly anyway.

You can unlock new equipment for your unit between battles using Unit XP or Commander XP. Equipment is first unlocked with XP, then must be purchased with Silver. The first time you unlock a piece of gear on a unit, it will do both automatically. If you unlock another unit that uses equipment you already unlocked, you will just have to pay silver for it.


You have the option to add consumables to your units for each battle. You’ll see the little + sign when you click on each unit in your battle tray. Consumables give tiny buffs to your units, and are akin to min-maxing.  Some consumables are passive, and last for one battle. Other consumables must be activated, and last until depleted.  Consumables cost silver or gold, so it can be a bit of a gamble if you don’t do well enough in a match. You don’t need them as much at first, and I frequently play without them.

Gold, Silver, Experience

There are three currencies in Total War Arena: Experience, Silver, and Gold.  XP and Silver are both earned from battles. Gold is purchased through the in-game store, and occasionally special codes (Humble bundle, promo codes from conventions, etc).

total war arena money

Experience is broken down into Unit Experience and Free Experience. Unit Experience is green, and is tied directly to the unit that earned it. Free XP is blue, and is universal experience to be used on units, Commanders or Commanders Abilities.  Free experience is very valuable, and harder to get. Only spend your Free XP on leveling up your Commander Abilities. Tiers I – III go by very fast, and is the best time to learn the game.

Silver is used to buy upgrades once you’ve unlocked them. It’s your staple ‘gold’ type currency as in other games. You can also use silver to buy colors to customize your army with.

Gold is the premium currency. You can use Gold to convert Unit XP to Free XP. If you have a unit with spare XP on it, you can convert 5 unit XP for every 1 gold. Gold can also be used to buy silver at a rate of 10 silver for every 1 gold. Gold also buys Premium units. Premium units have no replenishment costs, and come fully upgraded.  They are great for farming Silver, and storing Unit XP for conversion to Commander XP. Premium units are not better than regular units, and in some cases are actually worse. Gold can also be used to buy exclusive colors in-game.  Finally, gold can purchase premium account time, which gives you 50% more XP and gold per battle. Generally speaking, gold just speeds up your progression through the game.

Debriefing Complete

You are now ready to command your forces, General. Hit that Play button up top, and get ready to clash in epic battles! There will be more guides coming, so check back often.

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