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Maelstrom Arena -- normal vs. vet

I've complete normal Maelstrom Arena on 15 characters, covering all 6 classes in magicka specs and 4 of the 6 in stamina. I've completed vMA only up through Round 4. :)

That said, I've never found a guide for normal Maelstrom Arena. Rather, I checked out some guides to vMA, and adapted those. Here's my quick guide to those adaptations.

Stage 1
  • It's OK to ignore all mechanics. Just fight sensibly.
  • Concentrate on the final boss. Ignore his clones. Just be sure which is which. :)

Stage 2
  • The final triple boss has an immunity mechanic. Respect that.
  • Hitting the "off" switch for the environmental damage (moving, spinning blades) is nice-not-necessary.
  • Otherwise, just fight sensibly.

Stage 3
Ignore all mechanics. It's OK to"stand in stupid".

Stage 4
This round is remarkably easy. When I did it on vet, I checked afterwards to see if I'd done it on normal by mistake. It's OK to ignore all mechanics.

Stage 5
  • This stage is tough even in normal mode.
  • Pay attention to all the mechanics in the guides.
  • The one bit of standard advice you can ignore is to carefully plan your use of sigils in the final fight. You can execute the final boss without using sigils.

Stage 6
  • The really dangerous part is the spider swarms. You can ignore all unrelated mechanics and just fight sensibly.
  • Surviving the spider swarms involves having unwebbed obelisks. Follow those mechanics.
  • In one tiny aspect, normal mode is actually harder than veteran mode; there's no easy way to pull a necrotic hoarvor to an obelisk, because anything you do will probably one-shot them where they are.
  • If you have fast casting enabled, turn it off. That will give you a better chance to throw a dead hoarvor successfully at an obelisk.

Stage 7
  • With one exception, all the mechanics are as important as they sound in the vMA guides.
  • The exception is the final boss' enraged scream; you can just heal through it, so ignoring the "safe bubble" mechanic (akin to the one in Arx Corinium) is OK. Similarly, it's OK to use a spammable that interrupts him (presumably Crushing Shock).

Stage 8
  • This stage is really easy.
  • The mechanic you need to pay attention to is that when an obelisk is unbroken, the boss will be immune.
  • In the final boss fight, there are three obelisks, and they respawn after a while.

Stage 9
  • This stage is MUCH easier in normal mode than it sounds in the vet guides, probably because the Crematorium Guards (big daedroths) are no big deal.
  • Still, there are some key mechanics in the final fight, without which you can't finish: You need to get to an upper level, and you need to destroy obelisks while you're up there.
  • The way to get to the upper level is to go to the place where a portal might spawn, wait for a shadowy clannfear to attack you, and kill it there. The portal will then actually spawn, and you can use it to go up.
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