One of the best features about Arknights is the freedom given to players in testing out different builds in tackling various stages in game. Players are not restricted to using only high rarity characters, unlike most gacha games out there.
As I said, there are no exact rules in playing the game and how characters should be nurtured. The main purpose of this article is to assist players who are totally clueless on how to progress their game early on prior to Chapter 3-4. This guide is also spoiler-free, meaning there will not be videos on how-to-clear XX maps.
Many characters mentioned below are purposely kept to lower rarities for easily leveling and upgrades without chips. Players can certainly replace them with their preferred units of the same archetypes. Last but not the least, special thanks to UID42357460 in NGA for writing the original guide out.
The most basic formation should consist of Regen-Type Vanguard, Damage Dealer, Tank and Healer.
Regen-Type Vanguard is recommended to be Courier or better characters. For this role, it’s more efficient to level up skill rather than level.
Damage dealer wise, player can opt for Kroos and Ranger first, and eventually switch to Exusiai, Blue Poison or Platinum. In the most unlucky scenario, player can always stick with Meteor and Kroos (or Vermiel in future patch) until they have something better. For magic attacks, 12F and Steward will be sufficient early on.
For early game, tank role can be given to Noir Corne or other 3 star Defenders. Shaw and Melantha can be considered for short term replacement, but that is not what they are originally for.
Healers are pretty straightforward by going with 1 solo and 1 AoE Medic. Each Medic differs in skills so choose what you like best. For this guide, Hibiscus is used for solo healer. In any case, players can also buy Gavial from the shop.
Alternatively, players interested in learning different archetype of classes can always take a look here:
After End of Chapter 1
By this stage, the expected formation can be build around E1 Kroos, one lv40+ solo Medic, and a 20+ Courier. 2 star units like Ranger, Yato and Noir Corne should be at max level too. This same formation can be used to attempt CE3, LS3, CA3 and SK2.
Base can be expanded into 2nd floor at 1-8, so be sure to look into that. Base materials are farm through SK3, while formations can be strengthen with CE3 and LS3.
After End of Chapter 2-4
From here onward, your target will be E1 Melantha, E1 Steward, lv45 Courier with lv4 skills, E0 max level solo healer, and lv45 Shaw with lv4 skills. The formation should have no problem crossing SK3, PR-A-1, PR-B-1, PR-C-1, PR-D-1 and A2.
After End of Chapter 2-10
This time, E1 solo healer should be focused for clearing AP3.
Player is also suggested to start to look for Cuora or any stronger tanks. If Cuora happens to be sold by the shop and Red Tickets are insufficient, player can consider trying Annihilation stages for achievement rewards on Red Tickets.
Preparation for Chapter 3-4
Formation for 3-4 would require strength about E1 Tank, E1 Courier, E1 Shaw, E1 AoE Caster, E1 AoE Medic and E1 AoE Sniper. At this rate, player can also tackle CE4, LS4, CA4 and SK4.
Base can by expanded into 3rd floor by now, forming a proper 252. If you need help in base setup, do take some time to read https://vynli.com/popular-base-facility-combinations/.
And now, congratulations! You are finally graduating, and hopefully with most basic understandings of the game mechanics by now. I hope the guide help many players in need. Always remember: Experiment, explore, and enjoy!