Semi Protection


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Arena box art
Setting Tamriel
Time Period 1st of Hearthfire,
3E 389 - 3E 399
Developer Bethesda Softworks
Release Date
February 1994[1]
Deluxe Edition
Release Date
November 1994
10th Anniversary
Release Date
25 March 2004
Release Date
26 August 2015
Release Date
26 April 2022
Arena Deluxe Edition box art
Arena CD-ROM Version box art
French Arena box art

The Elder Scrolls: Arena (also known as The Elder Scrolls Chapter One: The Arena when booting the game up and in some companion pieces) is the first game in the Elder Scrolls series. Emperor Uriel Septim VII is betrayed by Imperial Battlemage Jagar Tharn and imprisoned in another realm. You alone are left to travel the vast continent of Tamriel in search of the legendary Staff of Chaos that will allow you to rescue the true Emperor and restore peace to the Empire.

Although it was the first game in the series and received very little initial attention, Arena became a cult classic that spread in popularity through word of mouth. It secured Bethesda's place in the RPG industry.

Arena is available for free on Steam and Other options for downloading the game can be found here on the wiki. As of 8 June 2022, the version of Arena available on both Steam and GOG is the CD version (1.07).

Quest Information

Character Information

  • Attributes — Information on character statistics, and how they affect gameplay
  • Character Creation — Everything you need to know about creating your own character
    • Classes — A page listing all the classes that you can choose from in Arena, and what benefits they offer
    • Races — A guide on the playable races of Arena, and what each specializes in
  • Level — Your character's overall experience level

Gameplay Information

  • Bugs — List of in-game bugs and glitches, along with means of circumventing them
  • Buying and Selling Guide — A guide to getting the most from your gold piece
  • Combat — The semi-complete guide to fighting and staying alive in the Arena
  • Controls — A table of the various controls used to interact with the game
  • Equipment — How to handle items in the player inventory
  • General Hints — Hints relating to non-combat activities and general gameplay
  • Items — Directory of over eleven thousand items with location and price, divided by category
    • Artifacts — A list, with descriptions, of all sixteen unique artifacts
    • Base Armor — A list of all standard armor pieces and their properties
    • Base Shields — A list of all standard shields and their properties
    • Base Weapons — A list of all standard weapons and their properties
    • Magic Items — A list of all items with magic effects
    • Potions — A list of all potions and their magical effects
  • The Known Spellbook — All of the pre-made spells available for purchase from the Mages Guild
  • Magic — A guide on the use of magic in the world of Tamriel
  • Magical Effects — A list of all the magical effects available for spellcrafting in the game
  • Thievery — A simple guide to the workings of stealing and lockpicking

World Information

  • Directions — The potential answers and rumors from NPCs when asked about directions to a given location
  • Greetings — The randomized greetings and professions NPCs have
  • Guilds — The many shady organizations who might oppose your quests
  • Holidays — A listing of holidays in Arena
  • Maps — Maps of Tamriel and the provinces as seen in Arena
  • Monsters — Complete bestiary with description, picture, and combat strategies
  • People — A listing of people in Arena
    • Town Guide — Generic citizens you can speak to in towns
  • Places — A listing of places in Arena
  • Rumors — The different rumors you may hear across the Arena
  • Services — The services you can get in the Arena
  • Weather — An explanation of the weather system in Arena

Guides and Secrets

Technical Information

  • Deluxe Edition — The CD-ROM upgrade of the original game.
  • Arena Patches — Official patches for Arena
  • Running Under DOSBox — A detailed guide to playing Arena on DOSBox under a modern operating system, including Windows, macOS, and Linux
  • Running Under Windows — A detailed guide to playing Arena on Windows 95/98 operating systems
  • Running Under Windows XP — A guide to playing Arena on Windows XP operating systems without DOSBox
  • Unofficial FAQ — The unofficial Arena FAQ which attempts to answer the most commonly asked questions new players have
  • Historical Unofficial FAQ — The original unofficial Arena FAQ released in 1994 as presented by UESP until 2005

Mods and Modding

  • Mods — Content and gameplay information about player-created mods for Arena
  • OpenTESArena — A fan-made open source project to recreate Arena using C++


  • Files — Arena full game, patches, mods, utilities, and other related files of a wide variety
  • Preview Screenshots — Pre-release screenshots in gallery form
  • Save Games — Save game files made available for download and use

Miscellaneous Information

Release Date

The Elder Scrolls: Arena was originally scheduled for release in December, 1993, but the team failed to meet this release window.[2] Bethesda normally acknowledges the release of this game as being March 25, 1994. However, reviewing contemporary Usenet posts from around that time suggests that the game may have actually been out in February. One post in particular, from the user Jeffery Thomas, claims that a phone conversation with Bethesda had the studio state that the game had shipped on February 3, 1994. Another post from Jeffery Thomas on February 11 claims that the game had released in Europe the previous week, but was supposed to release in the USA within "the next week or two". Other users certainly appeared to be playing the full game during February, such as in this user review from February 27, 1994. It also includes a claim that a patch for the game had been distributed within the same month.

Based on this evidence, it seems very likely the game was truly already in distribution during February, instead of March, although being certain of a specific date is more difficult to determine.

See Also