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Into Esperia: A Beginner’s Guide to AFK Journey

The world of Esperia is once again driven into conflict. Thankfully, the world isn’t left to face it alone; the prestigious Magister Merlin, a mage and leader of unparalleled might and skill has awoken to lead it out of an age of chaos and into a time of peace, prosperity, and stability…

…at least, if they could remember how they were supposed to do that in the first place!

afk journey cover

In AFK Journey, you assume the role and office of Magister Merlin – a merit awarded only to among the strongest and most prestigious of arcanists. Unfortunately, you’ve also been inflicted with a severe case of protagonist amnesia, meaning you’ll need to traverse the world, make        new friends, pick up epic loot, build a strong army, and save the universe from utter destruction. No pressure.

AFK Journey is available on both the Google Play Store and the App Store. For PC players, there’s also a standalone client which you can download from the game’s website.

Boasting gorgeous art, fantastic animations, and an easy learning curve that feels tailor-made for players new to the AFK auto chess RPG genre, AFK Journey is a surprisingly fresh breath of air. With its distinct cast of characters, a vibrant, living world, a game that oozes with personality and a surprising amount of depth, and refinement and streamlining of AFK RPG features, AFK Journey is looking to be a mainstay of the AFK RPG genre.

Veterans of AFK RPGs like Memento Mori or Dragonheir will find that AFK Journey is incredibly easy to intuit, pick up, and play, as it uses most of the existing systems of the AFK RPG. If, however, AFK Journey is your first foray into the AFK auto chess RPG genre, or you want a quick skim of the game’s systems to see if it’s for you, you’ve come to the right place.

In this AFK Journey beginner’s guide, we’ll be going over the following topics:

  • Hero 101 – the basics of heroes: stats, classes, factions, rarity, and so on.
  • Bulking Up – the many, many methods of strengthening your heroes.
  • Earning Resources – you didn’t think that buffing up your heroes would be free, did you?
  • Battlefield Control – while combat in AFK Journey is largely AFK (hence the name) there are several things you can do to rig battles in your favor.
  • Gaming the Gacha – how to navigate the wish list, the difference between premium currencies, and stuff you should look out for in the Emporium.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a quick TLDR guide, feel free to skip to the “Quick Tips” sections.

Hero 101

All RPG players must have a basic understanding of how their heroes work, and while long-time RPG players will no doubt have an easy time navigating AFK Journey’s hero system, it doesn’t hurt to go over the basics!

Quick Tips:

  • All heroes have stats. You can view a hero’s stats by tapping the info panel on that hero’s character screen.
  • Stats are divided into basic, offensive, defensive, other, and rivalry. Rivalry stats only apply in that game mode and overwrite similar stats.
  • Each hero has a class, which is a rough overview of what their role is. The classes are warrior, tank, marksman, rogue, mage, and support.
  • Each hero belongs to a faction. You gain a passive boost when you have 3 or more heroes of the same faction in your formation.
  • Factions also have weaknesses and resistances against each other.
  • Each hero has at least a normal attack and a skill. Level up your heroes to unlock more skills.
  • You can tap on each skill to get a more detailed description; you can also tap the “full” button to get an even more in-depth readout.
  • Heroes have rarity. The rarity grades are Rare (blue), Elite (purple), and Epic (orange). Rarer heroes are generally better in terms of stats, though rarity is not necessarily an indication of hero quality.
  • Heroes can equip items. Each hero can equip six items.
  • Equipment is shared between classes; you only have to equip one warrior set and all your warriors will count as having that set equipped.


All heroes have stats, numbers that dictate how well they do in various aspects of the game.

Luckily, stats in AFK Journey are broken down into easy-to-read sections: basic stats, offensive stats, defensive stats, other stats, and rivalry stats – which we won’t cover as they’re essentially the same stats but fine-tuned to work only in Rivalry mode.

To view a hero’s stats, tap on this button:

Beside that button, you’ll also find a combat power score, which gives a rough estimation of that hero’s strength. Bear in mind that this is just an approximation – this score doesn’t count for positioning and skills!

Now, to the stats. The basic stats are as follows:

  • HP: how much damage a hero can sustain before it’s knocked out of the fight. Everyone needs this.
  • ATK: attack power. The higher this is, the more damage a hero’s attacks do. Bear in mind that skills often derive their damage from ATK.
  • Phys and Magic DEF: physical and magic defense, respectively. Mitigates the damage from incoming physical and magical attacks.

The offensive stats are as follows:

  • ATK SPD: attack speed. Each point of ATK SPD increases normal attack rate and attack animation speed by 1%.
  • Crit: the chance to resist a critical hit. Compared 1:1 to target’s Crit Resist to compute actual crit rate.
  • Haste: similar to ATK SPD, but also affects skill frequency.
  • DEF Penetration: the percent of an enemy’s Phys or Magic DEF that’s ignored when this unit deals damage.
  • Execution: each point grants a 1% damage bonus against targets with below 50% health.
  • Crit DMG Boost: the amount of bonus damage a critical hit will inflict. By default, this is 150%. Compared against Crit DMG DEF – each point of Crit DMG Boost subverts one point of Crit DMG DEF. Minimum crit damage is 120%, maximum is 300%.

There’s one more offensive stat that can be seen by tapping on the icons below the hero’s name, and that’s range, seen as such:

  • Range: indicates how many hexes away a unit can attack from. A range of 1 means a hero is a melee fighter.

Next up is defensive stats…

  • Vitality: increases the efficiency of received shields and healing by 1% per point.
  • Life Drain: percentage of damage converted to healing for this hero when it attacks. 2% Life Drain means the hero is healed for 2% of the damage it deals.
  • Crit Resist: chance of shunting a critical hit. Compared 1:1 against the enemy’s crit rate; a Crit Resist of 10 versus a Crit Rate of 15 means an enemy has a 5% crit chance.
  • Ranged DEF: percentage damage reduction exclusively against ranged attacks. Stacks with Phys/Magic DEF.
  • Crit DMG DEF: chance of negating bonus damage received from a crit. Compared 1:1 against the enemy’s Crit DMG Boost. A Crit DMG DEF of 20 versus a Crit DMG Boost of 10 results in -10, meaning that critical hits from that enemy deal 140% instead of 150% damage.

Lastly, we have the Other Stats, which aren’t very important, all things considered…

  • Healing: percentage bonus to outgoing shields and healing. Also applies to self-heals.
  • Assistance: percentage bonus to (most) buff durations provided by this hero.
  • Energy on Hit: percentage bonus to energy gain when this unit is hit; 1 Energy on Hit grants 1% extra energy when this unit is hit.
  • Debuff Focus: percentage bonus to (most) debuff durations inflicted by this unit. 10 Debuff Focus means debuffs this hero inflicts last 10% longer.
  • Resilience: percentage bonus that reduces incoming debuff duration; 5 Resilience means debuffs last 5% shorter.
  • Proficiency: a power limiter stat. Applies a malus to attacks and skills against enemies with a higher level than the caster’s Proficiency.


Heroes in AFK Journey are divided into one of six categories, each of which gives an overview of how a hero is supposed to be used:

  • Warriors use a Red Axe as their insignia. These fighters are well-rounded frontline brawlers who bring a mix of offense and defense.
  • Tanks have an Orange Shield as their class symbol. When it comes to survivability, tanks are second to none with their huge HP pools, defenses, and protective skills – and some tanks may even use all of these!
  • Rogues can be identified with their Green Knife symbol. Tricky, flighty, and hard to pin down, these melee fighters tend to eschew defense for offensive prowess on the front lines.
  • Marksmen are denoted with a Purple-Blue Bow. These heroes are unmatched when it comes to dealing ranged DPS, though like mages, their lack of survivability means that they’ll need to rely on their sturdier comrades to be at their best.
  • Mages are signified with a Purple Staff. Weaving the power of arcane might into each spell, mages are the premiere class for dealing magical damage. However, mages are ill-suited for close combat and will need the help of warriors and tanks to stay alive.
  • Supports are identifiable via the Blue Staff icon. Whether it’s by healing the party, buffing their allies, or weakening their foes, supports are valuable heroes.

Note that these roles aren’t hard and fast guidelines, but more of recommendations. Often, heroes can take on multiple roles in a battle based on their skill sets, so pay attention to a hero’s skills before writing them off.


Each hero in AFK Journey belongs to a faction, which can be seen here:

There are six factions in AFK Journey: Lightbearer, Mauler, Wilder, Graveborn, Celestial, and Hypogean. These factions are important in combat as there are faction weaknesses and resistances as well as formation bonuses for having a certain number of heroes from the same faction. We’ll talk about that in more detail in the “Battlefield Control” section.

Related: AFK Journey Tier List: Ranking All Epic and Elite Heroes


Each hero has several skills at their disposal to help them dispatch foes faster.

To pay the bills.

To view a hero’s skills, tap here:

By default, a hero has two skills at their disposal: a normal attack and an ultimate. You can tap on each of a hero’s skills in their info screen to get a more detailed readout. You can also tap on the “Full” button on each skill to get an even more in-depth look at the mechanics of a skill.

We’ll talk about unlocking more skills in the “Bulking Up” section.


Heroes come in three rarities: Rare, Elite (A-level), and Epic (S-level).

Blue for Rare, purple for Elite, orange for Epic.

A hero’s rarity helps determine its skills and stats. As a general rule, the higher a hero’s base rarity, the better its stats. That said, there are many excellent A-level heroes, so don’t make the mistake of writing off your Elite heroes!

Rarity also plays into skills. Rare heroes, like your hamster familiars Chippy and Hammie, only have three skills, while Elite heroes like Valen or Fay have multiple ones, and even proper heroes don’t have all their skills unlocked.

A taste of things to come.

While a hero’s third skill is always unlockable via levels, the rest are unlocked via ascension. We’ll talk more about that later.


Lastly, each hero can also equip six items to bolster their stats – a weapon, gloves, an accessory, a helmet, body armor, and boots.

Stat sticks, all.

Here’s the neat thing in AFK Journey: you don’t need to give each hero equipment. Instead, equipment is assigned per class, and all heroes of that class are treated as if they’re equipped with those items!

You can tap on “Quick Equip” on the equipment screen to automatically fill all slots of a class with the best gear you currently have.

Bulking Up

Now you know how to read your heroes. But knowledge is just half of the equation – you’ll need to pump up your heroes to ensure that they’re strong enough to defeat whatever baddies you come across.

Quick Tips:

  • Level ups grant extra stats and unlock new skills.
  • Every 10th level, you’ll need to limit break your hero by spending Hero Essence along with the usual gold and manuals. These 10th levels usually give a major stat boost, new skills, or skill levels.
  • The Hands of Resonance are the five heroes with the highest level. Levels are saved in their slots, and you can freely move heroes in the ranks or in/out of the Hands of Resonance.
  • Only Hands of Resonance can be leveled up.
  • Your Resonance Level is the lowest level among your five Hands. All non-Hands of Resonance heroes are boosted to this level.
  • Hands of Resonance must be within 10 levels of your Resonance Level. They won’t be demoted, but you’ll need to boost your Resonance Level to level up those heroes again.
  • Skills level up alongside your hero. The 4th, 5th, and 6th skills are unlocked via the ascension systems.
  • Heroes can be ascended to boost their rarity, which in turn boosts their stats and unlocks new skills.
  • Ascending heroes requires duplicates of that hero, as well as faction acorns at higher ascension levels. Acorns are pulled from the gacha.
  • You can also use Soulstones instead of pulling duplicates. Note that Soulstones for A-level (SR, Elite) and S-level (SSR, Epic) are not interchangeable.
  • Ascension levels are non-transferable via the Hands of Resonance slots. Don’t spend your acorns willy-nilly – save them for good heroes who could use the extra stats!
  • If you’re unlucky with equipment drops, you can forge new equipment by spending gold and smithing stones.
  • Forging gear upgrades it to the highest tier that can drop for you. You can improve this by making progress in the main story and especially in AFK stage progress.
  • Forging stones come from scrapping gear that’s inferior to whatever you have equipped. The equipment wall has a function to quickly scrap all available items.

Leveling Up

As with most RPGs, the fastest and easiest way to get stronger is by leveling up. Each level gives a hero some slight stat boosts, and certain level thresholds will unlock or strengthen a hero’s skills. Don’t sleep on the importance of levels!

Nothing exciting, but we badly need those numbers.

To level up a hero, all you need to do is feed them training manuals and gold. Bear in mind that the higher a hero’s level, the more gold and manuals you’ll need, so prepare accordingly.

Ah, but we’re not done. See, every 10 levels, a hero gets a big boost, whether that means bigger bonus stats, new skills, or skill levels. This also means that every 10th level is always going to be more expensive. On top of the usual gold and manual fee, you’ll also need to shell out some hero essence to surpass these levels.

You will need a lot of the stuff. A lot.

Hero essence is one of AFK Journey’s main bottlenecks, which can be mostly solved by bolstering your AFK gains – we’ll talk about that in the “Earning Resources” section.

Resonance Levels

However, there’s a catch to leveling in AFK Journey, and that’s the Resonating Hall feature.

Useful once you can navigate the intricacies.

What the Resonance Hall does is this:

  • You have five slots for heroes. These heroes are called the Hands of Resonance, and by default, the game will pick your five highest-leveled heroes to be Hands once you’ve unlocked this feature.
  • Only your Hands of Resonance can be leveled up. It’s literally impossible to level up a hero who isn’t a part of the Hands.
See? You just can’t do it.
  • You have a Resonance Level, which is dictated by the lowest level among your Hands of Resonance. Any heroes who aren’t part of the Hands of Resonance are automatically boosted to your Resonance Level.
  • You can freely move heroes around or out of the Hands of Resonance, in which case they’ll inherit the level of that slot. In essence, you’re leveling up the Hand slots, not the heroes themselves.
Like so.
  • Finally, the level of any Hand of Resonance can’t exceed the Resonance Level by more than 10, meaning that you’re pretty much required to level up all your Hands of Resonance, and you can’t overlevel any of them. In the image above, Cecia (first on the left) is level 37, meaningI can’t level her up until I get to at least Resonance Level 28,so I need to pump everyone else up. This ensures that you have a balanced team that can most of the challenges the game throws at you.

For players unused to level sync features, think of it like this: AFK Journey actively prevents you from leveling up more than 5 characters by preserving levels and resources between them. The resonance hall system also means thatessentially, no resources are ever wasted on investing in the wrong characters – just swap out your Hands of Resonance if they’re not working out for you!

Leveling Skills

Leveling up skills is another quick and easy way to bolster your power levels. Luckily, AFK Journey does away with skill materials, instead tying skill levels to hero levels.

No materials nor extra farming needed.

Yes, there are 4th, 5th, and 6th skills. Those are tied to the ascension system.


Levels aren’t the only way to get stronger. By obtaining duplicates of a hero, you get their soul sigils, which in turn can be used to ascend them.

Good luck pulling duplicates.

Ascension does a couple of things:

  • When ascended, a hero’s rarity is bumped up. Rarities have plus version of themselves, such as Elite+ and Epic+.
  • The higher a hero’s ascension level, the better their base stats.
  • Some ascension levels require faction acorns, which you can get from the gacha.
  • The higher a hero’s base rarity (Elites are A-level heroes, Epics are S-level) the more duplicates and faction acorns you’ll need.

There are three main milestones when ascending:

  • Legendary+ unlocks a hero’s Hero Focus skill, a passive boost that’s usually tailored to their main stat.
  • Mythic+ unlocks a new skill, greatly enhancing a hero’s repertoire.
  • Supreme+ unlocks the Enhance Force skill, which augments one of their skills.

Apart from these, there are also paragon levels, which only appear once you’ve ascended someone to Supreme+. The long and short of paragon levels is that they give tiny stat boosts for massive investment. We won’t be covering those here as they’re super endgame stuff and are usually only for those willing to spend or the insanely dedicated.

Now, let’s talk about getting duplicates. While you could always get lucky in the gacha or use the Wish List system to your advantage, a better way of earning the duplicates you need is by farming Soulstones by challenging Corrupt Creatures. Soulstones are items that can be exchanged for a duplicate of either an A or S-level hero (SR and SSR) once you have enough, effectively allowing you to farm duplicates and ensuring you don’t get stuck in gacha hell.

One last caveat here is that, unlike normal levels, ascension levels are per-hero and not tied to a Hands of Resonance slot. This means that you can and should budget your faction acorns for good heroes!

Forging Equipment

You’re going to get a ton of equipment from AFK rewards and clearing stages, but they won’t all be gems; in fact, most of them will be garbage, fit only for recycling. That’s where equipment forging comes in.

Better, stronger, faster.

While AFK Journey has a very streamlined (and generous) equipment system, bad luck can set you back, especially if higher-tier gear just straight-up refuses to drop for you. Forging will allow you to mitigate that bad luck.

To forge items, you’ll need to have reached a certain AFK Stage. Once that’s unlocked, head to your equipment wall, then select which class you’d like to forge gear for. Select which equipment you’d like to forge – you can forge any equipment that’s not currently the best quality that can drop – pay gold and forging stones, and bam, new equipment for that class!

Thank you for the new shoes.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Forging requires forging stones, which you get from scrapping gear that’s at a lower level than what you have equipped. There’s an option to quickly scrap inferior gear while in a class’s equipment wall.
  • Because the forging stone cost can get quite high, forging is more effective the more of a certain class you have on the field. For example, if you’re running a double mage team, spending forging stones on the mage equipment wall becomes more appealing as two characters will benefit from it.
  • The quality of items you can forge is dependent on how far in the game you’ve gotten, meaning main story progress and especially the last AFK stage cleared.

Battlefield Control

Just because AFK Journey is an auto chess RPG doesn’t mean that there’s nothing we can do to influence the outcome of battle. Sure, sound planning is vital, but it’s equally important to recognize and seize whatever advantages the game offers you. Here’s a rundown of some extra things you can do to swing battles your way in AFK Journey.

Quick Tips:

  • Units in AFK Journey tend to simply run forward and engage the nearest enemy. Because of this, it’s important to maintain a good formation – tough melee fighters in front, squishy melee DPS units in the middle, and fragile ranged units in the back.
  • Be sure to space units adequately and push them forward/backward in your formation to make them more or less likely to be attacked. A single hero in the frontmost hex will be focused down by foes!
  • Use the game’s targeting predictor to see who will engage who. This is especially useful in fights where you need to burst down a key enemy or to see if there are foes who will ignore your frontline and dash to your back rows!
  • Some hexes have unique features such as walls, buffs, explosives, and more. Learning to use these tiles to your advantage and how to counter a foe using these features will be key to clearing difficult battles.
  • Tactical Drill battles are puzzles that have strict victory conditions. They also serve as a great way to learn certain key elements of the game, such as formations, using new hex features, targeting, and more.
  • You can manually target a hero’s skill by tapping on their ultimate. This allows you to precisely select targets for powerful nukes, maximize AOEs, throw out emergency heals, and more.
  • Faction bonuses in AFK Journey trigger when you have 3/3+2 of another/4/5 heroes of one faction, which gives you 10%/14%/18%/22% more ATK and max HP.
  • Celestials and Hypogeans count as every faction for this bonus, and also grant 1% ATK and max HP per Celestial or Hypogean.
  • Lightbearer beats Mauler, Mauler beats Wilder, Wilder beats Graveborn, Graveborn beats Lightbearer. A hero attacking a faction they’re strong against deals 15% bonus damage; a hero attacking a faction they’re weak against has a -15% damage penalty.
  • While useful, don’t forget that faction bonuses are just that – a bonus. Focus on creating a core team with a good formation and a solid strategy before attempting to maximize these extra bonuses.
  • You can use artifacts to assist your heroes on the battlefield, each of which gives you an ultimate skill like your heroes.
  • Swap artifacts to change your spell to suit your team. You unlock more artifacts by progressing through the main story.
  • Artifacts can be upgraded by spending gold. An artifact’s level not only influences how strong its spell will be but also raises the passive buffs it gives to your heroes.

Formations and Targeting

Because AFK Journey is an auto chess battler, units tend to have simple targeting AI – just run forward and fight the first thing they come across. As such, a logical formation allows you to both weather your opponent’s attacks and get the most out of your squad.

Form ranks!

Since units will attack the enemy that’s closest to them, it follows that your enemies will do likewise. Thus, it’s a good idea to spread out your team across multiple ranks (unless you have an all-in tank).

The next thing you should keep in mind when building a formation is a unit’s class. Ideally, your frontlines should be reserved for bulky heroes such as warriors and tanks. Rogues should go a little later, as their role is to deal damage, not take it. Finally, ranged or non-combat units (supports) should be at the very back of your formation.

However, not every battle will follow a logical pattern – remember when I said that AFK Journey refined AFK RPG mechanics? Sometimes you’ll have enemies that blitz to your backlines, which will put your squishy marksmen, mages, and supports in a lot of trouble. To remedy that, you can tap on this button to see what your enemies will target:

The arrows denote whose side’s targeting is shown. Arrows from your opponent shows which of your enemies will attack who. This system can also be used to focus down enemies as heroes tend to prefer attacking the enemy closest to them. If you need to burst one of your enemies down, you can tap the button a second time to see who your heroes will target.

Hex Features

Not every battle happens on blank hexes. Occasionally, there will be hexes with unique features, such as walls, explosives, buffs, and so on.

Walls shunt ranged attacks and force melee attackers into more predictable movement patterns.

Every time a new hex appears on the battlefield, you’ll get a small popup on what that hex does and how to take advantage of it. Keep these hexes in mind when assembling your party and be sure to leverage their unique properties to swing the battle in your favor.

Tactical Drills

Apart from regular battles, there are sometimes Tactical Drillbattles on the field. These are puzzle battles that help keep you sharp by forcing you to win under very strict conditions, often by demonstrating your mastery of the game’s battle system.

Tactical Drills are a great way to learn how to manipulate and maximize certain hex features if you haven’t already been doing so.

Ultimates and Manual Targeting

Another aspect of combat that you can manually control is ultimate use. As a hero fights, they accumulate ultimate energy, and when their energy is full, they can release their ultimate.

The golden glow means their ultimate is ready to go.

While it is convenient to have the game automatically use ultimates for you, enterprising players will find that there’s room for strategy via manual targeting.

For the price of some attention and a few taps, you can minimize overkill, maximize AOEs, and much more!

When you manually cast a hero’s ultimate, two things will happen. First, you’ll enter bullet time, meaning the battle will slow to a crawl around you. Second, the hero’s targeting grid for the ultimate will appear, allowing you to select the target or AOE. This will allow you to snipe key enemies, maximize AOEs, push out emergency heals, and so much more. If you’re having difficulty with a stage or against a certain boss, give manual mode a whirl.

Faction Bonuses

As mentioned earlier, factions aren’t just lore fluff. By utilizing the power of faction bonuses, you can vastly improve the strength of your heroes and shift fights in your favor.

The faction bonus features are as follows:

  • If you have 3, 3 + 2 (three of one faction, two of another) 4, or 5 heroes from the same faction, all deployed heroes gain 10%/14%/18%/22% more ATK and max HP.
  • Celestials and Hypogeans are counted as belonging to any faction when triggering this buff. In addition, each Celestial and Hypogean also grants +1% max HP and ATK to the team.
Stronger together.

Factions also have strengths and weaknesses. The weakness cycle is as such:

  • Lightbearer (blue background with yellow star) beats Mauler (gold shield), Mauler beats Wilder (green leaf), Wilder beats Graveborn (dark green background with an eye), and Graveborn beats Lightbearer.
  • Heroes deal 15% more damage if they have a faction advantage. Conversely, they deal 15% less damage against the faction they’re weak against.

These bonuses are nice, but don’t let them get in the way of cohesive team building.While it may be tempting to slap 5 Graveborn heroes into a team to get that sweet 22% bonus, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good team. Ideally, go for the 3+2 bonus whenever you can, and don’t be afraid to switch out team members if you need to take advantage of faction weaknesses and resistances. Remember – the Hands of Resonance system means that you don’t need to worry about levels!


Your talents, Magister, are not limited to commanding and assembling heroes. By utilizing the power of your arcane artifacts, you can directly assist your warriors on the battlefield.

Artifacts, awaken!

Each artifact gives you a powerful spell that you can cast in battle. As with your heroes, your artifact spells will accumulate charge over time. Unlike your heroes though, you can freely swap out your artifact, giving you free reign over how you’ll personally contribute to the battle. Need a healing spell to keep your team alive? Sure. More DPS? Can do. Buffs? Of course. Oh, and did I mention that artifacts also grant a passive stat bonus to heroes on your team, depending on its level?

Just another way to get stronger.

Leveling up artifacts improves both the spell’s potency as well as its passive buffs. Fortunately, all you need to level up your artifacts is gold and resonance levels – which you should be raising anyway.

You unlock more artifacts as you progress through AFK Journey’s story and AFK stages.

Making Money

Knowing which paths you can take to make your heroes stronger is one thing, but earning the cash to pay for these upgrades is another. Let’s go over the many, many ways of earning resources in AFK Journey.

Quick Tips:

  • AFK rewards are the best way to earn resources. Keep challenging AFK stages to boost your AFK rewards, and always make sure to attempt the latest AFK stage before logging out.
  • Dream Realm has you fight a single, powerful boss. The more you hurt it, the more prizes you get, but the stronger it becomes.
  • You get prizes for bringing Dream Realm bosses to certain HP thresholds, and defeating it unlocks a new difficulty.
  • Dream Realm prizes are given out at 0:00 UTC.
  • Honor Duel is a fair play PVP mode where you can spend Honor Badges to build up your team between rounds. Honor Duel continues until you either win 9 rounds or lose 3 battles.
  • Battles in Honor Duel conceal both players’ formations over two phases.
  • There are weekly prizes for winning a certain number of rounds in Honor Duel.
  • Game knowledge and experience will help you win Honor Duel rounds more. You’ll just have to keep playing the game to get better and figure out who counters who.
  • Arena PVP is asynchronous – pick someone to fight, and you’ll engage their defense team.
  • Winning Arena fights nets you Arena Points and can increase your Arena tier. The higher your tier, the more daily and weekly prizes you’ll get. Arena rewards are given out at 0:00 UTC.
  • Corrupt Creatures provide Soulstones, which save you from needing to pull dupes. They also give out higher level equipment than usual.
  • Corrupt Creatures must be fought in a party. Once you’ve cleared your own Corrupt Creatures, be on the lookout for any calls for help as you’ll get rewards for helping other players out.
  • Exploring the world of Esperia via the main story yields treasures. Some of these can be picked up from the ground, others can be found in chests.
  • Increase your heroes’ affinity by tapping on them (once per day) or giving them gifts.
  • At certain affinity thresholds, your heroes will give you diamonds and even Invite Letters.
  • Affinity does not raise hero stats.
  • The minimap shows the location of unopened chests.
  • Tap on the minimap to bring up the full map and check your exploration progress. Your exploration progress tells you how many chests you’ve found and how many are left in each region. You also get bonus gold depending on your exploration progress.
  • Daily quests in AFK Journey give out both diamonds and A-level Soulstones. Make sure to clear them!
  • There’s both a paid and free battle pass. Even the free pass has a ton of useful goodies, so be sure to take advantage of it.
  • Make sure to participate in events as they give out a ton of resources. New players in particular should visit this screen religiously as that’s where you get your 7-day new player loot and free A-level heroes via continuous logins.
  • The cash shop sometimes has freebies. They’re not much, but every little bit helps.

AFK Gains

AFK rewards are, by far, the best way for you to earn resources to fund your adventure. The game is called AFK Journey, after all!

Passive income is the best type of income.

Whenever you’re not playing the game (or just leave it to its own devices), your heroes will accumulate AFK rewards. These rewards – both quantity and quality – are dictated by how many AFK stages you’ve cleared.To challenge an AFK stage, tap on the button at the bottom of the screen:

Apart from boosting your passive income, clearing AFK stages also gives you one-time rewards, such as diamonds, equipment, invites, and so on. However, the main reason you want to clear AFK stages and get more passive income is that you will need a lot of resources, and AFK rewards are the main way to get tons of said resources – not to mention that progress in the campaign is often gated by clearing certain AFK stages.

Note that by default, AFK Journey only holds up to 16 hours’ worth of AFK gains; any more than that simply vanishes. Be sure to drop in to collect your loot and push as far as you can to maximize your passive income!

Lastly, you get up to 4 hours’ worth of AFK gains by tapping on the rush button:

Each press of this button nets you 120 minutes (2 hours) of AFK gains, and you can press it twice for free. Any more presses will cost diamonds, so pay attention to the button!

Always push as far as you can go. It costs you nothing.

Let me reiterate one last time: AFK rewards in AFK Journey are paramount, so clear as many AFK stages as you can.

Dream Realm

AFK Journey has a wealth of game modes that you can do daily for even more resources. One of the earliest alternate modes you’ll unlock is the Dream Realm.

Glorified punching bag? Hardly.

The Dream Realm has you facing off against a single, powerful boss. The more damage you can do to the boss, the better your rewards (awarded at certain HP thresholds), though the boss becomes notably harder the less health it has – don’t be surprised if it starts one-shotting your party. If you’re tough enough, defeating a boss unlocks the next difficulty, unlocking even more health threshold rewards.

Rewards in the Dream Realm are handed out at 0:00 UTC. You have five attempts at the Dream Realm per day, so I suggest spending at least one of them at the end of your play session when you’re already done spending your gold, manuals, and hero essence from your AFK rewards.

Honor Duel

Honor Duel is another early game mode that you’ll unlock. This is a PVP mode that tests your ability to adapt and think on the fly. You can’t bring in any of your own heroes or items here; instead, you’ll be given a choice of a starter set of three heroes, an artifact, as well as some Honor Badges to buy items from shops in between rounds. It’s your task to maximize and budget your limited currency to build an unstoppable team.

Fair play now.

Between rounds, you’ll be given access to a shop where you can buy an assortment of things, from random heroes to equipment and more. Note that equipment in Honor Duel more closely resembles items from roguelikes – each of them has a powerful passive effect, and the right equipment on the right hero makes a massive difference. You can also opt to move and sell equipment in between rounds.

Face-down until both of us are done.

Once you’ve selected your team and spent all the coins you want, you can start matchmaking. To keep things fair, both sides’ hero picks and positions will be concealed over two phases, which gives you room to play mind games with your opponent. Combat will continue as normal once both sides are done picking, though note that victory is only achieved if one side completely knocks the other out – anything else results in a draw. Whether you win or lose though, you’ll earn some Honor Badges to spend on the shop before brawling again.

Because of the fair play nature of Honor Duel, game experience and knowledge of who counters who is pivotal to victory in this game mode. This is something that you’ll earn by spending time on the game, so don’t be discouraged by losses – use what you’ve learned from each defeat to make better picks in the future.

Your fight money, sir.

Honor Duels go on until you either win 9 battles or lose 3 fights. Each victory will be tallied, and you can claim weekly prizes based on how many fights you’ve won in a week. Each run of Honor Duel will consume an Honor Duel letter, which can be bought for gold.

The Arena

The Arena is AFK Journey’s dedicated PVP mode, where we go to smack each other around like civilized people. As with the Dream Realm and Honor Duel, you’ll unlock this pretty early in your AFK Journey.

Hear the roar of the crowds and know that the only god you serve is glory.

In the Arena, you can challenge other players for Arena Points. The more Arena Points you earn, the higher on the ladder you’ll climb. Depending on your tier, you’ll also earn daily and weekly rewards; naturally, the higher your tier, the more prizes you’ll earn. Prizes are given out at UTC 0:00, as with Dream Realm.

Choose your destiny.

When you start an Arena match, you’ll be given three opponents to choose from. If you don’t like your odds (their combat power is displayed close to their name) you can opt to reroll your opponents. You can reroll opponents five times a day. Once you select an opponent, you’ll engage in battle with their defense team. The same rules apply for PVE battles here, so feel free to sit back and relax.

Note that each battle costs an Arena Ticket. Tickets refresh on their own over time, or you can spend diamonds to buy more of them.

Attacking other players is nice, but don’t forget to set your own defense team to protect your hard-earned ranking:

Tap here to set your defense team.

Make sure that your defense team has your best characters. As with Honor Duel, knowledge of characters, their kits, and who counters who will go a long way in the Arena.

Corrupt Creatures

Corrupt Creatures are powerful foes that serve as bosses in the game. But since it takes a lot more effort to kill them, they drop commensurately rare and powerful rewards.

That’s some sweet loot.

There are several things to keep in mind when fighting Corrupt Creatures:

  • Corrupt Creatures must be fought in a team. If you don’t have a guild, you can tap on empty party slots to broadcast to the Team Up channel. Parties can have up to 3 members; the more people you have, the easier the battle will be.
  • Heroes are set to a certain level per Corrupt Creature. This ensures you can’t just stomp them and encourages teamwork and communication.
  • There’s a first-time kill bonus for defeating Corrupt Creatures you haven’t killed yet. You’ll get this bonus whether you’re the team captain or an assisting member.
  • Assisting other players’ battles against Corrupt Creatures also nets you rewards. As Corrupt Creatures don’t seem to respawn, you’re highly encouraged to jump in and help other players defeat their Corrupt Creatures.

Your reward for all this is Soulstones, which can be used as a substitute for a hero duplicate once you’ve amassed enough of them. If that wasn’t enough to sell you, Corrupt Creatures also drop better gear for your heroes.


You can squeeze a small number of diamonds out of each of your heroes by raising their affinity.

Yes, yes, very sad. That’ll be 100 diamonds.

A hero’s affinity is raised primarily by giving them gifts. Gifts like food and flowers can be acquired from exploring vfthe overworld, while more efficient gifts can be bought from the Emporium’s friendship store. Note that the friendship store only accepts friendship points as currency, which can be earned by doing matched gestures or assisting other players in different game modes. You can also gain affinity for a hero by tapping on them in their info screen, once per day.

As you raise a hero’s affinity, they’ll share more about themselves. More importantly, you’ll get a small number of diamonds or even Invite Letters at certain affinity thresholds.

Despite what others may claim, affinity does not improve a hero’s stats or combat ability.


As you travel the world of Esperia, you may find random treasures lying on the ground, just waiting to be taken.

Any snacks in there?

Treasure isn’t just found in chests (though chests do drop the best loot) – anywhere you see a sparkle, draw close and tap it. You’ll need all the resources you can get, after all.

To make it easier to find chests, you can use your minimap. Chests, as well as your total regional exploration progress – the number of treasures you’ve found – are visible in the minimap.

Chest icons will point you to the right way.

Exploration Progress

And speaking of chests and exploration progress, you also get paid for making enough progress per region.

A nice bonus.

Tap on the minimap to bring up a larger map, then tap on Exploration Progress to view not only how many chests you need to find, but also claim gold based on how many chests you’ve already looted!


As with most mobile games, AFK Journey has numerous quests. Access them by tapping on this button:

This quest menu not only shows you daily quests, but also growth quests (one-time rewards for progressing through the game), guild quests (for achieving certain goals while in a guild), and growth path – more on that in a bit. Don’t sleep on your daily quests as completing all of them – and filling up the activity bar at the top – nets you diamonds, hero essence, AND A-level Soulstones.

Do this. Seriously.

The growth path is a series of quests made with new players in mind. These quests will guide you through the early game and push you to make progress. Oh, and they give a veritable boatload of resources like diamonds, Invite Letters, gold, equipment, hero essence, and more – perfect for getting a running start in AFK Journey!

Battle Pass

The battle pass is par for the course for any mobile game.

Access the battle pass via this button.

There’s both a paid (secret) and free (fun) battle pass path. Don’t fret though, as even the free battle pass has a ton of useful items like gold, hero essence, diamonds, and Invite Letters.

Battle pass quests are divided into dailies, weeklies, and epic. Epic quests are once per season; as a new player, you’ll be unlocking a lot of BP points from these quests, so be sure to claim your quest rewards!


Live service games always have a ton of events going on. Tap here to see what the current events are in AFK Journey:

New players should check this button every day, as that’s where you claim your first 7-day login bonuses as well as free A-level heroes for continuous logins!

Cash Shop Freebies

Occasionally, the cash shop will have freebies up for grabs. Access the cash shop by tapping on the uppermost icon on the right side (the cart above the events button).

Please spend in moderation if you choose to do so.

…it’s not much, but it’s something.

Gaming The Gacha

Finally, it’s time to learn about the game’s gacha systems. Because you need duplicates so very badly in AFK Journey, it’s important to learn how to navigate the game’s different currency systems and use its features to make your adventure through Esperia smoother.

Quick Tips:

  • Dragon Crystals are “hard” premium currency that can be exchanged for bundles, skins, or diamonds. The only way to get these is by paying for them.
  • Dragon Crystals to diamonds is a one-way transaction; you can’t turn diamonds into Dragon Crystals.
  • Diamonds are used to pull on gachas or to pay for services.
  • The three banners are All-Hero, Rate-Up, and Epic.
  • The All-Hero banner features a powerful Wish List system that guarantees that the A-level and S-level heroes that appear will only be those you’ve listed. Hard pity is at 60 pulls, and every 10 pulls guarantee an A-level hero.
  • Pulling on the All-Hero banner requires Invite Letters, which you can earn by playing the game or buying them with diamonds.
  • Doing a 10-pull with diamonds on the All-Hero banner nets a 10% discount, costing 2700 diamonds instead of 3000.
  • The Rate-Up hero banner’s S-level pool is limited to the rate-up hero, meaning you’re guaranteed to pull them. However, you can only get a certain number of copies of that hero, depending on the highest rarity tier of heroes in your collection.
  • Hard pity for the Rate-Up banner is at 40 pulls. Every 10 pulls is guaranteed to drop an A-level hero.
  • The Rate-Up banner requires Rate-Up invites to pull on, which can only be bought via diamonds (300 per pull). There is no discount for doing a 10-pull.
  • The Epic Recruitment banner requires special currency that can only be acquired by buying bundles or earned by doing quests. This banner allows you to pick five S-level heroes, and any S-level you get will be one of those five.
  • The Epic Recruitment banner has hard pity at 30 pulls.

Dragon Crystals versus Diamonds

The first thing you might notice in the cash shop is a distinction between Dragon Crystals and diamonds.

Spend wisely.

Essentially, Dragon Crystals are paid currency. Dragon Crystals are used to pay for bundles, packages, skins, and more. Note, however, that Dragon Crystals are not required to buy the monthly VIP subscription. Apart from these, Dragon Crystals can also be converted directly into diamonds at around a 1:2 ratio, though bigger conversions give you a bigger bonus. This is a one-way conversion; you can’t turn diamonds into Dragon Crystals, meaning that if you want to buy a bundle or a special skin, you will need to shell out cash.

Diamonds, on the other hand, are the baseline currency needed to buy Invite Letters. Apart from that, they can be used to pay for some QOL features such as rushing AFK gains, buying tickets to different game modes, and buying items from the Emporium.

Banners and Invites

There are roughly three different banners (you’ll unlock a new one for Celestial/Hypogean characters later on) in AFK Journey. Each banner has its own mechanics and exclusive pull currency.

Always available, always useful.

The All-Hero Recruitment Banner is AFK Journey’s “standard” banner. It’s always available and has a wide assortment of heroes of every faction to pull from. More importantly, it’s the only banner where the Wish List system can be activated – more on that in a bit. Pulling on the standard banner requires Invite Letters, which can be bought with diamonds or acquired from questing and as one-time prizes for achieving certain milestones. If you use diamonds to pull on this banner, the rate is 300 diamonds per letter, though note that if you choose to do a 10 pull, you can do it for 2700 diamonds instead of 3000. Always do a 10-pull to save diamonds.

The standard banner is guaranteed to yield an S-level hero within 60 pulls. Every 10 pulls also guarantee an A-level hero.

Act fast.

Next is the Rate-Up Banner. This banner features a specific character. The good thing here is that you’re pretty much guaranteed to get the featured character as they will be the only S-level hero in the pool. The bad news is you’re restricted to a few copies of said rate-up hero depending on the highest rarity tier in your collection – you can only get 2 copies if your highest rarity is just Epic, for example, while having a Supreme hero allows you to pull up to 8 copies. That said, you’re going to be raising your rarities anyway, yes?

Pulling on this banner requires Rate Up Invite Letters, which can only be bought with diamonds; 300 diamonds yield one ticket. Unlike the standard banner, there is no discount for doing a 10-pull on the Rate-Up Banner.

Hard pity is at 40 pulls for this banner. Every 10 pulls also guarantee an A-level hero.

Recycled pulls!

The last early-game banner is the Epic Recruitment Banner. This is a smaller version of the standard banner where you pick five S-level heroes; getting an S-level hero guarantees that it will be one of the five you chose. The Epic Recruitment Banner also has a very low pity threshold at just 30 pulls for an S-rank, meaning that you’ll quickly be able to pull S-level heroes from here.

However, the lack of a Wish List or a focus on a single hero means that getting duplicates from the Epic Recruitment Banner is iffy at best. Pulling on this banner also requires Epic Invite Letters, which can only be bought from the trolley (as part of premium item packs) or found as world loot. And no, you can’t spend diamonds to pull on this banner.

The Wish List

The Wish List is one of AFK Journey’s best features.

An inevitable reunion.

In the Wish List, you can select two S-level and two A-level heroes from each faction, except Celestial and Hypogean. Once a hero is on your Wish List, if you pull an A-level or S-level hero from that faction, it’s guaranteed that that hero will be someone on your Wish List. This allows you to focus growth on specific heroes as you’ll be sure to pull duplicates of them so long as they’re on your Wish List!

Note that the Wish List can only be applied to the All-Hero Recruitment banner.

It’s The Journey, Not the Destination

The world of Esperia may not be facing a looming crisis – and that’s a nice change, for once. AFK Journey is very, very chill, and you’re always free to play the game at your own pace and do whatever it is that makes you happy, whether it’s collecting heroes, exploring the world, progressing the main story, or competing in the arena.

Come with me, take the AFK Journey.

That concludes this beginner’s guide to AFK Journey, and I hope I was able to help you sort out what’s what and draft a clear path towards the mid and endgame. If you have any suggestions on how to improve this guide, let us know in the comments below!