Lets talk about Store.
Normal Store. You want to buy Hero Essence daily. You also want to buy Elite Hero Soulstone whenever possible(90 gems for 5 EHS). You shouldn't buy anything else until late game(Emblems/Tokens).
Guild Store. You want to buy ONLY Mythic Gear(after 12-1) or Mythic+ Stones(after 21-1).
Barracks. Buy ONLY 60 Elite Hero Soulstones.
Lab Store. For F2P, your best bet is to rush Shemira every reset. After Shemira you'd probably want Nemora/Khasos. After Nemora/Khasos, you'd want Estrilda/Thoran. Will state my thoughts on this later on. You should also buy up the first 2 Hero Essence the moment you started in your server(the one that cost 900 lab coins). Do not invest in essence after that. Once you have 8 E copy/4 E+ copy/the requirement to reach A0 Ascended, MOVE ON to the next hero. DO NOT 5 star anything right from the get go.
Challenger Store. For F2P, you are best farming challenger coins(unlock after 9-20) up to 500k(max limit) before you decide on what to do with your coins. Most people will go for Athalia(imo best hero in the game). IMO, You should go for Grezhul/Fawkes first. Will talk about this later on.
Lets talk about Noble Tavern.
Normal Pull/Summon by Diamonds/Normal Scroll. You only want to do 2.7k diamond pull or 10 normal scrolls.
Faction Pull/Summon by Faction Scroll. Generally speaking, most of the time F2P players will go for Wilder/Lightbearer factions as they have the best supports to carry you from early to late game. You should stick to one faction from the start until at least chapter 20 or 21 and decide which faction you should go next. It's to farm fodders and copies of Ascended tier heroes properly. You do not really want to swap factions anyhow because you are F2P and you're not allowed to keep swapping factions just because you feel like it.
Companion Pull/Summon by Companion Points. You should do 10x here as well and keep the rest for next week's weekly quest rotation to complete the Summon 20 Heroes quests earlier.
IMPORTANT TIP: Do not do single pull on anything ever. It's been confirmed by the dev that you get a guaranteed Elite copy every 3rd 10x pull. There's 3 different pool as stated above, and it only works for Normal/Diamond pull and Faction pull. Cycle resets every time you get any Elite copy.
My own tip: Pull from Sunday(start of weekly quest) to Thursday. Leave everything else to next week's rotation to complete weekly quest faster.
Stargazing Room. Unlocks after 15-40 or VIP13. From F2P's point of view, you should never do this. You do get some free cards from either events/faction towers. These are meant for whales. You can choose to do it for fun too, but I generally wouldn't recommend it.
Lets talk about Resonating Crystal.
You should always fill up your resonating crystals and leave 1 empty slots open all the time. Generally speaking, you'd want to fill up supports first, tanks second, dps third. Reason to leave 1 empty slots is to fill that with whatever you need at any point of time should you need to use a certain hero to accomplish a certain task/stage/whatever.
Lets talk about Temple of Ascension.
First rule. Ascend all your E copies to E+ whenever available to save slots (i.e 2 E copy of Shemira should be ascended to 1 E+ immediately).
Second rule. Ascend all your R copies to R+ whenever available. (i.e 3 E copy of Hogan should be ascended to 1 R+ immediately).
IMPORTANT RULE. Do NOT ascend your E+ copies of Ascended tier to L without another E+ copy to go to L+ straight to avoid being level capped at 140. You can however do it to Legendary tier heroes cause they can be used as fodder for your main heroes later on. Reminder here that you should not always L+ legendary tiers as you also need 2 E+ copies of Legendary tiers to ascend your Ascended tier to L. It's all about planning.
Third rule. Keep all your R+ copies until the very last moment where you're forced to ascend due to hero slot limit so that you do not waste your copies and can plan on what to ascend for proper ascending management.
There are many guides out there in Reddit/Discord telling you why you shouldn't ascend whatever you like. Tbh, I'm too lazy to repeat it in a detailed fashion lol.
Lets talk about Guild.
Join a guild ASAP the moment you started your game. It helps you fill out your Library quickly. This is very critical as it boosts your heroes' power significantly.
Should you want to min-max the game, you should only join level 5/6/7/8 guild to maximize guild hunt runs. That being said, you can always start your own guild or join a new/low level guild. A guild should ALWAYS open Soren run whenever it hits 9k guild points. There used to be scenarios where events require Soren run to farm event currency but I doubt Lilith is stupid enough to repeat that same mistake again.
Make sure you join an active guild whenever possible. A semi-afk/afk guild do you no good.
Lets talk about Library.
Pretty self explanatory. Just fill up all the possible stuff here to boost your heroes' power rating to help you progress throughout the game.
My own tip: You should rush 5 Legendary tier heroes to L+ that are required in the library ASAP. This way you are guaranteed to be friends with higher level people who are constantly on the lookout for players that have L+ heroes that are usable in Library.
Lets talk about Bounty Board.
Again, self explanatory. Complete whatever that is available ASAP.
My own tip: Again, start building 5 L+ Legendary tier from the start. This will help you in completing your bounty board way easier. You will definitely come across scenarios where you're unable to complete a certain quest due to faction+ascension limitation.
Lets talk about Arena of Heroes.
Legends' Championship. Guide to betting is easy. Find out who is way ahead in chapter progression. Then find out who has the most heroes with maxed out/higher amount of Signature Items upgrades. Finally, find out who has the most Celestial/Hypogean heroes maxed out in terms of everything.
Legends' Challenger Tournament. Unlocks after 9-20. This is very crucial and you should rush to this stage ASAP to start farming challenger coins to buy heroes in your challenger store.
My own tip: Build 2 strong lineups out of the 3 from the start until ultra late game. The requirement to winning is to win/defend 2 out of 3 fights anyway. There's no point in splitting your strong heroes/composition in 3 teams. ALWAYS focus on 2 teams only. You are given a few free tries everyday. You should always try to use them and progress ahead and get better placements. the difference gets fairly significant in the long run. For example, a person who is rank 50(350 coins/hour) vs most players who are in platinum or lower (300 or lower). That's 1200 coins a day, and 36k a month that you're missing out. Don't stop trying. There are people who go afk here or dont give a fuck about these coins cause they stupid lul.
Arena of Heroes. Again, always aim for better placement whenever possible. try to copy/mimic lineup of the top 10 or even top 20/30 and work your way up. It's possible to reach top10-20 consistently as F2P, you just need time and experience on how to place your heroes and counter whatever is there on board.
Lets talk about Voyage of Wonders.
IMPORTANT RULE. Open voyage on day 1 whenever voyage is open to public. try to accomplish the voyage and open the map as much as you can. If you're unable to complete it the first run and you've opened the map completely, reset immediately. Re-roll your relics if you're able to see them without the need to fight camps. Voyage is open for 2 weeks, people tend to forget about this. It will always scale to the level when you open your voyage. What you need to do is try to re-roll your relics if you know that your comp/lineup is unable to beat whatever is there AND LEAVE IT OPEN AND UNTOUCHED. You are then given 13 days to level up your heroes and be way ahead of enemy even without relics. So what happens if you're already level capped? Then you just have to re-roll for relics that are guaranteed to clear the voyage.
Lets talk about Peaks of Time.
Self explanatory. Complete them ASAP and whenever you're capable to. Check out Youtube/Reddit/Discord for guides on how to clear them should you face any difficulty. The rewards there are really crucial to your progression.
Lets talk about King's Tower.
Self explanatory. Complete the levels to as high as possible. Faction tower unlocks after 14-40. Hire mercenary on Sunday if possible to hire the best ones out of them all from your friends/exemplar. You can use the mercenary in King's tower once and each faction tower once as well.
Lets talk about Arcane Lab.
I don't really wanna go through the relics. Learn them from websites/discords/reddit.
General tip is to NOT go for anything other than flags to maximize amount of lab coins farmable. Also, by going flags you can further power up your lineup with relics. You should always check out Reddit from either here or r/Lab_path by u/ainil and complete all the flags available. Reminder here that you should go 7-8 flags every map for first 2 stages whenever possible. Don't skip on those brown flags.
Lets talk about Friends.
Always maximize your friends slots whenever possible for companion points and for mercenary purpose. Should you want to min-max here, you should always rush 5 L+ Legendary tiers from early-mid game so that you can be friends with those late gamers to take advantage of their highly ascended/starred heroes that you can hire to help in your progression/voyage.
Lets talk about Bag.
Always keep your resources to the last minute available and use them bit by bit until you reach about chapter 22 onwards. Talking about those hourglasses, pile of essence, emblems,reward chests from voyage(only open when you know what's best to get etc). Use the soulstones whenever available. Use arena tickets whenever available as well. Leave all your equips for your M gear enhancement. You DO NOT NEED to enhance ANY gear below M gear to advance. Trust me. You're not losing out on the enhancement points here, but the Gold. Gold is better used at buying essence and emblems(mid-late game), and also enhancing your M gears(16m to max out 1 gear).
Lets talk about Fast Reward.
My own tip: I'm 1000% sure I'm gonna get shit on for this but here goes. Aside from the free fast reward you get everyday, you should also always do the 50gems fast rewards PROVIDED THAT you're already at 16-12 and above. There's a chance that the fast reward will give you M gears. I personally did it cause I am F2P and i needed more Hero EXP to fasten my hero levels to somewhat compete with the paying players in arena/challenger. Also higher level means better progression for towers/chapters/voyage etc. To me, it's a good investment as F2P as there's a chance for it to drop M gears and M+ stones.
I do not wanna go through hero tier list cause I'm too lazy for it. All you need to know is that hero tier lists you see everywhere online are NOT UP TO DATE. Do NOT believe in hero tier list you see. Best is to see what the whales are using to win fights/progression/guild hunts and see what their composition is and try to understand the skills of every hero ALONG WITH THEIR SIGNATURE ITEM.
Now I wanna go back on the Lab Store/Challenger Store point. You should always focus shemira first in lab store cause it boosts your progression speed very fast and you get more resources as compared to everyone else, you'll always want to go as far as you can. Reason to get nemora and khasos next is that, nemora is one of the hero that is essential in the "meta lineup" where it requires shemira+wilder trio(any 3 out of Arden/Lyca/Nemora/Tasi)+Brutus(or any other tank that is well ascended). Khasos became top tier in Mauler faction since the introduction of Signature Item. He can literally solo faction tower all the way till 110 or even further. Next would be estrilda/thoran. Estrilda is a good hero in Wrizz hunt if you do not have a better replacement and is very good against enemy CC tanks like Ogi/Ulmus etc. Thoran becomes top tier in late game so i placed him way behind the rest cause you need khasos for mauler tower and you already have shemira in gb tower.
Now to Challenger store. Reason to get Grezhul/Fawkes is because they are useful in both chapter progression and pvp. My reasoning to not get athalia even though that's the only guaranteed way to reliably farm her is because as F2P you do not really have a choice... You'd want to get as many A0 Ascended tier heroes as possible to you dont get level capped once you breach Lvl240. Athalia is just simply not for F2P. I personally wouldn't ever recommend numisu and ulmus because numisu is not that useful in tower/chapter progression IMO and dont sync well with other heroes. Ulmus wise, if you're already using faction scrolls from early to late game in wilder faction, you should be getting a fair amount of Ulmus. Don't get me wrong Ulmus is a reliable tank in Wilder, but there's way more heroes that could use fodders like Lyca/Nemora/Tasi/Eironn/Lorsan. It takes FOREVER for Ulmus's turn to get fodders.
Final Tip: Join Discord Channel to get instant reply regarding questions/lineup/tips/guides/tier list. I'm not saying reddit is not good enough but you get instant reply there from experienced players. Don't forget to check youtube videos on chapter/tower progressions as well. People tend to forget about this. The last place people can get info about the game is through https://www.afkarena.net/ . I'm fairly sure there are other wiki or guide websites but this is what im using. Again do not rely on the tier list too much. Use it to search for feature unlocks/sig effects/pots etc...
Found on r/AFKArena here.