Player vs Player Action
The arena in Star Wars : Galaxy of Heroes is your direct source of (almost) Player vs Player action.
It's "almost PVP" as you're not really facing the player, but his squad only. The AI will use the different abilities as soon as they're up, on "somewhat" random targets (Jawa Engineer seems to always have a red dot on his head...).
The best part of it, is that most of the time, you will be able to defeat the enemy squad by picking up manually your targets, even if your opponent is stronger.
Climbing Descending the ranks
You'll fight in arena by picking enemies with a rank better than yours. Better means lower : the best rank is rank 1.
You can refresh the list of ennemies to find an enemy squad easier to defeat (based on your own composition).
Your aim is to get as low as possible, and to keep your rank.
Quite obviously, you should do your arena battles as close as the daily deadline. Don't forget the cooldown between two fights.
The most important thing to know is that arena will be your main source of free crystals. When starting playing SW:GoH you should be focusing around your arena squad. This squad must be maxed out at any moment. Levels, stars and gear.
Should you follow advices and picking the best characters and synergies (not the focus of this article), you should be able to place 50 or lower and keep your rank. That's 150 crystals every day.
With the daily prize plus the daily quest, you get easily 10 shards per day.
There are many important characters to unlock with the arena. Powerfull characters to upgrade your arena squad, or to get better in raid.
It's a steady shard income, coming quite fast (only the Galactic Wars provides more guaranteed shards / day).
The wording on the daily quest is probably not very clear (at least for a guildmate). What's important to remember is that you don't need to win your battles to finish the quest !
Losing a battle ?
Should you lose an arena battle, you just lose an attempt. You start with 5 free attemps every day.
Choose wisely your target, but don't fear the loss.
Learn from your losses too : identify your worst threat, next time deal with them first.
Know your enemy
You can inspect every character of enemy squads, and you should regularly do it. Especially as soon as you can use mods.
Can you handle a max health & protection tank ? Can you survive a +speed team's first assault ?
Losing rank ? Bring a tank !
However, if any opponent picks your team for his battle and wins : you'll switch places.
That's why, unless your squad (really) outspeeds and outdamage everyone, you should add one (or sometimes two) tank character to your squad. (Stormtrooper Han, Royal Guard for instance are good tanks).
These guys will protect your squad in battle, and they may encourage your opponent to pick someone else. That's even better. Good news, Stormtrooper Han is an arena reward... Go fight !