This is the Lead Producer of Shadow Arena, “Byulbram”, Kwangsam Kim.
It’s already been 2 weeks since the start of Early Access, and in those past 2 weeks, here are the 3 major things we’ve been focusing on.
We’ve received a lot of feedback from everyone, and from that feedback, those 3 are what we believe are the most important issues.
Of these, balance presents a somewhat obvious solution.
That is to listen to feedback quickly and frequently and do our best to implement fixes through updates.
During these past 2 weeks, that’s what we’ve tried to do, and we believe we’ll “continue” to try do so.
Unfortunately, the remaining two are a bit more troublesome.
First off, let me touch upon lag. Bringing together many players who are physically spread out to enjoy a game at the same time is a massive technological challenge. In order to make gameplay as optimal as possible, we are constantly fixing our internal servers and network structure with the premise above in mind. As a result, we feel that we’ve made some improvements with the update on May 28th.
However, there are still lag related issues remaining. We're sure everyone has a lot to share about this, so don’t hold back and let us know.
For example, when landing CC skills or juggling skills to knock down an opponent, they show up as being knocked down on the opponent's screen but are shown untouched on the attackers or a third-parties' screen. (Technically, this kind of issue isn’t server lag, but a situation where movement/action output is out of step. We’ve included it here since it looks similar to lag.) Or when a fall/similar action is ignored. Additionally, there’s an issue where lag seems to increase once a couple of days have passed since server maintenance.
We are currently focusing on investigating the cause behind these sort of issues and fixing them. Unfortunately, this isn’t something we can respond to as quickly as balance issues, as this requires constant examination, investigation, and review of the entire game code. Nevertheless, this issue is our highest priority for issues that need to be fixed. We are still working on it as this is being written, but we hope to give you good news soon.
Moving on to hacks. Only a few days into the start of Early Access, we started receiving reports of in-game speed hacks. Our response was to start collecting and verifying data about these hacks, and once enough data was verified, we immediately activated an automatic disconnect function. After the May 28th update, we also started to automatically block the connection of speedhack users and enforced hardware bans whenever a speedhack user was repeatedly detected.
Still, this isn’t enough to us to relax. Due to the nature of PvP games, we know that there’ll constantly be users who try to use hacks; thus, we will continue to actively monitor and respond to any such attempts. If you ever encounter a hack, please report it to us immediately. We will investigate it and take action as quickly and carefully as possible.
Besides the three mentioned above, there are other critical problems as well.
One problem is that the skill gap is already too wide for beginners to pick up the game and try to learn it.
Before we go into depth about this problem, let us explain the structure of our matchmaking system. Our system organizes players into matchmaking groups based on the number of players currently online. In other words, the more players that are playing, the more likely they are to be matched with players of similar skill levels.
The best way to fundamentally improve matchmaking is to increase the number of players playing the game. (Of course, we’d appreciate it if you share the game with your friends)
But in reality, we need a way to improve the game experience right now. We also need to solve the difficulties beginners face when trying to learn the game for the first time.
While AI Match certainly exists for players new to the game, these players can’t help but be frustrated when matching up with experienced players when first playing Solo matches.
Of the 40 players who enter a match, the most skilled players will most likely dominate the game, leaving the rest of players to experience a gap in skill level.
We’ve continued to look into how to solve this problem, and we may have found a somewhat radical solution.
That solution is to include AI players into Solo games.
For new players, games with lower tier players with low ranking scores will have AI players mixed in, and as their skill level goes up, the AI will gradually decrease until they reach completely AI-free games for middle/upper-level players. (The AI difficulty will be different according to the player’s ranking.)
Hence, the goal is to create a more smooth and phased experience instead of players immediately skipping from fully AI matches to matches with only players.
This can also aid in finding games in poor match times, such as early in the morning, by including AI to start a game.
Right now, we feel this radical idea is finally ready.
Immediately after today’s update, you’ll be able experience the new matchmaking system. We are aware of how much of major change this update is, so we will keep a close eye on the feedback after today’s update.
And of course, we’ve received a lot of feedback and reports about problems that need to be fixed. While we are working on the top priorities mentioned above, we will not ignore the other problems and do our best to fix them quickly.
So, it seems we’ll be updating quite frequently for the time being.
Regarding the additional feedback we’ve received from many players, we’ll be returning to you again soon with our answers, so please hang on a little longer.
Thank for you enjoying Shadow Arena, we’ll do our best not to disappoint you.