This is the Lead Producer of Shadow Arena, “Byulbram” Kwangsam Kim.
First of all, on behalf of the Shadow Arena team, I want to thank everyone for the support and passion you’ve all shown us for the previous Beta tests and the Final Beta which begins on April 17, 2020. Now then, I’d like to share with you what we’ve been preparing for the upcoming Final Beta.
As mentioned in the previous Dev Note, the Final Beta will introduce the new AI Mode (AI Matches). AI Matches are intended to make it easier for beginners to learn how to play Shadow Arena and is a place where players can practice new heroes or just relax. In this mode, testers will be able to compete against these AI bots that play like humans. AI matches will begin with both testers and AI bots defeating monsters, growing stronger, and eventually battling against each other. Thus, we feel these AI bots will become the best sparring partners for learning the game.
However, even though it’s called an AI mode, you won’t always be battling alone against 39 bots. A maximum of 5 human players can enter an AI match together, and these “human” players are all allies who cannot attack each other. In this case, the human players need to cooperate and defeat all the AI heroes to be victorious.
You might ask, why do the human players have to be allies? The first reason behind this is that we want beginners to have a friendly first meeting with other players and get a chance to ask, watch, and learn all the in-and-outs of gameplay. Secondly, we want to prevent the possibility of experienced players preying upon newer players. To summarize, there will only be cooperative gameplay between “human” players in AI matches. Our hope is that AI matches will be a starting point for beginners and a space for experienced players to practice new heroes.
By the way, the existing Practice Matches will be renamed to “Dueling Grounds”.
Monsters and the Fog
Secondly, the placement of monsters and the Dark Fog’s system will be slightly changed. This is probably something that players who participated in the previous Beta will be really interested in.
To start off, the placement of monsters throughout the map will be adjusted to create more clear variances between regions. Some regions will have more closely-packed monsters, while other regions will have fewer, stronger monsters. We want to make players take more time than in the previous Beta to consider what routes they’ll take trying to become stronger.
Additionally, we’ll be introducing a new giant monster—the “Stoneback Crabs” that has 3 main types: the “Giant Mountain Stoneback Crab” which is hidden in the mountainous region; the “Giant Steppe Stoneback Crab” which is hidden in the open plains; and the “Giant Demi River Stoneback Crab” which travels across the length of the Demi River that divides the map. You can get powerful buffs such as movement speed/HP regeneration, recover health on attacks and more by defeating these monsters that are hidden on the map or moving in certain routes.
We’re also preparing big changes for the Dark Fog. We plan to add a green blessed area that is half the size of the safe area. Being in this blessed area will greatly increase HP regeneration, reducing the need to consume potions. We hope this new addition will encourage a different playstyle of taking risks by staying in the center instead of just defeating monsters while skirting the boundaries.
Furthermore, once 25 minutes passes after the start of a match, the fog will shrink the safe zone down to a very small size, nearly getting rid of it. This is to ensure the match won’t drag out by forcing players to fight each other.
Ultimately, we want to increase the choices you can make in the game and increase its strategic diversity. Our core goal with these changes is to avoid games dragging out with players just standing-off against each other.
Third, there will be some changes to the characteristics of gear items.
Previously, sub-weapons, helmets, gloves, and shoes felt less important than main weapons and armor because they had comparatively low AP and DP. Thus, we’ve added additional effects to make them more impactful.
These gear got the following special effects that vary according to their grade: gloves have attack speed, shoes have movement speed, helmets have health regeneration, and sub-weapons have extra damage against monsters.
And so, this increases the value of bringing different items other than just simply main weapons and armor.
Additionally, sealed items of lower grades will be easier to open. That’s because lower grade items require less points to open them. This was to allow the option of getting an item early in the match and try to snowball with it.
Fourth, the point system will be changed. In our previous Beta, the ranking point system functioned well in certain aspects, but we also discovered some parts of that still needed some touching up. Some of them looked like fairly serious issues. Like how heavily Top Points affected the system, so that farming Ruins Golems, kill abusing, and other factors could seriously undermine the game’s ranking points.
In conclusion, we have reduced the weight of Top Points and increased the weight of average points. The weight of average points also increases with the number of matches played.
Also, Ruins Golems will no longer drop Lightstones that affect ranking points. Instead, all monsters will have a chance to drop Lightstones when defeated. Ruins Golems will now give a buff that helps you defeat monsters and get skill points.
The points given for kills during the 4 minutes of Grace Period will be lowered and the full points will be rewarded for kills after the Grace Period ends. You will also get more points for killing players with more kills. This is in an effort to lessen the impact of players killing each other early in the game to gain points.
Fifth, we are adding normal matches, because we know it can be hard to play ranked matches all the time. Actually, “Normal Matches” was already developed beforehand. However, we wanted to focus our attention on the ranking system during our last Beta, so we temporarily blocked this mode. Since we got to focus on the ranked system last time, we will now be opening up normal matches.
Like the AI matches, it can be used to try out new heroes in the arena, new tactics, or just play without having to worry about your rank dropping.
By the way, you won’t be only matched with players that are playing normal matches. Normal matches will place you in matches with others around your rank. It’s just that the match won’t be recorded and affect your rankings. This is to try to keep matches going without having to wait for too long. It also makes the matches fairer, so you don’t get matches where some players just go out and slaughter everyone.
We are going to test out and see if this type of normal matches will work out during the Final Beta.
Finally, the part you’ve all been waiting for—balancing. There already were plenty of hero balance patches before, and there will be more changes continuing on from the moment I’m writing this ‘till the launch of the Final Beta. So, it’s difficult to say what kind of changes we will end up with.
Nevertheless, the biggest question mark that’s on everyone’s mind at this point is--what about Goyen?
Goyen will be nerfed.
To give you more details, skills can miss and there will be higher risks for missing the proper timing of his skills. Theoretically speaking, if all the skills connect every time, the damage is rather similar. However, as they will be harder to hit with and the HP spent for skills are increased. This will make Goyen players feel the pain if they try to go around and spam their skills like before. Making Goyen a “harder to play” hero.
Other than this, there are other smaller changes for different heroes. We will be announcing the actual figures and details in the patch notes that will be released along with Final Beta. So please check it out when it comes out!
Oh, another point I wanted to make. I’m sure many of you are wondering if there will be a new hero added this time around…
As this testing period is called the “Final” Beta, the launch of Shadow Arena is not too far off. When we launch we want to have exactly “10” heroes. There is a hero that has been prepared at this time, but we will keep this hero a secret until then.
Thank you for taking the time to read this long, long post!
Our Shadow Arena team is working very hard to get the Final Beta prepared.
We plan to keep you all informed through our official website and SNS channels.
So please stay tuned!