Shadow Arena is a free-to-play MMO battle-royale developed and published by Pearl Abyss.
Shadow Arena is a new project from Pearl Abyss. This battle royale previously was featured in Black Desert, but it was removed because of the poor balance between characters and cheaters. The developers of SA announced the release of the separated version with improved mechanics. It also features AI-controlled enemies and mobs, which are used to farm experience, gear and money. It brings a lot of mechanics from the popular MMORPG called Black Desert Online. It features creatures and abilities from that universe, and the characters available that used to be classes in the MMORPG have new lore and tweaked abilities to fit the battle-royale setting.
The game features various options on how to play, and all players have access to tutorial, single and group modes. The tutorial takes you to a small arena where you can fight other players indefinitely to learn the class and become better at it. Single and group modes feature the battle-royale, which gathers players on a small arena similar to the one in tutorial until the required number of players is there to begin the battle. After that, everyone is teleported to a larger map where they can farm creatures, improve their abilities and fight against other players. The playable territory becomes smaller over time, and the last one standing wins the battle.
The creatures in Shadow Arena carry valuable items and grant experience to the players when killed. That allows you to increase the level of your character to unlock additional abilities, obtain items that increase the attributes and find consumables to affect your stats during this match. The items dropped are random, and the players need to grind as much as they can to increase the odds of winning. After every game, you can keep one item to take it to the next match. Another difference with original game mode is a sophisticated system of equipment. Unlike other battle royale games, SA provides players with an opportunity to craft more durable equipment using three lower-rank items.
However, the first few minutes of the battle allow the players to die and not lose the items and the chance to win. You can choose a new location to respawn and keep participating. After that specific time frame is over, every death is permanent, and all the loot you drop is lost. Still, Shadow Arena has a spectator mode, which allows you to explore the map and observe the match in a shadow form.
Specific locations on the map may have mini-bosses that drop better items, and it may be challenging to fight them. Closer to the end of the battle, the game spawns the main boss, which takes a lot of time and effort to kill, but the rewards may change the odds of winning drastically. There is always a risk that other players notice you fighting the boss, and kill both of you to collect the rewards.
All the classes available in Shadow Arena have different abilities and playstyles, such as melee, ranged and spellcasting characters. Most of them have various skills to teleport or move around quickly, so that allows melee classes to compete with ranged ones on the same level. The developers carefully tweak the game balance regularly to ensure the best experience for the players. Depending on the chosen character, you can choose one of the available strategies and gameplay styles: there are swordsmans, magicians, ninjas, and other types of professional fighters. The skills are based on the existing classes from Black Desert: swordsman Jordine Ducas, assassin Haru, powerful healer Herawen, sorceress Ahon Kirus, sword master Goyen, powerful fighter Badal the Golden, archer Orwen, and knight Gerhard Shultz.
The graphic engine in Shadow Arena is inherited from Black Desert Online, and it features high-resolution textures along with detailed character models. The setting of the map is a dark fantasy world, and the animations of abilities look bright and colourful.
Every game rewards the players with various currencies. Experience increases the account level, silver can be spent to purchase items in the in-game shop, and gems can be used for improving your score in the rating scoreboard. However, the in-game shop is closed during the beta testing stage.
Shadow Arena takes the best features of battle-royale and offers a unique fantasy experience to its players. The massive community of the genre can fight and use weapons, magic and tricks to become the last one standing. The game fits both casual and hardcore players because losing does not bring any penalties to them, and winning can be genuinely challenging.