Interview with the Onmyoji Arena development team
After its official release this spring, Onmyoji Arena has been on its journey for half a year. Let us express our deepest gratitude to the players who support us, and hope you would walk along with Onmyoji Arena into the future.
Since it is a beautiful autumn day with a cool breeze, we have invited our development team to have a chat with us, and answer some common questions our players have sent us.
Paper Doll: Let’s start with a self-introduction shall we?
Lark: Hello everyone. I am Lark and is the director of Onmyoji Arena’s Development team. I am glad to be here to answer questions from players!
Paper Doll: Thank you for being dragged……*cough*making your way*cough* here. Dear players, if you have something to blame for in this game, this person will be the one to go to!
Alright, first of all, something I believe every player is interested is the release of new Shikigami and Skins. How exactly is the order decided? Currently, there seems to be very few support Shikigami in the game, what considerations does the development team have in regard to the different roles?
Lark: Well, there are many factors to consider when releasing a new Shikigami, the current game environment, development progress, ability designs, or even the upcoming festivals to name a few.
Some Shikigami, for example, the tank/support Samurai X can take on different roles, therefore the number of pure support Shikigami will be relatively few.
We also design our Shikigami with reference to their “Onmyoji” counterparts, which to a certain degree decides what role that Shikigami could take on, but occasionally we would also adjust the abilities of a Shikigami according to the current game environment and the numbers of Shikigami available for a certain role.
Paper Doll: Hmm, so that’s the case! So could you give us a hint on the new Shikigami for the next 6 months or so?
Lark: Sorry but players will just have to stay tuned to find out. I guess a hint for the next Shikigami wouldn’t hurt though…… Alright, the next Shikigami doesn’t fight alone. (Maybe this Shikigami consists of 2 people, or 3?)
Paper Doll: I think this is more of an answer rather than just a hint lol. Alright, enough with the Shikigami, let’s talk about their skins! Onmyoji Arena has some really fabulous skins, and recently there was the “Heian-Kyo School” series. What sparked this thought?
Lark: As everybody knows, Japanese style artwork is a big selling point for Onmyoji Arena and Onmyoji, and we believe that is also what many of our players appreciate and attracted to. However, this is also a limit when it comes to new designs and creativity. We try our best to not make the skins look like templates or replica of others, and for that purpose sometimes it is necessary to jump out of the frame.
Thus, the Heian-Kyo School series were born. We believe the Japanese school uniforms which represent both the modern style and Japanese culture, would bring some freshness to our Shikigami, while the parallel world setting wouldn’t mess up the Heian World.
Paper Doll: Would there be other series in the future? You know, like swimwear, maids, Taisho-style, etc.?
Lark: Absolutely. MOBA games need variety to maintain its liveliness, so that is definitely an option we are considering. However, Onmyoji Arena is based on the Onmyoji IP, so careful consideration and planning are required before we release more of these series.
Paper Doll: I really think a swimwear series would be a hit! Just think of all those handsome and beautiful Shikigami in their swimwear……
Ehem. Speaking of skins, currently, there are some Shikigami who only have dyed skins. Are there any news on skins for Itsumade, Hone Onna, Maestro, etc? Will they get their share before the year ends?
Lark: We are considering releasing skins for those who don’t have them yet. However, when the skin will be released has many factors to consider, so we’re sorry but can only ask our players to stay tuned.
Paper Doll: Actually, I’ve already taken a sneak peek into the Art team’s storage folder, so I guess players will really have to stay tuned! Another question, I believe players would like to know how a skin is borne behind the scenes.
Lark: It all starts with a design concept, then our illustrator will produce a concept art. Our team then discuss the details and make adjustments, finally getting the concept fixed and adding in the details. Afterward, we work on its 3D model, action and special effects. Sometimes there may be special voices or dialogues, then we have to rely on our talented and very busy voice artists.
All of the above procedures are reviewed very seriously, even if just one detail is wrong, we would make adjustments and optimizations. After all the steps are completed, we start preparing for promotional materials (one of which is the GuessWho segment), before the skin can finally be released. All in all, to design a skin from scratch until it is officially released can take up to 3 to 4 months.
Paper Doll: As the saying goes, patient work makes a fine product. We will be waiting for more high-quality skins for the Shikigami!
Paper Doll: Now for some fiery topics. Let me quote one player on this one: “Are you planning on fixing your broken servers? This was my promotion game, we are about enter a crucial team fight and suddenly it’s 420PING!!!”
Lark: We understand players are experiencing lag issues and ping spikes during gameplay, and we are trying our best to resolve it. Network optimization can basically be divided into 2 parts. The first is optimizing the programming of movement, by reorganizing the basic codes which controls Shikigami movement, we are trying to smoothen the movements even when the signals are weak.
Another part would be the optimization of the network connection. The connection details and data transfer between the player’s phone and our servers are very complicated, therefore we have worked with a number of network providers to increase the priority of our game’s data packets. This is currently being tested by a portion of players. Furthermore, we are planning to add in functions that would detect the current network connection statuses and such, hoping to enable players to a stable connection during gameplay.
Paper Doll: It seems lag and ping spikes often occurs when matched with players from other regions. Has the development team started working on this?
Lark: During time periods when there are less active players, the limit on cross-region matching would be slightly loosened in order to facilitate matching. We have also taken measures to prevent players matching with regions that is like to result in lag or high ping.
Paper Doll: Another issue for OA (or all MOBA games) are the AFK players, and those who verbally abuse, bully, harass and intimidate other players in the game. How do you deal with them?
Lark: In the end, we hope to create a friendly game environment and eliminate bad gaming attitudes. Currently, we judge player misbehavior by combing AI and manual inspection.
When a player is found to violate game rules, their merit is deducted as punishment. For serious offenders, they could be banned from chatting or participating in games.
Paper Doll: Will the matching progress also be adjusted as well? Recently the queue time has been quite long, also players on the same team sometimes can have very different levels. Would it be possible to match according to players overall score?
Lark: The matching system has been adjusted recently to facilitate the matching of players of similar level, which might be the reason for the slightly longer queue times.
Adjusting the matching progress has many factors to take into consideration. Actually, we have also implemented some measures behind the scene, for example taking into consideration each player’s preferred role and trying to match players with different preferred roles into the same team. When players use Shikigami of low proficiency, the game will also display a warning.
As for overall scores, because of how it is calculated, sometimes it cannot accurately reflect the true level of a player, but we will consider making it one of the factors for matching in the future.
Paper Doll: It has been said that one of the advantages of OA is its game balance, all Shikigami can shine when their opportunity arrives. Recently Shikigami have been adjusted again, would you mind to shed some light on how these adjustments are decided?
Lark: Usually, it is based on how the Shikigami feels when we use it and we fight against it, while also taking into consideration of win rate and pick rate. We try our best to prevent a Shikigami from being unable to fight against, while also rewarding players who dedicate their time and effort to master a Shikigami.
Paper Doll: A few months ago Onmyoji Arena held an InuYasha crossover event, allowing players to obtain the crossover characters for free. Are there plans for the second time of this crossover event?
Lark: Yes, but time is still needed.
Paper Doll: (Seems like the wait will still continue for quite a while.) Well, at least it’s good to hear the unused shards will still have its use. Are there plans for crossover event aside from InuYasha then?
Lark: We are considering. However, before the InuYasha crossover event is over, there is nothing planned at the moment.
Paper Doll: Inuyasha and Sesshomaru will trigger some special lines if they are on the same battlefield, will this feature be expanded to other Shikigami as well? For example, Mouba and Yamausagi?
Lark: Due to technical issues, we are still working on it. We hope to allow Shikigami to interact with each other on the battlefield.
Paper Doll: Surely looking forward to it! Another intriguing question, will Onmyoji Arena receive its own original, brand new Shikigami? If so, what kind of Shikigami will it be?
Lark: That would be a no at this moment. Although we will consider releasing an original Shikigami if the time comes.
Paper Doll: The Asian Server Elite Challenge (ASEC) that took place in June and July brought us many exciting moments! Are there other competitions planned in the near future?
Lark: We are planning on a competition for different regions, for example, a match between representatives from East Asia and Southeast Asia. Once the gaming level for each region is somewhat the same, we will hold an international tournament.
Paper Doll: How about professional leagues? Really looking forward to an Onmyoji Arena worldwide league tournament!
Lark: Professional league would be a bit later I guess. Until then it would be cup tournaments or exhibition matches. When a number of professional teams have been assembled, we will start to plan for a professional league.
Paper Doll: That’s almost it for today. Let’s wrap this up with some relaxing questions. Who’s the best at Onmyoji Arena within the development team?
Lark: Well, in terms of tier, the developer who is responsible for Susabi’s design is the highest.
Paper Doll: How many Onmyoji are there within the development team?
Lark: Why are you so sure there are Onmyoji within the team lol. Yes, there are Onmyoji within the team, but sorry I can’t tell you how many though.
Paper Doll: When members of the development team play the game, do you guys experience lag and high ping?
Lark: Well… Let’s just say broken phones might be one of the reasons we are motivated in fixing the lag issue.
Paper Doll: Are you guys becoming bold due to the pressure?
Lark: I’m not sure if I’m bold or not, but I can feel the top of my head a bit cooler than before.
Paper Doll: Is paper doll male or female?
Lark: I knew this would come. Paper doll’s gender is Paper doll. No more questions.
Paper Doll: This is the end of today’s interview! We hope you would continue to support Onmyoji Arena and help us make it into a better game!
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