Soul Arena was created as an online turn-based strategy game based on the popular anime series Bleach. As an avid player of the original Naruto Arena game I was approached by the game's webmasters to join the Soul Arena development team. We were told to adapt the existing game engine into another stand-alone game based on the Bleach series.
During the development stage we were required to design both the actual game content as well as all additional features and visuals included in the game's website. This included designing and stylizing player missions, avatars, and rank rewards. At release the game featured: 31 playable characters, 30 player missions, a player ladder including levels and ranks, and clan support as well as a clan ladder. After the initial release we continued to create new character and missions which were released every few months. Currently the game has grown to feature 132 playable characters and 145 player missions.
In creating this game I took on the role of both a junior character designer and balance designer. My primary role was to participate in character balance discussions and to perform early balance tests to ensure that characters were not either too weak or too strong. I was also responsible for collecting and editing the images used in character avatars and abilities icons. After demonstrating my understanding of character design I was given the opportunity to design and balance four of the original character roster from scratch. Through this process I learned how to design a character when considering both the individual characters abilities as well as that character in relation with the overall game balance.
After the game was released I continued to participate in character design and balance discussions regarding upcoming characters and content. I also frequently participated in beta testing new characters before they were released in order to identify any balance issues or programming bugs before releasing the content to the game's player base. My largest contribution through the rest of Soul Arena's lifespan was a position as the game forums global moderator. With this position I was in charge of recruiting and supervising regular forum moderators as well as acting as a community manager when addressing players. In order to provide additional player incentive I also frequently organized official in-game tournaments which offered prizes such as unique forum rankings or chances to submit character designs.
Due to the existing player base from the preceding Naruto Arena and the amount of teaser releases through development we were happily able to release Soul Arena to a highly positive reception. Registered player numbers reached roughly 50,000 on the day of release and steadily rose over the game's lifetime. At last check the current number of registered users on Soul Arena is 600,829, adjusting for players with multiple accounts Soul Arena is estimated to have reached 590,000 players at the peak of its popularity. Soul Arena was officially released on January 14th 2009, and maintained an active growning player base until summer 2014 making Soul Arena's overall lifetime roughly five years. The game's servers and website were officially shut down in June of 2018 removing all support and access to the game.