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Shadow Arena, the Black Desert Online battle royale spin-off, enters beta soon

Sandbox MMO Black Desert Online is offering its more action-inclined fans a new diversion this month in the form of the Shadow Arena beta. Originally a mode inside the MMO, it's been expanded into a 40-player standalone that's evocative of battle royales, but with features drawn from its MMO progenitor, as well as MOBAs. 

The goal, not surprisingly, is to be the last player standing. Initially, there will be nine playable characters, each with a different fighting style that will presumably be familiar if you've spent time in Black Desert Online. During the battle, you'll need to fight monsters, collect loot and become more powerful, all to make your conflicts with other players easier. 

Prospective fighters can sign up here now, but the beta won't kick off until February 27, after which it will run until March 8. 

For me, the appeal of Black Desert Online is its sandbox trading system. Sure, it's a very solid action MMO, but I had a much more engaging time selling potatoes and building a boozy empire. I was more interested in hiring goblins than slaying them. Shadow Arena doesn't sound like one for me, then, but I confess I'm at least a little bit intrigued, if only because fantasy battle royals tickle my fancy a lot more than all the gun-crazy ones. 

Shadow Arena is expected to launch in full during the first half of the year.

Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.