Order & Chaos Online: First Impressions

The long-awaited release of Gameloft’s “true real-time, full-3D MMORPG”, Order & Chaos, has finally happened. Following its initial Canada-only launch on Tuesday, the game is now available in App Stores globally. I quickly snapped it up and a full review simply wouldn’t be possible at this point (I mean, how would one review World of Warcraft?). Therefore, I’ve put together my first impressions for all of you who are as skeptical as I was about this title. Keyword: was.

What is clear from the start is that this is a WoW clone through and through. The artwork and graphics just scream it. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. I don’t know about you, but I for one have had an on-the-go WoW itch for quite awhile and this certainly scratches it.

There are four starting races. Elves and Humans for the Order side, and Orcs and Undead for the Chaos side. From there you can choose one of four classes, Warrior, Mage, Monk and Ranger. You can edit the appearance of your character with a rather limited array of features. Once this is done, choose a name and it is off into the game.

The game works much like WoW. You talk to an NPC with an insignia above their head to accept a quest, most involve talking to another NPC, or killing enemies up to this point, then you fulfill the quest and take it back to the original NPC. This mechanic seems to be a major part of the game. You can slide your left finger around on a virtual stick to move around, and slide your right to look around. You can pinch to zoom either in or out and on the bottom right of the screen is a boot icon you can tap to jump. Finally an iOS MMO with a jumping ability! Your skills are around the boot icon and you can slide to toggle through them. At the beginning you don’t have many, only one when you start. The rest of the game is classic MMO. You can buy and sell from vendors, monsters drop loot, and the player count seems to be rising every minute.

The game itself is $6.99 USD and includes 3 months of premium subscription, from there it’s about a dollar a month to play or you can buy game time in bulk and save a few bucks. You can also buy runes which seem to serve no other purpose so far than reviving yourself as opposed to respawning at a graveyard or buying vanity pets. You can also buy in-game gold and a stat booster or experience booster.

The game’s issues are not that big at the moment, and hopefully will be resolved soon. However, bear in mind, given Gameloft’s patchy track record when it comes to updates, that’s pure speculation on my part. The biggest issue seems to be a complete lack of PvP between Order and Chaos. You can even group with the other side at this point. You can duel other players, but that seems to be the extent of PvP thus far. The other issues are mainly to do with the questing side of things. Quest objectives don’t seem to show on the mini-map and the arrow that guides you around can get confusing if there is not a clear path on the way to the objective. The enemies seem to have a short leash and don’t seem to be too bright at this point either. Overall though, the good far outweighs the bad.

The only future issues I can see would be with content. Will Gameloft actually release a fair amount of updates and new content that is crucial to every good MMO? Gameloft is not known for their constant updates and how they will keep a full fledged MMO going and feeling fresh and new all the time is beyond me. If they do however, you can expect this to be at the top of my list of iOS games for a very long time. If they don’t, it will still be fun while it lasts.

I have not reached a high enough level in the game to tell you about replay value at this point, and suspect few have. As I progress I will keep you readers updated on how the game progresses. I reside in the Aracadian Forest server with the name Ossium – feel free to send me a friend request in-game, I will have an iFanzine guild up soon if anybody is interested in joining that (and who wouldn’t be – editor ;)).

Overall, the game feels very WoW-ish. Which is great if you’re a fan of WoW. It keeps many of the core features while sacrificing others but it is just too early to tell at this point just how many features are lacking or how many will play a role further on in the game. I haven’t yet come across much of a storyline or lore either. This is an MMO with potential if Gameloft plays their cards right. Time will tell.