Heroes of Order and Chaos Hands-On Preview

You’ve heard of MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games), but how about MOBAs? MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, and it’s a gameplay style that could be described as a combination of real-time strategy and third-person RPGs. This genre got its start as a custom map for Warcraft 3, and has since expanded into full games like League of Legends. Now Gameloft is creating their own free-to-play MOBA for iOS based on Order & Chaos Online.

In Gameloft’s Heroes of Order & Chaos, you’ll be able to play online against a combination of bots or humans in either a 3 vs 3 or 5 vs 5 map. Even though there are only two maps available, each map has multiple pathways that allow for unpredictable battles to break out anywhere.

The game will be free to download, and each week you’ll have six playable heroes to choose from. If you enjoy using a particular character, you can choose to pay extra to use them anytime you like. Even if you don’t pay any money, the talent points you earn for your character’s special skills will be transferable to other characters, giving you some flexibility to try different styles.

The classes are typical RPG archetypes– there’s a tank-like class called Brutes, plus magic users, melee fighters, and healing clerics. The races will look familiar, since they’re pulled from Gameloft’s online RPG Order & Chaos Online (which just received a major update making the game entirely free to play).

We weren’t able to play an online match in our demo of Heroes, but we did try out the tutorial to get a feel for the full game. Moving around the screen is easy– you can either use a virtual joystick or tap where you want to go. When you approach a group of enemies, you can target the nearest one automatically with one button and switch targets with another button, similar to the freemium RPG Pocket Legends.

When your hero dies in battle, you’ll respawn back at your base, and have to make your way back to the front lines. Knowing when to retreat and when to press an attack (even knowing you’re going to die in battle) seems to be a key part of winning the match.

The graphics in Heroes of Order & Chaos are pretty outstanding, reminding us of Warcraft 3 or Gameloft’s own StarFront: Collision. We’re definitely looking forward to playing this game more, because even if it only contains two maps, the free download means there will probably be an active online community from the start. Heroes of Order & Chaos will be available sometime in the next few months.

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