Order & Chaos© Online

Order & Chaos© Online is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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    Order & Chaos Online: First Impressions

    WoW. That simple exclamation took on a new meaning with the advent of World of Warcraft, the single most popular MMORPG in history. With Order & Chaos Online, Gameloft may have ripped off every element from that titan of a game, but they did it on iOS. And it works. For that reason alone, we are already walking away with one word escaping our lips: wow.

    Gameloft gets no points for originality. From the character races to the environments and art style; from the endless quest grind to the level progression system: this is a World of Warcraft clone. And that’s nothing new. For well over half a decade, almost every MMORPG to hit the market has tried to copy WoW’s formula for success, but no one has done this at the mobile level. Some have tried (such as the admirable Pocket Legends), but nothing has felt quite as deep and intuitive as the games proliferating on PCs.

    Now, as Order & Chaos Online was just released, and there are untold hours of gameplay packed into the game world, we have just begun to scratch the surface. However, if you’ve played WoW or any of its many imitators, you know what to expect. We’ll give you a more in-depth run down of the game next week in our full review, but from our first several level grinds, we can tell you this is one of Gameloft’s most impressive feats to date.

    The look and feel of World of Warcraft is uncanny.

    Much like World of Warcraft, this is not the best looking game on the platform. Nevertheless, you likely won’t care simply because the network code appears to be beautifully written: you’ll witness over a dozen characters on the screen at once with nary a visual hiccup. In our play time so far, there have been two noticeable instances of lag, but nothing drastic or game-breaking.

    Game textures are fairly low resolution, but the game still comes through crisp and clear on a retina display. Playing the game on an original iPad (it’s a universal binary) also looks great, although obviously not as gorgeous. Some of the menu artwork looks fuzzier on the iPad, but the game runs at about the same speed, so we aren’t complaining. Given the iPad’s extra screen space, however, you’ll probably enjoy it more than on your iPhone.

    Granted, having a game like this to play anywhere is part of the draw, so you might find yourself wanting to finish a few quick quests on your lunch break. Be aware, though, that the game currently requires a Wi-Fi connection. That’s right, the game does not support 3G (even though unconfirmed tests on jailbroken devices say it runs just fine over a cellular network).

    We can’t help but feel that if you loved WoW, you’ll really get into this.

    Even with this (hopefully temporary) drawback, if you’ve come for WoW-style gaming, you’ve come to the right place. Familiar landscapes abound, and you go from NPC to NPC collecting quests (which are surprisingly well written), battling hordes of animals, creatures, and evildoers. The game comes with four races (elves and humans are the good guys, orcs and the undead are the bad guys), several classes (standard fare stuff), and loads of loot, weapons, and armors to collect, wear, or sell. Spells are unlocked (with multiple paths) once you hit predetermined levels, and experience is gained by completing quests and offing enemies.

    The game currently has no player-versus-player combat, although you can initiate duels for fun, if you wish.

    The control scheme, as usual for Gameloft, works. We’re not saying your camera is never going to get caught on walls, or that you won’t try to run and instead swipe the screen to the camera: these things will happen. But except in tight spots like inside buildings, you shouldn’t have a problem maneuvering around the environment. Chatting is easy enough, although you shouldn’t expect to be able to multitask (battling while typing) as easily as you can on a PC or Mac.

    Again, we’ve just begun our epic quest (as an elf monk), and there could be plenty down the road to disappoint. With just 500 quests in the game right now, how long will it last? Are the classes balanced? Is there a decent end game? Will guilds and the player community match the quality found in World of Warcraft? We can’t wait to find out, and you’ll be the first to know.

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    Order & Chaos Online Review

    The greatest thing about massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft is that they never end. Disregarding the fact that developers often continue to add new content over the months and years, expanding level caps and introducing new races and classes to try, the fact that they are online– and thus communal– means you can continue to have new experiences until they shut off the servers. Before Order & Chaos Online, though, you had to be chained to a computer to play. Say goodbye to the rest of your life.

    Order & Chaos Online is not a perfect game. It’s very much a copycat of World of Warcraft, innovating only in the realm of UI and control scheme, but that’s okay. Gameloft, the game’s developer, is notorious for this sort of imitation, and they do it very well. They’ve copied Halo, Call of Duty, StarCraft, Final Fantasy, Uncharted, and many more, and while these “imposters” are never near as good as the real deal, they bring reasonable facsimiles to the mobile gaming sphere of franchises that wouldn’t otherwise be ported over. For this they should be praised.

    Clone or not, Order & Chaos is just a joy to play, assuming you get into the whole MMORPG scene. You pick a server, race, and class, and immediately you commence the questing. The quest variety is completely standard, featuring fetch quests (“Go get this item and bring it to Person X”), kill quests (“Assassinate Evildoer Y or 10 wolves”), or courier quests (“Deliver this message or talk to this person”). That’s pretty much it. But Order & Chaos is at least written well enough to make the quests interesting.

    Round one’¦ fight!

    In fact, the game’s script is probably its most surprising aspect. While Order & Chaos’s world is generic, the characters you interact with are plenty interesting, with stories to tell that are worth pursuing to their end. You can still skip all this dialogue and move straight into the level grinding if you wish, but for those who like to be absorbed into the mythology, it’s here in spades.

    The graphics are equally impressive, at least for an iOS game. Taking another cue from World of Warcraft, the character models look nearly identical to the designs employed by that game, only with a lower polygon count. Still, animations are fluid and, even with a much smaller number of classes available (there are only four right now to choose from), the game feels diverse enough. Draw distance is severely limited, even on higher end devices, so buildings and mountains often magically appear before your eyes, but thanks to the game’s navigation system, you aren’t likely to get lost.

    In fact, getting from point to point is pretty straightforward. Pick up a quest, make it active from the menu, and you’ll see an arrow at your character’s feet telling you which way to go. It can be frustrating at times, especially when it sends you straight to an impassable mountain, but it’s not the end of the world. The overall play area is much smaller than something like WoW’s Azeroth (although we’re sure it will grow over time), but the areas are diversified enough to give them a unique feel and give you a sense of progression through the game.

    The usual suspects.

    The overworld map is useful, but the lack of ability to set waypoints is an annoyance. In general, the map needs an upgrade, but it suffices for casual play as is. The rest of the UI is pretty ingenious. Rather than filling up your limited screen space with rows upon rows housing your spells and actions, you’re given a scroll wheel in the bottom right of the screen, allowing you to quickly locate and select a spell. In general, there are fewer spells and abilities than in WoW, so you don’t need all those rows, anyway.

    Upgrading your skills and talents begins at level 5. With each level, you get a talent point that upgrades your existing abilities, and every couple of levels you can pay to upgrade a spell or ability via a class trainer. You’ll also find that you’ll spend less time buying items from merchants, as the best weapons and armors will be collected from quests or drop items. As in WoW, you can further specialize in areas like making clothes and armor, and the mostly (and oddly) deserted cities have auction houses, but the game economy feels less important than in other major MMOs.

    The camera system is competent and for the most part transparent. It’ll get stuck at times when you’re indoors, but outdoors it’s a non-issue. Moving it around is easy, although you have to pinch and zoom from the center of the screen, lest you risk accidentally activating the virtual analog stick on the left side. We wish it would zoom out further than it does, but it’s plenty capable, as is.

    Is it hack and then slash, or the other way around?

    There’s several of minor visual hiccups– getting stuck in walls or floating, characters briefly disappearing, and lag– but nothing so serious as to jolt you out of your state of leveling zen. The game actually runs smoothly, even with tons of other players on the screen.

    The game, thus far, has been pretty popular on our server, which is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it makes picking up a group for a quest outing incredibly easy. You’ll never want for a buddy (long-or short- term), and there are already tons of guilds to join, should you want to make those temporary alliances more permanent. On the other hand, though, there are many quests that feature an enemy or item that disappears upon death or use, meaning you have to wait for a respawn. As was the case with us, you may find a dozen or more players hanging around waiting for the respawn, which makes it a game of “who can click the character or item the fastest.” It’s incredibly annoying, and given the smaller scale of this game when compared to WoW, a definite design flaw.

    Should you encounter this, though, there are likely plenty of other quests that you can complete while you wait for the crowds to disperse, and most can be done solo (assuming you are at a sufficient level to handle it).

    And that pretty much sums up the game. MMORPGs are rarely that complex, once you learn the mechanics. Pick up quests, complete them, level up, repeat. Order & Chaos features around 500 right now, with more surely on the way, so it’ll keep you busy for a long while. If you’re not spending all of your free time already addicted to WoW, you’ll definitely want to give this a shot. It’s not as good, of course, but it’s by far the best mobile offering in the genre. It looks good, plays well, and is fun. Oh, and it’s cheap. What more needs to be said?

    Order & Chaos Online Accounts Hacked

    If you have played Order & Chaos Online, Gameloft’s take on World of Warcraft, it’s time to change your password. Earlier today on the game’s official forums, word got out that some accounts had been hacked, and our friends over at Pocket Gamer have confirmed the situation with Gameloft. There’s no word on how many people this affects or how it happened, but Gameloft says they’re looking into it.

    Nearly every Gameloft game with an online component also uses the Gameloft Live service, but at this time no other games seem to have been affected by the security breach. But even if you don’t play Order & Chaos Online, now is a good time to change your password if you have a Gameloft Live account. Better that than to potentially lose all the experience points you gained in Modern Combat 2 by mastering the art of the headshot.

    [Via Pocket Gamer]

    Game of the Month, May 2011: Order & Chaos Online

    May was yet another killer month for iPhone game releases, meaning that we’ve bestowed Must Have status on more games than usual. But only one can be Game of the Month, and this month we’re giving the crown to Order & Chaos Online, by Gameloft.

    Like nearly all of Gameloft’s iOS games before it, Order & Chaos Online wears its inspiration on its sleeve. In this case the muse is Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. But no company attempts an MMORPG without putting a lot of work into it, and it’s clear that Gameloft didn’t cut corners here. Like in most MMOs, you gather quests, complete them, level up, and repeat the process: it’s a tried-and-true formula, and it works. But they’ve nailed it in the details, too– from the graphics and the script, to the ease of picking up group quests– making Order & Chaos Online the best MMO on iOS yet.

    Technically, Order & Chaos Online came out at the end of April. But it’s a huge game– the first “M” in MMO stands for “massive,” after all– and we didn’t feel comfortable writing a full review until we’d had time to fully dive into the game. We posted the review in May, and we couldn’t consider it for Game of the Month before we’d reviewed it. But we’re glad we waited, and we’re glad to have experienced such an impressive game on iOS.

    Our runner-up for Game of the Month is Storm in a Teacup, a gorgeous and expertly crafted side-scrolling platformer from Cobra Mobile. Storm in a Teacup uses a clever jumping mechanic, brilliant level design, and a goal-based structure to keep you coming back for more– and it works wonderfully.

    Congratulations to both Gameloft and Cobra Mobile for making two top-notch games. Also, be sure to check out the other 4/4 Must Have games we reviewed in May: The Heist, To-Fu: The Trials of Chi, Firefly Hero, Chaos Rings Ω, Bumpy Road, Vampire Rush, and Frisbee Forever.