Updated: Heroes of Order & Chaos Review

Since it launched last week, Heroes of Order and Chaos has been slammed by players attempting to start matches online. We reached out to Gameloft to see what was happening with their servers, and here’s what they told us.

Gameloft representatives wrote to us in an email: “Our development teams decided to expand the server capacity to be able to accommodate the large number of Heroes of Order & Chaos players out there! Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience. As soon as the servers are fully operational, the Android version will be made available on Google Play.”

Although the waits and downtime are very frustrating, we were able to play several successful matches of Heroes of Order and Chaos before launch, so we’re maintaining our Must Have rating. If you can get a match started, HOC is one of the most rewarding strategy games you can find on the App Store. Let’s just hope Gameloft’s team of gnomes can quickly repair the giant tangle of gears that allow you to play the game online for free.

If you’ve been a lifelong fan of real-time strategy games like Warcraft and Starcraft, there’s no question that you should download and start playing Heroes of Order and Chaos immediately. This multiplayer online battle arena (or MOBA) strips out the tedious resource-collecting and base-building, and focuses solely on combat and teamwork. Even better, it’s an entirely free download, with an active and engaged user base.

Heroes of Order and Chaos consists of just two maps, but they’re beautifully rendered and offer seemingly limitless variety. The 3v3 map is set on the border between a forest and a desert, so you can cross between craggy rocks and lush foliage as you lead a small army to war. The 5v5 map is much more complex, with three different routes and a tangle of pathways, some of which contain small packs of enemies that can be fought for extra experience points.

Ding! Gratz.

As you and your fellow heroes (all live players or bots) roam the map, your base will send out bursts of minions– swordsmen, mages, and catapults– to attack the other team. You can choose to follow them, providing assistance and attempting to knock down a few enemy defenses along the way. Or, you can branch out on your own, locating separate encounters that will level up your character faster than just sticking to the front lines.

Combat in Heroes of Order and Chaos is a constant game of tactical decision-making. Do you stick with your teammates to push overwhelmingly on one side of the map, or explore on your own? Do you fall back just a little, or warp all the way to the beginning to recharge your health? Do you develop a skill tree that makes you an aggressive, damage-dealing warrior, or do you buff up your companions with spells that provide magical defense boosts?

Heroes of Order and Chaos also has a unique method of letting you select your playable characters. Only six heroes will be available for free each week, but you can play with them as much as you like in that time. Each one has a completely different look, gameplay style, and set of abilities. You can also make an in-app purchase or use in-game currency to unlock more characters, which will then be available to you anytime.

Tremble before my blunderbuss.

In-game currency also lets you buy items that help you gain more experience points, which in turn let you lock in talent points to any character you happen to use. Talent points can make your axe’s swings a little stronger, or make your character move a bit swifter. Some players might build up a slight advantage, but it’s a good reward for playing consistently and doesn’t seem to upset the game’s balance.

Heroes of Order and Chaos, for all its complexity, does a great job of introducing new players to the MOBA concept. An offline tutorial teaches you the basic controls, and a few important strategies. You can also choose to play with a team of bots, so that your first-time mistakes don’t impact a live team.

The floor is lava.

Between the tactical combat, the lush graphics, and wide range of playable characters, Heroes of Order and Chaos is an ambitious title. At launch, some of the servers couldn’t handle the load, but if you’re patient, you can still get a great game going with other engaged players. We do hope that more maps are introduced in the future, but for now, you’re going to have a great time mastering the two that are available.

Heroes of Order and Chaos requires a good 30-40 minutes for each match, but it’s a gripping, hard-fought battle with many different options for your character to pursue. It’s rare to find a mobile game that offers such a thoroughly deep and engrossing experience, especially one that’s online and free to download. Despite the server issues and fickle nature of online matches, Heroes of Order and Chaos is a clear Must Have for anyone who likes to think before they charge into battle. It may be the best strategy game of the year.

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2 thoughts on “Heroes of Order & Chaos Review

  1. Thoughts about Heroes of Order and Chaos for iPad and the manufacturer, Gameloft:

    Bottom line:

    The gameplay for Heroes of Order and Chaos is great. But I’m very disappointed with the quality of the game (the bugs make it nearly unplayable). The company has terrible customer care, and an even worse programming model.

    Here’s why…

    Bugs:

    It crashes frequently, servers lag and drop people all the time, and as a result, everybody’s time is wasted.

    And these problems never get resolved. After two weeks, the same problems persisted and I’d gotten 0 responses from Gameloft.

    After four weeks, the issues persisted—constant server errors, the game continued to crash, some days I can’t even launch a game because of all the errors (yes, I’ve relaunched the app and reset the wifi and jumped through all the other hoops their troubleshooting guide recommends), and now, on top of it all, some of the achievements I’ve completed have been lost…

    Which brings me to my second point…

    Gameloft Customer (anything-but) care:

    “Customer care” as they call it is really not that at all. It’s nearly impossible to reach a real person. It’s just one auto-responder after another. The complaints go unanswered in their forums. And if you do get a response, it’s a cut-and-paste from the manual. Nothing useful, just “we’re working on it.”

    The number of frustrated players grows daily, but the responses from Customer (anything-but) care reps are few and far between. And that may not be bad in a case of somebody like “Mary with Gameloft”.

    Mary tells people that they’re the only one experiencing these problems. Everybody in the forum thinks she’s smoking something.

    Then there’s “Sergey”. I got an actual email from “Sergey”!

    “Sergey” with Gameloft’s ever-helpful customer (anything but) service department assured me the issues would be fixed in one of the updates in the near future. Whatever “one of” and “near” means. I’m beginning to think we might expect world hunger to end first…

    And I was really hopeful about this one. Why, though, with Gameloft’s track record would I be? Silly me. But this time they really surprised me:

    Gameloft Programmers:

    The update actually made the problems worse! I had no idea that was an option, but apparently it was! Now, wonder of wonders, I’m getting more internal server errors that ever before. It seems their programming department is on par with their customer (anything but) service department!

    Now I’m discovering that all their games have bugs and complaints a mile long. This isn’t an issue that’s isolated to Heroes of Order and Chaos—it’s just how the company is run! Now that doesn’t look good for Gameloft President/CEO, Michel Guillemot.

    Guillemot should know better than to let a company like this run his name into the ground. Granted, there’s not a lot of a name there—I knew nothing about him before learning that he was running Gameloft—but now I’ve already got opinions… and they’re not positive.

    So, I’ve continued to harass customer support and finally got another (2nd) response after 4 weeks. They said “there’s nothing further we can do.” What do you mean “further”? Further implies there was help in the first place. To date I’ve had 0 helpful responses or positive interactions with anyone I’ve talked to from Gameloft.

    This all makes me question what ‘freemium’ games are doing to the developer industry. It seems that games are being designed to make lots of money in a short time and then fall by the wayside. Developers naturally focus on new products rather than refining the current ones. Gameloft is leading this wave.

    But as a person who appreciates quality—heck, forget quality, I appreciate functionality—I won’t be download or buying anything else from Gameloft until I see some positive changes.

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