Order & Chaos: Online is being openly compared to World of Warcraft and rightly so. It is impossible to ignore the endless similarities: the races (humans, elves, orcs, and undead), the environment, questing (complete with yellow symbols for “quest available” and “quest complete”), crafting, an auction house; the list goes on. I’ve been playing for a solid week now and I am the proud owner of a semi-new, level 25 Monk. From the ground up, let’s get in to the details of Order & Chaos.
One of the first things you will notice is the In-App Store selling gold and runes. From here, you have the ability to decimate your financial future by spending hundreds of real dollars on hundreds of fake dollars. Here are the options Gameloft gives you:
Rune purchasing packages:
- 5 Runes: $0.99 ($0.198 per rune)
- 30 Runes: $4.99 ($0.166 per rune)
- 95 Runes: $14.99 ($0.158 per rune)
- 320 Runes: $49.99 ($0.156 per rune)
- 650 Runes: $99.99 ($0.154 per rune; “Best value” according to Gameloft)
Your account has three open character slots, with a fourth available for 10 rune stones. There is also an in-game “Treasure Seller” who sells absurdly expensive (and temporary!) buffs. You can buy an hour-long, 20% increase to your strength, gain 100% more experience from monsters, or splurge 100 runes on the Essence of God, which is used in Master level crafting.
When you die, you lose a small percentage of your coins; the last time I died, I lost 29 silver, which is a fairly hefty toll. If you made an in-app purchase of Runes, you may choose to respawn at the spot of death for the cost of 1 rune.
Gold purchasing packages:
- 1 gold: $0.99
- 6 gold: $4.99 ($0.832 per gold)
- 20 gold: $14.99 ($0.75 per gold)
- 70 gold: $49.99 ($0.714 per gold)
- 150 gold: $99.99 ($0.667 per gold; “Best value” again advertised)
This is Gameloft’s attempt to combat third party gold farming, something that has plagued WoW for years. It is a good idea in theory; cut out the middle man and sell the gold straight from the source. Unfortunately for them, many high level players have attempted to break in on the market via PayPal. I don’t know how successful it is, but the game has been out for two weeks and it is already happening.
I believe that the ability to buy gold is actually a good thing. As people buy gold, more money is injected into the O&C economy. The money will, for the most part, stay in players’ hands with the exception of unavoidable vendor expenses (food, travel, AH commission, etc.) Players who put a little effort into farming crafting materials, such as ore and fabric, will be able to sell their materials at a market value significantly higher than what an NPC will pay. That gold may then be put to proper, practical use, such as backpack and storage slot expansion. Slot expansion is a fixed cost; as more and more gold is flowing throughout the economy, it will become easier to afford. Wait…did I accidentally learn something in school?
Backpack slot upgrades (start with 12 slots):
- 1st six additional slots: 1g
- 2nd six additional slots: 5g
- 3rd six additional slots: 20g (This is as far as I am)
Storage slot upgrades (start with 24 slots):
- 1st twelve additional slots: 10g
One of the first things you may want to do is create an “alt” character, whose sole purpose is to mail your “main” character skill books, hold extra stuff, and work the Auction House. This is a very convenient and cost-effective strategy to keep your main out in the field and have your alt do all the leg work.
Global chat is a chaotic hodgepodge of multiple languages and people asking questions. No Trade, looking for groups, etc. channels yet. It doesn’t help that “bronze” is a swear word according to the chat filter. It took me awhile to figure out why this environment felt so familiar…then I realized it was Barrens 2.0. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. For all you n00bs out there, hold the “Global” button for 2 seconds to mute Global chat. I actually find it quite entertaining.
When green level loot (or higher, depending on your team loot rules) drops, there is only a pass or need choice. If you select the dice, you will automatically roll 1 through 100 against the other players who selected “need.” At this stage of the game, without any real necessity for teaming up, it is every man for himself and people always roll need. Up to this point, I have only seen BoE (Bind on Equip) loot and no BoP (Bind on Pickup), so you can always give it to someone who needs it.
Questing is rapid fire for the first 20 levels or so. You will often have a full log of 12 quests, working on several simultaneously. This keeps the game fast-paced and has you running all over the map. A big difference from WoW here is that your character doesn’t get dazed when hit from behind. I can’t tell you how HUGE a help this is when trying to run from certain death, plus it lets you cross the map much faster.
PvP usually amounts to consensual duels between players. There are no discernible “factions” to speak of; as a human, I often group with undead or orcs to complete quests. There is at least one “World PvP” area, where players may freely attack each other and questing becomes frustrating. On more than one occasion, a rogue would pop out of stealth as soon as I finished off a mob.
There are currently no “instances” or “raiding” that made World of Warcraft one of the most popular games of all time; it would make sense for Gameloft to include these features sooner rather than later, especially since there are supposedly many level 60 players already (a 60 level cap? Another coincidence…). The success of this game will depend on Gameloft’s ability to show support for this game that they have neglected to give others.
Order & Chaos Online is a universal app, so it will work on iPod, iPhone, and iPad. When I told you my first impressions of the game, I was playing on an iPhone 3GS. This past week, I hijacked my girlfriend’s iPad and it makes a world of difference! Everything looks much cleaner and I get a better frame rate. It is also much easier to see things on the big screen, especially when tapping to loot. It is awkward trying to use the virtual joystick and hold the iPad, but if you have a choice, play this on the iPad for a more enjoyable experience.
Overall, I would label this the most ambitious game on the App Store. Order & Chaos isn’t targeting casual gamers; this game is going to compete with consoles and PCs for a gamers’ time. Gameloft’s tried-and-true recipe of copying popular games has been very successful, but they have put themselves in a precarious position here. They are infamous for not supporting their games and that will undoubtedly doom a project like Order & Chaos.
If you have a hankering for some MMO but don’t have the time or budget to spend on a big name (WoW, Rift, etc.), then I would recommend spending the $7 on Order & Chaos Online.