• 01Jul

    Review: Order & Chaos Online (iOS)

    Rating: 9+ Frequent/Intense cartoon or fantasy violence
    Platform: iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad
    Publisher: Gameloft
    Genre: MMORPG
    Release Date: April 29. 2011

    BUY

    Game Loft has produced and successfully released it’s first MMO. Order and Chaos has been called a World of Warcraft knock-off. But in playing Order and Chaos, I feel like I have been playing Guild Wars pre-Searing. When I think of elves that have the long floppy ears, and characters with tree trunk shaped feet then I think of WoW. The human character designs only slightly resemble those good old shoeless, ugly, WoW avatars that you had come to love.

    Right now for $6.99 at the Apple App store, you can play Order and Chaos on any iOS device for three months. It is the usual fare character choices: human, elf, ogre, and undead. There are professions to choose from such as warrior, mage, monk (cleric) and rogue.

    Like so many MMOs, there is an infestation of human scammers who will steal your account on the pretense of doing a trade outside the game. They get your email account name and then crack your password. There are creeps scamming in other ways, and there are jerks selling gold too. As long as you know enough to stay away from these guys you will be ok. Chat is easily shut off so that you can ignore specific channels or all of them. It would be nice if you could have a master toggle to shut those off long term. As it is now, you have to shut the channels off each time you log in. If you are a new player it is a good idea to prepare yourself for the rude language and crudeness of some of the other players. Once you have that controlled, you can thoroughly enjoy the game.

    Since it is new you can expect glitches. I was able to see other characters walking around up in the air as the surfaces they were traveling on disappeared. And my character was also able to see through walls and stick her feet through them. Up until the first major patch. I’ve seen enemies get buried in rocks or hillsides, and I am still able to kill them and collect from them. The loose-ness of the textures is in the players favor though. I don’t know how many times before I’ve wished I could shoot through rock.

    There are so many advantages to playing an MMO on iPad vs playing on PC or even laptop. I fear I may sound way too happy. It can and has been criticized for simplicity, but the most addicting games are the ones which conquer the struggle between being simple and monotonous.

    Game-play is faster than any MMO I have ever played. I won’t bore you with a list, but if you can think of a title, I’ve been there and done that. On iPad which loads everything in a split second, spells not only look fantastic, but they fly off quickly. Battle doesn’t lag. When you run, your character doesn’t stop and run in place while you wait for the next area to load. The auto targeting works perfectly. When you get attacked unexpectedly, your character begins to attack right back. No time and HP are wasted flailing about trying to get your character to turn around and start to do something. Once triggered you can come in and put out bigger attacks. You have to get used to the flow of traveling with the left hand and the camera with the right. Even when looting the corpse has to be picked from the right side of the screen or the right hand.

    When you want to talk to an NPC, all you have to do is click in their icon. Then your character will run directly over to them and a menu will open. Or you will be give a choice between bargaining or speaking with them. There is no messing around trying to get your character into the right place to trigger the NPC. It just smoothly transpires without any additional frustration that you get in some games.

    The iPad makes you faster too. The interface is very small. The touch commands are effortless. You swipe, tap and point which gives you a tactile feeling of being inside the world itself. Spells and strikes for warriors are mapped to three fingers of the right hand on a ring at the bottom right corner. It works very well. The ring spins to accommodate more moves. A double ring at some point in the future would work well for getting the rest of the right hand fingers into the game. A hidden panel to the right side of the screen opens for one touch access and release if health potion is or other effects that can be set off even during battle, depending on what it is.

    The other speed boost to MMO play is there is no set up time. In traditional MMO’s you can spend an hour or more just setting up before you can get to play. There were hundreds of little icons to select from and then arrange on the desk top, and in bags. The whole prep time has been pruned back to give not only ease of use but also pick up and play-ability. You can press the power button and return to play right where you left off.

    Depending on how long you are gone, you may even return with all your Quests and buffs still in place, or even mid battle. Which isn’t a good idea, because your character could get killed when you aren’t there.

    Death is nasty. You are without death penalty until level ten, but that comes quickly. The penalty is taken out of your character’s money! It is terrible. If you wander into the wrong area, or if you are going against higher level characters they take even more of your hard earned silver, and could clean you out. You do revive in conveniently located cemeteries but it’s no consolation.

    There certainly are lots of people complaining about everything from the map to looking for NPC’s to finish quests. Indeed the maps can use a whole lot of improvement. They need to be labelled, right now the place names are toggled on a button. The locations of shops and trainers should be indicated on zoom. There are many forts and towns which are not on the map at all. Shapes show up on the map and turn out to be large rocks or giant tree stumps. Important structures such as impenetrable walls of mountains or shuttered dams in the north are not notated and they should be. There are excellent mobs and hunting grounds that are hidden in these areas, and they deserve exploration.

    The game encourages you to team up but so far at level 22 I haven’t seen where it is required. The quests are easy and give big experience points. You can make it through the levels to 20 easily from experience points gained from Quests and occasional hunting.

    You can form Guilds of course. If there is someone that yiu would like to talk to you can exchange in game names and add them to your friends list, invite them to share a Quest or join a Guild. Right now you can’t shut off private messaging called Whisper. So theoretically someone can accost you verbally privately and be pretty vulgar. You can Ignore that person by holding a finger on the character name. I don’t know if that blocks the entire account to prevent stalking, but it should.

    There are several cute little pets to choose from. They made it easy to acquire them. Although the prices fluctuate. I got a baby wolf and a baby panda. The prices on both of them increased the next week after I bought them. The pets just do a few cute animations and make adorable noises. They are fun to look at and take pictures with. They don’t do anything, I don’t think they take damage, but they do growl when enemies are near.

    The graphics are not bad there are many pretty areas, full towns, temples and statues. There are glowing lights and sparkles coming from magical places in the environment. Where colorful butterflies play, and rainbows of sunlight dapple the leaves. Some of the sculptures are lit with purple and blue fog. When you get bespelled by some baddies, then indigo bubbles infest your brain. The negative spells are imaginative, filling your poor character’s mind with dark tracings or greenish ick. The gothic area around the Silent Castle is chock full of zombies, screaming banshies and harpies. The area is a great deal of fun, if not cliche. It is one of those places in the game where you never know what is going to spring up or how huge it will be.

    The layout in the towns can be repetitive. The interior floor plans are similar, which makes it easier to get in and out. Some of the enemy dwellings are exactly the same too, and I hope to see more and better interior models as I advance through the game.

    Considering this is a mobile game that can be played on an iPhone or iTouch it is amazing how much stuff they were able to get in there. If you compare it to WoW and not something with gorgeous graphics like Guild Wars, the you won’t be disappointed. The graphics are not at the level of Infinity Blade, but there is much more to do in this game and I for one am liking this game even better.

    Game play is very familiar. Your Quests do consist of going to find someone or an item. Then you kill a number of creatures or person(s) and return to the Quest giver to be rewarded. All very standard stuff, but it is all easily done. One of the strengths of the game is it’s simplicity and lack of clutter.

    You can have a good time with it, without all the concerns that you have to deal with on a PC MMO. You can stop playing at any time and you will be returned right back to where you were seamlessly without any loss of distance travelled. There are many streamlined innovations in porting a game like this one to touch interface. The desktop MMO’s have even had special custom keyboards for the multitude of short cut commands to run a game taking up an entire qwerty keyboard, function keys and number keys too.

    Order & Chaos Online is the best MMO I’ve played since Guild Wars. Period. It does what an MMO needs to do which is to let you kill things, and loot them. The game mechanics get out of your way and allow you to do that without impeding your progress or your good time.

    The game is a fine value for the price. The subscription fees are low. You can make micro purchases in game for gold and crystals. Watch out for that . You can use as many iPads or iPods as you have on your iTunes account. You need a Gameloft Account which is free, for who ever is playing on each device or you can log in your own character across your multiple iOS devices.

     

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