Questions about Order & Chaos (O&C) are still making the rounds, because the game’s features aren’t documented well, and finding out more about the game is either a practice in raising your Googling skills, else based on in-game experience. For some, neither of these options is desirable. Since we’ve wasted time on both endeavors, we’ll happily regurgitate our findings, and correct some of our misunderstandings from our post two weeks ago.
We pointed out earlier that we actually wanted O&C to invest in the Diku-genre, as it’s a solid starting point for a robust MMO scene on iOS. It turns out, however, that the holy triad concept is watered down in O&C, which in a way makes sense, since O&C is just watered-down WoW to begin with. What we mean here is that in games like WoW, aggo is a function of threat, which can be generated in a variety of ways. In O&C, threat is based purely on damage, which means that healers can freely spam spells, and DPS classes need to be aware that they will likely be expected to kill anything that runs towards them, or at minimum, tie it up until someone else does. This makes the defensive Warrior spec rather questionable, because while it helps keep a Warrior alive, it doesn’t really aid in herding mobs, and decreases the Warrior’s damage output.
We suppose that at end-game, and/or when Gameloft places further emphasis on team dynamics, that Warriors will be expected to hold adds, while the DPS classes help burn down main targets, but the lack of taunting, or threat mitigation via skills for DPS classes, means that Mage AoE abilities are basically too dangerous to use against difficult mobs. Since so much of the game is solo-friendly, like WoW, most Warriors are speccing offensively, and the rage-like generation that Warriors are capable of keeps them fighting with little downtime. Gear is pretty self-evident here, with a focus on strength and stamina. With the exception of maybe fighting over one-handed weapons with Rangers and military Monks, Warrior itemization should be easy, since Warriors are the only class that wear plate.
The same can be said for Rangers, whose specs basically determine whether they are ranged or melee capable1. Ranged Rangers2 specialize in slow, high-damage attacks, with crowd-control abilities keeping enemies distant so they hopefully die before getting in our face. Melee Rangers, on the other hand, mimic World of Warcraft’s Rogue class, which emphasizes stealth, fast dagger attacks, and some crowd-control to keep adds at bay until a primary target can be neutralized. The obvious downside to the Ranger is that it’s a pure DPS class, which means if more Diku-style encounters are to be added in the future, these classes will likely be a dime-a-dozen. Gear is all about agility, with melee Rangers likely looking for some stamina items as well. Since this is the only class that exclusively wears leather, itemization shouldn’t be a problem for the most part.
The Mage is pretty straightforward, with one tree focused on pure damage output (fire), and one with slightly less damage output (ice) but with arguably more utility. Both versions of the class are for ranged DPS play, so if played correctly, Mages, like non-melee Rangers, shouldn’t be getting hit much. Mages may fight over some cloth gear and weapons with healing Monks, but most leveling Monks should be military-specced anyway, so gearing up in a team shouldn’t cause too much heartache.
Monks are different than the aforementioned classes because the specs differ so much; healing Monks rely on Wisdom, while militant Monks require Strength and Stamina gear. The former is also ranged, while the latter is melee. The former is a great support class in teams, while the latter is more of a utility DPS class. Geared up correctly, a healing Monk should have adequate mana regeneration, such that downtime is minimal, but in our own experience pre-level 20, there’s a lot of eating food between fights to regenerate health and mana. Long-term, this is supposedly more of a problem with militant Monks, who blow through mana a lot quicker than their healing-focused counterparts. Still, the potential nice thing about the Monk is that you can spec for melee DPS, and as long as you have healing gear stashed away somewhere, you can probably get away with healing in a team without re-speccing3. Healing Monks are also incredibly boring to play, because they don’t have many combat abilities, and quickly get beaten in the face.
Travel is painfully slow, especially if you need to run back to a major city in order to upgrade skills. There’s a teleport system in place, but it’s arguably expensive, and doesn’t go everywhere you’d want it to. There are no mounts in the game yet, which is curious considering this would be a perfect use of RMT4. The main city starting out is not easily traversed, and it’s somewhat of a pain to run from one side to another; the main city needs to be redesigned to be less linear, and have vendors more easily accessible.
The auction house remains the most viable method for acquiring gold, especially considering that your character is docked money whenever she dies. At least one of the minor towns has a convenient-placed auction “vendor” near a chest, so you have a decent way to bid on and post items. It seems that raising the cash at early levels to afford skills, deaths, inventory upgrades, and the occasional purchase relies on the auction house or RMT. We hear that at later levels, there’s enough gold coming in from quests and mobs that this is less of an issue, but at earlier levels, expect to price gathered crafting materials competitively at auction in order to have reasonable spending money.
While Gameloft is known for being slow or simply unresponsive in getting game updates out, they seem to be committed to rolling out updates to O&C; some form of team-based Diku-style encounters for end-game seem planned, though it’s unclear if these will be instanced, or simply be world objectives. Currently, PvP is based on dueling or World-PvP at later levels, but a WoW-like arena system is also planned. The World-based PvP is complainant-prone, thanks to loss of gold after each death. This may be mitigated somewhat by better cash inflow at later levels, but we can see this being very annoying if it happens often.
Crafting is actually useful, but an extremely long grind. Only smithing relies on items gathered from ore nodes around the world, as leather-working and tailoring are based on items collected from mobs. This means that ore is generally priced a bit cheaper on the auction house, while leather and cloth are less bountiful and more expensive. Expect to spend cash at the auction house for these items, unless you’re okay with farming low-level mobs for crafting supplies. We’re told that high-level crafting relies on RMT-derived items, which we’re not a fan of, but we don’t expect to get to that point anytime soon considering how much of a grind professions are.
O&C is a great way to get a WoW-like fix in a less complex package, and Gameloft has a lot of potential here to make huge waves with the game. However, updates will need to be iterative, and the business model needs to be tweaked to keep a dedicated player-base that won’t cry foul if RMT is required for success in-game; RMT should be a crutch at best, but not mandatory, especially on top of a subscription fee and up-front purchase.
We’re looking forward to how the game evolves, but with reports that the grind becomes unbearable at the later levels, we question whether Gameloft can get end-game updates out in time for more casual players to hit the level cap. Unless Gameloft gives level-60 characters something to do, World-PvP ganking will likely become more commonplace before people get bored of the game and move on. A proper end-game PvE and PvP experience will keep players around for longer, however, and with the iOS distribution model, expansions can be funded quickly and easily as time progresses. Gameloft had better lock this down now before another big player makes their entry into the iOS MMO arena.
Rangers who spec in the ranged tree actually decrease in melee DPS. ↩
“Ranger” is a dumb name for this class, and “Rogue” would be more meaningful if it weren’t for Blizzard’s interpretation. The fact that one whole tree is dedicated to not being a ranged DPS class should be adequate argument for renaming this class. How about “Brigand?” or the like? ↩
Assuming Gameloft’s updates to O&C will in great part be aimed at team play, then we could see this changing, but considering the respec cost and gearing requirements, we anticipate seeing militant Monks heal in team encounters, else there being a serious healer shortage going forward. ↩
We’re not saying that RMT should be the only way to get a mount, merely that there could be, say, a very generic mount like a horse acquired through an in-game quest, while more fancy mounts could be acquired via RMT once that quest is completed. ↩