Gamescom '12: Hands-on with Heroes of Order & Chaos

Jungler boogie

Gamescom '12: Hands-on with Heroes of Order & Chaos

Heroes of Order & Chaos (HOAC) is Gameloft's version of Dawn of the Ancients (DOTA), one of the most recent success stories from the PC modding scene.

During my hands-on with HOAC, Gameloft's PR kept trying not to mention any other title's name, naturally, but it'd take someone psychologically unhinged not to see the hundreds of similarities between the two titles.

Still, this would mean nothing if the game was just a poor knock-off of the real thing. Which it isn't.

While it may not pack the same level of detail in the graphics and cast list as something like fellow DOTA clone League of Legends on PC, I still expect this one to be vying for hardcore mobile gamers' hearts later this year.

Go mid

MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games - the rather polite term given to clones of DOTA - follow a very exact template with regards to their gameplay. So, if you've just finished playing a PC MOBA to read this article, you should be right at home. Even the map is identical.

For those not accustomed to the RPG-strategy team game, though, your aim in HOAC is to destroy the enemy's crystal, which is protected by a series of towers and enemy heroes.

Every player takes control of one of 30 different characters, each possessing its own unique set of upgradable skills and attributes.

As you kill enemies or neutral creatures lurking in the 'jungle' between the three routes to the enemy's base, you level-up your character and gain access to more powerful equipment from the shop.

I bring you... fire

The only character I had access to during the preview event was a sardonic fire mage, brimming with lovely area of effect spells that can quickly decimate mobs of weak minions.

Also making an appearance in the match I played were a number of other characters taken directly from Gameloft's MMO Order & Chaos Online, albeit - I suspect - with a slightly altered series of skills.

In terms of the freemium setup of the game, Gameloft will be copying the League of Legends tactic of making six characters free for a week at a time, with the option to buy them outright with real money should they take your fancy.

Control-wise, it's clear the company has applied some of the lessons learnt from earlier attempts at tackling the real-time strategy genre on mobiles (such as the surprisingly decent, for the time, Starfront: Collision).

Hotkeys sit to one side of the screen, just at the right level on the iPad for the right thumb to activate, while your character can be controlled via a virtual joystick or by the more mouse-like tap-to-move system.

Cleverly, both are active at the same time, so you can quickly switch to the virtual joystick without having to mess around in any menus.

With friends like these

HOAC can be played both against bots and humans in either 3v3 or 5v5 matches, though battling it out with living opponents is the most recommended course of action.

Judging by the fulminating nature of the communities associated with these games, expect the chat box to be filled with 'strong suggestions' if you go into the game blind, mind.

It may feel an awful lot like Gameloft has once again designed a game with the brief 'copy this popular title from another platform', but, heck, Heroes of Order & Chaos is looking like a really slick entry in a genre that just isn't available on mobiles yet.

Will it work well enough to establish a community as rabid and feral as the ones in the PC world? We'll find out when the game debuts later in the year.

Will Wilson
Will Wilson
Will's obsession with gaming started off with sketching Laser Squad levels on pads of paper, but recently grew into violently shouting "Tango Down!" at random strangers on the street. He now directs that positive energy into his writing (due in no small part to a binding court order).