Gameloft’s Heroes of Order & Chaos brings MOBA to mobile

Gameloft’s Heroes of Order & Chaos is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) style game scheduled for release in October.

A spinoff of Gameloft’s Order & Chaos mobile MMO, Heroes of Order & Chaos will be free-to-play with in-app purchases. The game will allow players to choose from six playable characters that will rotate every week out of a pool of 30. The talent points that the player earns can be transferred freely from character to character so progress isn’t reset every week, but players can also purchase any character they like so it is available to them at any time.

The MOBA genre was started by the popular Defense of the Ancients (DotA) modification for Blizzard’s real-time strategy game Warcraft 3. It plays like a streamlined yet deep strategy game with a greater focus on improving and customizing a single “hero” unit.

We had the opportunity to get our hands on Heroes of Order & Chaos and found that (as is the case with many of Gameloft’s products) what it lacks in originality it makes up for in impressive production value. Visually, the game was beautiful on the iPad, and predictably similar to the original DotA Warcraft 3 mod. The large iPad screen also made it easy to control by either taping the screen to guide the character, a virtual joystick or a combination of both.

Real-time strategy games lend themselves to touchscreens and this seems even truer with Heroes of Order & Chaos. MOBA games are notorious for their steep learning curve, so an intuitive, touch and gesture based input method might be a big advantage to the game.

In recent years big publishers and developers have attempted to capitalize on the popularity of the DotA mod with standalone games. In 2009 publisher Stardock released a retail MOBA game, Demigod, which was fairly successful despite initial technical issues. However, following the success of Riot Games’ free MOBA game League of Legends — in 2009 Business Insider estimated the title generated more than $25 million a year in revenue — the default model for the genre seems to be free-to-play with in-game purchases.

Game developer and digital distribution giant Valve is currently developing its own MOBA game named DOTA 2, and Blizzard is also developing its own MOBA game. It’s been rumored that both games will go the free-to-play route.

There are already other MOBA games on mobile today, but by applying their resources and an established brand to the genre, Gameloft could have a real hit on their hands with Heroes of Order & Chaos.