Last year, Gameloft unleashed the first and only Xbox-enabled MMORPG on Windows Phone: Order & Chaos Online. While Order & Chaos Online is basically a World of Warcraft clone, it's also an utterly massive and compelling game – especially for a phone game. If we had a game like that on Xbox consoles, I'd never leave the house (and now we kind of do, thanks to Onigiri).
Unfortunately, Order & Chaos Online suffered from a few frustrating bugs like uncompletable dungeons and unpurchasable pets, not to mention graphical glitches on the Lumia 1520. Gameloft last updated the game in August 2013, just before deciding to drop Xbox support on its Windows Phone and Windows 8 titles.
Don't despair! Windows Central is proud to announce that Order & Chaos Online is not only going to be updated next week, it's also launching on Windows 8 and RT – with Xbox support. Read on for exclusive details on the update and Gameloft's future plans for Windows Phone and Windows 8.
Update or new version?
When I learned that Order & Chaos Online would be making a comeback on Windows Phone, my first question was whether Gameloft would simply publish the updated version as a new game. We've seen developers who struggled with updating their Xbox Windows Phone titles in the past do just that, delisting the Xbox version and releasing a non-Xbox version with new features. Carcassonne and Doodle Jump are a couple of examples of games that got better after they dropped the Xbox branding.
Still, killing the original Xbox version of Order & Chaos Online would be a shame for a few reasons. One, existing players already paid for the game. Two: players who don't have all of the game's Xbox Achievements would never be able to complete them. And three: people who put many hours into their characters and accounts on the old version would be extremely disappointed if they lost those characters in the new version.
Lucky for all of us, Gameloft has decided to put in the extra effort associated with the Xbox certification process, and will be updating the existing Xbox version of Order & Chaos Online. People who bought the game over a year ago will finally have access to all the new features that have come to the iOS and Android versions since then. Nobody will lose their characters, and now they will have lots of new quests and areas with which to develop them further.
New price and Windows 8 version
Massively multiplayer online games live or die by their player bases. Because Gameloft never updated Order & Chaos Online on Windows Phone or fixed the things that were wrong with it, people who had bought the game stopped playing it. Potential new players had little reason to pick the game up, knowing that it had been abandoned and become a ghost town. A viscious cycle.
Luckily, several new factors will help keep the relaunched game populated and thriving. Besides the new content, the Windows Phone version will also be getting a new price: free! Yes, our version of Order & Chaos Online will go free to play when the update hits, just like the iOS and Android versions have done. The game previously cost $6.99, making it inaccessible to cheapskates. But as a free to play title, there will be no barrier to entry and everybody will have a chance to join in the fun.
What's more, Order & Chaos Online will also be launching on Windows 8 and RT either on the same day as the Windows Phone update or shortly thereafter. The tablet and PC versions should share the same servers as the phone game, meaning the potential player base will actually double! Not only will the game look better than ever when played on the larger screens of Windows 8 devices, it might even support Xbox controllers. We're still verifying controller support with Gameloft.
- Competitive Multiplayer:
- Battlefields (PvP)
- Capture the Flag
- 2v2 or 4v4 challenges
- League of Champions: join a league of legendary warriors and earn Honor Points based on your team performance. Rise to the top of your League leaderboard and redeem Honor Points for special weapons and equipment.
- New Dungeons & Regions:
- Caves of Tear Coast
- Ruin of Vliya Temple
- Fate of Collapse
- Arcadian Forest
- Under Realm
- New Items:
- Black Market: secret auction full of rare and unique items
- New Quests
- New Challenges: daily and weekly quests for rewards
- New Mounts & Pets
- Revamped interface
- Overall bug fixes and system optimizations
Dungeon Hunter 4
Coming back into the Xbox fold
Gameloft's decision to bring the Windows Phone version of Order & Chaos Online up to speed, as well as releasing Windows 8 and RT versions, signals a dramatic change of heart for the publisher. The company officially dropped Xbox support November of last year, ceasing to update its Xbox titles and releasing new games like Asphalt 8 and Dungeon Hunter 4 without Xbox features. Many tears were shed, some feet were stamped, and everyone's cats continued to do cute things like hide in boxes.
This year though, the company has decided to soften its stance on Xbox support for Windows platforms. Gameloft wouldn't go into much detail about it, but they did reveal that some technical hurdles that had previously caused them to move away from Xbox support have been removed. This coincides with what seems to be a fresh trickle of Xbox titles, such as Bad Piggies and ExZeus2. Perhaps Microsoft really has eased up on its draconian certification process.
Does that mean that Xbox for Windows Phone and Windows 8 is back from the dead? No, no. Unless Microsoft has reduced the Xbox certification process to the same level of unobtrusiveness as Google Play and Game Center, most developers will avoid bothering with Xbox for Windows Phone. But Gameloft, Microsoft, and the occasional random developer like ExZeus2's HyperDevBox will put out an Xbox game now and then. Nobody should limit themselves to only Xbox games, but at least we'll all have a few more Xbox games now that Gameloft has come back on-board.
More Xbox updates and games coming
Speaking of Gameloft, the publisher has updates in store for more than just Order & Chaos Online. I'm told that UNO & Friends will also be getting an update. Gameloft didn't specify, but presumably the update will add the House feature that arrived on other platforms last month. Houses are UNO's equivalent of clans, allowing players to team up and earn greater rewards. With a game as simplistic as UNO, every little bit helps.
More excitingly, some of Gameloft's non-Xbox games will get the Xbox treatment. The only one that we know for sure will become Xbox-enabled is Asphalt Overdrive. The game was updated on other platforms last week, so we can expect the Xbox features will come when Windows Phone gets that update. Look forward to new cars, new race types, and more.
Will Gameloft update its other big game Spider-man Unlimited with Xbox Achievements? We can only hope so! Then again, we also have to cross our fingers that the Xbox certification process won't cause any more undue delays with title updates for whatever games Gameloft gives the Xbox treatment. Some people just need their Achievements, but wise gamers want feature parity with other platforms most of all – and then Achievements!
Order & Chaos Online could be updated on Windows Phone and launched on Windows 8 and RT as early as Monday, December 15th. We'll let you know as soon as it happens!