Review: Let’s see if Chaos Online really is “the Korean Dota”
Xairylle | On August 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm
In one of my previous posts, I mentioned Asiasoft’s monthly Chaos Online SEA tournament. I also mentioned how it is dubbed the ’Korean Dota’, which, I must admit, piqued my interest. So I did some research, registered an account, downloaded the game, and started playing.
In a Chaos Online developer interview, lead programmer Rhim Hun-Suk refers to Chaos Online as a real-time strategy (RTS/ARTS) game, but the website labels it as a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game. It turns out that Chaos Online actually came from a Warcraft III (WC3) mod called Chaos, much like how WC3 Dota was also a WC3 mod patterned mostly after a Starcraft mod called Aeon of Strife (AoS). The developers wanted the game to have the same feeling as the original Chaos mod, which explains the visual similarities. In terms of gameplay, Chaos Online emphasizes a combination of control and strategy. Also according to Rhim Hun-Suk:
Developing an RTS game is actually [more] difficult than one may think. […] We hope to be recognized that we were able to come up with the product in just three to four years while it took over ten years for the foreign developers.
Gameplay and mechanics
Chaos Online will remind you both of WC3 Dota and, to some extent, League of Legends (LoL). The goal is still the same. You destroy the enemy’s base before they destroy yours. If the game has not ended before a certain time limit, points will be tallied for the number of destroyed watchtowers, sentinels, barracks, guard towers, guardians as well as the hero levels and kills. Victory is given to the team with the higher number of total points.
MOBA/ARTS players will probably feel more familiar with the Ancient Forest map, which has a 50-minute time cap. The two camps are on the top left and the bottom right of the map, as opposed to the bottom left and top right camps in WC3 Dota and LoL. The Ancient Forest map has three lanes: top, mid, and bottom. While there are neutral creep camps in the jungle, Chaos Online does not have a boss-like enemy like WC3 Dota’s Roshan or LoL’s Baron. Another significant feature that’s missing is the ability to deny creeps or towers. This is probably fine with LoL players, but if you’re more inclined to WC3 Dota or Dota 2, resorting to other methods to control your lane will take a bit of getting used to.
The Shrine of Life map, on the other hand, has a different terrain layout and has a time limit of 20 minutes. The main idea here is to increase your team’s score by killing enemy heroes. At the end of the allotted time, the team with the higher score wins. This map is perfect for players more interested in team fights or consistent duke-it-outs with enemies without having to worry about bases to protect or lanes to push.
In all maps, the store is accessible from anywhere across the map and items can be purchased anytime for as long as there is enough gold to do so. There is no stash or storage in Chaos Online and all items immediately go to the inventory slots. Also, the consumable items are gold-based instead of mana-based and may be triggered anytime, granted there is sufficient gold and that the item is not on cool-down. These items do not take up any inventory slots, and instead have special keys assigned to them for quick access.
Visuals and interface
As mentioned earlier, Chaos Online will remind you of WC3 Dota in terms of visuals and LoL in terms of interface. The wording for the descriptions may be a bit tricky to read at first, but perhaps this will be fixed as the client is updated. Hero skins that players can buy to change the look and feel of the hero are also available. For beginners, the hero selection gives information on the heroes’ difficulty level, their expected role on the team, and the distribution of their attributes. There are also suggested items on the top right corner of the screen in case you are new to using a hero and need some help on what to build for it. There are also in-game tutorials and quests to help players learn and master not only the basic game mechanics, but the heroes as well.
Should you play this game?
At this point, I would recommend the game to people who are looking to try out something new. The game is young and so is the player base, so it saves you the feeling of being intimidated by players who have already mastered the game. Chaos Online is still fairly a young game. More experienced players from WC3 Dota, Dota 2, and LoL will definitely notice similarities with the aforementioned games, and it will all boil down to how you can adapt from your game to this one. For example, Dota players may find themselves trying and failing to deny, but will be quite amused at the availability of magic immunity as an instant consumable item.
While it shares the same concept as WC3 Dota, Dota 2 and LoL, at this stage, we cannot say that it can or cannot beat the giants of MOBA/ARTS. However, with continuous development, Chaos Online brings a familiar, but refreshing take on this genre to the table.