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Order and Chaos Rejoined: Picking Up An MMORPG After TIme Off

MassPort_AppChronLogoLast week, all we Order and Chaos Online Order & Chaos© Online - Gameloft players were geared up for the arrival of the Level 70 Cap Update. Gameloft had said we would see it “in the next few days,” and while Internet time isn’t always the same as real time, we all awaited the big Thursday release window with anticipation.

And this week, OnC players were indeed treated to an update! Unfortunately for those of us on the iOS side, the update in question was for Android, and the content was not the Level 70 Cap update but instead the Mendel Rising update — the one iOS players got last December. This is a good thing for Android players, and for the game in general; as the Android OS spreads to more and more potential players, Gameloft should definitely be making a better effort at keeping Android and iOS in parity. And for a week or two, at least, they will be.

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As disappointing as the lack of a new iOS update was, it was also a good thing … at least for me. See, I’ve lost touch with OnC recently. While I had a lot of fun with Mendel Rising around Christmastime, I simply haven’t had the time to play in recent months. Which has left me in the unenviable position of trying to return to the game after time off.

If you’ve ever been there, you know what I’m talking about. In a lot of ways, returning to an MMORPG after time off is a lot like picking up a game again for the first time. Chances are, most of the friends you had before have either moved ahead of you in terms of power, or they’ve left the game, too. You’re also out of practice; while it’s not quite as bad as starting new, chances are you’re not quite so quick on the keys and you’ve probably forgotten the best combos (magnified if the game’s gone through any sort of realignment or expansion since you last played).

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In my case, the break was only about two months, but that didn’t mean I could just pick up where I left off. In my time off, the guild my level 60, Alimac, was a member of had, understandably, booted me for inactivity. And I won’t lie: in the months prior to quitting, I hadn’t been the most social player anyway. There were names missing from my friends list, too — either they’d changed their names, or left the server, or maybe just deleted their accounts. The point being, I was pretty much at square one as far as the social game goes, and that made getting back into the endgame extremely tricky.

I could have PMed my old guild, tried to get back in; but they’re pretty hardcore and I can’t exactly commit to that yet. I could have petitioned a new guild for membership, but there’s been a lot of guild turnover in just two months. I don’t know who these guilds are or which ones would tolerate a more casual playstyle. I did get a few random, unsolicited guild invites my first hour or so back on, but those kind of invites are never a good idea.

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No, my only option for endgame at the moment was to PUG and maybe get to know some new people. And boy howdy, PUGging Sailen with rusty skills is about the worst way to run the Palace.

Instead, it’s back to grinding levels for me. My Mendel, Alimin, never made it out of the 20s before, and it’s perhaps high time I got her to level 60. Grinding is something I can do solo; grinding is something I can do in short bursts; grinding is something I don’t have to build social connections for. So for now, that’s where I’ve been spending my time online.

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When the new update hits, I’ll be able to go back to Alimac. Ten more levels of grind, plus a skills reset, will let me return to the character with some fresh perspective, as well as a chance to build up my social game by the time I hit 70. Form some grinding PUGs, get to know some folks, maybe find a guild that will have me — that’s the plan for getting back into OnC. Slow and steady wins the race.

Postscript

Despite there not being a new update this week, Gameloft did demonstrate that yes, they do have the ability to switch off content without an update. After some server maintenence, the Christmas content is gone from the game. Hooray! No more chickens underfoot.

Also, there was a special “Thank you” gift for all the players, in celebration of OnC winning some fan-voted game of the year honors recently. A box of cookies, some fireworks, and four Mount stones isn’t too shabby for a freebie, Gameloft. Thanks!

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For more on Order and Chaos, plus other pocket-sized MMORPGs, check out the Massively Portable podcast.

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