Nowhere is the sense of fragile forgery more apparent than in the soundtrack. Accomplished and expansive though it is for a mobile title, the orchestral swirls and incidental noodling borrow heavily from the more ambient soundscapes of Order & Chaos's bigger brother.
The game simply lacks the iconic themes that underpin Azeroth - the marching industriousness of the Ironforge soundtrack, the rousing crescendo of spine-tingling magic that informs you that you could only be in the industrial, underground heartland of the dwarves. You can fake the feel, but you can't fake the magic.
Elsewhere, the crafting is simplistic but functional, covering the basics of tailoring, leather-working and blacksmithing. Having chosen a profession most suited to your class, the production of armour and weapons is rewarded with business currency. This is then used to purchase additional recipes or higher tiers of profession proficiency.
While the game fights hard to replicate the biggest game on earth in style and content, it lacks the heart and soul. Consider the most memorable moments of WoW that have bled into gaming culture - from the comical, to the distasteful, and on to the outright NSFW.
They're all massively social - or perhaps anti-social - moments. While dungeon updates and greater group content are in development for Order & Chaos, for now you'll be restricted to engaging with questionably named characters, in the open world, on servers free from any moderation presence.
These are all fair criticisms given the podium that Gameloft has placed its fledgling MMO upon. While it does many things right, if you're to place yourself in the most direct comparison with World of Warcraft, then shortcomings become magnified and the game becomes more about what it isn't than what it is.
And critically, Order & Chaos falls down at one rather essential hurdle. Rather than taking advantage of a truly mobile 3G connection, it can only be played over a WiFi connection - a baffling oversight and one that will hopefully be addressed in a future update.
So at what price do you gain access to this limited mobile game? The initial purchase at £3.99 also includes a three month subscription. Once this period is over, £0.59 buys you an additional month, £1.19 gets you three months and six months costs £1.79.
This being 2011, a regular subscription gives you only so much convenience and content. Alternatively, you can skip the inconvenience and purchase gold for cash, direct from Gameloft. Rune Stones, also purchasable from the store, can be exchanged for vanity items or used to take some of the pain out of post-death resurrection.
There's no question that Order & Chaos Online is a remarkable – albeit cheeky - achievement for the mobile gaming scene. You shouldn't buy it because it's an outstanding game (it's not - at least not yet), or because you'll receive an experience on a par with it's clear inspiration (you won't). While it's certainly a thrilling ride in the short-term, longer-term it will simply leave you pining for WOW itself.
Instead, the moment of realisation and delight at what Gameloft has achieved is at least worth the initial price of admission. As a technical proof of concept, it also sends a fascinating warning shot to major publishers that the mobile MMO space - potentially larger than the one they already enjoy - isn't automatically theirs to inherit.
6 / 10