Following the huge success of Dota Autochess, a user-made game that was running in Dota 2, Valve has released its own version of the game known as Dota Underlords.
Dota Auto Chess, developed by Drodo Studio, was first released back in January 2019 and enjoyed huge success, borrowing elements from the popular MOBA, Dota 2. The mod had over 8 million players by May and since then, Drodo developed a standalone version of the game known as Auto Chess, after having discussions with Valve, who decided not to move together in partnership over the new “auto-battler” genre.
Players will embark on a journey with elements not too dissimilar to chess. Players will play on their own against seven other players, with each round allowing a player to pick a character to put onto the board. Different characters will have skills and abilities and will combine with other character effects, to give strong bonuses across the board. As the game continues, a player will be entitled to bring another chess piece onto the board, making the army stronger.
Each round, a player will battle against another player, without moving or directing any of the pieces, and there will be an outcome for each battle. Players lose life after every defeat, and once your life of 100 has been depleted to 0, you are out of the game and the remaining players battle on.
The incredible popularity of Dota Auto Chess has sparked Valve to create their own Dota Underlords game, a game which is free to play on Steam for PC as well as on mobile and tablets now. The game is currently still in beta, but all the moving parts are there and the game plays like a final release. Already, Underlords has enjoyed massive popularity and peaked at 200,000 concurrent players, making it the fourth most popular game on Steam.
The esports world is already getting a taste of Underlords too and the first official offline tournament will be held at ESL One Hamburg 2019, and will see the tournament accept entries from all with a $5,700 prize pool up for grabs for the first tournament.
Valve isn’t the only company cashing in on the “auto-battler” genre, as Riot Games has also thrown its hat into the ring with Teamfight Tactics. The game is now readily available across Europe and America and should see Valve have some stiff competition in the genre.
It’s a very tough nut to crack, to compete with the kinds of developers that will throw big money and big teams behind a game, but the original credit must go to Drodo Studio, who we believe, will likely see a decline in the popularity of their game very soon.