‘Dota Underlords’, the quirky new game from massive ‘Dota 2’ studio Valve
Split off from one of the world’s biggest games, the fan-made “Dota Auto Chess” has been one of 2019’s surprise successes. It now has fresh competition from “Dota Underlords”, just days before another pro-team creation, “Teamfight Tactics”, joins the field.
What is Dota Auto Chess?
As the name might suggest, “Dota Auto Chess” is a combination of features from video game “Dota 2” and the traditional board game of chess, with an automatic element also involved.
It uses characters from computer game “Dota 2” whose annual world championship has been the world’s most generous game tournament since starting in 2011.
As with “Dota 2”, players choose pieces from a large character roster; those pieces then move and fight by themselves across an eight-by-eight chess-like checkerboard.
From there, comparisons to traditional chess dwindle, the game having more in common with the combination play of Mahjong. Players can combine several pieces of the same type to produce a single, more powerful piece.
The automatic nature of combat frees players to concentrate on team management: improving existing pieces, acquiring new pieces, and using special items.
“Dota Auto Chess” emerged at the start of 2019, swiftly overtaking an official and well anticipated “Dota 2” spin-off, digital card game “Artifact”.
Its surge in popularity was so great that it generated interest not only from experienced “Dota 2” players and newcomers, but also from three giant gaming companies.
Which games are joining the new Autobattler genre?
Now we see the entrance of direct successor “Auto Chess” and competitors “Dota Underlords” and “Teamfight Tactics”.
Valve Corp is one of the world’s biggest PC gaming developers, publishers, store operators and eSport tournament organizers.
It developed “Dota 2” and has now released its own “Dota Auto Chess” spin, “Dota Underlords”, for PC, Mac and Linux as well as Android and iOS.
The new game also has cross-platform play and transferable game sessions between computers and mobile devices.
While retaining the same complexities as “Dota Auto Chess”, “Dota Underlords” brings with it a noticeable visual overhaul, making it more understandable on PC and mobile, and better adapted to smaller mobile screens.
Meanwhile, “Dota Auto Chess” developer Drodo Studio has teamed up with Valve’s newest and perhaps strongest ever competitor, “Fortnite” studio, publisher and store operator Epic Games.
“Dota Auto Chess” had already been released as a de-branded mobile edition, “Auto Chess”, which is now being converted into Epic’s exclusive PC version.
Epic is now positioning itself to capitalize on the popularity of “Dota Auto Chess” and the new Autobattler genre in the same way that its own “Fortnite” capitalized on the popularity of “PUBG” and the Battle Royale genre.
Likewise, the “League of Legends” studio is not being left out, as “Teamfight Tactics” is on the way.
Both “League of Legends” and “Dota 2” are based on an earlier fan modification, “Defense of the Ancients”.
“League” studio Riot Games is preparing its own variation on “Dota Auto Chess” called “Teamfight Tactics”, a dedicated game mode that launches on June 25. RGA/JB
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