Dota Underlords is Valve’s take on Auto Chess

Dota Underlords is the official Valve version of Auto Chess, the popular mod for Dota 2 that has released its own standalone version on mobile. Valve made the announcement on its blog today.

Dota Underlords a new standalone game, Valve said, that “pits you against seven opponents in a battle of wits that will have you building, combining, and leveling-up a crew in a battle of dominance for the city of White Spire. In this game, victory is determined not by twitch reflexes, but by superior tactics.” It’s for PC, iOS, and Android, and it’s out today through Dota 2’s Battle Pass preview before hitting an open beta test.

These “Auto Chess-likes” are free-to-play games with in-app transactions. According to mobile market research firm Sensor Tower, Auto Chess on mobile has received more than 1.5 million installs since it came out at the end of May. This doesn’t count installs from third-party Android stores in China. Sensor Tower also estimates it has three times the installs of the next auto chess-like, Arena of Evolution: Red Tides from Hero Entertainment.

Drodo released the Auto Chess mod for Dota 2 on PC in January. It became a sensation, gaining millions of downloads and grabbing streamers’ attention on Twitch. It takes the units from Dota 2 and turns them into pieces that fight on a chessboard-like field, and up to eight people can play. It offers a dizzying amount of tactics and strategy, and it’s much slower than Dota 2. Drodo released a mobile version of Auto Chess in May. Riot Games also announced this week that its take on Auto Chess, Teamfight Tactics, would release later this month. Both Dota 2 and League of Legends are MOBAs (mobile online battle arenas), insanely popular online strategy games (and top-tier esports titles) that sprung from the Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft III.

Valve says that you’ll be able to do the following in the preview version of Dota Underlords:

  • Play online against seven other players.
  • Practice offline against our lineup of advanced bots (from easy to hardcore difficulty).
  • Join with others to play together against bots or other players.

After a week of stress-testing, Valve says it plans to move to the open beta. In that phase, Valve will add ranked matchmaking and cross-play on all devices, with shared rank and progression. This means you’ll be able to play on PC against folks on mobile, and you’re progress carries over to your account on any device.

Valve is also seeking feedback before Season One during the preview and open beta phases — Dota Underlords will have a feedback button.

Updated 2:48 p.m. with details from mobile market research firm Sensor Tower.

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