Auto Chess, the game that launched the auto battler genre, is returning to its roots. But that doesn’t mean it’s going back to being a fan-made game mode for Dota 2. No, Auto Chess is returning to its roots by getting a standalone MOBA spinoff using its cast of lookalike characters. The new game was revealed by Auto Chess publisher Dragonest with a promotional trailer.
#AutoChessMOBA: The Auto Chess themed MOBA game with ALL HEROES FREE😎😎😎
Chess characters from #AutoChess will become heroes in the MOBA game!
Features: all heroes free, no paid runes, day and night version system, destructible objects pic.twitter.com/dN7utBNgxp
— Auto Chess (@AutoChess2019) January 9, 2021
“As Wong Kar-Wai said in The Grandmaster, ‘never give up faith.’ And making a MOBA game is our faith. Back in 2015, Dragonest launched the very first mobile MOBA game, Fight for Freedom…It can be said that we had a dream start, but we didn’t have the last laugh,” Dragonest CEO Loring Lee said.
The Auto Chess MOBA looks similar to other mobile games in the genre. It has a top-down view with movement attached to a wheel on the left side of the screen and skills mapped to buttons on the right. In terms of its unique selling points, the game features a day-night cycle that changes fog of war. Naturally, it will feature the same heroes and items present in the Auto Chess title.
Lee also discussed how Auto Chess will boast the same advantages Dota 2 has relative to its other MOBA peers. Instead of forcing players to grind or purchase for heroes or abilities, the game will offer up every hero to players from the beginning.
No release date was announced for the Auto Chess MOBA, and no price was announced, but the game is likely to be free-to-play.
Dragonest’s standalone Auto Chess game is available for free on iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as on PC through the Epic Games Store. It was recently launched on the PlayStation 4 and 5, but carries a $9.99 price tag on console. It is not currently available on Xbox or Nintendo Switch, but that could change in the future.
Auto Chess came from Drodo Studio’s Dota Auto Chess, a user-made game mode for the MOBA that launched in 2019. Dota Auto Chess drove an enormous spike in the popularity of Dota 2, and that success saw Drodo Studio approached by a number of different publishers to make a standalone version of the game. The developer opted to make a mobile game together with Dragonest with Dota 2 items and heroes removed in favor of stylized lookalikes.
Dota 2 publisher Valve was one of the companies spurned by Drodo, which let to Valve developing an auto battler of its own in the form of Dota Underlords. League of Legends publisher Riot Games also jumped into the fray with Teamfight Tactics, which is thus far the most popular game in the genre.