Details about Valve’s standalone Dota Auto Chess game have emerged.
The company released a post on the official Dota 2 blog detailing the launch of a closed beta for Dota Underlords, the company’s own take on the wildly popular user-made game mode. In addition to finally confirming the game’s name and existence, Valve also gave out some details on its release and revenue structure.
This comes at a time when the Auto Chess genre is quickly becoming crowded, with series creator Drodo Studio taking control of the original while rival MOBA League of Legends has begun developing its own version answer to the game.
The closed beta for Dota Underlords is available to people who have bought a battle pass to The International 2019. The battle pass is available for $9.99 through Steam and the Dota 2 client.
Once the battle pass is purchased, there is a module on the main menu that features Dota Underlords. By clicking on it, players automatically have Dota Underlords added to their Steam library which can then be downloaded and played.
Those that don’t want to drop $9.99 will be able to join in during the open beta. According to the Dota 2 blog post the open beta will begin “after approximately a week of stress testing,” which would be June 20.
The open beta will be available on PC through Steam, but will also be available on iOS and Android. It is unknown when the game will officially exit the beta stage.
Though Dota Underlords is largely derivative of Drodo Studio’s Dota Auto Chess, Valve wasted no time in terms of mixing things up. The game features a handful of different pieces alongside new power-up options including new items and global perks that offer the player some extra bonuses. The game itself is largely the same but experienced players will quickly notice the differences.
The biggest changes are to the user interface.
While Auto Chess is massively popular, the game still has the distinct look and feel of a user-made game. Dota Underlords largely cleans this up with a sleeker look and a much more intuitive layout for setting up the board.
Finally, the game is graphically improved with a more elaborate layout and little additions between rounds to make it more visually stimulating. The overall product is still rough around the edges with rudimentary menus and some clunky animations, but the game is shaping up quite nicely considering how early in development it is.
Though Valve did not explicitly elaborate on its revenue model, it seems as though Dota Underlords will be monetized in a way similar to Fortnite or Apex Legends. The blog post states that the game “will be available to everyone for free” on Steam and mobile platforms and specifically discusses that the beta period will close with the start of Season 1.
This implies that Dota Underlords will operate similar to battle royale titles that have thrived on the sale of battle passes. These battle passes cost a bit of money, but offer players extra challenges and cosmetics while playing the games. They typically have a staggered release of content and expire after a few months.
That said, none of this is guaranteed and players shouldn’t start setting aside cash for Dota Underlords battle passes quite yet.
Yes. According to the blog post, Dota Underlords will be completely cross-play ready. This applies to both matchmaking and to player progression, as users can share the same account across both PC and mobile platforms.
This feature is not currently available as the mobile versions are set to launch with the beginning of open beta. Still, there is a lot for Auto Chess fans to be excited for.