Valve has just announced DOTA Underlords: their in-house take of the popular Auto Chess mod for Dota 2. Underlords will be a standalone game for iOS, Android, PC, Linux and Mac. It will be available to all Dota 2 Battle Pass owners starting today. An open beta will make its way to the respective app stores too at a later point in time. If you have the TI9 Battle pass activated, launch the DOTA2 client and click on the “Add to Steam Library” button on the main screen and you should find the game in your Steam library. According to Valve’s blog post:
Valve said a few weeks ago that it was working on its own Auto Chess clone. Negotiations with the game’s developer didn’t pan out as expected, prompting Valve to develop their own version. One of the primary reasons it didn’t ‘work out’ could be the fact that the standalone version of Auto Chess is now an Epic Games exclusive. The app should find its way to the Play Store in the coming weeks. It’ll mostly be around the same time when the open beta is officially unveiled.
One can’t help but notice the parallels between the two titles and how they’ve gained popularity in the exact fashion. DOTA was a Starcraft custom map that made its way to Warcraft 3 Reign Of Chaos and then finally to The Frozen Throne. DOTA went through a lot of developers before the current mastermind—IceFrog—took over. Valve hired IceFrog (who remains anonymous till date) and the rest is history. The prize pool for the upcoming The International 9 DOTA Championships is expected to surpass last year’s total of $25 million.
It is still too early to comment on where Auto Chess will be in the next few years. It is unlikely to hit DOTA2 levels of fame, but it should transition into a full-time esports game at the very least.
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