Dota 2 is the latest company throwing its piece onto the auto chess board. Today, Valve revealed Dota Underlords, its new auto chess game, will be playable for anyone with a Dota Battlepass.
Auto chess is a genre of strategy games popularized by the eponymous Auto Chess mod for Dota 2. Some time ago, Valve approached the original mod makers, Drodo Studio, to ask if they'd like to collaborate on a full version of auto chess for Steam. Drodo and Valve couldn't come to an agreement, and Drodo would go on to start their own independent game studio to develop an original version of Auto Chess for mobile.
Valve also announced that, after the split, it would be looking into making its own version of auto chess. Some time later a mysterious trademark for Dota Underlords was made. That trademark would indeed be the name of Valve's internally developed auto chess game.
Auto chess combines elements of the MOBA genre and the classic board game. Players must strategically purchase pieces and then set them on a modified chess board. The pieces will then fight opponents' pieces, and players can earn more gold depending on their results. The more gold you earn, the better pieces you can buy, the better board you can arrange, and so-on.
Valve has been holding a secret Friends and Family Beta for Underlords these past few weeks and is opening the beta up to Dota Battlepass owners. The Dota Battlepass is like other battlepasses where players can complete unique challenges for rewards. It's available for $10 on Steam.
Dota Underlords is one of the handful of Auto Chess games coming to market. Riot Games recently announced its own take on auto chess with Teamfight Tactics, a unique spin on the genre from the League of Legends developers. With Underlords, the two biggest MOBA developers both have auto chess games.