Games => General Gaming => Topic started by: idolminds on Monday, June 10, 2019, 02:59:08 PM

Title: The twisted tale of Auto Chess
Post by: idolminds on Monday, June 10, 2019, 02:59:08 PM
I have a weird interest in this game despite having never played it. That will probably change at some point which I will get to, but first we need a history lesson that makes this whole thing just crazy.
This all kind of starts back with Warcraft 3. WC3 had a very popular mod called Defense of the Ancients also known as DOTA. DOTA itself had several versions but one eventually became "the" DOTA. Many expected Blizzard to capitalize on the popularity of the mod and make it official but they never did, so the creator took the game to Valve to make a sequel, Dota 2. "Dota" in Dota 2 doesn't actually stand for anything because Valve had to rebrand and recreate everything because the original DOTA used the default WC3 art assets. So heroes got remade and renamed and Dota 2 has been quite popular. Blizzard then went on to make Heroes of the Storm.

Now comes Auto Chess which seems to have history repeating itself. Auto Chess (or more specifically Dota Auto Chess) is a mod for Dota 2 that has exploded in popularity. It is an interesting game where you have rounds where you buy units, merge units to make stronger versions, and then place those units on an 8x8 grid. They will then automatically fight against the teams made up by the opponents on the server who are all doing the same thing. If your units win the fight you earn gold so you can buy more units, if they lose then you take a hit to your HP based on how badly you lost. Last player alive wins. Its got an interesting mix of making decisions on which units to focus on and combo together, which ones will be better against what your opponents are building, but the auto attacking nature of the battles make it feel sort of casual, the kind of thing you can play while sipping tea.

Anyway, back to the crazy. Dota Auto Chess got extremely popular and even has people installing Dota 2 just to play it. Obviously when a new game type blows up like this we start getting the stand alones and clones. First the creators of Auto Chess partnered with a mobile company to make a mobile standalone version. Much like Dota 2 before it this requires them to remake and rename all the various heroes and units in the game. It also dropped the Dota name because now it has nothing to do with Dota. Then a couple months later Valve revealed (http://blog.dota2.com/2019/05/dota-auto-chess/)they are working on their own stand alone Dota Auto Chess. Interestingly the Auto Chess creators gave their blessings for Valve to do that, but they would not be working on it themselves.

Now we know why. That mobile game is coming *back* to PC as a stand alone game on the Epic Game Store. I wonder how quickly Valve will get theirs out because the mobile game is done so it should be pretty quick to see than PC release. To complicate matters, the creators of League of Legends (itself a spinoff of the original DOTA mod) have also announced their own Auto Chess gametype (https://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/game-updates/gameplay/teamfight-tactics) to become part of LoL.

Not gonna lie, I love this crazy saga. As for why I haven't tried it myself...Dota 2 is a huge download so I'm waiting for a stand alone version to try.
Title: Re: The twisted tale of Auto Chess
Post by: gpw11 on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 11:36:40 PM
That's pretty interesting.

Fun story - when Defense of the Ancients first came out I was on the cusp.  I can't remember if it was OG WC3 or Frozen Throne but I was looking for mods, found it pretty much the week it started to get really popular and jumped in.  "Oh, wow - you control one hero - pretty cool!"

This was 2003 or 2005 or something.  On maybe my third day I went down the wrong lane or something. I have never seen blowback like that in a game.  Man, they said shit to me I wouldn't say to my worst enemy....who ironically is still those guys.

Title: Re: The twisted tale of Auto Chess
Post by: idolminds on Thursday, June 13, 2019, 05:32:50 PM
haha yeah those communities have some....reputations.

Valve has a "closed" beta for their standalone version called Dota Underlords (http://blog.dota2.com/2019/06/dota-underlords/). "Closed" because its actually available to anyone that buys the current Dota battle pass. Open beta opens next week.

There are two things that are interesting to me. First, its going to be on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android...so what engine are they using? I don't think they would have ported Source to mobile platforms right? And then that ties into the second interesting thing which is how quickly this materialized. Valve is not known for their speedy development. Granted they can just reuse all the art assets and sounds from Dota 2, plus the game was already designed which simplifies things significantly. But its Valve and apparently working on some kind of non-Source engine. Maybe they have some Unity experience and tried to make a mobile version of Artifact before it bombed?
Title: Re: The twisted tale of Auto Chess
Post by: gpw11 on Thursday, June 13, 2019, 09:44:58 PM
Hear me out here - Valve has totally ported Source to mobile.  I mean, they have all these employees, right? They can't JUST have been working on Steam for the last ten years.   It totally would not have surprised me if they were sitting on a Source mobile port.