/ DOTA 2

Have you played Dota Auto Chess yet?

The newest highly addictive custom game in Dota 2

And half of Dota players probably have no idea about it.

Dota’s history has always been intrinsically tied to Warcraft and the custom map/game community. IceFrog and Guinsoo had created a game so widely beloved that it created a whole genre of gaming and eventually their own lead designers for different studios.

Valve saw the potential for Dota to continually evolve. So, it was no surprise when Valve gave the Dota community the ability to create custom maps within Dota 2; there would be many players and developers wanting to capitalize on this once again. Yet, very few custom games ever seem to crack into the mainstream of the Dota community.

A Chinese developer, Drodo Studios, seems to have broken through from the mold and created Dota Auto Chess.

Dota Auto Chess is a custom game that holds a lot of deep and strategic complexity as well as luck. It’s an amalgamation of Dota, Tower Defense and Chess creating a unique experience to anything in the Arcade community.

Gameplay revolves around drafting “pieces” from a pool of heroes against other players and pitting them against one another in a round robin format. There are 30-second rounds in between each “skirmish” that takes place in the game which determines a winner between each player or creep. Players then rack up gold after each round which then can be used to purchase more pieces, upgrade their “chess level” or just let accumulate. Chess level in the game determines how many pieces you can have on the board as well as potential to obtain even stronger pieces. Whoever wins the most rounds and has the most lives after all the skirmishes, wins the game.

While on the surface it seems basic, the complexity lies in the combining and matching of pieces in the game.  

Each piece has specific abilities that can combine with other pieces to create synergy and combos that can be used to make their units stronger. For example,the Juggernaut “piece”, which is an “Orc Warrior” class, has the basic blade fury spell and moderate damage. If you combine it with another Orc piece like an Axe or Ogre Magi, they both gain extra health. You can also combine 3 of the Juggernaut pieces to make a stronger version with a leveled blade fury and more damage. There are over a dozen ways to mix and match your pieces to create a board that can defeat your opponents.

This depth in gameplay has helped make this custom game the fastest-growing custom game outside of Overthrow, a Valve-created custom map. Dota Auto Chess’ current popularity cannot be understated.

Currently, the game sits right under a million subscribers and concurrent players reaching over 100,000 at peak times.

With this popularity, you can almost make the same historical comparisons to the original Dota 1 and Warcraft 3. But, only time will tell if this custom game may eventually spin off to be its own unique game in the future.

Written by Jeff Yang (@ChefDota)