Dota Underlords

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Dota Underlords
Dota Underlords steam.jpg
Developer(s)Valve
Publisher(s)Valve
SeriesDota
EngineSource 2
Platform(s)
ReleaseFebruary 25, 2020
Genre(s)Auto battler
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Dota Underlords is an auto battler game developed and published by Valve. The game is based on a popular Dota 2 community created game mode called Dota Auto Chess, which was released in January 2019. Dota Underlords was first released free-to-play in early access in June 2019 before officially releasing on February 25, 2020 for Android, iOS, macOS, Microsoft Windows, and Linux.

Gameplay[edit]

Dota Underlords is an auto battler, a chess-inspired competitive strategy game, where players place characters, known as heroes, on an 8x8 grid-shaped battlefield. After a preparation phase, a team's heroes then automatically fight the opposing team without any further direct input from the player.[1] A match features up to eight players online who take turns playing against each other in a one-on-one format, with the winner being the final player standing after eliminating all of the opposing heroes.[2] In addition to the online matchmaking, single-player matches against bots is also featured, as well as a "freestyle" practice mode that puts no limits on hero combinations.[1][3] Over the course of a match, players earn gold and experience points, which are used to upgrade heroes and other playable units to make them stronger.[2] Players also make use of items, which give stat bonuses to units.[2] The game also features a "duos" mode, allowing two players on separate boards, but sharing health and levels, to perform as a team, with the winning duo having the best combined damage totals by the end.[3]

Development and release[edit]

Dota Underlords was developed and published by Valve for Android, iOS, macOS, Microsoft Windows, and Linux. It is based on Dota Auto Chess, a popular community created game mode within Dota 2, a game they also developed.[4][5][6] Following Dota Auto Chess's release in January 2019, it quickly become a phenomenon, having over seven million players by April 2019, Valve had met with the mod's developers, the Chinese-based Drodo Studio, to discuss directly collaborating on a standalone version. However, the two companies were unable to come to an agreement, with them both stating that it was in their best interest to develop their own separate games, with Dota Underlords being Valve's project.[7] The game was built using Valve's Source 2 game engine, making it the first game using that engine to be released on mobile platforms.[8]

Valve announced Dota Underlords in May 2019, with it releasing in early access as a free-to-play game on June 20, 2019.[9][10] where it saw over 1.5 million downloads and held a concurrent player count on Steam of over 200,000 within a few days.[11][12] Features such as a replay system, ranked matchmaking, daily challenges and rewards, and a battle pass were added over time during its early access phase before it officially released on February 25, 2020.[13][14] It features full cross-platform play between its PC and mobile versions, with players able to freely start games on one and finish it on another.[15]

Reception[edit]

Polygon called it a clone of Dota Auto Chess, stating that while they thought Underlords was more appealing to new players, the many similarities to the original mod could make it hard for veterans of the genre to see a reason to play Underlords over it, adding that games need to be more "unique in order to survive" in a niche genre.[16] Critics also compared and contrasted it with Artifact, another Valve-developed Dota spinoff game released around the same time that was seen as unsuccessful,[17][18][19] as well as Teamfight Tactics, the League of Legends take on the genre.[1][20] IGN considered Underlords to be the easiest auto battler to get into as a novice due in part to its user interface.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Gilroy, Joab. "An Introduction to Auto Chess, Teamfight Tactics and Dota Underlords". IGN. Archived from the original on July 4, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Makar, Connor. "Dota Underlords guide: Strategies for how to play Dota Underlords, from getting gold to when to buy XP and unit upgrades". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on July 9, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Tan Guan Hao, Dexter. "Dota Underlords gets 2 new game modes for The Big Update". Dot Esports. Archived from the original on October 22, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  4. ^ Bolding, Jonathan. "A Dota 2 custom mode may be 2019's most popular new game". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on January 22, 2019. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  5. ^ Warr, Philippa. "Dota Auto Chess: The joyful deck-based Dota 2 game that Artifact isn't". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on February 8, 2019. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  6. ^ Sullivan, Lucas. "The skyrocketing rise of Auto Chess, a Dota 2 custom map that became one of the year's biggest games". GamesRadar+. Archived from the original on April 12, 2019. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  7. ^ Gilliam, Ryan. "Auto Chess creators bringing stand-alone game to PC later this year". Polygon. Archived from the original on June 11, 2019. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  8. ^ Bailey, Dustin. "The Dota Underlords open beta is now live". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on July 10, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  9. ^ Grayson, Nathan (May 20, 2019). "Valve Is Making Its Own Version Of Dota Auto Chess". Kotaku. Archived from the original on May 22, 2019. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  10. ^ McWhertor, Michael. "Valve's Auto Chess competitor is Dota Underlords". Polygon. Archived from the original on June 13, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  11. ^ Minotti, Mike. "Sensor Tower: Dota Underlords sees 1.5 million downloads in first week". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on June 30, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  12. ^ Jones, Ali. "Dota Underlords' player count tops 200,000 in its opening weekend". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on July 10, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  13. ^ "Dota Underlords update: what features are coming to Underlords soon?". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on July 10, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  14. ^ O'Connor, Alice. "Dota Underlords rises out of early access today". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  15. ^ Lawler, Richard. "Valve's 'Dota Underlords' open beta launches on Android, iOS and PC". Engadget. Archived from the original on June 24, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  16. ^ Gillia, Ryan. "Dota Underlords feels like a clone of Auto Chess". Polygon. Archived from the original on June 30, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  17. ^ Brown, Fraser. "Dota Underlords has more than double Artifact's peak player count". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on June 23, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  18. ^ Lawler, Richard. "'Dota Underlords' has more people playing now than 'Artifact' ever did". Engadget. Archived from the original on June 24, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  19. ^ Grayson, Nathan. "Valve's New Auto Chess Game Is Already Way More Popular Than Artifact Ever Was". Kotaku. Archived from the original on June 24, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  20. ^ Ye, Josh. "Auto battlers started with Dota Auto Chess and now Valve and Riot Games are joining in". Abacus. Archived from the original on July 17, 2019. Retrieved July 17, 2019.

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