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Launched just at the beginning of January 2019, Dota Auto Chess is becoming a real phenomenon in the gaming industry, just like the WC3 DotA custom map did almost 15 years ago.


Dota 2 and Dota Auto Chess are very likely to share the same story of how something created from pure passion can turn into a really successful game. With no big plans lined-up from the beginning, in just one month after the release, Dota Auto Chess has reached over 4,000,000 subscribers and it has about 300,000 concurrent players daily. The game is complex and it has ingredients that satisfy a large audience. It’s a strategy game, with a feeling of a turn-based game, it has the key ingredients of card games and it requires the player to plan ahead while being rather good with APM.


But, more than anything else, Dota Auto Chess feels like a very strategic card game. It has a fair amount of RNG, which caught the interest of many pro card game players. Ironically, Dota Auto Chess, which is a free game, came during a fast decline of Valve’s Artifact. Players who have spent a few months training and competing in the first Artifact tournaments are now steaming their Auto Chess sessions daily. Twitch understood the game potential pretty fast and have already hosted their first Rivals edition for it.  A large amount of Dota 2 pros are spending hours in Auto Chess although it does not help their Dota2 professional career in any way. They simply enjoy the game and would gladly play 1-2 games even when they are competing at Majors, just to release the stress.


Even the CS:GO community seems to enjoy this Dota 2 Arcade mode. It was just yesterday when in a winner’s interview at IEM Katowice, Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov from team Avangar declared that he plays Dota Auto Chess to relax.


A few weeks ago, the Chinese game publisher Tencent conducted a survey asking the people why they think the game is so addictive and if they would be interested in a mobile client for it. Around the same time, one of the Dota Auto Chess developers held a long AMA session and explained that for now, the owners have no intention to port the game onto another platform or to sell the tile to a company. However, when asked if they plan to aim higher and market the game more aggressively, the answer was “Definitely!” (The full translation of the AMA session can be found here.)


Auto Chess has a lot of potential to transcend in a stand-alone title just like the DotA custom mode did. However, there is a lot of work to be done. Bug fixes, perhaps a bit of a rework of the interface, addition of more heroes and items, addition of spells on the upgraded chess pieces, adding the possibility of removing the items from a piece and so on. According to the developer who hosted the AMA session, the creation process of what we have now in the Arcade mode took about one year and the project was very close to being ditched. There are quite a few bugs right now in the game, most of them being directly related to the limitations of the modding tool in Dota 2. Judging by the answers of the developer, the company is not rushing anywhere to develop this into an esports title overnight, and that’s very good news for the four million people who play this arcade mode, enjoying every single minute spent in it.

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