It seems the cycle of custom maps turning into hit games was not limited to the Dota IP. Just like the popular Warcraft 3 custom-map-turned-resounding-success, there is another game that has been steadily gaining fame in the MOBA community. Its name is Auto Chess and, just like Dota back in the early 2000s, it was born as a custom map; only this time it was as a custom game for Dota 2 instead of Warcraft 3. This game pits 8 players in a free-for-all battle, where they must purchase, upgrade, and equip heroes, and unleash them on the chessboard in several rounds of intense, 1v1 combat. Also, curiously enough, the only thing that this game shares with actual chess is that it’s played on a similar board.
This game was created by Drodo Studio, a team of amateur game devs who, as avid fans of Dota 2, tried their hand to create an engaging custom map for the game. However, nothing could prepare them for the reception that their creation got, as Auto Chess Legends immediately gained critical acclaim due to its awesome game mechanics, and interesting twist on the traditional Dota formula. Despite the unpolished state of the game, matchmaking issues, and other problems related to its state as a custom map, their game received mass approval and quickly soared to the top, quickly becoming the most popular custom map to date.
But what exactly is Auto Chess? Let’s take a look at the popular game and see what the fuss is all about!
What is Auto Chess?
It is purely a PvP game where 8 players fight against each other to see who is the last one standing. Every match is played in rounds where players can purchase units and set them on the board, and watch them battle against the enemy’s forces. Combat is automatic and played entirely in real time. Furthermore, there are many units to choose from, each with their different attacks, attributes, and categorization. In this sense, players must become acquainted with each type of unit, learn their synergies, and work towards creating powerful formations as the match progresses.
The Flow of the Game
Each match has a specific flow, with players starting off with very limited gold; only being able to purchase a single hero in the first round. At the start of every round, players receive additional gold for purchasing more heroes, or for using it to level up. With every level up, the maximum number of heroes that a player can have on the board increases, and so do their odds of securing the win. In this sense, a player’s success hinges on their ability to save up gold, invest it properly, and on how to make due with limited resources. The match is over when there is only one player standing.
Every contestant starts off with 100 HP, which decreases as they lose rounds against other players. The amount of health that a player loses when defeated depends on several factors, including the number of remaining enemy units, and the power of the said units. In this sense, if the winning player has only a a few units remaining, the defeated player will lose little HP. However, if the victor has an army of units left standing, or a few powerful units, the loser may lose upwards of 10 HP per defeat.
Understandably, HP loss at the beginning is negligible, to the point where losing intentionally is a popular strategy for saving up gold since you always accrue interest on your current gold on hand at the end of every round. However, the match turns very chaotic at around round 20, where players have many powerful units, and HP loss is much more significant. At this point, most players already have most—if not all—of the units necessary for their strategy. In this sense, every match boils down to creating formations with proper synergy, and pitting them against the enemy forces.
One important thing to note here is that, due to the design of the game, every match can take around 10 to 20 minutes. In this sense, playing Auto Chess requires much more commitment than other mobile games. In this aspect, this game is similar to battle royale titles since those also feature long matches with continuous, uninterrupted gameplay. Naturally, games like these are always better played on BlueStacks since you’ll be much more comfortable playing on your large monitor, in your comfy chair, and with a much better control scheme thanks to our keymapping tool .
Myriad Unit Types and Items
One of the most confounding parts of this game, especially at the beginning, is the vast repertoire of units that you can purchase every round. Since there’s no tutorial yet, it’s up to you to research what each unit can do, as well as the meaning of the different symbols used to categorize them in the match. Don’t worry too much if you get utterly destroyed in the first match as you’ll likely be too busy figuring out how the game works. While we also got our butts kicked in the first match, we did much better in the next one, and even managed to land an awesome third place.
Every character (known as Chess Pieces in this game) comes with their own stats, and are categorized in two main groups: class, and race. These categories are very important since your team composition at the end of every match will rely heavily on them. This reliance is mainly because, by using units of the same class or race on your formation, you will receive synergy bonuses that can either make or break your team.
Similarly, every time you defeat an enemy unit in every round, there’s a chance for them to drop items. These items can be equipped on any hero to increase their stats, or can be combined with others pieces to create much stronger gear with special effects. This is also another aspect that you’ll need to become familiar with if you wish to get that extra push towards the victory.
Auto Chess is a very entertaining, if not very daunting, title. It’s chock-full of awesome characters, all of which you can use to create strategies and defeat your foes. However, it also features a sharp learning curve that you’ll need to overcome before playing it in earnest. Luckily, we’ll be posting several guides about this game in the next few days, so stay tuned!