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This Auto Chess thing is going to be the Battle Royale genre fad all over again, isn’t it? I am blown away by how fast these companies are pushing out their auto-battlers to capitalize on this mod’s popularity. They all want to stake their claim.
I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone tries to get a piece over the next few months. Blizzard seems particularly well-poised to throw its hat in the ring; Heroes of the Storm seems to be on life-support, but they’ve got that whole library of characters just waiting to re-used.
I know Epic already secured the “original” Auto Chess for eventual release. But I also would not be shocked to see Fortnite suddenly introduce some sort of ‘autobattler mode,’ since they’ve never been shy about shamelessy stealing whatever new gimmick is popular at the moment.
It feels a little unfortunate, if I’m being honest. This small little studio comes up with a neat idea that’s new and unseen and no one has done before, and before they can really get their momentum going, they have all these huge companies rushing in to take the spotlight with their big budget versions.
Business is business, I suppose, it just feels a little icky. Though I admit, I’m still a bit salty that Fortnite of all things “won” the last round. I admit and recognize that it launched as a very polished title, but for me (rough around the edges as it may have been) PUBG was the better Battle Royale game.
I don’t know, I gave Underlords a quick try and… meh. I get it, I guess, I see the strategy involved… I just didn’t think it was much fun, I guess? I haven’t tried the original Auto Chess or League of Legends’ ‘Teamfight Tactics’, though I did see the latter had overtaken Fortnight on Twitch for a while when it was launched.
What do you think, Is there a clear winner so far in the autobattler wars for you? Is it a niche genre, or this summer’s next big thing? Should I give it more of a chance?
Fornite (or Fortnite BR, if people want to be specific) honestly didn’t really launch that polished. It was actually a pretty rough entry early off the bat. The only new asset was really the map itself, and everything else was just a moved over and simplified version of the Save The World mode (which, of course, was a complete disaster). In addition, it was actually pretty bland, not to mention having a few issues like loot being wayyyy too sparse, the locations being too few and too uninspired, and a odd glitch (?) that created a trail effect on the… Read more »
That’s fair, perhaps I recall it launching polished only in relation to the state of PUBG, which at the time was still pretty rough and slow to update.
Still, I think it’s hard to argue the few BILLION dollars that Fortnite brought in for Epic can be considered anything but a win.
Unfortunately that money also put Epic into the position to do what they’re currently doing with their store, buying up exclusivity. Another reason to detest Fortnite’s victory.
i might be mistaken but epic also gets money from tencent to do stuff.
Should be more like; the profit from Fortnite get fed to the parent company, and then Tencent spat it back out so Epic can then do what it does.
Outside of the annoying ads I saw promoting auto chess, I didn’t realize it had become a thing… Also I don’t get how it’s become a thing… Could someone explain the appeal?
I have no idea. People are making new games for it, and LoL says they want to make it a new permanent game feature. Yet, no matter how I look at it, I don’t see how this fad can still be around a year or two from now.
It’s got a great depth of strategy and resource management, as well as enough RNG to make every game play out vastly differently. Winning consistently requires both excellent planning and ability to adapt (and sometimes a little APM).
AutoChess is not exactly “new and unseen and no one has done before”. Like almost everything on the Dota 2 Arcade, it is a remake of an old Warcraft 3 map called Pokemon Defense.
Okay, that’s fair, I did hear something about Pokemon was involved at one point.
Still, I would argue that the work Drodo did on Auto Chess is what popularized the “genre” now and caused it to explode the way it has.
I’ll be honest, I read some but not all of the comments because there were a lot and I have a short attention span so apologies if someone mentioned this. Valve, Epic, and Riot only got into Auto-Battlers after Drodo rebuffed Valve’s offer to team up and make a stand alone game. Drodo instead chose to release a mobile game targetted at the (from what I understand) multi-billion dollar Chinese mobile game market. It also released in the US. The public outcry from THAT is what sparked interest in all these companies because they saw a gap they thought was… Read more »
That… Duck me, that actually made me sad. Poor little blue thing man. The worst part is how happy he looks in the second panel.
Hm. I mean, you’re right.. I still want to believe in quality over all else, regardless who has the best end product.. but people like to believe all sorts of ridiculous things despite overwhelming evidence, don’t they?
I follow a fair array of streamers. Some grabbed onto Autochess at the height of its popularity. For just long enough to figure out it’s not great.
It… seems to scratch an itch for some. I thought it seemed like a less interactive form of Minion Masters, myself.
Valve? They don’t make games anymore. They don’t even update Steam anymore (not in a way that helps developers or customers, anyway. nobody was asking for a new library skin). Epic Games is stealing their lunch and Valve is letting them. Ah well. I kinda hope Valve keeps on letting Epic steal their lunch until Steam goes out of business. Valve and Steam have been bad for gaming ever since Steam Greenlight and Steam Direct turned Steam from a place where you could find well made games to a place filled with absolute trash where discoverability is terrible for the… Read more »
You can say Valve doesn’t make games anymore, but they did turn around and pump out Underlords in a hot minute after they couldn’t get the mod’s creator to work for them. So they’re happy to create a game when they see an easy dollar to be made XD
If they need money, they’ll release that game… the mythical beast of the gaming world, you know the one of which I speak.
I’ve played Autochess since before it’s peak popularity, and for me it’s a low interaction strategy game that has both team building/hero building and tactical gameplay. I like playing it when I don’t feel like playing something that requires my full attention like Rocket League or The Division, and it allows me to scratch that strategy itch. I doubt it’ll be a huge thing like battle royale games became due to the lack of interaction. It’s closer to Civilization than it is Fortnite. On the topic of copies, I’ve only seen Teamfight from watching streamers. From the few hours I’ve… Read more »
What is an “auto battler”?
I’m with you on this question. Based on the name it sounds almost like those “auto clicker” games that basically play the game for you but give you the option to add some borderline unnecessary inputs so that it’s still a “game”.
And after a quick search that is basically exactly what it is:
“In Auto Chess you:
– buy and upgrade Dota heroes from a shop (chess pieces)
– place them on an 8×8 chessboard (you can put units only in your half)
– they fight for you automatically”
I don’t see the appeal.
I think it’s gonna be a fad, but a short one. I’ll give it 6 months tops. Pure Strategy games don’t really hold wide audiences for long, as far as I know.
And I hate Fortnite’s take on BR. The whole silly cartoony aesthetics thing doesn’t mesh well with the free-for-all tense atmosphere that was so unique to PUBG. Also their business model is pretty demonic.
This is why I don’t use Valve…..
I like Ring of Elysium the best. Honestly PUBG was too slow for me, you could spend 15 minutes walking across the map seeing no one, and Fortnight just has too many kids playing for my taste. (Yes I’m an old fart) Ring of Elysium has the seasons going, has fun transit mechanics, and its the right size population of players for me.
Isn’t that the game that basically installs a super Trojan to your computer? I.E. They have total access to everything on your computer.
Are you still playing Galaxy of Heroes?
I haven’t played any of the auto chess games. The closest thing is Demon TD from WCIII but I didn’t like that because its name always made me think it was an actual TD instead of the weird pvp monster summoning unit building game mode.
I would have already played Dota Auto Chess but I didn’t want to download 16+ GB of data just to play an alternate game mode of something 😛
I honestly… don’t understand the hype. I hadn’t played it until this weekend, thinking it was just some brutal generic mobile game. I started it up on the weekend, and it is exactly what I expected. It is exactly as boring as “auto-battler” sounds haha.
Granted I didn’t play too much, but I could not care less about this genre =/
On the topic of Blizzard, I don’t think it’s likely unless it’s pushed through by Activision. They come in late with their own take on the genre (Whereas LoL’s auto-battle is almost an identical clone of DOTA’s version), and unless this takes off and sticks for 5+ years, I just don’t see Blizzard making a game on it. Funnily enough, Blizz has canceled more games then they have released now.
I see two ways it can go: 1. The genre mainly remains popular among the players, who also play the MOBA, which the games are based on (i.e. Dota 2 for Underlords/Autochess and League of Legends for Teamfight Tactics). In this case TFT will probably see the most success due to the sheer size of LoLs playerbase, but the popularity as a whole will probably not remain great for long. 2. The genre will catch on among a broader audience outside the MOBA community. If that happens, there is a great chance that it will become popular as a mobile… Read more »
I’m a fan of games that simulate board game tactics, though only a few ever really catch me. Riot’s Teamfight Tactics has me a bit hooked, partially because I’m already a huge fan of their world and their characters, and partially because the auto-chess gameplay really gets me. That being said, it leaves a lot to be desired, and I’m VERY disappointed with how little they did to differentiate themselves. It’s not like the mechanics of DotA Auto Chess are obviously already peak quality. There are hundreds of things you could try to give the concept your own little flair.… Read more »
Funny that you lament that this small little studio is overlooked before they can get any momentum from their idea, but you yourself never once mention their name in the entire blog post or comic.
Yeah, people can google auto chess and find the name Drodo Studio, or go into the comments and find the one mention of it, but how many people are gonna read the comments? How many are gonna read the blog and subsequently google the term?
I mean… I lament it, sure. But I’m not exactly losing sleep over it…
Auto-Chess…does this have something to do with Idle games? Because that genre shouldn’t have so much as left browser games.
“[Epic] have never been shy about shamelessy stealing whatever new gimmick is popular at the moment.”
Um, actually I remember them “stealing” BR only… While UT (and its follow ups) and GoW have been quite innovative.
I gave Underlords a try as well after seeing someone stream it. I played through a whole game, and while I seem to have gotten the concept, by the second half it was boring as heck. There’s definitely a higher level of counter tactics available that I wasn’t really following, as someone beat me consistently with his army and I didn’t quite understand what was going on. But on the whole I didn’t really feel compelled to learn that extra layer in order to master the game. It just seemed too boring to bother.
In the last few weeks I’ve been redirected from your site to a click-baity “survey” page promising $1k Wal-Mart gift cards, I can send you the url and details if you’d like. At first I thought I was clicking ads but I’m sure i’m not now, it’s kinda random and it disables the back button so I have to re-enter the address to come back and finish the comic. Sometimes it happens several times in succession.
Did you come here from Facebook?
The post is kinda far from the truth in multiple important points. But it’s okay to not know information you’re not particularly interested in. It paints the whole comics with a wrong coat of paint, though. Drodo is NOT a small dev team that has been screwn over by big companies AT ALL. They literally made millions selling the thing to the chinese giant Tencent before Valve even announced that it’s working on its version. There the chinese developer Dragonest made the ios/android versions of the game (completely messing the names of the heroes in a ridiculous way, btw). What… Read more »
The information does not support your claims. First of all, if you want to argue relativity, fine. Drodo is a small studio IN RELATION TO Valve, or Riot, or Epic. Second, in all my reading I have not seen ANY news that Drodo sold or licensed the game to Tencent (in fact there’s no evidence they’ve SOLD the game at all; they are still the developer, and Dragonest publishes the game on the technical side of things). Tencent (and a handful of other big Chinese companies) filed for an “Auto Chess” trademark in China, because China is all about ignoring… Read more »
First — sorry, I didn’t meant to say they are not a small studio. My only point there was they’re not screwed over. They’re announced a million dollar tournament in their game recently. How would a screwed over company do that? Of course I’m not able to provide you proof that they have a huge heap of chinese money. That’s not something that would possibly be in the news, so that I could provide a link. But it’s passed around in private conversations, and I consider it commonly known truth. For people in dota2 community, who are/were in this niche… Read more »
They announced a million dollar tournament in association with ImbaTV, who is running/organizing the tournament. The prize pool likely doesn’t come entirely from Drodo’s bank account, but rather sponsorship of the event. The prize pool is not necessarily indicative of their net value, but announcing a high-dollar tournament is a quick way to try and “legitimize” an esport-hopeful game. It’s a jump-start, and it may be a gamble for them. So Auto Chess getting $1m tournament does not mean that Drodo is necessarily as financially comfortable as when Valve throws $1.6m into a DOTA invitational. Valve may barely blink an… Read more »
It’s International, not Invitational [valve fanboy outrage intensifies]. And that number is not indicative of anything on its own, actually. It’s misleading to use it without the context. TI2019 prize pool right the second I’m writing now is $19,639,481. That’s $1.6m from Valve and $18M from people – without going too much into it – making digital purchases. Now, the fun part is that only 25% of those digital purchases go into the prize pool and the things being purchased are virtual goods, basically rows in a database table, their cost price is employees salaries and servers costs. So Valve… Read more »
Past tense of screw is screwed, btw. ;D Like your information.
As Tim points out, oversees cares very little about trademarks. *Only* caring enough to change the names so they don’t have a blatant copy. That “completely messing up the names” bit you mentioned is entirely on purpose.
Wasn’t able to post anything yesterday, just testing now… 😉
I think Tetris Royale is going to be the winner in the end. Our parents generation will be playing that thing until the end of time.
Auto-Chess? Why is this the first I’m hearing about this?
Waaaaait a second. This isn’t a new idea, I came across this literally decades ago in game called Gearheads. Two players sent waves of wind up mechanical toys at one another:
Looks an awful lot like an autobattler to me.
I need to look into it more. But my initial impression is this “new” genre has been around for decades in tabletop form. Back in the day, they were called “Chess Variants”. If you check out ChessVariants.org, you will find a ton of these. I could be offended by this, but as someone who designed chess variants, and has a system for integrating them all (I call dibs on “Battles of the Omninexus”), it is my finest hour now. In my alternative universe, Autobattlers came along before Magic: The Gathering, because of Bobby Fischer.