Report: Valve Might Officially Acquire Dota Auto Chess

Dota 2 has a had a massive resurgence of late - but it hasn't been because of the free-to-play MOBA, but a card-based mod akin to chess. Dota Auto Chess has quickly become one of the most popular games on Steam this year, so much so that there's reports that Valve are looking to officially bring the project in-house.

A report from VP Esports suggests that Valve has been looking at the Dota 2 custom game with keen interest. The thinking, as suggested, would result in the mod becoming an official Valve property, with support and development assistance offered in exchange. That would in turn undoubtedly result in a promotional boost throughout the Steam page and client.

The mod is already hugely popular: after launching on Steam in November of last year, the mod has amassed almost 4.5 million subscribers. The popularity of the mod has also helped Dota 2's flagging player base - after dropping to a low of 701,582 peak players and around 441,000 average players in July of last year, Dota 2's peak player count has spike to over 950,000 in the past month with an average player base of over 542,000, the best figures for the game since The International 2017.

Image: Steam Charts

It's certainly blown away any concerns that Auto Chess's popularity was a bug or some other kind of quirk that resulted in the over-reporting of numbers. More and more high-profile Dota 2 players and streamers have continued playing Auto Chess in their downtime, especially amongst the Chinese community, and the popularity of the mod has encouraged newer players to download Dota 2 for the first time.

The downside of Auto Chess's burgeoning popularity, of course, is that it puts an awkward spotlight on Artifact. The high-profile Dota 2 spin-off has struggled to maintain any momentum from launch, with only a thousand average players over the last month. But as Valve has shown in the past, they're always capable of turning something around - and they're especially good at refining mods into superb standalone games. Just look at Dota 2.

[VP Esports]


    I'm one of the ones playing it, and also one who had never touched Dota or Dota 2 prior to Auto Chess. The cloest I came before then was a couple rounds of the original Warcraft mod back in the day when I decided I didn't like it.

    I'm now at 74 matches played of Auto Chess, something like 70 hours of play time for Dota 2. It badly needs more development though, I'd rank the game as an alpha build...or maybe beta by today's standards. It has a number of bugs, a few of which aren't quite game breaking but have a significant impact on gameplay. There's one bug that's literally game breaking as it crashes the server for all players in the match and ends it.

    Beyond the bugs the game also lacks polish and a proper MMR system. I'm struggling to move up ranks largely because I'll win or come in top 2 spots 5-7 matches in a row which slowly lets me gain a few ranks. Then I have one game where I bomb out due to the heavy RNG nature of the game (it happens, big deal) but due to not having an MMR system the lobby is full of lower rated players and my rank takes a huge nose dive, generally losing 2 full ranks and in one instance I lost 3.

    The only way to play against players of similar rank like you would in other games is through private lobbies managed through a discord server that the community has put together. My problem is I keep falling just shy of the intermediate lobbies that I could access because I lose 1 match and drop 2-3 precious ranks. The second issue is the Oceanic involvement in the discord server seems to be fairly light on. The few times I've tried to get a match there hasn't been any going. Playing on an NA server results in 200 odd ping which heavily impacts the quick actions you need to make.

    Apart from all of that though...the game is damn good. It's pretty much the only thing I've played over the last 1-2 weeks. Very addictive and requires a lot of strategy and tactics to min/max your way through the RNG.

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