Valve Is Making Its Own Version Of Dota Auto Chess

Valve Is Making Its Own Version Of Dota Auto Chess

Late last year, Valve launched the collectible card game Artifact, a spinoff of Dota 2. It flopped so hard that Valve is now revamping it from the ground up.

Earlier this year, Dota’s community beat Valve at its own game, creating Dota Auto Chess, a similarly strategic spin-off that, unlike Artifact, has become one of the most popular games around. Now Valve is turning the mod into its own standalone game.

Interestingly, Valve has not done what it did with Dota and Portal and simply hired the people making Auto Chess. The Steam-powered mega studio explained in a blog post that after playing Auto Chess “roughly 1 billion times,” it tried to collaborate with Chinese developer Drodo Studio on a standalone version of the game, but that both parties “came to the conclusion that Valve and Drodo could not work directly with each other for a variety of reasons.”

So instead, Drodo is working on an Auto-Chess-inspired mobile game to which Valve will help migrate users, and Valve is developing its own official version of Dota Auto Chess “with Drodo’s blessing.” Drodo will also continue to update the Dota 2 mod version of Auto Chess.

For those who haven’t tried it, Auto Chess is basically nothing like either chess or Dota, which means—thank god—it’s easy to get into. It’s fast-paced and strategic, focusing around automated battles between heroes that both players purchase from a shared pool. The goal is to try and create combos and synergies between select heroes while also avoiding counters to those particular heroes.

Auto Chess currently has over 8 million subscribers in Dota 2‘s Steam Workshop, often drawing hundreds of thousands of concurrent players. It is, by most measures, one of the most popular games on Steam, so it makes perfect sense that Valve would want to dip its fingers into that gold-encrusted pie. Or I guess deeper into that pie, at this point.


      • Valve doesn’t have any games with always online DRM, except perhaps Artifact (not sure). Even DOTA 2 has an offline mode.

        • Think he’s referring to the fact that Steam itself was the always online DRM. Especially considering Steam’s own offline mode was garbage for the longest time.

          • Steam’s never been always on though. Always on DRM is like Diablo 3, where it’s…always on. Steam only needs to verify the licence periodically and caches the credentials. In that respect they were beaten by Stardock, too.

          • Maybe that’s the case now but in the past if your internet went down then so did your access to your Steam games.

            Actually I just tried it and the dialog reads “Offline mode is used when you’re about to unplug your laptop, or are otherwise expecting to not be connected to the internet.”

            Keywords expecting not to be connected. Unless you can preempt your modem/router/isp going down, it’s always on.

          • I think you’re using a different definition of “always online” to everyone else. If a game is using always online DRM, then it will stop running as soon as your internet connection drops (or pause until connectivity resumes). With Steam, I’ve never seen a problem with logging in to Steam, disconnecting from wifi and then starting a game.

            It’s true that if the local short-term licenses for the games expire without you being online to renew them you’re in trouble, but that is quite different from never being able to play while offline.

          • I’ll give it a crack after work, disconnect the ethernet, start Steam and see what happens.

          • @rufati: yep. It is “sometimes online DRM”. Those short term leases should be enough to bridge an unexpected connectivity problem, and they have offline mode if you know you’re going to be offline for a longer period.

            It is certainly more of a hassle than no DRM, but it is qualitatively different to “always online DRM” where the game will stop as soon as you lose connectivity (either paused, or losing your progress).

        • Go look up the articles around Half-Life 2 when it came out. As good as STEAM is now, you need to remember Valve is the reason we have Always Online DRM. They were the first to push it, and over time they dressed it up and changed it, but that does not mean they should be void of responsibility.

          • I think you’re confusing always online DRM with just online DRM. Always online DRM is constant checking like launch Diablo 3 or World of Warcraft, where if your internet drops then so does your game and you can’t play single player without a constant internet connection. Valve has never had that in any of its games, and the Steam platform has never offered it as a capability.

            Steam uses just ordinary online DRM. It verifies your authorisation periodically and stores that authorisation in a cache, after which you don’t need an internet connection to play until the cache expires. Steam wasn’t the first to do that though, Stardock was with Stardock Central in 2001, which protected both their desktop applications and their games. Stardock DRM was very unpopular, but it persisted until 2010 when it was finally dropped for new games.

          • When STEAM first came out there was no offline mode form what I remember, so yes, it was ALWAYS Online. If I am wrong about that, then I am wrong. But it’s still down to Valve for being the first to use online DRM in general so heavily.

    • Not that I like it but it’s smart what they’re doing. There’s probably more low-risk money in sniping these popular games/mods than knocking out sequels to their own franchises.

    • Screw Valve for doing what they’re good at! (turning mods into polished titles that are played a decade + on) /s

      • Valve make shitty live-service games designed to maximise profits through MTX with as little effort as possible.

  • …both parties “came to the conclusion that Valve and Drodo could not work directly with each other for a variety of reasons.”I wonder if the brewing Trade War tensions between the US and China have anything to do with this.

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