Dota Auto Chess — a custom game of Dota 2 — is being hailed one of the fastest growing games of 2019. What is it, and why is it trending?
If you haven’t yet heard of Dota Auto Chess, there’s a good chance you aren’t frequenting the Dota 2 community. However, the game may not be limited to those niche communities for long. With many chiming in that Dota Auto Chess is “one of the fastest growing games in 2019,” a couple questions remain: what is it, why is it so popular, and is all the hype real?
The hype for Dota Auto Chess is a relatively slow burn, though it is getting noticed slowly by larger outlets. Earlier today, Director of esports group Team Secret made a point that it is one of the fastest growing games of 2010 and “the majority of the gaming industry have [sic.] no idea it exists”:
For those coming into this article fresh, Dota Auto Chess is a Steam Workshop custom game of the ever-popular Valve MOBA, Dota 2. The custom game launched on January 4, 2019 making it firmly a 2019 title. Despite the name being “chess” and having the game set on a checkered black and white background, the custom game created by Chinese developer Drodo Studios is anything but.
The objective of Dota Auto Chess is to be the last remaining player of eight, a task achieved by surviving with 100 HP. Each round, players will purchase pieces to place on the map and will faceoff against creeps that generate on the battlefield. As your units die, they carve away at your HP until you are knocked out. Aside from the light intro, the game offers a ton of depth (race, class, player synergy) and strategy wildly differing from the mainline Dota 2 gameplay.
If all of that explanation was lost on you, don’t worry — let’s focus on why this is being called the fastest growing game in 2019. According to a recent pull of statistics, Dota Auto Chess is well beyond 100K concurrent users with 710K players subscribed to the custom game on Steam. That would currently have the game outpacing Grand Theft Auto V or Football Manager on today’s
A day ago, Valve added Dota Auto Chess to the official Dota 2 client’s front panel — a big step, considering the last update entirely broke the custom game mode. Both the Dota 2 Twitch streamers and a sizable chunk of players are diving headfirst into the game mode, with no sign of slowing.
On the other hand, others are casting doubt on whether Dota Auto Chess is truly as popular as it is being advertised, with many pointing to previous bugs that have inflated numbers in the past. In a Reddit post titled “PSA: Stop hyping up AUTO CHESS player numbers, they are most likely bugged,” a Dota 2 custom game creator offers his own skepticism. Pointing to both previous trends of custom games and experiences with bugs in the past, the custom creator concludes that a bug prevents many custom games from timely ending, bolstering concurrent players.
Whether that is true or not, Dota Auto Chess is becoming the new way to play Dota 2. Following the recent ban of 17K smurfing accounts and cheaters, there is no better time to jump into the MOBA. Dota 2 is exclusively available on PC, and both the main game and Dota Auto Chess are free of charge.