You guys must have heard of the auto-battler custom map recently created for Dota 2, under the title Dota Auto Chess. Well, the player base absolutely loved it, which is why Valve launched a standalone game of their own under the name Dota UNDERLORDS. Just a day after its release, we estimated the game to have around 80k concurrent players which were quite an achievement. The game runs similar to the mechanics of Auto Chess, yet has a flare of it is own based on the continuous updates it receives.
How does the game work?
To give you a basic idea, Underlords is an auto-battler map where different tiers of units and alliances are used in interesting combinations to defeat the other player. A single battle comprises 8 online players who compete to take the top spot. Players start in an arena of sorts with an empty tileset which can gradually be filled with different heroes, each with their own unique ability to attack. You get a certain amount of gold in every round, which can recruit heroes from the variety available in a pool of 5 units, introduced at the end of each round. Underlords is still in the Beta phase as the company perfects and synchronizes various elements that have certain glitches. We will focus mainly on the difference between Underlords and its competitors at the current stage, so if you want to know more regarding the mechanics of the title, you can refer to this link.
What is Auto Chess?
The original map was created by a Chinese-based Drodo studio and as the player base expanded, the studio partnered with DragonNest (a renowned mobile-based game development studio) and launched their own version of the game under the title Auto Chess. Because of copyright issues, the names of the characters and the spectrum of their capabilities had to be revamped, but even after these alterations, the game itself is doing well. Recently, the company has announced the plan to collaborate with Epic Games (the developers behind the massively successful Fortnite), and release a desktop version of the game. This poses a serious challenge for Valve (the developers behind the game), which is precisely why the game is receiving continuous updates to stay ahead of the competition.
Differences between the titles
Let us discuss a few similarities and differences, which set the titles apart from each other, and discuss what the future holds for these titles.
Players on both mobile and desktop platforms want a glitch-free experience where they can battle out to their heart’s content. Riot studio, the team behind the League of Legends, has also released a similar title of their own called Teamfight Tactics following the success of Auto Chess. With such weighty studios competing to take hold of the gaming masses, it is exceedingly important to keep the players interested in your game all the while attracting many more to give your game a try.
Valve holds the advantage yet because they can use the actual info used in the original game, which gives their title an air of authenticity. Players need not download a separate game engine to enjoy the game since it can be readily downloaded from Steam and we have linked it to the in-game Dota 2 menu–something that is very convenient.
Valve understands the need for differentiation, which is why they are continuously changing the dynamics of the Underlords gameplay. Let us list these differences and explain the same in detail:
- Revamped neutral rounds bounty
According to the old mechanics (which are still being used by competitors like Auto Chess), every NPC wave character had a chance of dropping pickable items to enhance the general capabilities of the heroes. This ‘drop chance’ created the opportunity for unfair advantage in case someone got luckier than the rest. To counter this, after clearing every creep wave successfully, now players get to choose one option from a set of preferences, which can either be an item or an aura effect of sorts. You don’t have to win the neutral round to get these items, but yes, scoring well offers better options to choose from. For instance, the inventor’s alliance players can choose a perk which makes the inventor class units to explode, thus dealing a percentage of health points as damage upon death in an area. Similarly, knights can protect units in adjacent cells by giving a percentage of damage reduction buffs.
Oh, and racial/synergy buffs aren’t the only ones you can purchase. There are certain general buffs as well which can help you in winning. For instance, the maximum number of heroes that can be placed on the board simultaneously is 10, but this number can be increased if you get your hands on a rare buff that lets you do so. A global item also decreases the cost per hero unit, which lets you level up your favorite units faster. All these added features make the Underlords different and interesting.
- Revamped hero cost and abilities
The company has also revamped certain synergies and alliances that were considered relatively overpowered. A couple of pieces from inventor synergy (previously known as mech) now fall under tier 3 bracket – they (Clockwerk and Tinker) have been moved from the tier 1 bracket. Similarly, Medusa from the hunter faction now costs 5 gold instead of 4 and has an added split-shot ability which lets it attack multiple units simultaneously. This is just one of the changes among many the developers are continuously introducing, more so in order to even the odds and add excitement to the game.
- Alliance and synergy changes
Changes are also visible at the synergy level. Bloodbound, an Underlords exclusive synergy, increases the damage of bloodbound units whenever one of them dies. Shaman synergy has been revamped entirely and now it causes disabled units to lose mana every time they are attacked thus further disabling them. Also, the synergy activation requirements have been reduced in various classes and bonuses have been buffed to give the players a sense of power since that is what we want. Right?
If you want to explore the game further, you can visit the official page here. The game itself is addictive and if you are or have been a Dota fan in the past, you definitely need to try it.