Auto Chess Games: Comparison and Professional Opinions
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It’s hard to compare the three Auto Chess games because, despite some stark differences, they all are fundamentally similar. It feels like all of them have the right to live and each will stay popular with its respective audience or region.
Drodo Auto Chess will be a powerhouse in Asia, where ImbaTV has the most significant influence and will hold most of its tournaments. Dota Underlords and Teamfight Tactics will be popular among the Dota 2 and League of Legends fans respectfully.
It’s not even the matter of LoL and Dota players being loyal to and hating on each other’s games. When I tried to learn TFT with a Dota 2 background (not as a fanboy, my true love is StarCraft 2), I was overwhelmed by the 50 new characters that I needed to learn almost from scratch.
Since Drodo’s characters are based on the heroes from Dota, it will also tap into Valve’s player pool, and find it hard(er) to convert the League players.
Teamfight Tactics, though a fantastic game by all relevant accounts, might be set back by the lack of a mobile client, at least for a while.
Valve learned from the Artifact train wreck
I’ve played a lot of Dota Underlords lately, and it feels like the Valve has learned much from its mistakes made during the development and early months of Artifact. Here is how you can tell it:
- The game came out early, though a little bit rushed
- No exclusive closed beta period. Everyone with Dota 2 Battle Pass and a couple of days later their friends got access
- Lots of communication between from the devs. E.g. players knew the Drow Ranger nerf was coming soon (and it did come soon, not “Soon (TM)”)
- It’s free-to-play
- It has ranked matchmaking
- Has mobile clients
Devs from the other studios are busy as well
I’m not implying that the other developers are sitting on their hands. The Teamfight Tactics team has been doing a kick-ass job as well. They also managed an early release and are very open. You find read their recent AMA at the top of the TFT subreddit or read its details here.
I asked Evil Geniuses’ Sean “Swim” Huguenard for his opinion about what he likes and dislikes about the three Auto Chess games. He did really well in multiple DAC tournaments and played every game on his strims (spelt as intended). Here are the bullet points of his thoughts:
- Teamfight Tactics has a good item progression system. You can equip multiple things on one Champion and have item combinations. On the other hand, those items drop at random, which cuts at the strategic aspect of the game.
- Dota Underlords allows choosing items out of a selection, giving the player more control and softening the impact of RNG. The fact that you can equip only one item per hero is somewhat limiting, though also has its benefits.
- Drodo Auto Chess has great potential simply because there is a great company behind it. The addition of Io and the Gods was “fantastic” and Swim will definitely check the game out once it releases on PC.
- Between TFT and Underlords, Swim gave a slight edge to TFT, though he was very quick to point out that this is only the initial impression and the opinions will be swinging drastically over the next weeks and months. Shortly after the conversation, he started a 9-hour-long strim of Underlords.
Pros and Cons of the Auto Chess Games
(Most of these are my opinions based on my player experience, Swim’s comments and some other streamers’ publicly expressed thoughts)
- Has mobile and PC clients which you can play with the same account
- Has Ranked Play
- Has unique aura mechanic, making the positioning even more important
- Gets frequent updates
- You can play it on a PC with a touchscreen comfortably
- Can’t put multiple items on the same character
- You feel like you play alone in a dungeon (this one is a general complaint, I never noticed it until someone pointed it out)
- Copies many things from Drodo’s Auto Chess but lacks Io and Gods
- Deep item progression system
- Devs thought of a decent comeback mechanics
- You see the enemy bench during the fights
- Won’t get a mobile client anytime soon
- The items drop randomly
Drodo Auto Chess
- Made by the original Dota Auto Chess mod developers
- Will have (or has) heroes with unique abilities like Wisp and the Gods
- Already has an announced $1,000,000 tournament
- No PC client as of yet, will have one for EGS
- Item progression system feels like it could use a rework
- Hasn’t seen a major update in a while
All games are in their infant state and will change immensely in the upcoming weeks and months.