Following the massive success of the Dota 2 custom game (mod) Dota Auto Chess, Valve announced last month that it is now in the process of developing a standalone game with the blessing of the original mod makers. Although some would have expected this game to surface years from now knowing Valve's usual schedules, surprisingly, the company announced today that its Auto Chess iteration - now named Dota Underlords - is ready for public testing.
The standalone title is now available to any interested Dota 2 Battle Pass owners, who can add the game to their Steam libraries and begin playing right now. This preview will have eight-player online rounds, offline bots of various difficulties for practicing, as well as party capabilities.
Following that round of testing, Valve plans to begin an open beta about a week from now, which will be available to Windows, macOS, and Linux users via Steam, as well as Android and iOS devices. This open beta will also herald ranked matchmaking, along with crossplay and shared progress across all platforms.
And here's how Valve describes the strategy game:
Dota Underlords is a new stand-alone game that pits you against seven opponents in a battle of wits that will have you building, combining, and leveling-up a crew in a battle of dominance for the city of White Spire. In this game, victory is determined not by twitch reflexes, but by superior tactics.
Valve is asking for feedback from all players participating in the beta sessions to "make the game the best it can be as we work towards Season One." This can be done through the Submit Feedback button that is present in Dota Underlord's main screen, with the company calling players to "wear it out" and "Tell us what you love, and tell us what could be better. We welcome it all."
Interestingly, the Chinese developers who made the original custom game have now gone over to the Epic Games Store to bring their version of Auto Chess to PC as an exclusive.