As announced by Drodo Studio on their official Twitter profile, Auto Chess is finally moving into the esports scene. In partnership with Dragonest Network and ImbaTV, the first Auto Chess invitational will take place in Shanghai later this year. Furthermore, the tournament will have a massive total prize pool of $1 million. The winner of the tournament will also be crowned the first Auto Chess world champion. Some of the current top players will be directly invited, while others will get the chance to get in through the qualifier.
The qualifiers will be held in various regions all over the world, starting in August 2019. Drodo Studio also promises more online and offline events with the intent of getting the public involved. Lastly, the developers prompted their players to practice using the mobile version, which might indicate the tournament is mobile-only.
Auto Chess first released at the beginning of this year. Being the first game in the autobattler genre, it became hugely popular in no time. It first ran as a Dota 2 mod, running inside the Dota 2 client. Seeing its success, Valve wanted to limit the game’s earnings by restricting server resources. However, the developers quickly solved this issue by developing a mobile version. The mobile version, which is available on iOS and Android, uses its own servers and doesn’t run in the Steam client. Drodo Studio did bring some revenue for Valve, as players were forced to download the game through the Steam client. However, the developer still earned a lot of money using microtransactions and in-game currency.
A standalone PC version of Auto Chess is also getting released later this year. The developers have partnered on the project with Epic Games, meaning the game will be available in the Epic Games Store. You can already reserve your own copy to get it as soon as the game releases. It will also feature an observation mode, which is another important esports feature. The game will run on Epic’s Unreal Engine 4, which will help the graphics and physics look even better. Lastly, the developers are looking to include cross-platform play in the future, allowing mobile and PC users to play against each other.
Unfortunately, Auto Chess is no longer the most popular game in this genre. Riot Games recently released Teamfight Tactics, a new game mode for their League of Legends MOBA. While only a game mode, it feels like a standalone game in many ways. Being released to the Public Beta Environment a few days ago, Teamfight Tactics already made a statement with its high viewership on Twitch. The fact that it takes players approximately two hours of waiting in the queue to log into the PBE also shows the mode’s huge popularity. With the announcement of the Auto Chess Invitational and Riot’s involvement in the esports scene, it is only a matter of time before Teamfight Tactics breaks into the scene as well.
Do you think the autobattler genre fits the current esports model? Let us know in the comments below.
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Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.