Dota Underlords’ Player Count is Already Flying Up the Steam Charts

Dota Underlords is Valve’s standalone version of Dota Auto Chess. The latest autobattler went into open beta on Android, iOS, and PC yesterday and is already burning up the Steam charts. The game is currently sitting at fourth place on the Steam player count charts and had a peak count of 179,019 in its first day out in the wild. If I were a betting man, I would place a decent chunk of change on that number only going up in the next few weeks.

And that number doesn’t even tell the whole story. The game is available on mobile as well and there have already been more than 100,000 downloads on the Google Play store. If those numbers are similar on the App store, we have an incredible day one success on our hands.

The Underlords team isn’t resting on their laurels either. Already they’ve announced that they will soon be adding a few features that have been requested by fans. Soon, you’ll be seeing a full scoreboard, better social features, hero voice-overs, and more fan-suggested content. They are also exploring options for the much-requested Turbo Mode.

It’s safe to say that Valve is using this open beta well. Obviously, they’re enjoying a super successful launch, but they continue to put in hard work to make the game the best it can be. If you plan to join the beta, it’s nice to see that you can expect your voice to be heard.

Dota Underlords is out in open beta now on Android, iOS, and PC. Go download it now.

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Dota Auto Chess Adds a Custom Game Pass for Cosmetics and Win Bonuses

Dota Auto Chess has been blowing up since its release earlier this year. As of last month, the Dota 2 mod had over eight million unique players. The team at Drodo Studio recently soft-launched their standalone mobile version and Valve is hard at work creating their own standalone PC version that plays off of Drodo’s original mod. The popularity is obviously there, so it was no surprise when Drodo announced a new custom game pass for the Dota 2 mod.

The pass will only cost $1 for 30 days access to the various cosmetic and win bonus items. The devs stress that all of the game’s content “will remain available to free tier players”. Instead, this premium tier gives those players some quality of life improvements and gives them a way to support development.

When you buy the pass you’ll get a golden border around your avatar, along with golden effects on your chat messages and damage projectiles. When you purchase your first pass, you’ll get a Baby Roshan courier to use as your chess player. You will also get bonus candy (Auto Chess’ form of microtransactions) for your first top placement and/or win each day. Further, if you have a premium pass, you’ll get to vote for things like new chess pieces and which pieces need to be rebalanced.

All of these cosmetic and quality of life benefits seem relatively small; however, I think the real draw here is a new way to support Drodo. They’ve created one of the more popular games to come out in 2019 and it’s only right for them to be rewarded for their work.

Dota Auto Chess is available now on PC. If you’d like to support the people who made it, go ahead and pick up the new pass.


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Overwatch Workshop is Out of the PTR and Into Player’s Hands on PC and PS4

The Overwatch Workshop is a game mode that was announced last month which lets players build their own modes. You have access to a number of different things you can change and tweak. Which gives players the ability to create any game mode they can dream up. The mode was on the Public Test Realm (PTR) for the last month, but has now been released for both PC and PS4. Give the introduction trailer below a watch to see some of the awesome modes players have created thus far.

This addition to Overwatch is incredibly exciting for many players, myself included. Putting the power to build out game modes in the players’ hands should quickly increase the amount of creativity and fun available in Overwatch custom maps. We’ve seen games like Warcraft III  help create entire new genres in the form of MOBAs. While the Overwatch Workshop probably won’t produce something of that caliber, it will fun to see people try.

Already we’re seeing tons of creativity out of players. In the video linked above, you can see a few examples of it. There’s one mode that makes the game into a 2D brawler that looks a lot like Super Smash Bros. And another that tuns the game into a test of your platforming skills by making the ground lava. Those are just the early returns. With this now out in the public’s hands, we should see the development of exciting new modes happen much more quickly.

If you want to see some of the new things players are creating, Overwatch Workshop is available now for PC and PS4. Presumably, the mode will roll out on Xbox One at a later date.


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OpenAI Defeats Pro Dota 2 Team Twice in OpenAI Five Finals

This weekend, the OpenAI Five took down OG in a Dota 2 best of three series, winning two games straight against the defending The International (TI) 8 champions. The matchup was hard-hitting and fast-paced, as the OpenAI pushed quickly and found plenty of opportunities to steamroll OG players.

OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research company that seeks to improve friendly AI in ways that “benefits all of humanity”. OpenAI Five is a team of OpenAI-curated bots that compete in normal five-on-five Dota 2. The bots were first unveiled at TI 7 in 2017 in a 1v1 match against a top Dota 2 pro. At TI 8, the five bots faced a team of five pros and lost both games played. However, the OpenAI Five showed this weekend that they were learning.

The OpenAI Five has faced four different pro teams since TI 8 and have won each three-game series 2-0. That dominance is very impressive, considering the bot’s performance at TI 8. That said, the wins do come with a few big caveats.

The hero pool for these OpenAI games is severely limited. The players and bots are limited to only 17 heroes. That means the pro players can’t always properly counter-pick AI choices, which gives the AI an advantage. It also could hamper certain pro players if those 17 heroes aren’t in their normal hero pool.

The other thing to remember is that the pros only get two games against the bots. If given more time, it’s likely they could find ways to exploit the AI and beat them more consistently. OG’s NOtail was interviewed after the matches and thought the team had a great shot in game one and would beat the AI with another few games.

Players will have plenty of chances of test themselves against OpenAI in the future. The OpenAI team announced that starting April 18th, players will be able to play against the OpenAI Five themselves. You’ll also have an opportunity to play with OpenAI in a new, cooperative mode that places AI members on your team.

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