Dota Underlords, Valve's standalone take on the Dota Auto Chess mod for Dota 2 (which, let us not forget, is Valve's standalone take on the Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft 3), is now live and free on Steam. Valve said it expects the game to stay in Early Access for "a few months," with new features added at regular intervals.
What new features, you ask? Highlights include:
- Four Underlords to choose from. Choose an Underlord persona from our ever-expanding roster that fits your play style. With unique gameplay-affecting changes, there's an Underlord for everyone.
- Ranked Matchmaking. Everyone starts at the bottom, but by playing against other Underlords you'll climb through the ranks and prove you're the right person to rule White Spire.
- Battle Pass. This will introduce progression, cosmetics, custom boards, and a host of other new features to the Dota Underlords experience.
- Seasonal Rotations. Every season we'll say goodbye to certain Heroes, Items, and Alliances to make room for new additions that will shape the ever-evolving world of Dota Underlords.
- Tournament-Ready. Create your own private lobbies and matches, then invite spectators to watch the Underlords' crews duke it out.
Daily challenges, levels and rewards, customizable banners "and other flair," a replay feature, and offline play are also planned to be added ahead of the launch of Dota Underlords' first season.
Even with all those additional features still to come, Valve said Dota Underlords is "very playable" as-is, and crossplay between the Steam and mobile versions (it's also available on Android (opens in new tab) and iOS (opens in new tab)) is live.
"Valve's superfast network will get you into a game in a jiffy," Valve said. "Play multiplayer matches against other players, party up with friends, or play solo against different bot levels and playstyles."
Our writer Jon took a closer look at Dota Underlords yesterday and found it "a promising step forward in the design" of the autobattler genre on PC. "In the transition from mod to full game, Underlords has lost some of the wild and weird elements that defined it, though it has shed the more baroque or annoying stuff too," he wrote. "Hopefully with time Valve layers on the polish and restores some of that personality."
Dota Underlords is, and will remain, free, but a Battlepass is in the works that will "introduce progression, cosmetics, custom boards and a host of other new features to the Dota Underlords experience." Details and download links for the mobile versions can be found at underlords.com.