Auto Battlers Arise

Auto Battlers Arise

If you’re an avid watcher of Twitch streams like I am, you might’ve noticed an appearance of a certain sub-genre of games being streamed consistently in the Top games. I’m talking about auto battlers, aka Auto Chess (Nothing like chess btw).

Screen-capped on 6/26/19
TFT and Dota Underlords(aka the new Dota Auto Chess)

What started out as a simple workshop mod for Dota, Auto Chess became the craze amongst all strategy players alike. Even for other gamers, they would play in between their main games or just mention that they enjoy playing off stream. I have little to no knowledge of Dota Auto Chess, but what knowledge I have gained of the genre comes from playing Riot’s attempt at the genre, Teamfight Tactics. [Insert Dota fans flaming Riot for stealing games again.]

Set to release June 25, 2019 and rolling out to all regions across the world during the week. Riot has been testing the game in its beta stages within their PBE client. And this is F2P of course, you just needed some “good honor ranking” on your main LoL account to be eligible. Although I have heard rumors of maniacs actually buying PBE accounts, for ridiculous amounts, just to play this game in beta. Absurd when you consider that they would release it to the public within a week of the beta. And the amount of traffic the PBE client gets is so overwhelming that they have to limit login queues that estimate over a day to get in at times. It’s safe to say the hype is there.

If you’re unfamiliar with auto battlers, here’s my quick TLDR of TFT specifically:

  • It’s an 8 player FFA
  • You buy units with gold. Gold comes from income of all types
  • Combine like units to upgrade up to Tier 3
  • Items come from PVE stages and a drafting “carousel”, combine 2 to create better items
  • Place units strategically on board as units have different pathing/targeting
  • Adjust accordingly against opponents and hope RNG is on your side.
Carousel Draft

A more in-depth rundown of the gameplay goes like this:

  1. You match make against 7 other players. Everyone starts with 100 HP
  2. You draft a unit during a carousel round. (Unit comes with one item)
  3. You fight mobs (PVE) to obtain items, exp, gold for 3 rounds.
  4. Every round you get a personal draft of 5 units to buy from
    • Units cost more of less depending on rarity and strength
    • 3 copies of the same unit upgrades it to Tier 2
    • 3 copies of the same unit at Tier 2 upgrades it to Tier 3(9 Tier 1 units)
  5. Items are crucial in getting the upper hand, currently there are 8 items and you can combine 2 of them to match your strategy/situation
    • Do the math and you’ll get 36 item combos to familiarize yourself with
  6. Synergy with units plays a big part. Each unit has at least 2 qualities, Classes(10) and Origins(13). When syncing those qualities with the same of its kind, you’ll receive powerful (or not so powerful) bonuses when battling.
  7. Once the early PVE round finishes, it’s time for PVP. You’ll get matched up at random against one of the other 7 players.
  8. Winning deals damage to the “player”, dependent on how decisive the victory.
  9. After a few rounds another carousel round with occur, back to PVP, then PVE, and then rinse and repeat until one player is left standing.

Now there’s a lot more between the lines of gameplay that I can mention like possible income, draft order during carousel rounds, buying XP and lots of other things. For a simple concept, there’s lots of things that help make it what it is but I feel like the depth can only go so far. I mentioned before that this game mode is still only in beta and when it’s released to the public, it’s still beta, there are lots of bugs that arise and they’re constantly looking at a balance for gameplay. If things go well and they continue to work on it, there’s going to be constant updates for it just like how they treat LoL.

My personally opinion of the game so far is that, it can easily get frustrating because RNG can giveth and it can taketh away. Frustration seems to be synonymous with Riot Games if you’re familiar with their “fan base”. I had an easy time getting into the gameplay though with the help a little cheat sheet and watching a ton of streams. It also has a certain familiarity to me from playing LoL so much. As a strategy game, I think they have a lot of kinks to work out in terms of balance, bugs and easing in new players. There’s little to nothing in game to prepare you but they have since released a starter guide to help. Once again, it is F2P if you want take a crack at it but be aware of long wait times as the millions of LoL players are trying to play as well. GLHF.

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