Update: All of this, except now six million people are playing it. Wowzer.
One of Dota 2’s weirdest secrets, popular mod Dota Auto Chess now has more than five million players, a player-count that many full releases would be happy with.
The mod has been gaining popularity for some time, but has hit a critical mass recently as the custom game mode has snowballed in popularity as even people that don’t play Dota 2 have jumped in to give it a go.
Summing up Dota Auto Chess in a few sentences is tough. It actually has very little to do with Dota or Chess, and more in common with a turn-based strategy game, rewarding a strategic brain mixed with fast decision making and micro skills in the gap between the rounds to get everything set up.
The game is remarkably deep considering the fact it’s made as a personal project. Taking inspiration from the base game’s roster of characters and items and layering over a new progression system.
Related: Best PC Games
It’s a compelling experience, as ten players compete to try and survive the longest in AI controlled brawls, positioning and upgrading their units to try and swing victory.
A post on Reddit pointed out the five million milestone, which is actually closer to 5.2m, but also shows a concurrent player count of some 140k, meaning more people are playing Dota Auto Chess than GTA V, Warframe or even my beloved Rainbow Six Siege.
Getting entry to Auto Chess is free, as all you need is base Dota 2. However, it’s still a little rough around the edges, a testament to its status as a fan-made game. However, this translation of a recent Reddit AMA from the developers hints at some future additions to the game.
Related: Best Android Phones
It’s undoubtedly incredibly popular, but the team behind the mod has said they’re not planning to bring the concept to a new platform or to sell the idea, so if you want to try this newest phenomenon, you’ll have to dig into Dota 2 and find it for yourself in the custom game tab.
Have you played Dota Auto Chess? Let us know how you got on via Twitter. We’re at @TrustedReviews