It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a new genre of games develop under a game’s custom content option. Such was the case with DotA, which first started as a custom map for Warcraft III: Frozen Throne and there was no other way to play it.
Those were the earliest days of MOBAs. Even though DotA wasn’t an official game with its standalone client, the community found its way around that and relied on services like Garena which hosted most DotA games back in the day.
Many years came to past before other companies like Riot Games and even Blizzard decided to take MOBAs in their own hands and released their title for the genre. League of Legends and Heros of the Storm are both excellent MOBAs, and although they’re quite different from the original DotA experience, there was no way for them to exist if DotA hadn’t been released in the first place.
After these events, there wasn’t another case in which a whole game developed within another game. That is until Dota Auto Chess came out.
Dota Auto Chess was a Workshop game mod for Dota 2 developed by Drodo Studios, it features the same heroes players knew and loved, but the game itself played out a bit different. Autobrawlers are based on an automatic fight system.
Players place units on a grid, matching units based on their traits which makes them stronger while teamed up with each other and after some time they face another player’s team and whoever loses receives some damage to their character.
There are some other mechanics like earning gold every single round which is affected by interest or winning/losing streaks. Units are bought with this gold, and you’re shown a random combination of them each round which you can reroll using the gold you have. Also, players can invest gold on levelling up.
This formula had great success on streaming platforms like Twitch. As the top streamers were playing Auto Chess for hours on end while thousands watched, which is when the awareness skyrocketed. There were more and more people interested in playing Autobrawlers as time went by.
This got the attention of Riot Games, the developer of the massively successful game League of Legends which lead to the release of their own Autobrawler Teamfight Tactics months only months after DotA Auto Chess blew up.
The game itself remained loyal to the Autobrawler genre. It sticks to the mechanics that these games usually feature, only that they decided to use their characters and items while also developing new characters called “Little Legends” which would become the user’s avatar within the game.
Teamfight Tactics only raised the awareness of the genre even more. It features a live competitive ranked ladder within the League of Legends client, and while it’s still undergoing open beta, it shows great promise for the future.
We love knowing that existing games can become a platform for those who have the creativity to develop something completely new out of what already exists. This is how MOBAs came to be in the first place, and they are now one of the biggest competitive gaming genres.