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League of Legends is taking its own spin on the Auto Chess style of game with Teamfight Tactics, a mode that will bring champions from the main game into an arena they’ve never seen before.
Auto Chess is a game type typically associated with strategical battles that have characters acting as pieces on a board. These battles are automated, with the main focus of the game being micromanaging a currency and picking the right units to place on the board.
Dota Auto Chess was an independently developed mod for Dota 2 that was released in January and exploded in popularity, helping Dota 2 surge back over one million players in March for the first time in over two years. This success led to Valve helping Drodo Studio with development and even opened talks for the company to bring the devs on full-time.
With success like that, it’s no surprise that Riot Games would want to bring something similar to its League player base that surpasses 100 million players.
The basics of Auto Chess are rather simple. Players earn currency (in the case of Teamfight, it will be gold). That’s used to buy new units to place on the map. The placement of units is one of the biggest aspects of the game since the actual units move and attack on their own.
Battles largely go on with no interaction from the player. They solely focus on the placed units and how they attack and move in relation to the other team’s units. When the battle ends, each player takes damage based on how many enemies remain at the end of the round.
Players will continue buying units and placing them on the board until there’s only one left standing. Typically, these matches are done in one-vs-one scenarios or in servers with an even number of players that battle in a tournament style series until one player becomes the champion.
In Teamfight Tactics, it looks like players will be put into lobbies of eight players and battle in a free-for-all format. It’s unclear how the brackets or matches will work, but it’ll likely have customization settings for match rooms.
Teamfight Tactics will work slightly differently than standard Auto Chess, starting with the open map changing to a hex-grid game board. Players will now combat each other in phases, starting with three rounds of AI opponents before the battle really begins.
Each champion has unique strengths and weaknesses that will play into the strategy of each combat round. Players will need to use their gold for more than just picking the right champions and leveling up in this game, too, since Riot has made extra bench spots cost currency.
Along with that, players will need to invest and manage those bench slots when the Shared Draft opens up in later rounds, letting players select from different pools of free champions. This will help fill out the battlefield and give the player with lower health a helping hand by letting them pick first.
Buying and equipping upgrades, managing resources, and making sure you pick the right units to send into battle will be the focal point of Teamfight Tactics.
The main complaint online right now following the announcement seems to be fans’ confusion on if this is a new game or why Riot isn’t just making a new game. And the answer is simple: League is arguably the most successful game on the planet, so why would Riot not just add to it?
Adding an auto-battle mode gives fans who might not typically play or download League something else to do, all while keeping things within the same client. This bolsters League’s player numbers and adds variety to the nearly decade-old title.
And while it does look like Riot took inspiration from Dota Auto Chess, the way the game is set up seems different enough to provide a completely unique experience. It was a move based on Dota’s success in that area, but with it being developed in-house and not by an outside studio, things are already weighing in League’s favor.
Teamfight Tactics will be added and released as its own game mode in the League of Legends client. Players can make a League account and play the mode on June 25.