The history of the MOBA genre is one of mods and model. Its most popular and still-standing video games today are the outcome of numerous reimaginings and tweaks to skirt copyright problems. Now, there’s another ridiculous action to the story: the makers of Automobile Chess are making a MOBA. An Auto Chess MOBA is a video game based off a game, based off a mod of a video game, that remains in turn based off a mod of a video game.

Declared on Jan. 8, publisher Dragonest revealed that it would be developing a brand-new MOBA game based on its game Auto Chess. On its face, that’s a pretty uncomplicated story. Go one action further and ask “what’s Vehicle Chess,” and now we’re spiraling down the rabbit hole.

Take things back to StarCraft and the impassioned modding scene surrounding both it and the expansion Brood War, and you’ll find a game type called Aeon of Strife. It was a fairly uncomplicated game: pick a character, attack the opponent base, ruin it to win. Systems would auto-spawn in designated “lanes,” and it sort of imitated a larger battle, where heroes on the field were fighting and ruining to develop personal resources, eventually ending up being effective sufficient to damage the enemy team.

While the Blizzard games had actually influenced the modding so far, Valve’s own customized video games in Dota 2 birthed a new genre through a mod called “Dota Vehicle Chess.” Instead of charging down lanes and defending gold, players positioned units on a grid and saw their armies fight others, combining them in a manner similar to poker. It took off in popularity, and soon, others were looking to produce their own variation of what was being called “autobattlers.”.

Riot Games came in hot with Teamfight Techniques, Valve established its own version called Dota Underlords, and Blizzard implanted an autobattler-alike mode onto Hearthstone. The initial studio that made Dota Auto Chess, Drodo Studio, was now delegated develop its own standalone variation, only without any of the properties from Dota 2– and hence it made Car Chess.

Now, Vehicle Chess is getting a MOBA with a day-night cycle and destructible surface. Even looking at the images of its hero lineup, I’m observing characters that are absolutely rough spin-offs of Tusk, Slardar, and Mirana. But then Slardar is just a rough offshoot of a Naga from Warcraft, and even when I play Dota 2 today, I sometimes call Mirana “POTM,” or Priestess of the Moon, a Warcraft name.

The unlimited spiral down of principles from StarCraft, and maybe more relevantly Warcraft, is remarkable to me. Some of Warcraft’s archetypes are relatively common in fantasy, like the frost mage or giant tree guardian, however now they have actually dripped down through several filters, preventing copyright problems and copyright fights.

MOBAs aren’t wholly special in this regard; rely on the FPS genre and you can trace the lineage of Valorant down through Counter-Strike and Half-Life, or the idea of a Ryu-style character throughout the years of various fighting video games. Mods and model are how competitive games develop, and they’ve led to some beautiful amazing outcomes. (I have to think that, otherwise all these hours of Dota 2 were for absolutely nothing.).

Still, I’m actually curious to actually play the Car Chess MOBA. How familiar will it feel? Where will certain characters remind me of their Dota equivalents, and where will they break from the mould? If I have one hope, it’s that it will have mod assistance that will somehow generate a new genre trend, dragging the rabbit hole that began with a basic mod decades ago even deeper.