Valve have announced that Dota Underlords is now available to a somewhat wider audience. It was previously in closed family and friends beta but it seems like the game is ready for the next testing stage and Dota Battle Pass promotion.
Valve's take on the Auto Chess mod for Dota was in testing for the past few weeks and it turns out it's ready for the next step and indirect monetisation. According to the official blog post, the initial testers were the Valve employees as well as their family and friends but the player pool is getting extended to Dota Battle Pass owners.
Therefore, if you purchased the battle pass already, you can jump in and check out Dota Underlords already. This extended player base will apparently serve to stress test the servers before heading for Open Beta.
If you are unfamiliar with Auto Chess, it's basically eight people lining up their units who proceed to fight each other until only one player's glorified minion(s) remain on the chessboard.
Such a concept probably sounds confusing to new players and Valve appears to have prepared for that. New players will be able to choose whether they want to match up against their peers or duke it out with bots until they get the hang of the game.
So far it appears that the initial testing was met with a dose of success since the player count peaked at 21,879 by the time of writing.
In order to give Underlords a shot, players will need to go to Dota 2 in their library and follow a ling provided on the dashboard which will give them access to the Auto Chess version. The stress testing will go on for about a week, likely ending on 20 June 2019 and will transition into Open Beta afterwards.
Considering the player count seems to be already decent with the closed pool of players, it is likely the influx of new players will be much bigger after Open Beta kicks off.