After an eight-month stint in Steam Early Access, Valve has announced DOTA Underlords will be launching into version 1.0 by the end of February.

The current Beta Season of content will come to an end and then Dota Underlords will fire into Season 1, complete with all the usual free-to-play goodies such as a regular Battlepass to work through.

For the uninitiated, Dota Underlords is Valve’s official spin on the Dota Auto Chess mod which took the world by storm. It’s basically Dota mixed with that chess game they play on the Millennium Falcon and folks are finding it heinously addictive.

“We’ve said it before, but we want to thank you all again for playing with us during this beta / early access period,” wrote Valve. “The community’s support and feedback has been invaluable to getting the game to where it is. We’re in the home stretch and are excited to ship Underlords 1.0 soon - and get the word out to a wider audience.”

It sounds as if Dota Underlords has fared a whole lot better than Artifact did, that’s for sure, although that is a tremendously low bar to limber over. Overall it’s sitting with a ‘Very Positive’ reception from ~76,000 Steam reviews. 

The version 1.0 launch probably can’t come soon enough for Valve though. After a huge peak of 202,000 players at launch, Dota Underlords has dropped in popularity month after month, down to an average of 11,101 players over the last 30 days. That’s still a relatively healthy player base but a far cry from Valve’s more successful titles.

Dota Underlords Season 1 will kick off at the end of February. The launch version of the game will still be F2P but there will obviously be in-game purchases and the like to monetise the experience.