Valve please: New hero at TI7?

posted by Abelle,
It's not quite a Valve tradition yet, but in two of the last three Internationals we've been treated with the first look at soon to be released new heroes, and we're hoping it happens again this year.

Before The International 2014, Valve were releasing heroes on a semi-regular basis, so there was no need for a big buildup to reveal. This was when there were still plenty of heroes from DotA left to bring over to Dota 2.

After the release of ten heroes in 2013, things had finally slowed down in 2014. Phoenix and Terrorblade were both released in January 2014, but no more heroes were forthcoming until the explosive reveal at TI4.

It happened in the all-star match. Arteezy was the last to pick his hero and the crowd were expecting something big, but when he locked in Sniper there was an audible sigh from the gathered masses. Their disappointment didn't last long though, as Techies exploded onscreen and Arteezy's hero was changed. The crowd went nuts, probably the last time any large number of people was that enthusiastic about Techies, ever.

A couple more heroes were released between TI4 and TI5 with Oracle and Winter Wyvern released that winter. Fans of DotA knew that there were just two heroes left to be added to Dota 2 from the old game. They were Underlord (aka Pit Lord) and Arc Warden.

Many hoped that the TI5 all-star match would have a similar reveal to the previous year's but besides a mysterious green sword purchased and never mentioned again, no new hero was revealed. The sword was an item added to the files during Diretide 2012, but never used. Its inclusion in the all-star match was never explained by Valve.

Reborn was released in September 2015. A few months passed and in December, Arc Warden, the penultimate DotA hero, was released.

Then, at TI6, the Dota 2 community was given a double dose of what they'd missed the year before. Underlord was revealed in the All-Star match and Monkey King was teased the very next day with an elaborate drumming and dance routine by costumed performers.

Source: Valve

Since Monkey King's release in December 2016, Dota 2 hasn't had a single new hero, though there have been hints that one might be on its way.

A popular theory in the community is that of the fourth spirit brother referred to in one of the Monkey King comics released alongside the hero.

Source: Valve

In the image, Storm Spirit, Ember Spirit and Earth Spirit are gathered around, discernable by the shape of their heads and their elemental colours, but the fourth purple spirit's identity is unclear. While the silhouette looks quite a bit like Enigma, it seems strange that Valve would choose to hide the faces of four already revealed characters.

The spirits are also referred to as brothers and elemental forces, while Enigma is referred to in the lore as a Fundamental and a being of "the void" and a "universal force". It doesn't quite fit to say that the fourth spirit is definitely Enigma.

While it's not a given that Valve will reveal any new hero in Seattle this year (Valve are as hard to predict as ever), they've surely got some surprise or other up their sleeves. Whether it's the fourth spirit, another hero or something else entirely, only time will tell.

Tell us in the comments what you hope Valve will surprise us with at this year's TI!

  • Abelle


    Annabelle Fischer
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