If you’ve so much as dipped a toe into a DOTA 2 forum, you’ve probably heard of the Pit Lord. The last hero from the original DOTA mod yet to appear in DOTA 2, fans had been patiently waiting for him to be added to the game for years. Yesterday at the DOTA 2 International’s All-Star game, it was finally announced that those years waiting would be over in just 10 days, with Pit Lord due to arrive on August 23. Fans rejoiced. Valve saw all that it had made, and it was good.
However, rather than rest, today Valve made it clear that the arrival of the Pit Lord is by no means the end of new DOTA 2 heroes. DOTA 2 fans had been expecting Pit Lord for so long that it could almost be considered a meme, or the community's own personal Half Life 3. After the introduction of Arc Warden last year, Pit Lord was the last hero from the original DOTA mod to remain absent from DOTA 2. Common opinion was that it was only a matter of time before he would be included - the only question was of how much, and if we'd all still be alive. That question was answered yesterday when the Pit Lord, now called "Underlord", made his debut appearance during the DOTA 2 International All-Star match, materialising onto the stage in a burst of green AR light. And even though everyone saw it coming, fans were beside themselves.
A melee strength character, Underlord's abilities are an AOE rain of fire with burn damage, an AOE that immobilises and damages enemies within it, and an aura that weakens enemies' base damage while granting Underlord extra damage if they die while under its effects. Underlord's ultimate ability also enables him to teleport himself and nearby ally heroes to another friendly unit's position. Though exactly what role he will be most suited for is unclear, his abilities appear to lend themselves toward support (possibly exempting the aura).
With the announcement of the Underlord, the original DOTA line up was complete. It would have been reasonable to expect a lengthy wait before another hero was released, if one ever was.
Which made today's unexpected announcement of a second, all-new hero all the more exciting. Coming in the simultaneously announced New Journey Update, the Monkey King is a (presumably) melee hero based upon Monkey King Sun Wukong, a figure from Chinese mythology most well known as a main character in the 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West.
Based upon the Monkey King's introduction video (which is all we have to go on at the moment), he appears very similar to Phantom Lancer, in that he can make duplicates of himself and whack people with a large pole. He may also have a stealth ability, as the video shows him disguise himself as a tree before whacking people with his pole. (Side note: Said pole is a Monkey King Bar, an item already in DOTA 2.) It would also be reasonable to assume that he will be a carry, however for now this is all speculation.
Though not part of the original hero line up, Sun Wukong did appear in the original DOTA as a summonable boss. This, coupled with a patch a few months ago that inexplicably caused bananas to appear if cheats were enabled, made a few fans speculate at the Monkey King's inclusion, but it was largely hopeful guesswork until now.
Underlord will arrive on August 23, while the Monkey King and the New Journey Update will be coming in spring.