With the upcoming release of Underlord (The Artist Formerly Known As Pit Lord) there was more than a smattering of “What next for Dota 2 [official site]? Is that it for the hero roster?” Answering those questions at The International 2016 was Valve’s teaser trailer for new hero Monkey King! The simian sovereign will be coming in an update this autumn/fall called The New Journey. OBSERVE:
Just to run through some background info, Monkey King wasn’t an entirely unexpected addition to the hero lineup. A concept for a hero based on Sun Wukong from the Chinese novel, Journey To The West dates back to DotA. There are also a smattering of references which have appeared over the years – one is the item which grants True Strike which is actually called the Monkey King Bar (and is visually referenced by the staff carried by Monkey King in the trailer), another is the banana item which sparked a recent round of speculation over Sun Wukong’s return/introduction where update 6.87 introduced a situation where destroying trees in a private lobby game with cheats enabled sometimes drops a banana item. No word on whether the professional player Wang ‘Banana’ Jiao was part of an ongoing ARG related to this announcement.
There’s also the fondness of videogames for Sun Wukong variants. There is one in League of Legends and one in Smite if you’re looking at MOBAs specifically but Enslaved: Odyssey To The West also riffed on the legend, transferring it to a post-apocalyptic setting and having a really hench protagonist called Monkey leaping about and biffing people with a staff.
There’s nothing official about Monkey King’s abilities yet, although the trailer and the basic idea for the character will let you make some educated guesses. For example, I’m expecting a highly mobile melee hero who fights with a staff as the basic hero format. Beyond that the trailer indicates maybe a stun or a knockback using your staff which extends out in front of you. You’ll likely also get some sort of illusion ability – the trailer has Monkey King disguised as a tree, waiting for a chance to attack. There’s also a kind of hint at an ultimate ability which seems to be based around summoning a troop of monkeys to fight alongside you. No idea if they would be illusions or minions or… something else.
But yeah, that’s my guess for his skillset:
I’ll be interested to hear his voicelines though – particularly if he purchases a Monkey King Bar. Dota 2’s a delight when it comes to acknowledging those little things in interesting ways. Oh. And anyone who donks Beastmaster in the face is okay by me.