Valve promised fans that the new Dota 2 7.31 patch is coming on February 23, but that hasn’t stopped the developers from laying some Easter eggs before the big day.
Now, players who start the game will hear the roar of the Primal Beast, a familiar sound to those who have been grinding the Aghanim’s Labyrinth, and get temporarily stunned.
These sorts of fourth-wall-breaking Easter eggs are reminiscent of the old secret quests in DotA 1, which came out every x.x9 version. These usually involved elaborate summoning rituals, hidden areas, and powerful monsters in the actual DotA map, often revealing a new hero in the next version and granting an overpowered item. Phoenix and Sun Wukong were introduced in 6.69 and 6.79 respectively.
Is the Primal Beast Dota 2’s new hero?
The roar is identical to the one found in the event game mode, Aghanim’s Labyrinth, where we are tasked with defeating the Primal Beast, and hints might have been set up even earlier than that.
In Norse mythology, Gleipnir is the impossible chain that ties up the fearsome Fenrir, foretold to break his binds and kill the Allfather Odin during Ragnarök. Hoodwink makes multiple references to the item, obviously terrified of the monster held by Gleipnir:
She warns that “you really should’ve left this thing where it was, for all our sakes.” While speculation abounded that Fenrir itself could be a new hero—there’s not just one ancient evil bounding about the place.
Gleipnir‘s item description called itself “bindings forged by impossible means to leash an ancient evil”. If you’ve played through the Labyrinth, you’ll have heard Aghanim’s making multiple references to the endgame boss as the “primal force of ancient evil.”
Dota 2 hasn’t been shy about adapting mythology—Zeus and Mars are direct references to their real-life mythical counterparts. While Fenrir could still make an appearance, the Primal Beast might be a Fenrir that’s gone through some drastic changes thanks to the multiverse. After all, we just spent dozens of runs in the Labyrinth, trying to get all the different versions of Aghanim that range drastically in appearances.
Aghanim himself even suggests that you recruit the Primal Beast, instead of battling him, “What if, instead of fighting the primal beast and immediately dying, you guys asked him to join your crew, you know? Ah, I bet, he never even gets asked.”
Well, we’re asking very nicely now.
Or new objective in patch 7.31?
Considering that the Primal Beast is a big boss we fight in one limited-time game mode, the monster could become a big boss we fight all the time in Dota 2.
Roshan has become increasingly loaded with items over the years, now giving out Aegis of the Immortal, Aghanim’s Shard, and Cheese on the second death, and adding Aghanim’s Blessing or Refresher Shard on the third. From the fourth onward, it’s a veritable loot box of four separate items, all tied to a massively important objective.
With the Beast’s association (and defeat) to Aghanim, it’s possible that his new punishment could be a deeply ironic one similar to Roshan’s fate. The Primal Beast could function as a secondary neutral objective, handing out Aghanim’s Shards and blessings after a tough fight.
In general, Dota 2’s updates are striving to make the game more brawling-heavy and end quicker. Another objective that encourages teamfights, as well as provides periodic power spikes, might fit the bill.