Dota 2's New Bloom heralds the arrival of the Year Beast, also Terrorblade

Dota 2's holidays are a volatile thing. Diretide was delayed, and Frostivus is constantly cancelled. Will the fledgling celebration of New Bloom fair any better? Probably. After all, it centres around the arrival of a giant, evil beast that must be smashed and bashed to pieces. In this world of lane-pushing wizardry, violence and terror(blade) would seem to be the secret to long-lasting and untampered festivities.

What are the haps for this most horsey of updates? It's the traditionally twisted spin on real-world celebrations - in this instance the Chinese New Year. The Dota 2 variant involves a Year Beast, a monster both horrifying and valuable. "The same source that imbues the creature with terrible power also covers its being in rare materials, ready to be crafted into unique armaments if they can be pried from its body," explains the New Bloom micro-site .

It's not entirely clear what form the Year Beast will take, but, after having consulted with resident Dota fanatic Chris, there are two possibilities that seem the most likely. The first is that it'll be tied to a new game mode, as with the previous Wraith-Night event. The second, more interesting idea, is that the Year Beast will be a random encounter on the map. The last update already set precedence that new map designs are restricted to unranked play. If New Bloom's Spring map follows the same pattern, it could be that the phasing doom-beast will be a feature of it, leaving ranked play as the serious mode for hardcore wizards.

Hero speculation is also rife, with people reading phrases like "reappear refreshed and renewed" as a sign that Phoenix could be making an appearance. What we do know for sure is that Terrorblade is incoming, as he's the star of the Day 2 reveal .

Even more interesting is the planned introduction of ability draft mode, which sounds like pure, undiluted chaos. "Unlocked at level 11, in this mode each player is randomly assigned a hero, and each hero's abilities are placed into a pool. Players then take turns choosing which abilities their hero will bring into battle. Behold the majesty of a Pouncing Pudge, witness Axe fumbling with Psi Blades, and experience the terror of Illusory Orb Magnus."

Of course, this is only early days for the now-customary Valve update teaser process. Who knows, as future updates arrive, the whole bloody thing could be cancelled.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.