It’s been almost a year since the Muerta release and it might be time to start hyping up Ringmaster. New Dota 2 hero releases are always exciting, since they always introduce new, unique mechanics, so today we would like to speculate about the upcoming character and what their kit might look like.
The official splash art for the hero teaser has Ringmaster front and centre. Several things immediately meet the eye. First of all, Ringmaster is Mechanical. We don’t know whether it is a mech suit piloted by one of the Keen Folk, like Timbersaw, Clockwerk and Tinker or some sort of a possessed contraption, but given the high pitch of the narrator in the teaser and the generally unhinged tone, we skew towards the former.
We also feel like Ringmaster is going to be an Intelligence hero. There are fewer Intelligence heroes in the game right now, compared to other attributes. He also holds what looks like an Oracle’s orb in his hands on the splash art. While it might not mean much, given the theme of the hero about how he is forecasting the actions of his enemies to trap them, we feel like he is going to be a ranged Intelligence hero focused on crowd control.
Finally, it is impossible not to draw parallels to HoN’s Puppet Master. They have very similar vibes, though a straight HoN to Dota port is very unlikely. That said, we wouldn't be surprised to see a taunt-like effect from Ringmaster, similar to Puppet Show in HoN or Dota’s Winter's Curse.
Returning to the mechanical and baiting themes, we have this shot from the trailer, showcasing Axe running after what ended up being a lure. Luring and baiting mechanics are typically hard to implement in online games, since you are playing against real people, who will quickly realise something’s off if a neutral creep starts running wildly, so we aren’t sure how much of this shot has to do with an actual Hero mechanics, and how much of it is flavour.
That said, we wouldn’t be surprised if Ringmaster could create some uncontrollable units. Uncontrollable for two main reasons: lore and teaser-wise they look like spring toys, which typically can’t be controlled after the initial wind-up. And we also don’t think he is going to be a micro hero — they aren’t necessarily popular for the vast majority of players and Valve have heavily been prioritising player fun in new characters.
Perhaps a mechanic where Ringmaster takes over a neutral camp could be a thing, we are seeing a mechanical Kobold Foreman after all. That said, we have no idea how it would work and what kind of effect it could provide. Though having constant vision over a neutral camp does sound interesting.
We also have this shot with the “hero collecting” narrative. Returning to the splash art, where we see Ringmaster holding Oracle’s Orb, an easy speculation is that trapping and killing enemy heroes allows him to use their abilities in some shape or form. Kind of like a more malicious Rubick. Borrowing enemy spells is also one of the most fun mechanics in the game.
Alternatively, it could just be a crowd-control or a banish effect, similar to Disruption or Astral Imprisonment. Then again, the latter two are not necessarily the most fun abilities in the game and can sometimes be disruptive to your own teammates, and as mentioned previously player fun feels like a priority.
There are also “clowned-up” heroes on the poster, perhaps they are the poor characters who have already been “collected”. Maybe “collecting” a hero steals part of their power and the only way to return it back is by killing Ringmaster? This would fit incredibly well with the idea of Ringmaster being an expert baiter, as it would create an incentive for the enemy team to target him.
Unfortunately, that is it for now. So far we only had one teaser of the hero and some Dota sense to guide us, but perhaps you have noticed something else? Valve like to hide some small details in their teasers and trailers and you can watch the full Ringmaster reveal here.
Discussing new Dota heroes as a group is always fun and engaging, so feel free to share your thoughts on what Ringmaster could be all about in the comment section below. Perhaps together we can land somewhere closer to the truth of what the hero might or might not be.