With the release of Siltbreaker, fans have quickly dashed into their Battle Passes to watch a story unfold, given they can get brave at least two dozen waves of excessively-painful NPCs.
Those that are here for the lore have already been given hints by a gorgeous and ominous introductory comic, bringing a handful of players’ favorite heroes into the fray.
A scroll informs the player their hero has a debt to pay, and they’re summoned into the battlefield. As they walk towards the woods of Howling Weald, they’re introduced to two NPCs. The first is familiar, as the shopkeeper awaits our reckless spending of gold.
Nearby sits a young man, whose health begins at full; under him, a streak of blood connects the bridge to the battlefield and his current position. But slowly, it lowers. And lowers.
And then he’s gone, just like that.
Usually because someone on the team denied him.
Who is he? Upon clicking, only the portrait of a man named Theod is shown in the lower-left hand corner, where our hero’s bust once was. And that’s all we know: he is an NPC, he is Theod, and he is expiring. Little more is known about Theod, but one can speculate in his memory.
Is Theod a traveler, overwhelmed by Siltbreaker’s new forces? Was he saved by the Shopkeeper? Or is the Shopkeeper simply a force so strong, it prevents us from kiting large monsters across the bridge?
He can be a symbol of our own humanity, as most of my teammates have honestly gone straight into denying the poor guy as soon as they humanly could. This is a choice of ethics and graciousness, and how the two often come into conflict with each other. It’s quite a lesson in Dota 2, because as a famous player once said, “Space created.”
Perhaps we can also say this is a representation of our hopes and dreams in this damn campaign, given the only person on my feed I’ve seen finish this so far is Eric “747” Dong, who’s literally the first North American 9k player. (Though I’ve also been too busy playing this to check for more.)
Whatever Theod means to you, the player, is up for interpretation, as we all know how Valve handles lore (meaning, usually, as vaguely as possible). But one thing is for sure: Theod is an essential part of our quest to right our wrongs.