Merlin is the most legendary wizard of all time. He is rumored to be part demon, but much of his history is unknown. Merlin is most renowned for the work he did with the Pendragon family. He helped Uther rise to power and after Uther fell in battle, Merlin mentored the young King Arthur.
Before he met Uther, Merlin advised many other rulers. One king was struggling to build a tower that would just keep crumbling. Merlin was able to prophesize the root of this problem: Dragons. Few believed him at first but a cave was discovered below the tower and two mighty dragons were found to be battling each other in the depths.
This act of discovering the dragons brought Merlin much fame, and no one questioned his magical ability after that. He went on to become a master of magic, in all its forms.
Most importantly, he is SMITE’s 100th god!
Merlin is the Archmage, the Master Wizard, the Great Sorcerer, and much more. He represents the concept of magic in fantasy. Most mages master a single school of magic, and align themselves with good or evil, light or darkness. Merlin, however, is a master of magic itself, and is not limited by these bounds.
In his lore we see Merlin use magic for deception, illusion, prophecy, death, and power. In SMITE we chose to interpret this mastery through a new twist on a “stance” based kit. Usually a god in SMITE will have 2 stances, but Merlin will have 3. He will be able to command the powerful magic of Fire, Frost, and Arcane.
Merlin will play a pivotal role in the SMITE universe. His lore reveals he has experience with dragons, one of which is currently threatening the world. Jormungandr, the World Serpent, is closely related to dragons. We will learn some very interesting things about Merlin’s past as the gods work together to stop defeat the serpent and stop Ragnarok.
We also chose to approach his visual appearance from a slightly different direction than expected. Merlin is often depicted as an older man with a long white beard, but we chose to deliberately go with a younger look on Merlin.There are a few reasons for this. First, we wanted to show Merlin as a more immortal being, free from the concept of age. Second, we wanted something more unique to SMITE. Merlin’s classical depiction could be interesting, but its been used on many wizards in many games, shows, movies, etc. Some of SMITE’s most memorable characters are the ones we take creative liberty on, like Scylla and Janus. We hope Merlin will be viewed in the same way. Finally, SMITE has a lot of old men, especially in the mage class. The game also has a lot of female mages and non-humans. As we build out our roster further and reach a number of gods in the triple digits, we will be making more decisions to make sure they stand out among the other gods in their class.
Merlin was clearly defined in the early stages so we don’t see drastic differences between the options. One element that sparked a lot of debate was his cloak. We opted to go for the classic full cloak to further solidify his traditional fantasy mage feel. We had taken some other liberties with the character so the full cloak felt like a strong choice to fit his thematic goals. However, this was not an easy decision and many devs felt that a more unique treatment would have other advantages.
His tunic was also a major discussion point. All 3 options looked really cool, but we chose to go with one that has more subtle dragon symbolism. If you look closely you can see that his cloth has a pattern that resembles wings or scales, specifically on his abdomen and shoulders. That cloth is fastened with connectors that resemble teeth or scales, especially on his chest.
The final Merlin clearly communicates his magical power, which would be supplemented even further by some elements that are hard to visualize in 2D. His hands will glow with the type of magic he is currently wielding, and he will hold a glyph of magic in his hands that also corresponds to that type.
Merlin’s kit is intended to give players a lot of freedom and choice over his magic types. This is achieved through his three stances
Even in early testing we have seen that different players prefer different types of magic. Merlin flexes between a safe poke mage and an aggressive risky mage, and players can play him either way, or a combination of both. In testing, Merlin has been mostly played in Arcane or Ice, with Fire being the go to stance for mid combat switches. In this way, he can poke his opponent and if they get low he can dive in on them, ult, and then fire 2 more damaging abilities to secure the kill.
A primary goal for him is flexibility. We want players to feel like they have a lot of freedom to play the god in different ways. This is a great thematic fit for the most legendary spellcaster of all time.
Merlin’s unique gameplay features are:
Merlin is SMITE’s 100th God. This is a big milestone for the dev team as well as our community. SMITE has grown incredibly over the years. Hi-Rez was a small company until SMITE really took off. This game means so much to us and we are thrilled to see how it has kept going strong after nearly 7 years and being played on 4 different platforms.
Merlin is a character many people didn’t expect in SMITE, and that’s part of what makes him exciting, but we want to make sure the players who have been with us the longest feel our gratitude. Jormungandr, Horus, and Set will be the next SMITE gods, as the community has shown their overwhelming support for those 3 gods.
Thank you for being a part of this journey with us. SMITE wouldn’t be the same without you all.