The Yoruba Orisha of Rivers is caring, wise, and powerful. Yemoja is seen as a mother to all of humanity, as well as many other Orisha. This earned her the name “One whose children are like the fish in the sea.” She will arrive in SMITE at a time of need. As Olorun faces possible defeat in the Underworld, he will send his chameleon messenger, Agemo, to ask Yemoja for help. Now, she will leave her home of the Ogun River and venture out into the world.
SMITE will revisit the Yoruba pantheon rather quickly. We still do not use pantheon as a driving force to decide on new gods, but Yemoja brought everything that the game needs right now. She offered fantastic visual diversity and allows for true support-guardian gameplay, which players are eagerly awaiting. Finally, she is the perfect character to aid Olorun on his quest to revive the fallen gods and prove himself as king of Olympus.
Yemoja’s primary themes include her powers over water and her helpful nature. Water can be deep and terrifying to many, but Yemoja is more specifically a goddess of shallow water that gives way to life and civilization. Her visuals and her kit are designed to support this theme.
Yemoja’s healing powers will play a key role on the battleground, as well as in the SMITE storyline. Although Olorun might make his way to the lost gods, he would not have the power to restore them to their previous powers. Only Yemoja could accomplish such a feat.
Yemoja is originally a Yoruba Orisha from West Africa, but she also has become prominent in other regions such as Brazil, where she is known as Yemanja, or Cuba. We specifically chose to focus on her West African origins for her abilities and portrayal in SMITE.
The visual iterations on this goddess involved many explorations of African Clothing, mostly using modern Nigerian attire as a reference. This includes formal robes fused with characteristics from her lore. Even when only looking at traditional Yoruba descriptions of her, there are differing accounts on if she is a mermaid or a human. We specifically chose to go with the human depiction because we felt it better fit our goals for her visuals, theme, and gameplay.
Yemoja should display an impressive level of fantasy, while still being clearly inspired by African culture. Yemoja is a goddess of many other things besides just water, and a few of those things such as crystals or the moon could also be adapted into her design.
Although we didn’t want to make her a literal mermaid, her dress in various iterations was intentionally designed with mermaid imagery. There are scale patterns to reference this, but the overall shape is the more clear sign. She wears a 7 layer skirt to represent the ocean waves or a mermaid’s tail. She is also wearing cowrie shells, which serve as an aquatic symbol as well as one of prosperity and wealth.
After many adjustments in her clothes, hair, and accessories we were able to find something that felt right for her.
She is elegant yet strong.She looks defensive but not overly armored. She clearly looks like she has the mastery of water and the intent to protect those dear to her.
Yemoja’s kit is designed so that her primary function is backline defense of her allies. She is a Guardian, a class defined by magical damage while having high health and protections. Guardians in SMITE can be quite flexible, but Yemoja is intended to focus more on utility and healing rather than damage.
Her Mana is replaced with a new resource: Omi. This was designed with specific goals in mind that heavily influenced Yemoja’s kit design. Yemoja’s abilities all cost Omi instead of Mana and Omi regenerates over time. The main difference is that Yemoja’s abilities have no cooldown. They are instead controlled only by the Omi’s regen rate. This allows her to fire her abilities multiple times in a row. Using an ability multiple times will prevent her from firing her other abilities, even though they weren’t fired recently. Her Ultimate Ability does not consume Omi and has a traditional Ultimate level cooldown.
Yemoja’s unique gameplay features are:
For years SMITE has had a group of characters that feel like they should be able to play as Supports, but can’t quite do it because they lack the defensive stats or the AoE CC. Yemoja is intended to fit that role perfectly. She has many of the aspects of a traditional healing mage, balanced with Guardian stats and CC. We feel like this is a perfect spot for the next defensive focused Guardian.
Yemoja will be coming to rescue multitudes of gods, or players. Let the healing waters of the Ogun drift your team out to a smooth victory with Yemoja by your side!