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Ix Chel: A Closer Look

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Forum » News » Ix Chel: A Closer Look 1 posts - page 1 of 1
Permalink | Quote | +Rep by Branmuffin17 » April 11, 2023 11:24am | Report


By: TitanAjax | 2023/4/11



WHO IS IX CHEL?


The Light Weaver
Mayan Mage


For modern communities, she is the moon goddess and protectress of Maya culture and women; for scholars, she is one of a number of deities with different roles in the Postclassic period. Which is the real Ix Chel?

– Traci Ardern, Ix Chel and the invention of a modern pop goddess, 2006


Ix Chel is one of the most challenging goddesses for us to define. Entire research papers have been dedicated to her identity, and there are a variety of sources throughout history that describe her differently. To this day, the goddess’s original definition is still debated. Mistranslations or misunderstandings often obscure the truth of who Ix Chel is.

However, the goddess has also come to be a prominent figure in pop culture across multiple countries. Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, and Guatemala all have institutions, brands, and locations named after her, and most tend to use a similar depiction of the goddess. This depiction is not the most historically accurate, but it has become so widely accepted that it is what most people imagine when they think of Ix Chel.

Historically, Ix Chel was likely derived from at least 2 other goddesses. They are often referred to as Goddess I – Ixik Kab (lady earth), and Goddess O – Chak Chel (red rainbow). Goddess I is a younger goddess, associated with the moon, love, and fertility. Goddess O is an older woman, more closely associated with weaving, and vengeance. The name Ix Chel was known, but not much more, and these two goddesses were often cited to be part of her mythology. This concept was then published in multiple pieces of literature which have spread out across multiple nations and persisted into modern-day mythology.

Now, Ix Chel is generally expected to be a young goddess, associated with the moon and weaving, often depicted with very colorful clothing and symbols of the rainbow – an amalgamation of these other deities. Even if they were separate at one time, they are now undeniably attached.


OUR VISION


Ix Chel in SMITE started with the SMITE community. We aren’t exactly sure why this goddess became such a popular suggestion from players, but it likely has to do with her widespread usage as described above.

We brought her various themes together in a cohesive direction: “The Light Weaver.” In this way, Ix Chel could display her power on the battleground by weaving together strands of colored light. Moonlight would have a different effect than Rainbow light, and white light would be used throughout her kit as well.

She was often associated with medicine and healing, which would be attached to the soothing Moonlight. Rainbows were bad omens of destruction in Maya Mythology, so her damaging abilities would be more colorful.


CORE THEMES

  • Theme – The Light Weaver – Ix Chel uses different types of light woven together to make up her abilities.
  • Visuals - Maya Mysticism – Most of our gods and goddesses have deeper visual themes beyond their pantheons, but the Maya pantheon has gone so long without an update that this was our primary goal.
  • Personality - All-In – Ix Chel is confident, bold, and gives everything 110%. This applies to both helping her allies, as well as annihilating her enemies.
  • Perspective - Respite – The other gods look to Ix Chel and heave a sigh of relief. Many things have been going wrong but finally, a goddess who stands for good has arrived to help.


ARTISTIC PROCESS


We felt that we had a lot of room to explore different artistic directions for this goddess. Ix Chel did not have any specific depiction, and in fact, had multiple conflicting ones.

When we started our designs for Ix Chel we expected that most players would be unaware of the history involving her identity, so we aimed to lean into the common modern expectations for the goddess, but with a unique twist for SMITE, of course. Even in this first iteration, our goals can be clearly seen. There are strong Maya elements, plenty of fantasy mage elements, prismatic symbols, and woven cloth elements.

It was also clear to us that we wanted to explore a new variety of feminine body types for Ix Chel. Historical and mythological beauty standard were certainly different from today’s yet are underrepresented in SMITE. For Ix Chel, we aimed to deliver the somewhat common goals of a goddess being young, expressive, and attractive, but through a new silhouette or figure that we haven’t yet seen in SMITE.




The initial results were absolutely loved by the dev team, and so we quickly started honing in on what the specific configurations of her clothing would be and which accessories would fit her best. Layered cloth and long ribbons have a huge amount of animation constraints, and many decisions were made with that in mind. She was often described as having a snake headdress, so keeping that remained a high priority, and we designed it to be reminiscent of SMITE’s most famous Maya snake, and the leader of Ix Chels’ pantheon.

Her Staff was a strict fusion of her two symbols: light and weaving. And so this weapon showcases a prism with multiple colored light beams, and a cloth banner fixed below it.





The team gravitated toward elements that formed a striking silhouette, and some excess cloth was removed for technical concerns. Maya references were a huge inspiration for her face, hair, clothing, and color schemes.




GAMEPLAY


Ix Chel is a mage, intended to be played in Mid Lane but with some clear potential to flex into support or solo. She has a variety of utility effects, a medium amount of team healing, and low cooldowns to make these flex options possible. Her primary gameplay goals were to create a low cooldown, yet long range Mage that was filled with satisfying skill shots. Her abilities are designed to flow into one another smoothly and allow the Ix Chel player a variety of options of how best to unload her prismatic destruction on the opponents.


UNIQUE GAMEPLAY FEATURES

  • An ability that has a secondary combo ability that can be fired only after successfully hitting an enemy god with the first stage (a 5th ability)
  • A blind effect!
  • A ricocheting ability that she wants to hit herself or allies with
  • An ability that has increased effects if it passes through allies and enemies at the same time
Ix Chel is here to bring hope to a world ravaged by destruction. Surtr and Martichoras have only grown stronger with time, but Ix Chel will help to form the resistance against them. After many years, we finally have our newest Maya Deity!


Source: https://www.smitegame.com/news/ix-chel-a-closer-look/
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