When we were coming up with the idea of Alona, we knew we wanted a support warrior that was a healer, and we wanted to create a strong female representation of authority. More than just a support warrior, we wanted to craft a leader. In gameplay, she’s in the backlines, sure. But she’s kind of like the general. She’s someone you rely on. She’s the sun priestess! She has this huge headdress that represents authority. Usually priests or religious figures tend to have these huge headdresses to make them stand out in the crowd. If the pope or a Mayan priest or Egyptian leaders were far in the distance, you could identify their silhouette. You would recognize them. We wanted her to have a feminine silhouette, but the headdress was most important to us in regards to getting a good read.
In terms of gameplay design, knowing where the healer is on the map is extremely important, for both your team and the enemy team. Healers are such a high priority when it comes to who to eliminate first, so with our design, the hope is that the gameplay follows accordingly.
Gold and emeralds were precious resources, so we wanted to build off of that when we were designing her. That’s where the yellows and greens come from in her design. In that same vein, they say that life is cyclical, so we wanted a lot of her design to have circles integrated. You see it in her headdress, you see it in her staff. If you look closely at her staff in game, sometimes you can see the emeralds reflecting the sun. Again, it completes this idea that she harnesses the power of the sun and uses it how she pleases.
The sun is represented by two elements: the light and the fire. The Light can be something that heals you, something that protects you. That feeling when you’re on the beach and you feel the warm caress of the sun on your skin. It’s healing. But if you get too close to the sun, it’s going to hurt. This is the motif of Alona.
We didn’t want to have a warrior that was just a support warrior that couldn’t do anything else but support. So she needed viable weapons. When she attacks, she shoots this ball of light and fire towards the enemy. She has this amazing Buildable, the Light of Judgement, which takes the energy and the power of the sun to damage opponents over time. It’s this double language. The light is going to protect you and the fire is going to hurt you.
Her Sun Shrine was designed because we wanted this portable altar. If you stay in the area, you’re protected and healed. It worked really well with the idea of a priest. You’ll be under her protection and you’ll be healing while you’re within a certain space around the Buildable.
Her other Buildable, the Light of Judgement needed to be much more offensive. We know that ancient South America culture adored the sun. Someone in the studio heard this ancient Greek story, where they used mirrors to harness the power of the sun and used it to destroy a fleet of warships. It’s an interesting twist, but we decided to take these two entities and put them into one.
She’s a conduit between the gods, so she transmits power to punish or reward. Hopefully, when you play as her during the Alpha, you’ll reward your teammates just as much as you’ll punish your enemies.