The unofficial Guild Wars 2 Blog by fans who LOVE GW2!
GUILD WARS 2 BLOG KREWE LOVES THE ASURA!
Guild Wars 2 Race | Asura
The fifth and final playable race in Guild Wars 2, the Asura have a feline/alien appearance with long-ears, scrawny shoulders, thin necks, stumpy legs and a reptilian mouth filled with pointy teeth. However, what they lack in stature they make up for in intelligence as they are arguably the smartest of the GW2 races (just ask them!). The Asura are little mad scientists with BIG chips on their shoulders. More specifically, they're mad with ambition to harness the power of the planet.These diminutive geniuses specialize in magical innovation and the creation of mystical inventions and it's this that makes them a mighty force to be reckoned with. They have a mastery of stone and elemental energies, "alchemagic", and they excel in the construction of a variety of different golems which they use for everything from basic service, heavy weight lifting, and for the defense of their cities. They're constantly striving to improve on the previous "outdated" model. (outdated = anything made by another Asura!).
Never lacking in confidence, and always lacking in humility, a typical Asura explains what she believes should be obvious to all...
"We're at the top of the evolutionary chain.
We're what happens when you eliminate weakness and waste.
We are concentrated magnificence."
"I am Asura. I personify genius".
First appearing in the Eye of the North (EotN) expansion, 250 years before the time of Guild Wars 2, the Asura were originally a subterranean race, in fact THE predominant race in the depths of Tyria. During this time they were driven to the surface by the Great Destroyer, the champion of the Elder Dragon Primordus, and its army. After initially taking refuge among the ruins along the Tarnished Coast, the Asura established a flourishing lifestyle using their arcane magic and crafting skills.At the end of the EotN period, with the Dwarven race ceasing to exist as it previously had, the Asura people became the foremost crafters in Tyria, their abilities and skills instantly invaluable. It didn't take long before they dominated the Tarnished Coast region as their golems pushed back the jungles where they created massive cities that exist both above and below the surface. Using their magical levitation spells the Aura hover their towns and cities above the dangerous surroundings, out of harm's way.One of their greatest accomplishments, the asura gate, allows travel between distant locations in the blink of an eye. These gates are now scattered across the entire Tyrian world, allowing all races the opportunity to travel safely from city to city and to promote trade. However, they zealously retain control of these gates, maintaining their trade routes and their neutrality, always keeping themselves on the edges of disputes and wars.
Harnessing all of their creative intelligence and alchemagical knowledge they built a new home, Rata Sum, a magnificent, breathtaking city of immense proportions. The Asura cities in GW2 are a wonderland of lavishly ornamented buildings and levitating structures. This ornamentation is part of the magic, as it's a kind of inscribed incantation that imbues the object with an absolute obedience to the asura's will. It's almost as though they built their world out of giant, magical computer chips.
Enjoy the magnificent city of Rata Sum, a huge floating cube riddled with interior passages. Its highest locations are home to the laboratories and meeting rooms of the Arcane Council, a group of wise asura, led by High Councilor Flax, who oversee the colleges and collates the research.
In Guild Wars 2 the Asura have created a complex new society throughout the Maguuma Jungle \ Tarnished Coast area of Tyria, constructing several massive cities in which they live and prosper. They've established good relations with every other intelligent race on Tyria, integrating into society where it suits them, but always remaining neutral during any conflicts by careful manipulation of information and relationships.
The Eternal Alchemy
Although the Asura in GW2 have learned to appreciate the skills and talents of other races, particularly the "bookahs", they still hold true to their sense of society. Asura life is based around the study of the "Eternal Alchemy", the core ethos of the Asura, an all-encompassing metaphysical theory that states that "everything, including ourselves, is part of a greater, unknown-but-not-unknowable machine".Rata Sum is the home of the three colleges of the Asura people: the Colleges of Synergetics, Dynamics and Statics. (As you start your asura character's personal story, you're a rising star in this asuran collegiate system). Each of the colleges has its own approach to the Eternal Alchemy and each has a major complex where promising Asura can work, advance their knowledge, and attract better-established mentors. The Dean of each of the colleges also serves on the Arcane Council.
Synergetics are the most mystical and theoretical thinkers of the Asura, engaged in studying the raw matter of magic itself. They believe that it's how all the pieces and cogs interact that's the most important. They think in terms of the connections between things, interrelationships, how things interact, how energies work. The process becomes very important for this group. The Asura gates are one of their major achievements.
Dynamics perceive the world in an active, ever-changing state. They believe that it's what the machine does - the effects, that are most important. They are the experimenters, the test pilots, and they feel that any experiment you can walk away from is a success. The Dynamics group experiments with golems a lot. Loud noises are common in the Dynamics' territory. Swift, innovative problem solvers excel in this environment.
Statics is the most conservative and traditional of the three groups. They are the builders. They believe that the structure of the machine is most important - the framework. They tend to think of the world in lines of force and support - as a fixed state - and seek to learn from the lost lessons of the past. They are thoughtful and analytical, and enjoy research as well as practical application.
While Rata Sum is the central hub for the Asura in Guild Wars 2, they also spread their research facilities and laboratories throughout the Tarnished Coast, away from prying eyes and potential competitors.
Other than the Arcane Council, the Asura in GW2 have no defined or organized government structure, preferring instead to work in teams, called "krewes" (just like the Guild Wars 2 Blog Krewe!) to tackle specific tasks where they will follow the most experienced leader for the duration of each task.They are fiercely loyal to their krewe and to their college alma maters. Jealousy, rivalry and fierce competition are commonplace among the various krewes, even to the point of sabotaging each other's efforts. While short in stature, the Asura lack nothing in the confidence department. Trash talk, snide comments and insulting jibes, both giving and receiving, are a daily part of an Asura's life! Oddly though, they don't take any of this personally, as they recognize it's their competitive nature which drives them to achieve their greatest accomplishments.
Recently, one group of asura have banded together to form their own meta-krewe, called the Inquest. The Inquest started as a single krewe but they have grown and are now running multiple projects / krewes at the same time. Sometimes one krewe within the Inquest does not know what another krewe is doing. The Inquest share their knowledge and resources among their own members, never with those outside the Inquest. They're less hampered by morality than the other asura, often using and abusing the spirits of sentient beings in their relentless research for a means to dominate all of Tyria, including the Elder Dragons, and they wont let anything or anyone stand in their way.In terms of the Eternal Alchemy, the Inquest believe that they should be the biggest gear on that machine, and that having a machine is very nice but you should only have a machine if somebody is at the controls... and that somebody should be The Inquest.
Angel McCoy, Guild Wars 2 writer and game designer reveals more about the role the Asura, and the Inquest, play in GW2...
"Self-absorbed as they may be, the asura understand how dangerous the dragons are. They have decided that they will save Tyria from the beasts, even if they have to do it by working with other, inferior races. They've learned that you can't put out a fire with a single drop of water, and a krewe makes no progress if the genius in charge isn't supported by an army of lab assistants.
In contrast to Asuran heroes, there are those who will resort to any means possible - even evil - in order to fight the dragons. These asura gravitate toward the Inquest, an organization that doesn't have the same moral compass as most heroic krewes. They will stop at nothing, even going so far as to experiment on other sentient races, to find a weapon that will destroy the Elder Dragons."
The Asura family structure is similar to humans, with parents and their children, who they affectionately call their "offspring" or "progeny", living together in the same dwelling, often along with grandparents, uncles and aunts. The Asura in GW2 live a little longer than humans, regularly reaching into the triple digits. It's common for an asura's children to be forced to follow in their parents' footsteps, even to the point of having to join the same krewe.Great expectations are placed on the children to succeed and parents will go to extraordinary (and often underhanded) lengths to ensure that their offspring surpass the accomplishments of their peers. As the family reputation is all important, a low achiever is a source of much angst within an Asura family.
Those unaccustomed to their manner often find them condescending and abrasive as the Asura believe they are destined to rule the larger, less intelligent races of the world (that's every being that ISN'T Asura ). In general terms, the Asura view other races as simple tools to be used to achieve success in Asuran schemes. Humans, in particular, are viewed as being quite useful for heavy lifting and dangerous tasks.
Designing the Asura Race
The original concept for the Asura in Guild Wars 2 was as a race of mischievous, pale-skinned Gollum / Gnome-like creatures, dwelling on the fringes of society scavenging mysterious artifacts from their advanced neighbors. A change to their role in the GW2 story line demanded a deeper complexity to their appearance, resulting in their present form. However, don't let these tiny beings fool you! Behind the disdainful, scheming eyes there lies a mad genius who usually has a gigantic golem to do his bidding.
Here's an amazing 9-minute video showing the creation of a piece of asura concept art in Photoshop, narrated by Matthew Barrett, the GW2 key concept artist responsible for the look of the asura. Wow!
Lead Animator Heron Prior is the guy responsible for the unique Asura animations, creating an acrobatic-yet-clumsy character who is never afraid to bite off more than he/she can chew!
For a quick hit of the Asura's interpersonal skills, Jeff Grubb has written an Asura short story, starring Mr. Sparkles! Wouldn't he make a great mini pet in Guild Wars 2?!
This second 30-minute video showcases the creation and game play of a male Asura elementalist. While the speech is in German, the game play is easily followed.
Servitor Golems, Mojonic Control Rods, Dicrystalline Etherizers, Meta-survey Incantations, Blasting Rods and Asura Gates... It's no coincidence that the Asuran cities are built far away from the popular travel routes where they can perform their experiments in complete privacy, or with utter secrecy, always searching for new magics and new powers to control.Yet even as they succeed, their accomplishments are threatened by individual greed, personal pride and internal conflicts. All the powers the Asura can harness will soon be needed, as in Guild Wars 2 they will face their greatest fears and their most deadly challenge.