Guild Wars 2: The Asura Explained
Tiny but powerful, the avant-garde Asura of Guild Wars 2 tend to carry with them an air of superiority that is not entirely unwarranted.
The Asura were part of Guild Wars 2 from the start, quaint goblinoids that cast a long shadow alongside the other four playable races of Tyria despite their small size. With part of the lush Maguuma jungle under their control, the Asura have established a hold on advancing technology and commerce. First appeared in Guild Wars: Eyes of the North, they are an inherently magical race, using enchantment and the arcane to enhance their scientific research.
Despite their humble beginnings as an entirely underground race, they have become Tyria’s best tinkerers, and Asuran Gates, or portals, are one of the primary methods of travel in the game. Tiny but mighty, Guild Wars 2 Forward-thinking Asura tend to carry an air of superiority with them that is not entirely unwarranted.
Originally, the Asura were designed as a non-player race. The earliest artistic concepts depict aquatic creatures with fins and webbed feet, a room offering a view inside a cave with small creeping figures that do not look like Gollum. By the time Guild Wars 2 started production, Asuran’s faces took on a rabbit-like appearance, losing their amphibious features. Destined for greatness even then, the Asura went from drastic design changes and relatively sparse lore into one of five balanced playable races. Now they are free to explore the world outside of their geometric capital, Rata Sum.
Asura are usually two to three feet tall, really intimidating. Some might claim that they are rodent-like in appearance, but they lack tails and fur. Instead, their gray or brown skin may display spots, stripes, and freckles, and a few have flames running down their owl-eyed smashed faces. The ears, another pronounced aspect of the appearance of Asura, are often long and sometimes have tears and holes due to combat or laboratory accidents. It should be noted that the Asura are one of two potentially androgynous playable races. Females do not have breasts and “are mainly differentiated by the structure of the voice and the ear”.
Scientific efforts and feats of genius guide Asurian thought. As some of Tyria’s greatest inventors, the Asura are responsible for portal networks and golems, floating furniture, and weapons of mass destruction. Education begins early in life, and depending on their interests, an offspring can choose between the College of Statics, the College of Dynamics, or the College of Synergetics. As an adult, Asura joins tight-knit Krewes of like-minded individuals who look as much like family as they do colleagues.
Even the question of religion is considered by some Asura to be scientific. All things in the world are likened to metaphorical cogs in a machine of fate. Known as Eternal Alchemy, it is the only system that the Asura do not seek to conquer or manipulate. Instead, most try to figure it out. The only exception is a villainous group known as the Inquest, who believe that Eternal Alchemy and all of its components must be manipulated and controlled. It includes other people and their memories.
When it comes to much of Tyria, the Asura have always been arrogant, but the latter would insist that their behavior is for a good reason. Two hundred years ago, the Asura lived underground. They were so xenophobic and secretive that they remained an underground people until the volcanic destroyers devastated their magical gates and suffocated their cities. Now they are walking among the surface dwellers, replicating the empire they lost centuries ago. Since then, they have succeeded in their history and survived the virtual extinction of their culture to build themselves higher and prosper.
Surprisingly, the Asura are excellent diplomats. Perhaps it is for this reason, along with their unlimited desire to learn, that many decide to go it alone. Granted, Adventurer Asura stands out in a crowd with a deceptively diminutive appearance masking a larger-than-life intellect. Having overcome their tragic past to the point of thriving, the Asura have every right to be proud. After all, at such an exceptional rate, they will soon have all of Tyria wrapped around their little fingers.
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