I’ve was working on a role playing guide for the Asura, but I realized I was simply restating the mounds of information you can get by reading the Asura page at the GW2 main site so I abandoned the effort for now. After reading an excellent pair of posts, one by Ravious over at Kill Ten Rats and the other by BigCat72 at Talk Tyria I finally have some ideas about our diminutive friends that I want to voice.
Ravious looks at what we have learned during Asura week and concludes;
“The Asura that ArenaNet have imagined are logic defined. They are individualistic Vulcans without humility. If they have more culture than the distillation of the battles of real life academia, I just don’t see it.”
Initially I would have disagreed with him, but my entire thesis was based on snaff being a normal Asura not the only non-sociopath in the bunch. Then I read the talk Tyria article on Snaff where Jeff Grub had this to say;
“Snaff might be the greatest Asura in history and it’s not because he is the smartest but because he is personable and treats others with respect.”
There goes that idea. So now I face a conundrum about the Asura, I really like their racial ascetics, but I find their personalities frustrating. Personally I was hoping that they were more like Dr. Who. The Doctor is brilliant and likes to amaze people with his brilliance, but is capable of caring. The character has been portrayed as an aloof academic, but the most compelling versions of the Doctor are the more personable iterations. Making the entire race into self absorbed academics does a great deal to remove them from humanity.
This inhuman nature is seen most starkly in the marriage system of the Asura. A couple will come together to procreate or work on a project. When their child is apprenticed to a master or their project is complete they go their separate ways. Their habits are more like birds or reptiles than humans and this makes them exceptionally alien.
The main difficulty in this is that when role-playing an Asura you will often find your character’s inclinations going against your own. Should you steal the hydrostatic-flux aperture from you closest “friend”? If an Asura needed it to complete their project their answer would be unequivocally yes. I suppose if you are the sort of person that steals other people’s lunches at work you will agree with this “virtue”, but I suspect many people will have to go outside their social comfort zone to properly role play an Asura.
It could be argued that Snaff was the first of a new breed of Asura who are more selfless. Our player characters may advance this new philosophy and work to change the mindset of the Asura. Seeing what the Asura have accomplished as bickering, arrogant, selfish little cave dwellers it would be interesting to see what they can accomplish by acting selflessly.