The seductive sentient sprouts will probably be a popular choice for players when Guild Wars 2 launches later this year, but not everyone wants to be a nature loving hippie fichus. Some want to be the smartest character in a group. They want to have a role-play reason optimize the living daylights out of their characters. They want to know the science behind everything in Tyria ever. Their naked ambition to prove their superiority drives everything they do. They want to play an Asura.
The Asura are an old race whose recent history has seen them displaced not just from their cities but from the subterranean environment to which they were naturally adapted. Imagine a yeti forced to live in a desert or a human having to live underwater the rest of their lives. In their new less than optimal environment the Asuran intellect has allowed them to rapidly conquer their surroundings. While their location has change the Asuran personality has not. The short reptilian race is still actively curious, narcissistic, and driven to advance themselves as individuals and as a race. Embracing these traits will allow anyone to find their inner Asura.
Active Curiosity: finding your story
For Asura curiosity is an itch, it drives them to not just learn how something works, but why. This itch often manifests as practical experiments and inventions. Want to know how weather works? Design a weather manipulation machine, along the way not only will you learn how weather works, but how to control it as well.
While Arena Net provides three inventions through the personal story feel free to branch out. Much like the Wyld hunt for the Sylvari the experiments ANet hands the player don’t have to affect free form role-playing sessions. If you stay with the ANet stories and encounter another Asura who’s working on the same experiment you can compare notes or boast about how your flummoxed capacitor has triple the capacity of your counterpart’s. In many ways an Asura’s project is a reflection of themselves; it displays their genius and desire to change the world as well as their arrogance.
Little Narcissists: Asuran personalities
Arrogance is the personality trait that outsiders most commonly attribute to the Asura. The Asura know they are smarter than 99% of the members or the other sentient races of Tyria and they believe it gives them license to skip explanations. Imagine if you will a brilliant physicist who can also explain advanced concepts in basic terms. As the physicist explains a topic they make decided how deep to take their explanations based on what they think their audience knows. For the physicist this is a silent parsing of data in their head, an Asura does the parsing out loud.
Tessel: So you’re saying that I stepped through a hole in time?
Appo: not at all it’s more like a pandimensional wormhole creating a convergence in the fourth dimension or ‘time’ inside of a localized area of space. Of course you wouldn’t understand that; so I suppose I could explain the theory behind such forms of travel, but that would take all day and I don’t feel like it. Think of it more like you hopped a ride on a passing carriage only instead of going to the next town over you went twenty years into the future.
Tessel: I think that makes sense.
Appo: of course it does, not that the carriage model is at all accurate but if it make someone of your intelligence feel better…
As can be seen above Appo makes no incorrect statements, but also does not attempt to avoid bluntly stating that Tessel cannot possibly understand what he is talking about.
In the past I have categorized Asura as sociopaths, but that is actually inaccurate as what appears to be sociopathy to a human is actually the social norm for the species. This does mean that playing the Asura as a sociopath from human terms may allow you a more consistent portrayal of your character. It is important to distinguish that Asura tend not to be psychopaths they do have a conscience and are capable of feeling guilty, see their apology to the Sylvari.
Snaff, an Asura in the book Edge of Destiny presents an interesting alternative to the typical Asuran personality. Snaff was able to keep his ego in check and occasionally exhibited a selfless attitude in his interactions with other. As the legend of Snaff grows we may see more Asura adopting a less arrogant attitude.cial norm for the species.
Rational Submission: Asuran society
Asuran society is extremely chaotic and yet oddly efficient. Before an Asura is arrogant they are rational and from that rationality springs an Asura’s submission to their societal leaders. It may surprise many that a normal Asura’s priorities are first to their species second to themselves and third to whatever krewe or family unit they are a part of. ANet has said that an Asura’s greatest ambition is the create something that so improves the standing of the Asura species they will likely never be forgotten.
Who are you?
Now that you have some ideas of what an Asura is like in a general sense start brainstorming is you’re Asura an elixir master or a golemancer. Are you arrogant or have you begun to see the world through Snaff’s eyes. Do you engage the other races or do you prefer the solitude of your lab in rata sum. Feel free to share your Asuran aspirations in the comments.