Posts Tagged ‘ Asura ’

In The Mind Of Genius

While my love for the charr is widely known (dare I say legendary?), the knowledge of my fondness for the asura may be more obscure.  In this spirit I approached ArenaNet with a request for an interview about Tyria’s most diminutive of geniuses.  Mister Jeff Grubb was gracious enough to enlighten this poor bookah.  He also answered my questions.  I tried to cover a wide variety of topics from lore to mechanics to design, and Mister Grubb did not disappoint.  Enjoy!


Secret Agent Cat Interview with Guild Wars 2 Continuity & Lore Designer Jeff Grubb

 Q: We know that the asura have a good deal of interaction with the skritt and the quaggan (and logically by proxy, the krait) but what are some of the other ‘lesser’ races that the asura interact with?

 Jeff: The asura are interested in all the races, whether as potential allies, enemies or resources, and they recognize the strong points of the others. The hylek are excellent alchemists, for example, with a strong knowledge of biology and potions. The dredge have powerful sound-based technology and are the heirs to the dwarven kingdoms. Even such brutish races as the ogres and jotun have their own uses, for heavy lifting if nothing else.


Q: Rata Sum and the Pale Tree seem pretty close to one another geographically. Are there any conflicts between the asura and the sylvari? How is their relationship portrayed in-game?

Jeff: The sylvari met the asura soon after their awakening. Needless to say, the meeting did not go well as the asura were crafty and manipulative and the early sylvari were open and friendly. It was an important lesson for the sylvari – not all the other races are particularly nice. Since that time, the two races have gotten along better, but both races treat each other based on early assumptions – asura think of the sylvari as being frivolous and unsophisticated, while sylvari think of the asura as being poor, limited beings – grasping and calculating.


Q: What is the asuran family structure like? What kind of education can an asuran child expect to receive?

Jeff: Asura tend to practice serial monogamy, in that they have a serious romantic relationship with only one other asura at a time. Most of these relationships are equal partnerships which often (but not always) have a firm, pre-determined end date. Most often, such relationships come out of two asura who fall in love with the same beautiful concept. These marriages of the mind produce rapid development of ideas and increased conceptual paradigms. Oh yeah, and children. Relationships that break up tend to feature more fights about who gets the inventions than who gets the kids.

Asura do love their children, and try to provide the best environment for their budding geniuses. Of course, being asura, the method by which this environment is provided varies from family to family. Some asura children remain with their parents, learning the family legacy of invention and magic. Others are aimed to placing well within their schools, attracting the devotion of other, lesser geniuses. And many are apprenticed to well-established, notable asura who can provide instruction (and are looking for enthusiastic lab assistants).

It goes without saying that all asura children are above average.


Q: If they have such sharp teeth, does that mean they are primarily meat eaters?

Jeff: Asura are omnivores. Their teeth are adapted particularly for catching wild game in the Depths of Tyria and ripping apart the stone-like fungus that infests those caverns.


Q: You can’t say ‘asura’ without saying ‘golem’. Can you give us some more information about how they work?

Jeff: A “golem” is any limited-will, responsive construct that uses powerstones, mystic energies, crystalline matrices, or elemental forces as power sources. They are most commonly encountered as metallic bipeds with mystic ligatures, but there is a wide variety of customized and unique golem types. The great Snaff made a golem entirely of sand, and the golemancer Blimm had a tomb guardian that assembled itself out of bones.


Q: Can you give us an example of some asura racial skills? Utilities? Elites?

Jeff: There is an asura elite skill that allows you to create a battlesuit, which any player can jump into and utilize.


Q: What were some of the biggest challenges when designing the asura?

Jeff: Walking the line between cute and evil. The asura are a diminutive race of geniuses (with long ears), and it is all too easy to make them just a bit incompetent. They are not. They are a driven, intellectually fierce race whose inventions work (eventually). Similarly, it is very easy to turn them into bad guys – they tend to value knowledge above all other things, and that can lead to abuses. There are asura who think nothing of tormenting sentient creatures and seek to learn things that no asura should know, but they are in minority, and tend to be viewed with shock and disgust by the others of the race.


Q: From reading Ghosts of Ascalon and Edge of Destiny, I noticed that asuran speech is highly technical. Does this create any unique challenges for writing lines and voice acting?

Jeff: The asura love arcane technobabble, and we have rules for naming things – it should reflect both magical and technological origins. A Demiplanar Transtabilizer. A Retrograde Orrery. A Conjuration Metacircuit. One of my jobs has been to name asuran creations on the fly.

When we audition voice actors, we always include a line of technical speech (“We need to calculate the inverse root of the polymetric arcane wave!”) to find actors that can deliver such lines with confidence and convince people that these are real things.


Q: What is your favorite thing about the asura?

Jeff: Their belief that every problem can be solved, given enough brainpower and test subjects.


Einstein Who?

Vekk was the bee’s knees, as was Snaff.  And while they both may only be knee-high to a grasshopper, they were both indisputably big on brains.  Zojja step aside, today we’re featuring the boys!

Were I to make a male asura, he would have face 8, ears 7, and hair 1, also known as bald.  I could probably be talked into hair 2 or 3, but really, I prefer my male asura bald.  Although, I had a crazy idea for an all-asura PvP team each with different colored afros and named after pool balls.

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A side note: Next week I’m going on vacation, so there won’t be any new character customization posts.  I’ll try to get as many made this week and maybe, if I’m lucky, there will be some scheduled for next week.  I wouldn’t count on it though 😉

Precocious Doesn’t Begin To Describe Her

What’s short, adorable, and can compute the electrons off of Deep Blue?

If you guessed the asura ladies, you’d be right!  Here’s the second installment of character customization images direct from Gamescom.  I hope you enjoy them.  From some comments I got on the charr horns, I’ve now added numbers to the images to aid discussion.

Which asura would I make? A #3 face, with #6 ears, and #9 hair, for sure.  What about you?

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Oh Those Lovely Bones

Part of being an artist is about trying new things.  Attempting to emulate a difficult style or perfect a new technique.  When Hunter asked me to make a logo for him (or did I offer? I can’t recall) I took the opportunity to try a style I’ve never dabbled in before.

I decided on skulls, I’m not quite sure why.  I was thinking of a street gang spray paint art, tagging, and 90’s skateboard culture.  I don’t think I quite got there, but so far I’m pretty happy with the results.  I do have plans to do one for each race.

Colleges represent!

Surf's Up!

My Shield For You

Isn't she adorable?

The Guardian both did, and did not surprise me.  I’m a little disappointed that my speculation about auras turned out to be false (artistic license for the win), but the functionality of the Guardian was pretty much what I (and most others) expected.

He’s a magical melee who’s fantastically good at pulling his buddies’ bacon out of the fire and making things difficult for the unsavories.  He is also frighteningly similar to Paladins in other games.  My knee-jerk reaction would be to not even have a character like this, for fear of appearing to steal ideas and lack imagination to come up with something more unique.  But after careful thought it’s obvious that the Guardian paradigm is a strong one that not only has stood the test of time, but fits in quite well with the Guild Wars universe.

Together, the Guardian and the Warrior make up two sides of the same coin.  Both wear plate, both have melee and ranged attacks, both can deal damage and protect allies.  The warrior specializes in martial weapons and rallying war cries.  The Guardian instead is drawn to mysticism, is master of spiritual weapons, and tosses around magic like he’s the sugar plum fairy.  The Guardian is the magic to the Warrior’s martial.

I’ve noticed a lot of comparisons being made between the Ritualist’s weapon spells and the Guardian’s ghostly weapons.  While I can see the connection, I don’t think it’s the strongest similarity between the Guardian and the Extinct Classes.  Nor do I agree that the Guardian acts like a Paragon.  That role seems to me to fit solidly in the Warrior’s bailiwick with his shouts and banners.

No, I think the Guardian draws most heavily from the Dervish.  Both are melee fighters and both have a marked affinity for the mystical and holy.  To play a Dervish is to load yourself up with enchantments and then strip them away for single, devastating attacks.

The Guardian has Virtues which confer a passive effect, but can be stripped (for a time) to provide a large benefit for nearby allies.  It’s a streamlined version of the Dervish.  Instead of trying to juggle energy between loading up enchantments and stripping them away, the Guardian is able to activate his Auras with a simple click of the mouse.

The ability to choose between three virtues reminds me of the Elementalist’s attunements.  I don’t believe it’s been answered weather the Guardian can switch between virtues on the fly, but my best guess is no. That’s as much as I’d like to say about the profession itself.  There are plenty of other bloggers giving recaps of the raw information.

I’ve said in the past that it’s my intention to play as the sneaky assassinish character in Guild Wars 2.  I also planned to play as a Ranger in Guild Wars 1 and we know how well that worked out.  There’s something about the Guardian that pulls at something deep within me.  I suspect it has to do with an abiding drive to help other people.  It was for this reason that I offered to raid lead for my WoW guild, Unemployed.  That decision eventually (and alarmingly quickly) led me to desert WoW forever.  It was a good experience, but I’m absolutely certain that my temperament is not suited to leadership.  I wasn’t a bad leader, I just hated almost every second of it.

But still, that deep and abiding need to care for my friends remains.  Last night I helped my husband finish Nightfall.  We killed Abbadon with a full group, but when sending out the call for others to join us I insisted someone be a healer (we already had another healer), because sure as summer follows spring, I wasn’t going to do it.  I had a lot of fun with my layzorz (I always do), but constantly in the back of my mind was a kernel of guilt that I was foisting the healing/protection job onto someone else who would probably rather be performing a different job.  Ryan ended up being this someone, and though he assured me that healing the Abbadon fight is one of his favorite things to do, that nagging little voice of mine couldn’t be quieted.

I desperately hope that ArenaNet is right when they say that the Guardian’s skill in protection will not lead it to be a required profession like the Monk is now.  Because if that happens, I’m fairly certain that I’ll end up in that role when all I really wanted was to try something drastically new.

Yeah, I Went There

The Hall of Monuments is a place for your Guild Wars character to put up her prizes for future generations. I already know that my future incarnation in Guild Wars 2 will have fur and enjoy ripping face.

But what about Morgan’s actual descendants? I’m a bit crazy about geneology (damn you Civil War for destroying my family’s papers so that I’ll never be part of the DAR!!!), and throw in a timeline for everything that happens in the Guild Wars universe, let stew for 250 years and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

I present to you the product of my insanity. An account of my main character in Guild Wars, Morgan Ascot, and her children, as laid down in the Durmand Priory by her youngest son.

The Ascot Family Chronicle

After the youngest son dies no more history is recorded. Instead I’ve set myself up a history for any human character I might like to make int he future.

The Ascot family, as founded by Morgan and Bayhas, remain strong devotees of Dwayna. Through trade and support of Queen Salma (and later Queen Jennah) the Ascots now enjoy a prominent place in human society. They are largely of Elonian descent.

The Billings family, as founded by the warrior Asma and then Lidda Ascot and Daniel Billings enjoy a modest life as Moa ranchers. They produce the finest moa meat and eggs in the Divinity Coast region as well as offering Golden Moas as pets for aspiring rangers. They marry widely and are largely of Krytan descent.

The Leovinus family, thanks to the actions of its founder, Marcinta, have never been what one would call respectible. To take the low road in Divinity’s Reach is to find a Leovian trickster plying his trade. They are largely of Ascalonian or Canthan descent.

Also, I have fanart.

I don’t know why an asura would want to wear a fedora (other than the fact that they’re awesome) but this one certainly loves his.

Specifics – Sketched and painted in Photoshop CS2 using a Wacom Intuos 3.

I Think My Brain Exploded

Between (not) healing and death, the ranger, the new map, chapters 2 & 3 of Ghosts of Ascalon, and my own Urgoz party I think I’m a little bit worn out. I’m overloaded! I would not feel neglected if there were no new information this week (shocker I know!).

Some highlights of what’s going through my too-cluttered brain right now:

  • I like the new ranger. I like its diversity but I’m still not sure it’s for me.
  • Ghosts of Ascalon looks readable. It’s no Obsidian Trilogy, but I think I’ll enjoy it.
  • Must pester the local bookseller to have it for me on release.
  • No healing? No dedicated healing? I’ve just been granted sufferage? I’ve just been given equal rights? I can… I can… FREE AT LAST FREE AT LAST!
  • For the most part, I am tired of monking.
  • Celestial shields are preeeeeety.
  • BRB, building an Illusionary Weapon mesmer.
  • How do I use this thing?
  • What is this I don’t even!
  • Nobody, not nobody knows where I got the name ‘Marcinta Leovinus’.
  • And that’s just too bad.
  • I get to yap yap yap some more on Relics of Orr!
  • Neato!
  • I am the most impatient pickle-maker.
  • If there is any new information this week I hope it’s something fun and light-hearted.
  • “Won’t it be great in GW2 when _____” is my new catch-phrase.
  • Like jumping.
  • I’ll get you you evil fence!
  • And your little bush too!
  • /shakefist

It’s been a long time since I’ve logged off of a game in the evening in a better mood than I was when I logged on in the first place. I have to give all credit to my new friends in the game, to the Relics of Orr guild and to Hunter and his crazy friend Vin (who are always willing to let me drag them around somewhere, like taking on hydras in the Crystal Desert to get my mesmer a warrior secondary)

This next week I think I’ll be taking it easy. I’ve got another GW2 drawing I’m working on of a charr and asura. I’m really liking how it’s turning out but I’m not rushing it either. It is only when you stop trying to do something and actually do it that the thing becomes accomplished. To that end, I’m not trying to draw something neat (and possibly beyond my abilities) I’m just sitting down and drawing, not worrying about the outcome.