Guild Wars 2: Hands-on with the Asura

Guild Wars 2 Asura

By on July 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Out of all the races Guild Wars 2 offers, none are quite an interesting prospect for play as the Asura. The smallest of the playable races, they offer a combination of fantasy, sci-fi and steampunk feels that provoke a feeling of wonder at every turn. While they may be small, they more than make up for their size with technological prowess, intelligence, and – well, ego.

From the start, choosing an Asura is a bundle of interesting options. Character creation is fairly in-depth, allowing facial changes, radical hairstyles and perhaps the most amount of sliders for ‘ears’ ever seen. Creating some hybrid monstrosity that looks like the love child of Dobby the house-elf and a Gremlin is extremely possible, and you will get to admire that handiwork up close in several of the game’s cut scenes.

There is a sense of history about the Asura that many of the other races don’t quite get to enjoy. It permeates into everything about them – speech, architecture, attitude, creating a race that seems very much alive, and moreso perhaps than the other races we’ve seen so far in ArenaNet’s MMO. But what is it like to play as one?

Perhaps this video we’ve captured will give you an idea.

My first day was pretty hectic. Rogue golems had been turned loose near the city, and so I helped dispatch a number of them while heading off to apprehend the culprit. When cornered, they let loose a giant cubis golem that was quite frankly amazing to behold, and set the stage for some of the larger fights to be had later on.

With that done, I travelled to show my latest invention in front of the council. On the way I helped repair broken golems, completed analysis of energy signatures, thwarted a raid on a science base, participated in golem chess and taught some younger Asura some elemental knowledge. My invention was a success, naturally – although there was a small hiccup that might have almost hurt the counsellor. Still, progress was made!

The Asura story is a rich one, filled with technical parlance at every turn, and absolutely oozing with culture and history. At every point, I was travelling to a science base, helping with experiments or controlling those that had gone awry. Quests and events never really felt out of place or contrived. It all flowed together to create a single unified experience, an experience that felt like it meant something. The main female voice actor was unfortunately the only real let-down, as she wasn’t quite as emotive or engaging to listen to as the male.

While this richness was present in the other races I had played, it wasn’t really until I got a chance to sit down with the Asura that the feeling of being part of something really hit home. The regular NPC chatter in the background, the architecture, the thematic quest and story structure, everything is set in such a way to make you feel you are the race you’re playing. In short, it’s the most immersive experience I’ve ever had in an MMO yet. I loved it.

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23 comments (Leave your own)

Can’t wait to slaughter the little buggers.

 

Ehhh, really don’t like the Asura, hated when they added them in GW1.. Oh well i guess i’ll have fun killing them in PvP.

 

too bad they don’t have Steve Blum voicing their Destiny’s Edge hero..

 
CelticAngel82

they look cute as and my partner, sister, friends and myself (whom will all be in the same guild) will be playing it on release (not beta) :P

 
Lord_PorkSword

Cheers for the hands-on preview Bane!
Sounds like they’ve done some excellent things with the Asura home district!
Keen as to checkout the Ausra, and Silvari, in the upcomming beta weekend!

 

lordporksword:
in the upcomming beta weekend!

Is that this weekend? and do you need to preorder to participate?

 

That battle looked disappointingly generic mmo. I cant wait until mmo’s change trends to a skyrim type battle system, or over the shoulder like mass effect. Just me personally, but im tired of jabbing at 1-0 and tile cooldowns.

 
Lord_PorkSword

Nah, next weekend – Starts roughly 4am Sat 21′st to 4pm’ish Mon 23rd!
Unless you can score one of those free keys that some sites are giving away atm, then yes you’ll need to pre-order!
Download for the beta will probably be around 16-20gig!

 

lordporksword:
Nah, next weekend – Starts roughly 4am Sat 21′stto4pm’ish Mon 23rd!
Unless you can score one of those free keys that some sites are giving away atm, then yes you’ll need to pre-order!

Thats disappointing. I doubt id get a key.

And foxserge i gree with you, MMOs need to go bigger. Skyrim detail, crysis graphics, and multiple fully rendered planets like a star wars universe or something with no load times with everyone on the same server. That would be the dream mmo for me. We have have the technology!

 
spitfires_son

Not sure if they still have any. (How long does it take to give away 20k keys) But.

Try http://www.curse.com/betas/guild-wars-2 for a key. You’ve just gotta make an account with them and then go to that link.

Once you have the key, go to http://register.guildwars2.com to make your account.

 

foxserge:
That battle looked disappointingly generic mmo.I cant wait until mmo’s change trends to a skyrim type battle system, or over the shoulder like mass effect.Just me personally, but im tired of jabbing at 1-0 and tile cooldowns.

You sir need to either watch closer or go and do a little more research. GW2 is changing nearly everything to do with the traditional ‘generic mmo battle system’. Dodging, casting on the move, weapon specific skill sets – and a lot more. GW2 is the new generation of MMO – read up on it!

 
Bane Williams

foxserge:
That battle looked disappointingly generic mmo.I cant wait until mmo’s change trends to a skyrim type battle system, or over the shoulder like mass effect.Just me personally, but im tired of jabbing at 1-0 and tile cooldowns.

I tried to get in depth battle footage towards the end of my time with the Asura, however technical issues caused time to be cut short. Guild Wars 2 combat is surprisingly refreshing, and quite far from a generic battle system. It was really something I was hoping to get a chance to show.

 

I guess i’ve just been through to many hyped up games to really look forward to this one.

Yes it certainly is doing some nice things, but the combat still looks and feels stale.

Really do enjoy the idea of more explorable type things, but in this day and age, pre-defined/set exploration areas will be up with a guide on what to do within days of the game launching if not prior with the betas.

Dodging, not really new. Casting on the move, not new. Weapon specific skill sets, interesting though, but really just a different take on straight up skills, will different classes have different benefits from certain types of weapons? So a warrior will have a heavier hit with a sword but a poorer aim with a rifle?

I am also a little bit in wonder at the moment how i would ever be able to enjoy combat in another MMO after playing Tera, first time i’ve actually had fun in a MMO in a long freakin time.

 

Each weapon have their own skill sets for each class…

ie: Warrior’s rifle skill set consist of single target damage abilities with multiple debuff and a single melee move to cover point blank.

an engineer on the other hand have a rifle skill set tailored around mobility, AoE, and range dependent damage, plus knockback to round out their set.

Not a single skill is shared between the class, each weapon have their own set for each class that can use them, and they generally behave and geared towards different purpose.

If you have played GW1, you’ll understand most of the underlying mechanic of the combat (though there are significant changes particularly with the targeting mechanism and how the hit is resolved, but knowing how GW1 combat works helps explain how it works here)

 

Yeah bought all the GW1 expansions and the game itself, thinkin i could do all the achievements before GW2 comes out, maybe get some shineys, just couldn’t stand how the game moved, felt very chunky.

Whilst having the different weapon setup definitely allows for a wider range of combinations for how your class is setup, it will eventually boil down to you need this for that.

My biggest issue with the game would be the PVP though, i spent years knockin on doors in WAR, the first thing shown to me for WvWvW was knockin on doors.

Whats the player counts like in WvWvW? Are we talkin hundreds of people in open combat?

 

For those who are not aware of how GW1 works, the basic premise is really simple, you open up options for various moves and abilities and then choose a certain number of them into the available active slot to make a deck of a sort that consists of the various abilities you picked, ideally these abilities have a sort of synergy between them in some way that made them more effective than they would be individually.

The most recent example i can think of would be something like Diablo3 (to an extent) or The Secret World.

In GW2 however, 5 out of the 10 of the ability slot are now keyed to the weapon held by the character at the time, some of the abilities are also condensed… for example in GW1 there were several sword abilities that build upon one another, ie: sever artery which inflict bleed status, gash which gives deep would status if the target is under bleed effect, and final thrust which does a lot more damage on a target with less than half of it’s HP remaining. A total of 3 abilities that occupy 3 slot in GW1.

in GW2 they condensed the 3 abilities into a single ability that automatically cycle on the same target…

so the first time the ability is used on a target it sever artery him, the second time you use the ability on the SAME target the ability automatically cycle to gash, and the third time you use the ability on the same target it automatically cycle into a final thrust, so all 3 ability that were separate in GW1 is now a single auto cycling ability in GW2.

Most physical damage oriented class typically can swap their weapon between 2 set on the fly to compensate the fact that 5 of the slot are now keyed to the weapon in GW2 instead of being freeform like in GW1.

Casters like Elementalist on the other hand utilize various element which are essentially mode or stance if you will that each gives separate skill set for the weapon on hand…

For example a staff wielding Elementalist in fire element mode will have his 5 weapon skill consisting of fire based staff skills which are mainly AoE oriented damage spell, if he switch to water element then the 5 weapon skill switch to 5 water based staff skill which are primarily AoE debuff and heal etc…

 

x66weed666x:
Yeah bought all the GW1 expansions and the game itself, thinkin i could do all the achievements before GW2 comes out, maybe get some shineys, just couldn’t stand how the game moved, felt very chunky.

Whilst having the different weapon setup definitely allows for a wider range of combinations for how your class is setup, it will eventually boil down to you need this for that.

My biggest issue with the game would be the PVP though, i spent years knockin on doors in WAR, the first thing shown to me for WvWvW was knockin on doors.

Whats the player counts like in WvWvW? Are we talkin hundreds of people in open combat?

I don’t think we can actually count them…

In the primary castle siege inside the Myst hundreds are probably achievable especially when all 3 side collided in the middle.

But more often than not, the players will be spread to an extent since the number of structures and defensive points that need to be held is quite significant and there’s no way to hold them if the players are concentrated in one location and without them we’ll simply run out of resources to actually hold the key points.

Not to mention that each side have their own home territory… during this 2 week long fight, Maguma was hit by this hard last time… the home territory was practically raided and blasted while most ppl still busy with the shared territory.

 

x66weed666x:
Whilst having the different weapon setup definitely allows for a wider range of combinations for how your class is setup, it will eventually boil down to you need this for that.

That is pretty much expected though because that is what you do with GW1 skill system to begin with.

you want to snare someone? you need X, or Y, or X with Y, etc…

each skill or ability obviously comes with it’s specific purpose and effect, and it’s no different with GW2. The question is what you intend to achieve with your deck build mixture, and how effective it will be at it.

 

If I pay GW2 it’ll be as an Asura, but I’m not sure I can see myself leaving SW:TOR at the moment.

 

Asura are waaay too cutesy for me. The game’s theme is a bit borderline… If I didn’t have the option to make my GW2 character a direct copy of Kelly, I wouldn’t play it. Bit sick of high fantasy.

About each skill being meant for different situations… isn’t that the point? Otherwise wouldn’t everything become a bit of a DPS spamfest?

And Vencha… play both. ;)

 
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