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Guild Wars 2 Column: Asura and Sylvari Review

By David North on July 24, 2012

Well there it goes, the last BWE for Guild Wars 2.  It sure was fun.  ArenaNet gave us all a chance to try out every race, and every profession.  Even though we could only reach a certain level, and explore only so much of the vast world of Tyria, we got a nice taste of the final product.  After finally getting a chance to play as Asura and Sylvari, I’m even more excited for this game’s release.

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Ever since it was announced that we could choose different races in Guild Wars 2, I’ve had my heart set on making a Charr.  I know I’d make a Norn down the road, but I’d start with a Charr.  Well now I have to rework my plan.  I was really surprised at what the Asura brought to the game.   I always liked the Asura, but I never thought I could connect with one.  The Asura add some comic relief to the game.  Their sarcastic nature and experiments constantly blowing up bring much needed comedy to a world ruled by dragons and war.   The connection between me and my Asuran character happened almost instantly.

I’m not sure if it was the comedic nature of the Asura, or the awesome Golems that you can pilot that grabbed my attention.

I did give the Sylvari a chance over the weekend as well.  I was really impressed with the character creation options for both male and female.  The story options were also very clever, and really fit the mysterious and unique feel ArenaNet is trying to achieve.  But I had a hard time connecting with my character.  I wasn’t lost, and I understood why I was doing what I was doing, but it just wasn’t for me.

Even though they aren’t my favorite race, the Sylvari look amazing.

Now, interacting with the Sylvari in general was very interesting.  ArenaNet did a great job writing these characters.  And the artists and designers did an amazing job making the place look beautiful.  The entire starting area of the Sylvari was hypnotic.  You had strange plants lighting up the world around you.  And you could tell when you were in a dangerous area.  The trees and plants stopped glowing, the ground became muddy and swamp like.  The sky was gloomy and the undead roamed around.  

The Asuran starting area was what I was expecting.  Wildlife surrounded the area, with strange structures built in the middle.  The Asuran buildings were geometric in shape, a huge contrast to the curvy Norn and Sylvari structures.  Crystals and magical bolts move through the buildings.  Holographic screens float up showing bits of data, and robotic golems hum as they wait to be activated.  The overall design is a fusion of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, and it looks awesome. 

Like all the other races in the game, the Asuran quests were unique to their needs.  While the Norn wanted you to go on hunts, the Asura would ask for your assistance with their experiments.  One quest even had you figuring out math problems. Now don’t worry, like every other quest, there were multiple ways to complete them, so no math is actually required.  The Asura are always welcome to someone with more brawn to help clean up after an experiment gone wrong.  The Inquest also need a good thrashing now and then, and the Asura are more than willing to pay you to do it. 

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, quest-wise, with the Sylvari.  I honestly thought they would have me run around planting trees or something.  The only plant I interacted with became a turret, so I was really surprised.  The Sylavri are a new race to Tyria, but already they have enemies.  You are tasked with wiping out masses of undead.  You also had to face a group of rebel Sylvari known as the Nightmare Court.  One quest had has you disguise yourself in order to infiltrate their ranks.  So don’t be fooled by their appearance, the Sylvari are more than willing to fight. 

I had a lot of fun this weekend.  Not only was it fun to finally play the last of the five races, but ArenaNet also held a nice contest.  That’s right; they ended the series of Beta Events with a bang by holding a community contest.  The contest was simple; take an awesome screenshot.  Over the course of this week, players will get to vote on different entries, and the winners will get some awesome Guild Wars 2 gear.  My Asuran character looked so neat, I just had to snap a shot and enter as well. 

Awesome!

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