Yep, a second guardian.
From very early on, I knew a charr guardian was going to be my main in Guild Wars 2, but coming a very close second was the idea of an asura guardian.
I was in love with the amusing contrast of really tiny yet really tanky, plus the fantastic asura combat animations, spinning around on a staff to empower, leaping and spinning everywhere like little dervishes with weapons way too large for them that pull them every which way with inertia.
Shudd was my answer to that desire. (And we have seen him before, showing off various armor styles nearer the beginning of his career.)
Funny story about his naming – I knew he needed a proper asura name. One syllable, short and sweet, with two double letters in there somewhere.
You know, it’s a lot easier said than done.
I sat there for a good fifteen minutes, stuck at the naming portion of character creation, typing in any short, nonsensical but asura-sounding words I could think of, and coming to the conclusion that with the number of people playing GW2 that also care about naming conventions, a LOT of the possible one syllable word combinations were getting taken up… there are only so many vowels to go around and possible consonants to be arranged around them, right?
Somehow, the word “should” popped into my mind. (Maybe because the sequence of events went something like “There -should- be SOME names left, dammit.”)
There aren’t any repeated letters in that though…
So I tried, “Shodd.”
Nope. No go.
Erm, “Shadd?” Nothing.
“Shedd?” (Though it sounds silly) Nada.
Let us not try Shidd. (‘Tis a silly name.)
Eventually I went down the vowel chain, and badabing, Shudd got through. And hrm, sounds presentable to my ear. Works.
The great irony was when I played through the asura infinity ball personal story arc and realized that I had an NPC assistant named Shodd. Totally unintentional, but I suddenly had a pairing worthy of a law firm: Shudd & Shodd, World Domination Inc.
Then I got to Lion’s Arch, and realized there was another asura NPC, Captain Shud, in charge of the portals and on the captain’s council.
This was a perfect, if completely unintentional, demonstration of additional lore – aka how confusing asura names are to humans, yet utterly distinctive to the diminutive asura.
In my head, I could just hear it being patiently explained to a bookah, “No, no, you’ve got it wrong. It’s Shudd, as opposed to Shud… or Shodd,” each word carefully pronounced and articulated…
A giant question mark appearing over said bookah’s head…
…and the lil asura throwing up his hands and going, “Oh, forget it. Why am I even bothering?”
Why -two- guardians, some would ask, when the one guardian could switch traits any time to be any build whatsoever?
Well, the idea was that my charr guardian was going to be built for solo wandering, to be mostly a one-handed weapon user, to be all hard-hitting berserker and stuff. The asura, on the other hand, was going to cleave a bit more towards meta, to do my group dungeons, to be a little tankier, to be used in WvW and we could achieve gear and build differentiation that way.
Best laid plans and all that.
It worked for a time. The meta of the day was the anchor guardian, so I faithfully picked up Knight’s gear, a hammer, a two-handed sword and so on. I did a considerable amount of dungeoning with Shudd, and couldn’t help but notice that I was picking up 95%-100% of the aggro of every fight and struggling to stay alive through self-healing, altruistic healing, renewed focus and pretty much every other trick in the book, while my group compatriots did nothing but dps (probably poorly too) and after that go, “Jeez, that was super easy. Piece of cake. Need harder difficulties!”
What? I was barely clinging on to life and it was so touch and go at certain points… And you want it, harder?!
Some time around the point between the Molten facility and the Aetherblade one, I realized I had finally had it with attempting to tank (or rather, anchor) for groups that couldn’t appreciate or see what was happening. Far better to split the aggro, let the ungrateful ones take a few hits of their own, and -feel- it, and all the stupid remarks about “easy peasy, need it harder” went away. I swapped to warrior for dungeoneering then, and retired the guardian.
He did, however, still see me through lots and lots of WvW. I swapped around cleric, soldier, zerker, zealot stats every which way, trying to figure out the best combinations, changing between tanky/bunker healbots, tanky frontline spearheads, not-so-tanky midline staff (lootstick) spam and basically played a ton of melee frontline in a zerg, during the best of times with superb commanders.
These days, I’ve been changing it up and playing more ranged backline (it’s also lazier and less stressful and easier to drop in and out unmissed) so poor old Shudd is sitting around unused, with bags still mostly bursting and untended to. Probably just a matter of time before things change again, I suppose.
Personality-wise, Shudd is a lot more gregarious than Kujl.
His oddity, I suppose, is his adventuresome nature. He’s also off exploring the wilderness and interacting with all races of Tyria in a manner similar to the old GW1 hero, Vekk.
Yes, he is snide and snarky, like nearly all asura out there; he’ll cheerfully call you a bookah without thinking twice, but he’s not xenophobic about it. He’s in fact quite happy traveling and communicating with all races because to him, everything’s part of one giant lab experiment – his lab experiment.
Graduating from the College of Synergistics, he studies relationships and connections. You might call him a sort of sociologist or anthropologist, practising observational science. He studies various cultures, how they get along, relate to and interact with one another. He’s interested in psychology, history, economics and basically anything and everything that might suggest how it all synergizes into the Eternal Alchemy.
Because well, if he can understand that, then that’s it right there. The secret to life, universe and everything. Godhood, world domination, your heart’s desire, the fount of eternal life, the source of all magic, whatever, it all pales in comparison to the origin of knowledge, to understanding how it all ties together.
If the network of the Eternal Alchemy can be determined, mapped and understood, everything else would naturally fall into place like dominos following a chain reaction.
It’s going to take a life’s work. It’ll be a magnum opus, and possibly a swan song. It may mean slaying the Elder Dragons, if need be. So Shudd’s out there, observing, cataloging, fighting, searching for true facts and truth itself.
(And occasionally looking cute, in a gremlin-sort of way.)
Everything else, well, it’s just stuff made in passing, inventions to kill time or serve a purpose.
The infinity ball? A toy.
The alchemagical devices that generate holograms like shattered dragon wings and his sword? Just utility tools.
His powered armor? #normalgeniusasurathings. Doesn’t everybody do that?
Whatever. The answer is out there. Somewhere.
This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 22, and 42.