Updated Fri, May 28, 2010 by Xerin
Your personal story just doesn’t end with you; it’s a story that involves the world around you as much as it involves yourself. The world is but the stage for your character which is the star of the main production. There is a lot to interact with in the world of Guild Wars 2 and it’s obvious already that these stories are going to rival not only the original Guild Wars but the entire MMO industry itself.
We’ve already discussed the personal side of things with “The Impact of Story Pt. 1 – Guild Wars 2 Gets Personal,” but there is a lot more to ArenaNet’s latest reveal than just the “personal story.” We’ve also recently learned a good deal about the inhabitants of the world and how each of them has their own personal story that you can interact with. This gives you the choice of assisting others and seeing where their storyline goes instead of just following one linear story.
A good example is Destiny’s Edge, a group or guild of famous adventurers who have fallen apart in recent times. As you move through the story you can choose to help each of the members out, befriend them, and possibly pull together their old team in order to battle Zhaitan, the dragon of Orr. That’s storytelling beyond the usual move from point A to point B because it’s a story that grows with you as you move through the game, sitting there waiting to be nourished, instead of something that you’ll have to do in order to unlock the next quest to slay the bad guy with absolutely no choice.
Destiny’s Edge is also something that you can relate to. After all, many of us have gone on adventures with friends in MMOs, bonded with them, and then had something break all of us apart. We all are adventurers in the story and seeing other adventurers fall on hard times, even if they’re A.I., is something that we can actually understand. It’s something that’s beyond the realm of “find and slay 10 skeletons” when we never personally experience that out of the game.
Of course, hope doesn’t rest just with a group of adventurers who are refusing to talk with one another. There are many other organizations gearing up to do battle with the nefarious armies of Zhaitan. One you might recognize is the Order of Whispers which originated in the Nightfall campaign. The Order of Whispers was a rogue organization devoted to protecting Elona from Palawa Joko. They work in the shadows behind the scenes looking for information and working on sealing the dragon back up.
You can join the Order of Whispers and experience their storyline, work with them on their goals, and see things from their perspective. That won’t be your only option. The Durmand Priory is another group who seeks information, but doesn’t necessarily walk into battle. They’re a group of non-violent types who are seeking information about the world and its history. I imagine helping them would involve finding lost scrolls and completing books, something that Durmand asks of you now in the game (if you have the Bonus Mission Pack).
Lastly, the Vigil is one of other multi-racial orders you can join. They act as the light in the darkness, the stereotypical army fighting against evil no matter what. Which is pretty much needed in any story like this. I imagine that they'll be a lot like the White Mantle if the White Mantle wasn't corrupted by the unseen ones.
All of this sounds amazing to me, as someone who is very interested in the actual lore in games. The reason being is that you can choose how much and how little of the story you want to experience, the choices about who and what you want to help, and the additional choices within these storylines that make this feel like your story even if you’re being sprinted through the overall story.
That’s something that’s important to me when it comes to promises of a personal story. That’s to make sure that what you’re doing is really personal and not just another quest or something you need to get through to advance through the game. How many times have you been sitting at 3 out of 4 players wanting to skip the cutscene yet you desperately want to watch it? For me that happens frequently. That guilty feeling of holding others up sits there until I press “skip” to help my fellow players out. With your own personal story it would be more along the lines of you experiencing the story, making your own choices, and fighting your own battles with or without your friends.
One thing from the extended FAQ that was just released that I like a lot is the fact that you make a choice and you have to stick with it. This is amazing because it means you won't have to "farm" every storyline. You can simply go through the game one way then the next time you can do another storyline, make a different choice, and play an entirely different game. Click here to find out more about the extended FAQ.
In the end I think the direction Guild Wars 2 is going is just absolutely phenomenal and can’t wait to get my hands on the finished game. All of this talk about choice, interactive stories, and a living world has me as happy as any fanboy could be.
What about you? What are your thoughts about all of this? Come to Ten Ton Hammer’s forums and share your mind.