The Heart of Tyria - An Exclusive Interview on Personal Story and Progression in Guild Wars 2

alt="Guild Wars 2 Personal Story and Progression Interview"

Last week Ten Ton Hammer
brought you an href="">exclusive
interview on some of
the more combat-focused aspects of href="">Guild
Wars 2
such as weapon sets,
skills and the traits system. And while saying that we’re
impressed with what we’ve seen of combat so far in the game
demo would be a gross understatement, that’s only one aspect
of the much larger gameplay package that Guild
Wars 2
has to offer. The story
of Tyria and of your character’s place in the world are of
importance, so we set out to discover all we could about personal story
and progression in the game as well.

Just how deeply does the
personal story rabbit hole go in Guild
Wars 2
How will the Hall of Monuments bridge between the two games, and how
soon can we expect to learn the details on the specific rewards Guild
players can unlock for
their characters in Guild
Wars 2?
All this
and much more awaits in the second installment of Ten Ton
Hammer’s exclusive interview with Game Designer Izzy

Many of the questions for this
interview were submitted by members of
the Guild Wars 2
community at Ten Ton Hammer, with additional questions
by Managing Editor Reuben “Sardu” Waters.
We’re committed to building a strong community for our Guild
Wars 2
site, and giving our
readers the opportunity to have their
questions asked at events such as href="">gamescom
and href="">PAX
Prime is only one of
the many awesome things we have in store for our readers over the
coming months. In the meantime enjoy the second installment of our
exclusive Guild Wars 2
interview from PAX Prime!

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Submitted by Gorlag:
personality play out in the open
world apart from your personal story and home instance? Will there be
the ability to affect it in the open world and conversations with
personality choices outside of the instanced content?

Designer Izzy Cartwright:
lot of that type of stuff is very
conversation-based, or reactions from the NPCs. The full extent of
those types of interactions I don’t actually know, but I do
know that there’s a lot of that kind of stuff. The decisions
you make, especially the important ones such as the orphanage burning
in your home instance, that’s something we do feel is one of
the important decisions you’ll make, and we do have a bunch
of those key decisions. And the NPCs do
react to those things.

One of the things that I know
we do have a lot of and that we do plan
on is the personality aspect to the game where you get to be ferocious
or charming and things. The NPCs in the game will interact with you, so
that you can walk around them and if you’re really ferocious
they may cower to you. If you’re really charming they may be
excited to see you. So we do have a lot of NPCs reacting to things that
you do and the personalities that you become, or even with your
background if you’re a noble they may react to you in
different ways.

Another cool part of that is,
depending on your personality, it will
give you more options in your personal story in that if
you’re ferocious you may be able to bully someone in a way
that you weren’t able to. Or you may be able to charm someone
in your story that you weren’t able to before. And all of
that will happen both outside in the persistent world and inside of
instanced parts of the world.

But we do kind of have to be
careful with that because you might burn
down an orphanage but you might save a hospital so we’ve
always got to be able to play with those different things. But with the
personality parts, an NPC can cower to you but be in love with someone
else depending on those types of choices. We’re kind of
exploring and pushing that to its limits in terms of ways the world
will interact.

Ton Hammer:
Will some of
your personal story be visually
represented with objects or trophies you can collect in your home

Your home instance will have a lot of different things you can
interact with such as saving NPCs, putting different things in there
etc. So not only will you see that orphanage, but there’s
also a lot of smaller things that you’ll be able to do and
collect in there. It’s really your trophy cage of your story
and of your character and it’s a place you’ll care
about because your story really matters there.

alt="Guild Wars 2 Personal Story and Progression Interview"

Submitted by Gorlag:

there be the option to print or buy
a book of your personal story journal maybe with your character and
name on the front cover? It could give you the ability to have
something tangible to share with your friends.

I do believe so. I think we plan on having people be able to look
at your character and see a lot of that information, but I’m
not too sure exactly how that interface is going to work. But the point
of that stuff and the way it’s laid out is for people to be
able to see what you’ve accomplished. So I think we do want
that, but exactly how we’re going to present it is still
being worked on.

by Vile Shadowstep:
titles earned in Guild Wars
after the release of Guild
Wars 2
be reflected in the Hall
Monuments, and will they still be added for your GW2 characters at that

Yep, those will all be transitioned right away.

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by Vile Shadowstep:

We know that the Hall of
Monuments will grant us exclusive items. What I want to know is if we
will be told what items will be given for completing certain things,
e.g. having Legendary Carto, full hall, etc.

Think of it kind of like a culmination of all the different
things that you do, and then here are the rewards that you’re
going to get. There are a couple of things that will be a one to one
ratio, but we really didn’t want to make it a case of
‘get this thing and be rewarded with that thing’
because there’s a lot
of stuff that you’re doing in
Guild Wars 1.
Also, we don’t want it to be the case where
people feel obligated to go buy Guild
Wars 1
and have to go do all of
these things for the rewards. We just want it to feel like you are
rewarded for playing Guild
Wars 1
, rewarded for the time
that you’ve
spent in the game and enjoying that time, and feel proud of your

It’s going to kind of
be like, here are the things that
I’ve done and here are the rewards for those things. So
it’s an accomplishable thing. And there are also things that
you can get for being really

We’re going to be
having more details coming out really
so you can see exactly what you get, and it will be all laid out. All
of that information will be available in the next couple of months. But
again, the idea and feeling of the system is that in Guild
Wars 2
should kind of feel rewarded for the stuff that you did in Guild
Wars 1

but we’re not trying to make it so that every single
accomplishment in that game is equally represented on a one to one
ratio. It’s more of a culmination of things that you did that
you’ll be rewarded for.

Ton Hammer:

A pertinent storyline question that comes up somewhat
often with the Hall of Monuments is the idea that, say I create a Charr
character in Guild Wars 2,
how is it that I’d be rewarded for
the accomplishments of a human in the first game?

It’s more a case that your character in Guild
Wars 2

finds this Hall of Monuments, or finds this thing. So it’s
not that your characters are a direct descendant of that Guild
Wars 1

character because that obviously doesn’t make sense for the
other races. Instead it’s more like you discovered this
monument of another person, almost like a gravestone and
you’re paying homage to that character’s memories.

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Ton Hammer:

Each of
the original Guild Wars
campaigns and the expansion had that overarching mission chain
that would help guide you on an epic journey across the different
continents. In Guild Wars 2
we’ll have the main focus of the Elder
Dragons and how they’ve quite literally changed the landscape
of Tyria, but will there be something similar to that epic mission
chain that leads to a massive confrontation of some sort?

We have a couple of different things. We have your personal story
that definitely guides you through the storyline. And then
there’s a second thing which is the dungeons. The dungeons
interact with your story, and every one of them has a “story
mode” of that dungeon which is almost like a mission.
It’s got an embedded part of the story, and those do help
guide you through the overarching story, so we do have some of that in
Guild Wars 2.

But your story itself almost
takes on more of that role, like a
handcrafted way of taking you through the whole story of the game. The
dungeons are the part where you work with other players kind of like
how a mission worked in Guild
Wars 1

Ton Hammer:
Are there any
dungeons that we might recognize from Eye
of the North

I’m sure that in a world that has transformed over 250
years, like many of the things you see here, many of your favorite
dungeons may

Ton Hammer:
Really I just
want to know if the Secret Lair of the
Snowmen will be in the game…

*laughs* Who

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Ton Hammer:
Are there any
comparisons that can be made to the
dungeons in Eye of the North?
For example, with most of them
you’ll initially gain access due to having a storyline quest
that sends you there, but once unlocked you always have the option to
go back though the experience may be slightly different without
specific quests active.

I think those aspects exist. They’re definitely very
different. We have a lot more systems that we can leverage to do more
interesting things in the dungeons. But the goals of the dungeons are
very similar. We wanted them to tell a story, but we also wanted to
make them interesting and repeatable.

Ton Hammer:
Then kind of as
an extension of that, with Eye
of the
most of the dungeons were
concentrated within the specific
regions of Tyria introduced in that expansion. In Guild
Wars 2
will we
see more of that type of content peppered throughout the world so that
no matter which race you select during character creation, there will
be dungeons or that type of content in their thematic regions?

Yeah, we spread out the different types of content all over the
game. It’s one of the things that we like everybody to
experience the game in a very similar fashion. The stories that you go
through are all very different and have a very different emotional
impact, but the specific types of content available are definitely
going to be the same all across the board. Essentially we use the same
tools to tell each of those different stories.

Ton Hammer:
In terms of
leveling, you’ve said that
you’ll be keeping that more of an even pace rather than
forcing players to constantly fight against an increasingly steep
curve. Could you expand a bit on how that fits into the overall
gameplay experience?

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If we decide that it should
only take a couple of hours to level,
that’s what we want it to be throughout the game.
It’s kind of similar to what we did in Guild
Wars 1
, where
the leveling you did once you hit level 20 was flat, and
that’s what we want to do in Guild
Wars 2
. We have a lot of
but we don’t want it to be this longer and longer and longer
experience as you go up. We want it to be a short amount of time
between levels.

Leveling is really supposed to
just help move you through the different
maps in our game so that you experience the different content at a
natural pace. We really don’t want it to be this long amount
of time, or this thing that keeps you in our game. If you want to spend
a lot of time in Guild Wars 2,
we’re going to have tons
activities, or you can make lots of different characters since we have
lots of different professions, but overall we just have lots of really
cool things for you to do.

We don’t need to make
you spend hundreds and hundreds of
hours playing a single character. We have PvE, PvP, all sorts of
achievements, titles, mini-games – just like in Guild
Wars 1
There are thousands of things for you to do in Guild
Wars 1
, and if you
like our game, play our game and enjoy our game, play it for the fun
and the cool content that we make. Don’t play it because our
experience bar is really big and you have to grind through it.

Ton Hammer:
That quick
leveling was a little more pronounced in
both Factions and Nightfall, but by the time you were ready to leave
the early zones and make that journey to the mainland areas you were
already at or closer to level 20. There’s still the bulk of
the world and gameplay waiting for you at that point and in some ways
it’s like the game and your journey through it is only just

Will there be a similar sense
in Guild Wars 2
where, instead of hitting
level 80 and asking where the 1337 raid zones are, you’ll
still have a ton of gameplay and parts of the world to go out and

We have a lot
of cool content when you get to the end of the
game. That’s one of the cool aspects of our events. You can
play all of our content over and over again, and even when you get to
level 80 you can go back to old places and finish out the areas and
we’ll level you down to where they are to allow you to go
back and play that stuff at the appropriate level. So you can always go
back and play through content, it’s not just worthless
content to you because you leveled past it. It’s almost like
a temporary thing where the game sidekicks you down to the level range
for the content.

Ton Hammer:
Will there also
be a sidekicking system that you can
manually use to be able to play alongside your friends or guild members
at different level ranges?

Yeah, we’re planning on working out a system along
those lines. We haven’t released the details on how that
works, but we do plan on having a really robust system that allows you
to play with your friends however and whenever you want.

Be sure to come back for the
next installment of our
exclusive interview with Game Designer Izzy Cartwright which focuses on
core gameplay mechanics in Guild
Wars 2
. In the meantime, step
the closest Asura gate and into our Guild
Wars 2
community forums to
discuss our exclusive interview on personal story and progression!

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