While writing a solid in-game story may be a subtractive art, there are
still plenty of games out on the market - MMOs included - that suffer
from "huge wall o' text" syndrome. Most players, even this managing
editor and Bobby Stein included, don't have the patience to struggle
through that much reading when all we want to do is play, play, play!
It comes down to the ArenaNet writing team to put together the story in
such a way that it allows players to experience the world without
feeling like they're reading a novel.

"Our job as writers is to impart the story through convincing and
compelling dialogue in the smallest space possible. Players will have
no shortage of interesting stories in which to immerse themselves, but
those stories will be presented in new ways compared to the original style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars,"
Bobby stated. "I tell my team all the time that a good actor
can’t save bad dialogue. If you’ve written
something that
sounds wonky when you read it aloud, you need to change it. Lines need
to be short, credible, and relatable. Even though our characters exist
in a fantasy world, they should exhibit the same sweeping emotions that
we do. As writers, we draw from our own personal victories, private
tragedies, and comedic moments for inspiration. We must breathe life
into these characters, or else they become nothing more than quest

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The Eye of
the North was the last true expansion for Guild Wars.

One of the ways that the Guild
team previously constructed their story arcs was
through the use of in-game cut scenes. Though some gamers had a l href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love-hate_relationship"
target="_blank">ove-hate relationship with these
pre-scripted events, many players found them to be appealing. We all
have a touch of href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_%28mythology%29"
flowing through our veins and seeing our virtual avatar in his own
personal story truly captured the hearts of many adventurers. But
generating these in-game scenes was far from easy.

"In-engine cut scenes carry their own difficulties because they are
generated on the fly; they require a lot more coordination and context
awareness compared to other cinematic methods," Stein explained.
"You’re at the mercy of the game engine, which
necessarily optimized for that task. As any style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars player
can attest, pet and minion AI does not always play nice for the camera.
(My pet flamingo loves sticking his tail feathers in my
character’s face.) Compare the cinematics of the original
Wars to those from the Bonus Mission Pack, though, and you’ll
how we’ve stepped up our game."

Whether or not you can discern the quality differences or not [ style="font-style: italic;">I certainly can!--Ed.],
there's no denying the fact that the style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars team has
evolved from squirming amoebas into full blown Homo Sapiens (but not href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ksj6vYe6_yA"
target="_blank">Homo Superiors). But how have they
achieved their excellent storytelling with more than one individual
driving the yarn?

"Everything we do is based upon collaboration and iteration," Bobby
stated. "We determine up front a lot of high level details, such as a
campaign story arc or mission outline. From there we break the game
into segments and assign various content chunks to smaller design
teams. Content designers write up the encounter mechanics and draft the
preliminary lines of UI text and dialogue, which are then handed off to
the writers for review, revision, and expansion. QA is also involved
throughout the production process, as their talents for catching
mistakes and making good suggestions are invaluable."

"Our general rule is that three or more people look at dialogue after
it’s written," Bobby continued. "We do a revision pass,
perform a
secondary edit to trim the fat, and then do a continuity check to
ensure that it fits with a character’s voice, motivation, and
world lore."

Speaking about Guild Wars 2 is like dropping bits of golden honey out
of a gilded pitcher for eager fans to lap up. When discussing the story
in Guild Wars 2, Bobby said that since it takes place 250 years after
the first series, "it's a blank slate."

"We were able to keep the coolest things from the world while letting
the rest remain in the annals of history," Bobby said. "Despite all
that has changed, Tyria is very much in need of heroes."

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definitely see a number of races carryover into Guild Wars 2.

"A lot can change in a few hundred years," Bobby continued. "New races
have risen to prominence. New threats have surfaced. You’ll
threads of current Guild Wars history, along with some new stories."

Even with over five million players that have already played through
portions of Guild Wars,
there are a number of MMO aficionados that have yet to really try the
game. As my final question, I asked Bobby what MMO players should try
if they've yet to have a chance to experience style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars.

is my favorite full
campaign, in part for the introduction of customizable Heroes," Bobby
said. "Having the ability to solo when I’m not in the mood to
with strangers great, though I often tackle missions with my father,
who is a bona fide Guild
junkie. The story is tight, the setting is unique,
and the voice acting is the strongest of the three full games."

"My advice to new players is to pick up the style="font-style: italic;"> Guild Wars Trilogy
since it’s a great value," Bobby continued. "Fire up style="font-style: italic;">Nightfall, get some
Heroes, and then tackle whichever campaign tickles your fancy. For
existing players, I highly recommend the style="font-style: italic;"> Eye of the North
expansion for its high-end content. Well, that and Shing Jea Sherman."

There you have it folks! The Guild

team is hard at work on the sequel to their first epic saga, and
there's certainly more stories to tell in the world of Tyria. We'd like
to thank Bobby again for taking the time to chat with us and we look
forward to hearing more about Guild
Wars 2

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Guild Wars Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016