Living Story: Evolution

by Angel McCoy on February 28, 2013

It’s me again, Angel McCoy, from the Living Story team, and I’m writing this to share a bit more insight into what’s happening and what’s planned for our Living Story content. We’ve been working hard at it.

These first couple months of teaser content have allowed us to ramp up to make the long-term Living Story an even fuller and more satisfying experience for you all. As designers have come off other projects and joined us, we’ve increased the amount of content we’ll be delivering, starting at the end of March.

We’re also listening to your feedback and tweaking our content here and there in response. We’ve been reading what you’ve been saying on the Guild Wars 2 forums and across the Internet.

Storytelling in an MMO

“…we’ve increased the amount of content we’ll be delivering, starting at the end of March.”

Over the past few months of design work on the Living Story, we’ve overcome many challenges. Writing story in an MMO environment resembles building a giant puzzle. We want to avoid temporal paradoxes, for example. From a player perspective, the Personal Story is unfolding simultaneously with the Living Story, but how can characters be in both places at the same time? Furthermore, do we all presume that So-and-So is dead, because he died at level 80, or do we assume the opposite? There’s a minefield of possible paradoxes that we have to carefully move through when writing the Living Story, and we’ve had to shift our thinking a bit to accommodate that. This has taken a lot of thought and forethought.

In order to make this easier on ourselves, and on you, we’ll be introducing a set of characters specific to the Living Story, at the end of March. Hint: one’s a norn, and one’s a charr. I’m not going to tell you more than that right now, but know that you will soon be meeting the first two of these characters, and we hope you like them as much as we do.

Where to Go and What to Do

Last month, I told you about the heralds located at the exits in every city, and we’re continuing to utilize these rumor-mongers to give more general details on where to go and what’s happening. We’ve also introduced the Living Story Achievements to make the directions clearer, and we’ve identified other ways to message your mission to you.

We’ll be utilizing non-voiced conversations with options that clearly relay the next step or location on the Living Story journey. You’ll find these on characters involved directly in the arc, so take the time to talk (F) to people if you are interested in knowing what to do and where to go next. We don’t want to over-message, so some of the onus is upon you to read the conversations and look for the characters most logically in a position to guide you.

Another great resource for knowing what to do next or to find out what you might have missed is the Guild Wars 2 forums!

Pay-Off

We’ve had long meetings, with our most colorful thinking caps on, to discuss how we will pay off all your patience during these early months of teaser content, and we’ve come up with some thrilling storylines that we feel will keep you intrigued and get you even more deeply involved in the ongoing progress of the Living Story. Aside from the Living Story main characters, we’ll also be surprising you with interesting villains, one of whom will become your personal nemesis. Again, no spoilers allowed, so I can’t tell you more than that, but you’ll recognize this sassy character when you see…um, him/her/it. <grin>

With the February release, we’re further advancing the Flame and Frost storyline in fun ways, but we still consider this to be teaser content. You’ll get to experience saving homesteaders and ranchers in a more direct way, no longer just as volunteers, but becoming actual defenders of the residents of the Wayfarer Foothills and Diessa Plateau.

All our hard work is beginning to bear fruit, and we’re as excited as you are—maybe even moreso—to finally see the Flame and Frost story arc revealed in full. It’s only a matter of time, so hang in there, and stock up now on sodas and snacks.

I’ll see you in my Dream.