On this week’s episode of Guild Chat, host Rubi Bayer was joined by Narrative Director Leah Hoyer, Game Designer Crystal Reid, Game Designer Jason Reynolds, and Narrative Lead Bobby Stein to talk about the balance of story and gameplay in Guild Wars 2‘s raids.
The story which began in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ is by no means over, and Guild Wars 2‘s tradition of building an ongoing story continues with raids. The challenge lies in bringing story into raid content in the right way. From the start, the raid team had a high-level idea of what they wanted to do with the raid story and worked with narrative to balance it out and ensure that it fit well with the greater arc of storytelling.
Challenging gameplay is the focus of raid content, and raid lore is meant to provide context for the battles without burying players under exposition or forcing them to wait through long dialogue sequences. At the same time, players who don’t raid aren’t being shut out of major parts of the story.
Crystal and Jason said that the Pact Commander is the main character in the personal story, but a raid is made up of ten people and the story structure needs to make sense for a team rather than an individual. Leah said that ambient storytelling is used to drop hints and reward exploration for those who are interested, but raiders who aren’t interested won’t be punished for it. She added that there are passionate players who are extremely knowledgeable about Guild Wars 2 lore, and the narrative team uses story to encourage speculation and hint at what may be around the corner.
Bobby said that the Spirit Vale raid boss Gorseval is an example of how the team integrated story into raids by giving players contextual clues to the creature’s origin and nature. After conquering the raid—or entering with someone who has—lore-hungry players may find new clues to interact with and uncover more information. The achievement panel provides some clues as to where to look, but presentation is the key to avoid giving away too many secrets.
If you missed the episode, check out the recording below—and don’t miss the recording of the first episode of On Point with Jebro and Heurix!