The Living Story in
Guild Wars 2

by Angel McCoy on January 31, 2013

Hey, everybody! I’m Angel McCoy, the narrative designer assigned to guide the Living Story in Guild Wars 2. I’m here to give you a little introduction to this content, what it means to the world of Tyria, and how you can get the most fun out of it. We’ve been working hard on it for several months, and we’re super excited to share it with you! The Living Story team (and all of ArenaNet) really hopes you like it.

What is the Living Story?

The job of the Living Story team is to bring the world to life. On an ongoing basis, we’ll spin out story threads that will introduce you to new heroic characters, mysterious plot twists, and dramatic moments that affect the world.

“…we’ll spin out story threads that will introduce you to new heroic characters, mysterious plot twists, and dramatic moments that affect the world.”

You’ll discover new dynamic events—some that will change Tyria—and you’ll have the opportunity to take part in history in the making.

If you love interactive stories and find the inhabitants of Tyria interesting, then this content is for you. It’s designed to change up what’s happening in the world and to add to the evolving story and challenge of the game. None of this is required content you need to play in order to level your character. But, fair warning: once you meet these characters and learn their stories, you may find yourself logging in more regularly to see how it’s all turning out! (Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Hee.)

The Living Story is simultaneously transitory and permanent. As the story arcs play out, the tale evolves. Each portion of the Living Story narrative will only be available for a certain period of time, yet it will have repercussions in the world and upon the people living in it. The occurrences in the Living Story leave their mark—both scars and flowerbeds—and these wounds and blessings are permanent.

Themed Story Arcs

Story arcs will play out over time. You won’t necessarily know how long an arc is, and some could take months to fully unfold. We’re weaving many plot threads together to make one big cohesive world, a river of story, a living world. Watch GuildWars2.com for more information on upcoming story arcs.

In the current arc, “Flame and Frost,” we started modestly on January 28 with teaser content that begins to make small changes to the world.

You can participate by volunteering to help the refugees streaming down from the Shiverpeaks in both the Wayfarer Foothills and Diessa Plateau. These refugees have lost their homes and their loved ones. They’re arriving in the Black Citadel and Hoelbrak with little more than the clothes and battered armor on their backs. These cities are struggling to feed and care for the influx of refugees. The leaders in these cities are considering how to mobilize a response, but for the moment, chaos reigns, and great danger brews just below the surface. One day soon… oops! No spoilers!

New Characters

You’ll meet new characters in the Living Story who may return periodically to adventure with you. You’ll get to know heroes and villains who have been designed to add an air of mystery, mischief, and drama to Guild Wars 2. Some of these new figures are deeply connected to characters you’ve already come to know and love (or hate), and many of those well-known personalities will appear in our story arcs.

For example, at some point over the next few months, you will meet a Blood Legion soldier named Rox who is training with Rytlock in the Black Citadel. She and Rytlock will be responding to the refugee situation and will need your help to secure Blood Legion assets in the danger zone.

Not Holiday; Life

The Living Story is different from our in-game Holidays or major events, because it’s based around an evolving storyline rather than a single festival. We’ll begin by introducing plotlines in our regular game releases. In this way, you may only get a portion of the story now—a taste, a nibble, a prelude— but as the story unfolds, you’ll get meatier content and get a chance to solve the mysteries we introduce earlier. We’re in it for the long term, and we hope you will be too.

Because The Living Story is designed to be an organic experience, the story content will, at times, proceed with much less fanfare than our holidays or major events. You’ll witness the citizens of Tyria living their lives, fighting their foes, making good and bad decisions, and paying the consequences for them; and if you choose, you can be the friend who sees them through their darkest hours and who joins them in their celebrations.

Gameplay Support

We’re introducing a new Achievement category—Living Story Achievements—that will help guide you to all the dramatic bits we place in the world for you. These achievements will give titles and rewards specific to them.

The gold stars on your map and the directions in your Living Story Achievement pane will guide you to where you need to go and to the characters you should approach.

In addition, each city has hired heralds to spread the latest news to its citizens. These rumor mongers, stationed at two key locations in each city, will help you find the most current Living Story events, so you always know where to go to find the latest story moments.

Flame and Frost: Prelude

This month, you’ll be playing through a light preamble, a teaser intended to whet your appetite for the rest of the story. This content will stick around for a couple months, so you have plenty of time to play it before it goes away, and we’ll be adding to it as well. Learn more at the Flame and Frost page on GuildWars2.com.

See you in my Dream!