Posted by on May 27th, 2010 in News, Previews

The constant stream of new Guild Wars 2 information continues as Ree Soesbee, Lore & Continuity Designer, chimes in on the official website with more information on Personal Stories in Guild Wars 2. A few tidbits had already been leaked a few weeks ago in a couple of interviews, but Ree uncovers a whole slew of new information in this lengthy article.

A straightforward bullet point list that contains all the new information can be found below as always. If you’ve been out of the loop, then you may also want to check out my coverage of the design manifesto, dynamic events system and combat system. And if you’re looking for the full story with all the new artwork and screenshots, then you ought to head on over to the official website.

There is also some new information to be gleaned from an article over at IGN and another at PC Gamer Blog. I’ve included some points of interest in the list that follows.


  • The Guild Wars 2 design team aims for a game that is both playable with friends and offers a satisfying personal story.
  • Contrary to Guild Wars, the focus no longer lies on the overarching world storyline. So while the Elder Dragons do awaken and rampage across Tyria, there’s also a more immediate personal storyline to follow. Alongside those stories, there’s also the tale of the rise and fall of the Destiny’s Edge adventuring group. And lastly there are the stories that spring forth from the ongoing events in various regions of the world (dynamic event system). These all combined make up the various storylines of Guild Wars 2.
  • The choice of race, profession, gender and a wealth of physical appearance options are confirmed for character creation. Nothing surprising here, but hopefully the insistence on the high number of options implies that the physical appearance can be altered more drastically than in Guild Wars.
  • Player housing may be in. Home instances are mentioned, but it’s unclear whether these are instanced cities, areas or actual instanced homes. There’s also been no word on whether players can invite others into their home instance.
  • Interaction with NPCs promises to be more natural. They won’t stand around with glowing exclamation marks, but will walk up to you if they have something to say.

This house may burn down in your story, but it won't in someone else's. It sounds simple, but it's a huge change!

Personal Story

  • Ten questions posed during character creation, with 3-5 possible answers each, will form the background of a new character. This will determine not only their history, hopes for the future and personality, but also shapes the beginning of their personal story. A character will already have a past, friends and enemies the moment it sets foot in the world of Tyria.
  • These questions are partly dependent on the chosen race and profession. An Asura will choose their college (Synergetics, Dynamics or Statics), whereas a Human will determine their social status (Gentry, Commoner or Streets). Likewise the answers can lead to a sympathy for a lesser race, but the potential lesser races are determined by their presence within the chosen race’s borders. So a Charr could have sympathy for the Grawl, whereas a Sylvari might have sympathy for the Quaggan, but never the other way around.
  • Answering these questions will also determine personality. So a player can choose to be intimidating and unfriendly, or charming and kind. This will alter NPC responses in the game.
  • Players who do not wish to carefully select their answers can opt for a randomization feature.
  • Different answers result in a different personal story experience, making for a very alt-friendly game.
  • All characters have a home instance within their race’s capital.
  • These home instances will change depending upon player choices during their personal story. The homes of two Norn in Hoelbrak are unlikely to look similar.
  • The personal story provides the player with reasons to combat the Elder Dragons that have invaded Tyria. The story will always lead to fighting against the elder dragons, regardless of player choices.
  • There are some morally grey choices to be made (save a hospital or an orphanage), but all player characters are considered heroes by ArenaNet. This means it follows in Mass Effect’s footsteps of not providing genuinely evil, or even mildly evil, paths through the story.
  • During the personal story the player can eventually choose to join up with one of three organizations that combat the Elder Dragon presence in Tyria.
  • The Order of Whispers hails from the continent of Elona. They do not believe the dragons can be physically destroyed, but rather seek to prevent their full awakening. They’ve infiltrated all nations of Tyria with their spies, thieves and black-ops agents.
  • The Durmand Priory revere knowledge above all else. They gather knowledge, history and legend in the hope that some piece of information can save the world from the rise of the dragons.
  • The Vigil is a powerful fellowship that stands against the Elder Dragon’s minions wherever they rise. They fight now against their minions, but hope to raise an army of light to confront the dragons themselves in due time.
  • A party of adventurers called Destiny’s Edge also promises to have a major impact on the personal story. Players will have to reassemble the team by befriending their iconic members and settling their differences.
  • Decisions made within the personal story have a lasting impact on that character’s experiences in Tyria. They’ll determine the regions the player will visit, the NPC’s they’ll meet and the nature of the interactions with these NPCs.
  • Some of these choices will result in tangible effects, such as special NPCs or merchants in the home instance, pretty town clothes or special cinematics.
  • Less tangible prestige rewards can also be granted in the form of titles or special bits of lore.
  • None of the rewards for personal story play will have an impact on the power, abilities or skills of a given character.
  • The different paths these decisions can branch into number into the thousands.
  • Each character’s story provides at least one pivotal moment that can change the chain of events entirely.
  • A list of the character’s deeds and history is provided on a history page, which is presumably accessible from within the game’s user interface.
  • All personal stories are exactly that: personal. They’ll never have an impact on anyone else’s personal story.
  • Players can invite friends to tag along in their personal story missions, which scale like dynamic events (players numbers matter, levels and equipment do not). This allows players to glimpse other possible personal stories without having to start a new character from scratch.
  • When a player joins another player’s personal story, their actions in these instances have no impact on their own personal story.
  • There will be a definite, persistent, ending to the game, much like Guild Wars. Past this point the personal story will no longer progress, but there are still countless dynamic events, raids and PvP experiences to be had.
  • I expect that expansion packs and DLC will eventually push the personal stories forward from their end in Guild Wars 2, but this has not been confirmed.
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