Yesterday I finished up my personal story in Guild Wars 2… sort of. Kind of. I guess I wasn’t aware until just now that this 100% soloable personal story ends with a dungeon run that needs five people, which is just the hallmark of great design right there. Seriously? How does that make sense? Yeah, you want it to end on an epic note and all, but you don’t change the basic setup at the last minute. Instead of looking forward to a final confrontation and all that, I’m just annoyed that I’ve got to find/make a group to do this.
And I’ve got to say that I’ve joined the Trahearne-hating bandwagon. I wasn’t trying to. I gave the personal storyline as much leeway as possible, as much benefit of the doubt. But the final third of it is just inexcusable dreck. For starters, it’s not interesting. It’s trying to portray this major threat and set up a huge struggle, but against a dragon or something we mostly don’t see nor care about. As we’ve established, Orr isn’t the most visually pleasing place to be, so spending a lot of time there wasn’t exciting to the eyes. After a while, I felt like it was a slog, my personal slog, instead of a fun and interesting adventure. I was doing the missions to finish the whole story, not because I wanted to see what happened next.
But yeah, the worst offender is the misstep that is Trahearne. It’s been said many times before and in many other places, so I’ll just summarize. From a storytelling perspective, here’s a character that is just thrust into your story in the middle of events and takes over. It’s all about him and his great actions, even though — get this — you’re the one accomplishing all of the tasks that he gets the credit for. He’s the Awesome Savior of the World, and you’re his Number Two (whether you want to be or not). He’s rather boring with dull voice work, and it certainly doesn’t help that he’s a plant-elf.
So at the climax of this epic struggle, the concept of making your personal story about you is mostly abandoned. Unsurprisingly, it’s where it’s really easy to lose interest in what happens.
I was also really wondering why there was so much of an emphasis on Destiny’s Edge in the storyline if it’s just abandoned for the Trahearne Show. I know that DE has a big presence in dungeons, but it really felt like a hanging plot thread.
I guess that in the end, I kind of wish that there hadn’t been such an “epic” end to the personal story. Tyria is a fascinating place, especially when you focus on smaller, more local stories and events. The whole threat of the five dragons may sound great on paper, but it’s hard to convey that threat properly and make players care. Stories don’t have to be massive and involve saving the world to be interesting in fantasy settings. I think more authors and writers would be better served by going small because it’s more relatable.
That’s why I’m glad that GW2 has this new living story approach to things. It’s not exactly a personal story do-over, but it involves more of the actual world and gradually develops over time instead of being disconnected from the world. I think that any future characters I create will be ignoring the personal story in favor of just exploring, doing events, and checking out these limited-time stories.