Guild Wars 2: My story, condensed

hologramWhile I haven’t fully given up on the idea of getting 100% world completion, I will admit that the necessity of going into PvP lands for it has robbed me of much of my enthusiasm for the project.  So I made a deal with myself: Finish my engineer’s personal story and then I can go ahead with alts.

That might have been easier said than done.  I’d stopped doing my personal story around level 22, so I had a lot of catch-up to do.  I thought that if I could do it all in one go, then I’d appreciate the continuity and get more into it.  That still may be the case, but it’s also a little frustrating when all you want to do is move on to a new character.  I kind of wish I had just enjoyed the story while leveling instead of trying to rush through it in a week or so.

One bonus for doing world completion is that I have all of the waypoints unlocked.  That’s a big boon to the story missions, since I’m just a click away from wherever I need to go.

On the whole, the story’s been entertaining.  I think I liked it more when it was smaller and more personal at the beginning — there I saw a glimpse of what the game might have been like if the rest of the game had quests just like this.  I’m also not a fan of the cutscenes where the screen changes to show you and another character talking.  It’s more engaging for me to see the dialogue happen right in the game world, plus everything seems to grind to a halt when this happens.

In less than a week I’ve gone from level 22 to level 64, so I’m making good headway.  Some of the missions have been really engaging, such as one where I had to infiltrate a home under Asura technological lockdown (although the constant klaxon was annoying).  Some of the missions go on and on and on, such as the battle ones, although it’s pretty cool that the game can throw you into a large conflict like that and make it work.

I’ll give one point of high praise: I feel like the characters are well-done and some are downright entertaining.  I’ve heard people blast the voiceovers, but I actually approve of most of them.  And I’ll go one more: The story does a good job keeping you appraised of the important points and dropping lore tidbits for those of us who don’t have a master’s degree in Tyria.

While there is some element of choice in that you pick one branching path of the story before it snaps back to the main story, there aren’t enough choices and what ones you do have don’t really matter anyway.  I’m not that thrilled that I do a couple missions and suddenly everyone is falling over themselves proclaiming that I’m a wonderful hero and here, would you like this promotion.  I keep getting promoted and it makes me feel uneasy.  Maybe some people like the type of story where they are the centerpiece of the world’s salvation, but I’d rather be a hero on the fringe.

I’ve also wondered what, if anything, the conversational choices (you know, where you pick a tone of a response) has to do with the game.  Does it benefit my character?  Open up options?  Change anything?

So while the missions are fun, I don’t feel like it’s as “personal” as ArenaNet may have wanted it to be.  When my choices don’t really matter and I get swept up in grand events whether I want to be or not, then it’s just a story.  I guess that puts it on par with most every other MMO which shouldn’t be disappointing, but somehow is.


8 thoughts on “Guild Wars 2: My story, condensed

  1. bhagpuss March 15, 2013 / 10:13 am

    They should have called it your Impersonal Story. Not only are all your reactions dictated for you but before you get half-way through even the plot is identical for everyone. I said it was rubbish back in beta and nothing I’ve seen since has changed my mind.

    I do it here and there on various characters because some of the lore is interesting and some of the missions are fun. And there’s loot and xp. It is rubbish, though. As for the voiceovers, the odd one is decent (Tybalt being the obvious example) but most of them sound like teenagers being forced to read “Romeo and Juliet” out loud in class. Very poor. Compared to The Secret World it’s plain embarrassing.

    I completely agree on the rapid promotion thing. It’s utterly ludicrous. It has no internal logic, even. Very little of any of my stories have made any sense at all, really. Best not to think about it.

    As far as doing map completion in WvW is concerned, it’s never been difficult down in T3/4. We change colors often enough to get a fair crack at all the maps and there periods in most matches where we own almost everything so you can run around unmolested. Probably different in T1/2. Actually traveling in WvW is far, far safer than traveling through Orr, even when the other team owns everything, too.

  2. rimecat March 15, 2013 / 11:58 am

    The klaxons were yet another point where I turned the speakers to nil. The voiceovers are a cue to reach for the volume nob, they grew tiresome in SW:ToR but GW2 is just hideous. Not only do I disagree with the choice of voice for my character, not a problem in TSW, but the scripting and acting are just bad – even by MMO standards. Something that detracts from the game and should not have made it into beta, let alone release.

    The more I play this game, as my guild still likes the pure-casual nature, the more I think “buy-to-play was the correct choice, there is no way I give you money each month for this.”

  3. Tyler F.M. Edwards March 15, 2013 / 2:38 pm

    I try not to be one of those Internet trolls who just goes around blasting games, and I think my record of postings on my blog and elsewhere show that I am reasonably measured even when I do criticize things, so I hope my following statement will be taken in the proper context:

    Guild Wars 2 features one of the most pathetic excuses for a video game story I’ve ever seen. I tried very hard to like it, but it’s simply beyond redemption. The dialogue is terrible. The voice-acting is terrible. The plot is bland and unbelievably generic. The characters are paper thin, and the cast changes so much that it’s impossible to form an attachment to any of them. The one advantage the story does have, that it’s personal, vanishes past level twenty or so.

    It’s not even campy fun like WoW’s story. It’s just abysmally bad. I think this is one of the main reasons I ultimately stopped playing the game regularly. I just can’t play a game where I don’t care about the world or its characters.

    Don’t get me wrong. Guild Wars 2 is a great game in many, many ways. I really hope other MMO developers start ripping it off shamelessly and then improving on its innovations. But the story is atrocious, and that sours me on the game rather severely.

  4. rowan March 15, 2013 / 4:38 pm

    I gotta say I take the Personal Story with a grain of salt. It’s OK as far as it goes, but I am not personally attached to it. I felt more involved with the missions in STO, for example. And I have expressed my desire not be at the center of an MMO universe in the past. But we knew from the beginning that GW2 would put us “center stage” in the conflict. Not that it excuses the criticisms people have, but it is what it is. There is plenty else in GW2 to keep me interested, but I do find myself playing TSW more and more now that it has gone F2P.

    Heh, a lot of “buts” in that paragraph.

  5. Mike March 18, 2013 / 1:26 pm

    I’ve not played GW2, perhaps I will, perhaps I won’t, but it sounds par for the course for MMOs and action RPGs.

    The last game of the genre that I actually felt a part of was some of the story lines of SWTOR. Those story lines actually made you feel part of the story. I know, I know, you’re really not, its completely deterministic, but it doesn’t *feel* that way while playing. Which is about the best you’re ever going to get.

  6. rowan March 18, 2013 / 1:41 pm

    I think the more Devs try to create a story for each player’s character(s), the harder they fail. I was perfectly happy in Vanilla Wow (and TBC), making my own story by adventuring in Azeroth. I never needed to be the guy saving the world, which is how all the “personal” storylines in newer MMOs seem to be.

  7. Spidubic March 20, 2013 / 12:33 pm

    Logged into GW2 for the first time in a couple of months. My main is in Lion’s Arch and I just noticed he has 21/23 Points of Interest. I was sure I had completed Lion’s Arch. Logged in my other characters and they all have the same 21/23. So they added two POI at some point and thus I was not complete. Have you noticed this?

  8. rowan March 20, 2013 / 12:44 pm

    @Spidubic Yes, that happened with one of the updates that added content to L.A. I can’t remember for sure, there have been several patches that affected the city. Sorry, I can’t be more specific. If you already got the map completion achievement and reward you won’t get it again, though it doesn’t count toward the World Exploration percentage.

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