By Ree Soesbee May 27th, 2010 With some help from Community Manager Regina Buenaobra, we asked our online community to give us their foremost questions on the Guild Wars 2 storyline system, so that we could be sure to answer as many of them as we could. I haunt the forums all the time, so I know how important story is to our players. I want you all to know that we’re listening! Will my personal story or biography be visible, viewable, or known to other players in some way? A player can see many aspects of another player’s personal storyline – they can compare achievements, and see what other players have accomplished. They can enter another player’s home instance (if they are invited), and see the changes and differences there that reflect a player’s story. In this manner, players can see what other players have chosen both in their biography and through their choices during the play of the game. Will actions I take in the dynamic events system affect or interact with my personal story? Affect, no. Interact with, yes. Sometimes, your personal story is taken from the same point of plot. The centaurs are attacking human lands, for example. There may be events to drive off the centaurs from Nebo Terrace, or to attack the centaur camp and kill a leader in their army. Separately, there may be a storyline that follows the path of a lost soldier, tracking him through said centaur camp to find clues as to his whereabouts. Those are interlinked, but they do not directly affect each other. Our intention with this is to make the world real and to show that the things happening all over the world are not isolated or self-contained incidents; they affect everyone in the area, both in large and small-scale ways. Mechanically, a personal story will never change the outcome of an event. The storylines are personal, individual acts of heroism, while dynamic events are designed to be larger, multi-player activities that allow everyone to get involved. Events do not impact story, either, although you may have to participate in an event on the way to a story step in order to reach your goal. Will my personal story interact with, link to, or affect the personal stories of other players that they group with or with whom they are affiliated with (guild, partner, family member, etc.)? Can we link personal stories with our friends, partners, family members, and/or guild mates? Nope. Your story is *your* story. It is accessible only by you and those you directly invite to experience the storyline with you, by partying and allowing them to enter your personal areas and instances. The outcomes are personal to you, and do not affect another player’s outcomes or storyline. You can’t link your story with other people, but you can invite them to come along with you on one of your storylines, and then they can see the events that you are experiencing and assist you – but the choices in that storyline will only be available to the person whose story you are playing. Will we be able to play all the alternative options in a personal story once your choices have been made—on the same character? Can I go back and change my mind? If not, can our alternate characters make appearances in our other characters’ stories? For the most part, no. As with life, when you make a choice, it changes the world around you. You can’t then go back and ‘unchange’ the world – you have made a final, tangible decision. If you choose to let someone die, then that NPC remains dead and will be so for the rest of your character’s existence. You may go back and create a new character, playing them through that same branch of the storyline, and make a different decision – but that is a different character, and a different story. Your alternate characters can’t appear in each others’ stories, for the same reason that you can’t ‘grief’ each others’ stories in game. Your story is only accessible to you – and other people you specifically invite into your party. Only those people can experience your stories, or affect them in any way. Will we be able to develop different kinds of relationships with NPCs, like friendships, rivalries, familial ties, and romances in personal stories? Yes! You can be friendly to some NPCs, and mean to others; you can have a certain ally join your charr warband, and not another, and this may decide which NPC considers you to be a friend and which becomes a rival. Such choices will permanently affect your character and their story. That said, we try to leave a lot of room for such ‘personal’ commitments in story to be entirely a player’s choice. No storyline will hinge on you falling in love (or not) with an NPC. If you aren’t interested, it won’t affect whether you can continue the story, or whether your character will be successful overall. A question raised on the forums brought up a similar point that I want to address. The player did not want GW2 to ‘define’ her character’s family, and was sad to think that we might force such a choice on her during the biography process. We’ve tried to design the biography for all types of players, both those who want to have the game take into account every aspect of a character’s history, and those who want a distinctly ‘hands off’ approach to things like personal family relationships. When you are presented with questions about your character’s past, some of the answers will allow you to avoid establishing background that you want to develop yourself. For example, the question ‘The one thing I regret about my childhood’ may have a possible answer, ‘I never knew my parents,’ but it will also have the available choice, ‘I wanted to run away and join the circus.’ A player can choose if they want the GW2 storyline to involve their family – or not. Our plan is to give you options, not remove them. Whenever possible, we’ve tried to look at the biography from the point of view of a player who likes to create a tangible, living character – and we’ve done everything we can to facilitate that, and to leave plenty of room for a player’s sense of personal creation and ownership over their character.