Guild Wars 2
has promised players a personal narrative from very early in development, but with all of the beta testing and class previews, it's a feature that hasn't seen as much description. So as the game draws ever closer to release, it's a good thing that the most recent development blog
is all about the development of a player's personal narrative over the course of gameplay. According to the blog, the choices players make start during character creation and continue from there, resulting in 30 potential story paths just through the starter region alone.
Of course, branches alone aren't worth much of anything if they don't lead to some interesting gameplay in the process. The design blog discusses how this works in the Asura starting area, whose designers began with a design document stating that the player needed to investigate two genius golemancers to determine which one was culpable in a crisis. Rather than forcing the player to simply run to two separate locations and have a chat, the staff realized that the two geniuses would be more likely to be interacting at an event -- say, a competition of golems. The refinement goes on from there
, with each step refining the narrative and investing the players further to make something more memorable than a simple questioning session.