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Guild Wars 2 Column: Evolution

By David North on July 15, 2013

Guild Wars 2 takes place in a world known as Tyria.  ArenaNet created loads of lore, and in game content to fill it out this world, and make it feel whole.  To help make the world feel more real, dynamic events gave a new twist to how questing is done, with large groups of players actions changing the world.  The Living Story came into the picture and added new bits of content, expanding upon the lore.  All of this is a valiant effort to help create a world that truly feels alive.  This is something that every game developer tries to achieve.  With the game not even a whole year old, the development teams have all made great strides towards that goal.

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Guild Wars 2 does have the most believable world out of any MMO I’ve played.  While walking around a city or village I can hear the locals telling rumors they’ve heard, or boasting about how they can out drink a Norn.  Add in some crazy details to the environments and the surroundings become very believable.  These small touches really push the game forward, but what about the actual adventuring?  Dynamic events come in and allow you to change the world a bit.  By helping a merchant travel the harsh roads, he can now set up shop in a fort.  Repel an enemy attack and you help keep an army outpost on the frontlines.


Just because you can drink like a Norn doesn't mean you have to.

The world also changes if you fail.  Enemies could take the outpost over, villages could be overrun, and merchants could be slain on the side of the road.  Whether your outcome is good or bad, it will change the world and the events you can play through in the future.  It’s really a great system, but it only goes so far.  Most changes are actually very small with the only noticeable difference being friendly NPCs being replaced with enemies.


You don’t feel like you failed when you actually do fail many of the dynamic events.

The Living Story and events have been able to give us a larger, more visual change to the world.  The Flame and Frost storyline caused huge geysers to pop out of the ground in the northern lands.  Refugees walked the roads, hoping to find safety in the major cities.  The Lost Shores event was able to open up a whole new portion of the map to explore.  So we’ve seen some changes that were small, and others that are more noticeable.

I’ve enjoyed most every bit of content the ArenaNet development teams have been able to produce since launch.  But as a greedy gamer, I want more!  Yes the world feels alive, but it’s still lacking something.  I want the really big changes.  I want something to blow up, I want new cities and villages, I want the changes to scar, or decorate, the very face of Tyria forever.

Now from the sounds of it, ArenaNet actually has this in mind.  But at what scale will they make this idea a reality?  Will we be able to see an entire city fall?  Imagine if Ebonhawke was attacked and nearly destroyed.  Wouldn’t it be cool to see the Charr forces began to construct more outposts to push back the ghost threat?  Better yet, what if players’ actions during game events decided these changes.  If the players can’t defend Ebonhawke, it falls!  That just sounds epic, even if you were to fail the world would be permanently changed.


It would be really neat to see a city like this fall around you in game, with the changes becoming permanent.

Guild Wars 2 already has an amazing world filled with lore and content that continues to evolve with each passing update.  We’ve seen a few chapters of the Living Story, and so far the idea is pretty solid.  The game as a whole though is still pretty young, with its first birthday still a few months away.  I wonder if we will get presents like we did in the first game?  Anyways, it’s good to hear that the development teams want to make changes that will have a bigger, and more epic, effect on the world of Tyria.  While we may not get to see whole cities being destroyed at first, with time the team could figure out how to pull those types of events off.  When they do, I believe they will truly have a world that constantly evolves and changes.  That’s something I’d like to see accomplished not only as a gamer, but as a developer myself. 

David North / David North is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com.  David loves to play and makes games, but now he writes about them!  If you want to creep on him and make fun of his ability to draw, follow him over on twitter @David_the_North.


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