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Regional FlagWriting groups: task allocationSource
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#1 -

I’ve been browsing the forums about storyline and so forth, and I see most people complaining about a lack of continuity – characters in one arc don’t know you in the next, and so forth. It sounds like one writing group has been assigned a set of events/arc, another for a different set, some more peeps for generic background NPC talk (to y’all: so many cookies, omg) and so forth. And people making sure everything probably mostly sounds right and fits together, of course. XD

But considering all the unhappiness about continuity and diversity of character dialogue, I wonder if a slightly different approach might be in order? For example, assigning Writer (or sub-group!) A to be in charge of, say, all the human storyline NPCs, Writer/Sub-group B focuses on all of Trahearne’s interactions, and so forth. It seems like NPCs get tossed in and out of arcs with nobody keeping an eye out for places they might contribute or comment on, or where their dialogue options might change.

I understand that for the most part, dialogue needs to be about the same. ESPECIALLY for voiced things! But it would be cool if there was, say, additional lines every so often that were appropriate for a given race/class/NPC. Trahearne has met the sylvari PC before, and should have a little more to say to them when first starting Act 3, even if the rest of his lines are the same for everyone else. Or someone to remember hey, a member of your warband might want to tease a Blood legion charr about joining Order of Whispers. (For that matter, remembering to alter some stuff in the Flame Legion storyline if you’ve got a female charr. Thaaaaat was weird.)

This also goes for PC dialogue – an Iron Legion charr might get a line like “I’ve /dreamed/ about rolling with the Gear warband!”, or a necromancer could remark, “When we have a moment, Trahearne, I’d like to talk about that [cool necromancer thing you did].”

I don’t know how it would be best to divide those tasks (I think asking one person to do them all would be cruel at least!), but I think that more resources need to be put in that direction, because most everything I’ve read indicates that it’s a huge problem thus far as far as storylines go.

ArenaNet Poster
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#3 -

There was a recent Game Developers’ Conference video, which came out about 4 days ago, where ArenaNet discussed their writing experiences/challenges in Guild Wars 2:


The video is an hour long, and it talks about the writing structures they had, as well as how it will likely change going forward.

ArenaNet mentioned they had two writing teams.

One team consisted of two people, the “Loremasters”, and they were responsible for the Personal Story, Dungeons, and Cutscenes.

The second team seemed to have pretty much everyone else, and they were responsible for writing everything else, e.g. the dialogues in Dynamic Events, dialogues we had with NPC’s, and the background converstations we heard NPC’s have with each other across Tyria.

So it sounds like for the story arcs (Personal Story), it wasn’t lots of different writers doing different bits of the story. It sounds like 2 loremasters were working on it.

The video is interesting to watch because ArenaNet is speaking candidly to fellow peers in their field. They made lots of mistakes, but they learned some lessons from them.

The writing team has reorganized since launch to address some of the challenges Angel and I mentioned in that GDC presentation. Here’s a basic view of the current structure of GW2 writing:

Lead Writer – responsible for overall quality and direction of:

  • Narrative Design (formerly Lore & Continuity Design)
  • Writing (VO dialogue, non-VO text, UI, etc.)
  • Editing (copy editing, script preparation, casting support, etc.)