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Today, Angel McCoy brings us a new blog post on the Living Story that was recently introduced in Guild Wars 2.

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Hey, everybody! I’m Angel McCoy, the narrative designer assigned to guide the Living Story in Guild Wars 2. I’m here to give you a little introduction to this content, what it means to the world of Tyria, and how you can get the most fun out of it. We’ve been working hard on it for several months, and we’re super excited to share it with you! The Living Story team (and all of ArenaNet) really hopes you like it.

You can read the full article here, but I've added bullet points for quick reference:

What is the Living Story?
  • Will introduce you to new heroic characters, mysterious plot twists, and dramatic moments that affect the world
  • New dynamic events - some that will change Tyria
  • Designed to change up what’s happening in the world and to add to the evolving story and challenge of the game
  • Simultaneously transitory and permanent
Themed Story Arcs
  • Story arcs will play out over time
  • You won't necessarily know how long an arc is
  • The current arc, "Flame and Frost", is teaser content that has begun to make small changes - you can participate by volunteering to help the refugees streaming down from the Shiverpeaks in both the Wayfarer Foothills and Diessa Plateau
New Characters
  • Characters you meet in the Living Story will periodically join up with you on adventures
  • You’ll get to know heroes and villains who have been designed to add an air of mystery, mischief, and drama - some well-connected to characters you've already met
Not Holiday; Life
  • Living Stories are different than holidays or major events because it's an evolving storyline rather than a single event/festival
  • Because they are a more organic experience, some parts of a Living Story will be much more subtle than major holidays and events
Gameplay Support
  • Introducing a new achievement category: Living Story Achievements that can give titles and rewards
  • Gold stars on your map will guide you to where you need to go and which characters to approach
  • Each city has heralds that will announce the latest news - two NPCs per city
Flame and Frost: Prelude
  • As mentioned earlier, this part of the Living Story is a teaser of what is to come
  • This will play out for a few months

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#1 Graka

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:56 PM

Well, if I wasn't sold before, I am now. Thank you Anet!

#2 Azure Skye

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:59 PM

I just want to know how much they are going to be updated, every month, every fortnight or every week.

#3 Maarius

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:06 PM

View PostAzure Skye, on 31 January 2013 - 10:59 PM, said:

I just want to know how much they are going to be updated, every month, every fortnight or every week.

well you could stay away from GW2 for weeks and experience the prelude nontheless it seems:

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This month, you’ll be playing through a light preamble, a teaser intended to whet your appetite for the rest of the story. This content will stick around for a couple months, so you have plenty of time to play it before it goes away, and we’ll be adding to it as well.
so for me it looks like they add small changes but keep the previous changes still going on...

#4 Azure Skye

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:15 PM

View PostMaarius, on 31 January 2013 - 11:06 PM, said:

well you could stay away from GW2 for weeks and experience the prelude nontheless it seems:

so for me it looks like they add small changes but keep the previous changes still going on...
I know that but i know they are saving the juicy parts for holidays. Are they saving these tid-bits with every monthly update or can expect them in when they do bug fixes or when ever they finish them and go thru Q& A and all that jazz.

#5 Maarius

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:29 PM

View PostAzure Skye, on 31 January 2013 - 11:15 PM, said:

I know that but i know they are saving the juicy parts for holidays. Are they saving these tid-bits with every monthly update or can expect them in when they do bug fixes or when ever they finish them and go thru Q& A and all that jazz.
good question, we have this:

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The Living Story is different from our in-game Holidays or major events, because it’s based around an evolving storyline rather than a single festival. We’ll begin by introducing plotlines in our regular game releases. In this way, you may only get a portion of the story now—a taste, a nibble, a prelude— but as the story unfolds, you’ll get meatier content and get a chance to solve the mysteries we introduce earlier. We’re in it for the long term, and we hope you will be too.
Because The Living Story is designed to be an organic experience, the story content will, at times, proceed with much less fanfare than our holidays or major events. You’ll witness the citizens of Tyria living their lives, fighting their foes, making good and bad decisions, and paying the consequences for them; and if you choose, you can be the friend who sees them through their darkest hours and who joins them in their celebrations.
regarding the bold part I'd say we get relatively regular small updates - the sum of those would make a new big picture. We got constant upgrades of the refugees-events the last days, started with wayfarer foothills activities - occasional events, followed by a similar happening in Diessa Plateau.

#6 beadnbutter32

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:32 PM

Please tell me there will be lollipops, and maybe even a trip to Candyland!

#7 Doctor Overlord

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:06 AM

Thanks for the link, I hadn't seen that blogpost.   It sounds very cool.  

View PostAzure Skye, on 31 January 2013 - 10:59 PM, said:

I just want to know how much they are going to be updated, every month, every fortnight or every week.
It is a little worrying that we're not going to know how long these story stages will last.   I rushed to get the refugee one completed in a single night when it's clear that it will be around for a few days.   Players don't like to be surprised this way, I think ArenaNet would be much better served by a clearer schedule when the events will be available.   Suddenly removing them will tick off people without warning will tick off people no matter how long they've been up.

But I'm a story-hound so I'm really excited to hear that there will be more development on that side of things.  So far I haven't seen a really worthwhile villain in GW2 like the Lich or Shiro from GW1 and a good story needs a decent villain.   The Elder Dragons are like having a hurricane as the villain, which can work but it's not the same as having a real nemesis you can hate.

#8 Kovares

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:07 AM

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Will introduce you to new heroic characters, mysterious plot twists, and dramatic moments that affect the world

Wow, after the "personal story", I am already afraid of more of their abysmal storytelling...

#9 Craywulf

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:10 AM

I wouldn't worry about how often these LS' (Living Story) are updated. I think it will vary depending on how big of story it is and what they wanna do. So some months there might be a small update and other times they'll deliver bigger update much later. Point here is that these LS are going continuously evolve throughout the lifespan of the game. This is attempt by ArenaNet to create a more lively world. Whether it becomes successful, remains to be seen. I will say this, success or fail, I think this is step in the right direction in giving open world more credibility in terms of story and lore.

View PostDoctor Overlord, on 01 February 2013 - 12:06 AM, said:

Thanks for the link, I hadn't seen that blogpost.   It sounds very cool.  


It is a little worrying that we're not going to know how long these story stages will last.   I rushed to get the refugee one completed in a single night when it's clear that it will be around for a few days.   Players don't like to be surprised this way, I think ArenaNet would be much better served by a clearer schedule when the events will be available.   Suddenly removing them will tick off people without warning will tick off people no matter how long they've been up.
I'm sorry but I disagree, I think players have gotten far too spoiled by knowing too much about the scope of the story. If we are to expect ArenaNet to create a living, breathing world, then these LS should not be a "scheduled" event. It's like saying your house will be on fire from 10am to 11pm everyday for this month only, please make a point to put out the fire between this allotted time. What's wrong with showing up late and barely help put an unscheduled fire out? The latter is more plausible and makes for greater impact in terms of feeling like the players who were actually there to put fire out mattered. Of course I realize that there are millions of players would "miss out" on it. Truthfully people miss out on stuff that goes on all around them. So why suddenly is it unfair in a massive online video game?

I thought Lost Shores was much greater live event, I know people had problems, but it was more technical as well as lack of understanding that it was in fact "live" event. Most just expected these events to happen just because they themselves showed up.

#10 Evokerz

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:04 AM

View PostDoctor Overlord, on 01 February 2013 - 12:06 AM, said:

So far I haven't seen a really worthwhile villain in GW2 like the Lich or Shiro from GW1 and a good story needs a decent villain.   The Elder Dragons are like having a hurricane as the villain, which can work but it's not the same as having a real nemesis you can hate.

Well, we have Grand Marshal Trehearne, he is a major villain to my character, made me do all the dirty work and he takes all the credit him self :)

#11 Osiris Neits

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:32 AM

View PostEvokerz, on 01 February 2013 - 01:04 AM, said:

Well, we have Grand Marshal Trehearne, he is a major villain to my character, made me do all the dirty work and he takes all the credit him self :)

I really hate that guy. So arrogant and condescending. "Yeah, I know those guys were trying to kill you, but it's obvious they are REALLY just trying to get to ME." Ok, dude, w/e.

#12 Butcher

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:18 AM

Living story in GW2: fix signs, and light fires.

Pretty lame TBH.

#13 Lol Lol Lol Guy

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:23 AM

View PostKovares, on 01 February 2013 - 12:07 AM, said:

Wow, after the "personal story", I am already afraid of more of their abysmal storytelling...

The personal story was the lowest point of Anet's writing ever. The lore in gw2 however is still pretty dang good. It wasnt the story of Gw2 that was bad (it was generic but not really bad) it's just the execution of HOW the story came to be. lol

#14 Zedabi

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:52 AM

View PostButcher, on 01 February 2013 - 03:18 AM, said:

Living story in GW2: fix signs, and light fires.

Pretty lame TBH.

You're one of those who skips to the end of the book, right?

#15 Baron von Scrufflebutt

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:01 AM

This is my big issue:

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This content will stick around for a couple months, so you have plenty of time to play it before it goes away ...
I REALLY wish they'd focus on permanent additions to the world. Fill the world with on-demand, permanent content and THEN add things that will be later removed because I honestly do not think that the game has enough content to be able to focus on throw-away content at this time.

#16 Volkon

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:55 PM

Please, don't bring Trehearne into this. This won't end well if you do.

#17 Doctor Overlord

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:43 PM

View PostCraywulf, on 01 February 2013 - 12:10 AM, said:

I wouldn't worry about how often these LS' (Living Story) are updated. I think it will vary depending on how big of story it is and what they wanna do. So some months there might be a small update and other times they'll deliver bigger update much later. Point here is that these LS are going continuously evolve throughout the lifespan of the game. This is attempt by ArenaNet to create a more lively world. Whether it becomes successful, remains to be seen. I will say this, success or fail, I think this is step in the right direction in giving open world more credibility in terms of story and lore.

I'm sorry but I disagree, I think players have gotten far too spoiled by knowing too much about the scope of the story. If we are to expect ArenaNet to create a living, breathing world, then these LS should not be a "scheduled" event. It's like saying your house will be on fire from 10am to 11pm everyday for this month only, please make a point to put out the fire between this allotted time. What's wrong with showing up late and barely help put an unscheduled fire out? The latter is more plausible and makes for greater impact in terms of feeling like the players who were actually there to put fire out mattered. Of course I realize that there are millions of players would "miss out" on it. Truthfully people miss out on stuff that goes on all around them. So why suddenly is it unfair in a massive online video game?
This is a story and if you want to keep people's interest in a story you make certain they have the chance to consistently follow it.    Books aren't published with randomly skipped chapters and TV shows have learned to re-broadcast their new episodes at different times in the same week.

I'm not saying we need an exact timetable like we saw with holiday events or the Lost Shores where we knew the precise hour that something was going to happen.   What I'm suggesting is that we be told what we can expect as far as rough time scales.  How long will the refugees will be running around, is it a few days?   A few weeks? It sounds like new clues are already being introduced.   That's great but how long will they stick around?

Plus ArenaNet decided to connected achievements into the Living Story.  An achievement is a distinct goal and basically that means we're keeping score of our progress.  And in that case we need more information for players who either want to maximize their score or want to try to follow the complete story.  

It doesn't diminish the immersion of the Living Story by knowing the time scales of its parts anymore knowing the length of a book or how long a movie runs lessens the experience.    Immersion is obtained by the quality of the story when it is being shown to you.   Knowing the time it takes to see story allows you to fit it into your schedule so you don't have to worry about missing it.

#18 Caerulei

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 02:16 AM

Goodness, Guru forums are so heavy and serious.  Let's lighten things up on this topic.

So, calling it now, Rox is Ritlock's new babe.  Just my suspicion.

I'm looking forward to meeting all the other recurring characters (provided Trahearne keeps his leafy derrière back in Orr) and new characters such as Rox.  This means more voice acting, more charr story, more Steve Blum :cool: , so I'm a happy charr.

Although, this could ruin my headcanon concerning Ritlock and Caithe... ;)

#19 Eddie Sells Out

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:10 PM

View PostZedabi, on 01 February 2013 - 09:52 AM, said:

You're one of those who skips to the end of the book, right?

I don't understand what you mean? I tried playing some of the living story today, was told to do to the plains to help the refugees. Tried speaking to them, they won't tell me anything, lit the fire, fixed the sign. Still nothing, moved on to the next pointer on the map. Same thing.

Hardly interesting, if Im missing something, please tell me, because I'd like to go do it, but unfortunately the game doesn't seem to be giving me many indications of what to do, other than the fire lighting and sign fixing. Not really sure what the story is meant to be about.

#20 Zedabi

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 03:48 AM

View PostEddie Sells Out, on 02 February 2013 - 05:10 PM, said:



I don't understand what you mean? I tried playing some of the living story today, was told to do to the plains to help the refugees. Tried speaking to them, they won't tell me anything, lit the fire, fixed the sign. Still nothing, moved on to the next pointer on the map. Same thing.

Hardly interesting, if Im missing something, please tell me, because I'd like to go do it, but unfortunately the game doesn't seem to be giving me many indications of what to do, other than the fire lighting and sign fixing. Not really sure what the story is meant to be about.


At the moment you're just helping a bunch of refugees out by putting signs up, lighting fires yadda yadda.

We don't know what has caused the refugees to flee yet, because we haven't got to that part of the story yet.

Kinda like reading a book. You reveal stuff as you go along, and not all right at the beginning.

After all, we can't predict the future :)