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How Players are Permanently Changing Guild Wars 2's Living World


In an interview with IGNs Leah B. Jackson, Arenanet game director Colin Johanson looks back at the first season of the Living World, the upcoming feature patch, and lessons learned during the first season.  He also briefly outlines some design changes for Living World patches that are coming as a part of season two.  You can read the full interview on IGNs website.

The other takeaway is how players get more excited for a story if it creates a permanent change in the world, or creates a sense that the world is constantly evolving. "That is something we're going to embrace more in future seasons," Johanson said.  Players want to feel like they have an impact, and they like going back six months after an event ends to see what that impact is.
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#1 Mordakai

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 07:01 PM

Well, here's the problem: I don't feel like I changed anything.

Lion's Arch would still be destroyed no matter what my character did.


But if the Living Story was underwhelming, I am excited about future updates. (Even if they are only quality of life updates).

#2 Desild

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 07:13 PM

I specially liked how I my alt could see the Epilogue of the Living Story, despite the fact she never saw those people before. Trully a life changing experience that I was in complete control.

Damned PR propaganda...

#3 Mordakai

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 07:27 PM

[quote name='Desild' timestamp='1396898005' post='2314793']
I specially liked how I my alt could see the Epilogue of the Living Story, despite the fact she never saw those people before. Trully a life changing experience that I was in complete control.

Damned PR propaganda...
[/quote]

Yes, the major downside of account based content.

"Thank you, [brand new character], for killing Scarlet."

The worst part was getting those exploding packages for each new character after the attack on Divinity's Reach...

#4 MazingerZ

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 07:37 PM

[quote name='Mordakai' timestamp='1396897267' post='2314778']Well, here's the problem: I don't feel like I changed anything.[/quote]

I'm sure many players changed GW2's Living World.  They monetarily sustained it for another season.

But yes, it does seem as if you're just fighting against a rising tide of story.  Really, the only option (theoretically) was the Kiel vs Ebon vote and even then, whose to say that would have changed the overall outcome, even if he handled it differently.

Remember, these assets are developed months in advance... They don't throw anything out and either find a way to re-purpose it or go ahead and use it anyway.

Its not a Choose Your Adventure book like the PS was.  And the Choose Your Adventure for the PS was nice up until Trahearne... it got accolades up till that point.  They should really try pushing that model again...
It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#5 Mordakai

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 08:28 PM

There were opportunities in the Living Story to give the player instances where he/she may have been able to make subtle choices.

Then, these choices could have triggered different instances in future updates.  But that is a lot of work, and might piss off more people than it pleases (people who want to see every choice).

#6 MCBiohazard

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 08:33 PM

I think the only part of that article I agreed with was the decision to not detail every change in the patch notes. That was the only part of the Living Story that seemed to generate any actual interest since you could sometimes hear new voice dialogue or see a random new NPC in a place you've walked by many times over but never really felt a need to interact with. If you decided to opt in and investigate, then you were somewhat rewarded with a little bit of foreshadowing or lore tchotchke and that is the sort of thing that gets people curious. A lot of people ignored it completely but the people who set map exploration as a goal beyond just getting the POIs and vistas in a zone were rewarded for taking the time to look around.

#7 Zhaitan

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 08:44 PM

It was difficult for me to read the whole interview. Why? I was distracted so much by the noise of patting one's own back, I could hardly focus on the content.

Honestly, Season one, if not the only season ever, was not as successful as he claims it was. But, I will give ANET 100% for trying something different. Question is: can they build on this experience or lose it by doing nothing.

#8 pumpkin pie

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 06:53 AM

New Characters don't get their name on the notice board?? Do they? I think this is an account bound thing. maybe should make it character base.

My secondary account don't have it because that account isn't active, and have not been following the scarlet story,  when i go to Lion's Arch to check the notice board, this account's name isn't mention . just says some heros bla bla bla.

#9 swordmagic

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 02:13 PM

Well... if they are gonna continue with LS and NOT bring an expansion into GW2, i am most likely to quit the game in a month or so.
I want new area's to explore, new enemies, new sights.

Whatever is the plan with LS, it's not for me.
Its a little quick content - sometimes nice, most of the time annoying - which i really don't care about anymore.

Lately, i find myself logging in to the game, do some dailies, maybe a few world events and then ... i get bored.
Could be only me, but thats the way it is for me atm

#10 pumpkin pie

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 03:12 PM

Living Story will most likely lead to new explorable areas IMHO. Bringing the whole new deal with it.

#11 Desild

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 01:05 PM

View Postpumpkin pie, on 08 April 2014 - 03:12 PM, said:

Living Story will most likely lead to new explorable areas IMHO. Bringing the whole new deal with it.

I'd be a lot happier if every chapter of the Living Story actually came with a new area, a new chapter for the Personal Story, and a bundle of Hearts and Vistas.

I can't believe I'm actually still feeding hope for this game...

#12 swordmagic

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 06:16 AM

Got the same feeling Desild.

In one season of LS we got q new permanent map (Southsun Cove) which is also the worst designed map yet.
If they would make the LS so, that with every new chapter it opens up new maps, like the crystal desert, i would be much happier.
But i dont see that happening.

#13 icegrover

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 04:28 PM

How long would the novelty of a new map last before it becomes stale or worse, barren? I don't see that as being an exciting feature to draw me back in to playing a lot. The stuff coming on the 15th isn't either, for that matter.

#14 Mordakai

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 08:29 PM

New race, new profession...  hell I would take new weapons at this point.

Something new

#15 MasterDinadan

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 09:38 PM

I might be the outlier here, but just loved the living world stuff. However, I'm a very casual player. There were many living story chapters I did not even log in for, but I really enjoyed being able to see new things each time I logged in, and the idea that the game world was going on with or without me was nice, if I didn't like the current stuff, I could take a break and come back in two weeks to try the next chapter.

There were issues - some of the achievements were irritating, but largely this was ok since you didn't need all of them. I also did not really keep up with the actual story, and sometimes would log in to a cutscenes that didn't make any sense to me because it lacked context. Also, my inbox would have mail that didn't make sense because I had not logged in for the previous chapter. They need to do better about telling a story that you don't feel lost in if you jumped in during the middle of it.

Anyway, I realize that right now, with no living story stuff happening, I get a little bored. I liked the appeal of having a 2-week goal to pursue that was something a little different each time, I keep finding myself looking for the living story achieve category when I'm done with my daily, and it's not there.

As long as they keep making some improvements, I'll be happy. I know the whole concept is a little rough, but it's very innovative and I'm honestly amazed that they were able to release updates at such a pace.

#16 konsta_hoptrop

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 07:09 AM

so bored from GW2 atm, playing Marvel avengers alliance on facebook.... and log in gw2 once for 5 mins per week. The game really screams for new areas and skills and stuff and stuff. I have 5 alts at 80 and i am so bored from that map i swear i can puke only by the look of some zones. That new feature patch is good polishing but i hope they release content patch soon with something actually interesting for veteran players

#17 konsta_hoptrop

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 07:20 AM

i am on the same boat dude. I think that they are going in the wrong direction with that LS gem store based updates. The bad thing is that they think that they are innovative and unique with that 2 week ls updates ....

[quote name='swordmagic' timestamp='1396966385' post='2315000']
Well... if they are gonna continue with LS and NOT bring an expansion into GW2, i am most likely to quit the game in a month or so.
I want new area's to explore, new enemies, new sights.

Whatever is the plan with LS, it's not for me.
Its a little quick content - sometimes nice, most of the time annoying - which i really don't care about anymore.

Lately, i find myself logging in to the game, do some dailies, maybe a few world events and then ... i get bored.
Could be only me, but thats the way it is for me atm
[/quote]

#18 nerfandderf

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 06:26 PM

Did it ever occur in his brain that the only reason players speculate is because that is all there is?

It is great that he took all this from a few posts and a few players that enjoyed that. What about the 95% that didnt or only did so because this is as good as it gets.

From that interview it appears that he blocks out all criticisms of the game and all the things players have asked for and requested as features.

#19 icegrover

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 11:58 PM

All you have to do is read the interviews he has done and you'd realize he's nearly as delusional as they come. Whether he's over-hyping crappy patches, or saying how great everything has been and how it has forever changed the shape of MMOs, all while plugging his ears and yelling LALALALA towards criticism, well I think you get the picture by now. I still feel bad for the guy, if only for the stated reasons.

#20 Robsy128

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 06:35 AM

I haven't even logged into this game recently. And by recently, I mean about 6 months. I used to really love defending the team and saying 'yes, just wait, it's going to be amazing! Just be patient! They'll release more content soon!'

Yet we're still waiting. It's been almost 2 years since the release of Guild Wars 2 (we're only 4 months away). Surely they've got something new and exciting hidden away! This living story stuff is an interesting idea, although it just isn't really working. The story is bland at best (although we saw a new dragon awake at the end so that's kind of exciting). The gem store stuff is only really viable if you're willing to give them £10 for a set of armour every month, or if you make enough gold in-game to buy the gems. But you can't really do that unless you play the trading post like a professional or grind the same dungeons over and over again. And we've been stuck with the same dungeons for the past 2 years now.

The events are... fairly fun if you're in the mood. But those toxic alliance fights were fairly awful. The events didn't scale whatsoever and when they do they just add more health to the enemies which works in theory, but takes forever in practise. The achievements, I felt, were fairly pointless as well unless you wanted some random thing in your home instance that generates one crafting material per day. And even then they were a pain to get, so the time vs reward just wasn't worth it.

All I really want is a really fun and intriguing story that actually threatens a world I can fall in love with easily. I want fun gameplay as well that I can experience with friends or random strangers. Grinding health down on bosses and enemies is not what I call fun and being forced into the same dungeons we've had for years to make any decent amount of money is just ridiculous to say the least.

I am hoping they'll add more races, weapons, maps and stories to the world of Tyria, but right now it just doesn't have the magic that captivated me so much in the original Guild Wars. The world doesn't feel threatened. There is no need for heroes.