And yet at the same time, I am glad for it's current implementation because we all know A.Net can do, and has done, worse.
As far as I can see in GW2, the personal story is completely optional. The player must complete the tutorial, but after that, the player really doesn't need to touch the story ever again. With that, A.Net introduced yet another way of dealing with the game's story: in GW1, we experienced the story in different ways. Which brings me to the why I am glad with GW2's PS implementation.
In Factions/Nightfall the story was completely mandatory for the player to advance. Regardless of how many times one did it already, or how excruciatingly boring it was - if one wanted to advance, the story had to be played though. With that in mind, I absolutely adore the optimal PS.
At the same time, we also had Prophecies - which dealt with the story in a yet another way. The story was only semi-optional - there were missions one needed to do to be able to reach certain locations, but at the same time, there were missions one could easily skip. Not only that, one could do the optional missions out of order. (Let's not also forget that GW1's missions were repeatable, which is also a plus, but not really relevant to this.)
GW2 now mixes multiple approaches to come up with something new and the result, while not reaching Nightfall/Faction's level of stupidity, is still pretty darn bad.
In GW2, single story parts are split among multiple locations, and that combined with paid waypoints makes for a lot of running back and forth. The story is also limited by levels. And lastly, there's no way to skip certain steps.
Not only that, but combined with the rest of the game (DEs and hearts), we can end up with a game where ANY kind of reason why our characters are actually in the world and why they are doing the things that they are doing, is ultimately completely non-existent.
As I have said a number of times, I never do the PS. My warrior ended up at the lvl 10ish quest and my mesmer completed the Jotun cave part. The constant back and forth, waiting for the right level, needing to be in specific locations and not being able to skip parts of the story led to me simply giving up on the story. The story is so optional that you actually need to overcome inconveniences to do it.
As a result, I have absolutely no idea what the connection between my character and the world is - I am simply there, killing deer. While the Nightfall Sunspear story was forced down my throat, at least I knew why I was there. Making everything mandatory is bad, but failing to give you a reason why you are playing the game, isn't that much better.
So, looking forward, I really like the optional approach to the story, but I really hope A.Net makes it MUCH less inconvenient to participate in it. For instance, adding a "Start Mission" button to your PS, so that you can start the next step in your PS from ANYWHERE in the world and are then returned to the location where you started the mission from, would go a long way. Or, removing waypoint fees.
The world simply does not give you enough of a reason for you being in it, to be able to make it THIS optional.
Edited by Protoss, 15 December 2012 - 06:13 PM.