Most people who play MMOs enjoy the social aspect of online multiplayer, but there's a healthy share of gamers out there who prefer and yearn for a more personal experience. Something along the lines of single-player RPGs, where the entire in-game world is tailored to your character, your tastes, and your decisions. You, you, you.
The talented folks behind Guild Wars 2 know this and are promising to deliver. Lore & Continuity Designer Ree Soesbee introduces some of the ways they've made the next Guild Wars more personal.
"One of the challenges of a massively-multiplayer game is that in being inclusive to a vast number of people, it loses a lot of the personal interaction that makes single-player RPGs so much fun. When you're looking at the games on the store shelf, it seems you have only two options - a game that you can play with your friends, or a game that has a satisfying personal story. The Guild Wars 2 design team believes that a game should have both."
This comes with the challenge of balancing "epic and individual," crafting the overall world lore and storyline while ensuring that the individual experience isn't compromised. As the Elder Dragons awaken and make Tyria very unhappy, your character will be experiencing his or her own storyline.
When starting out, you'll be creating a biography when molding your character, beyond the cosmetic details. The player determines how a character reacts to the ever-changing in-game world, be it making friends or finding a personal cause in the fight against evil. Once you've determined the race and appearance of your character, you can choose his/her backstory, personality, and so on. Some defining traits may be discovered later during early quest lines, and in any case, NPCs react accordingly to your personality.
You can spend as much time as you like on creating a hero, and there's a "random selection" option for the impatient. Each player gets a personalized home within their character's racial capitol city, which is created based on the character's nature and background.
Bottom line is to prevent players from simply fading into MMO-anonimity, and Soesbee is just as excited as the rest of us.
Guild Wars 2 tells the tale of the rise of the Elder Dragons of Tyria, the last chance for all nations to come together to save their world - but most importantly, it is the story of YOU, the player within that world, and the heroic adventures and tales you experience in this amazingly expansive world. Our philosophy is that the player is the most important part of the game. ArenaNet is bringing to life a massive world of events, storylines, and characters - all we need is you. So now I just have to ask you one thing...
What is your story?
Guild Wars 2 is expected to release some time in 2011. Get pumped.