Guild Wars 2 on the storytelling philosophy of next week’s No Quarter episode

    
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ArenaNet’s Novera King has emerged to pen Guild Wars 2’s latest dev blog – no surprise since it’s about storytelling and she’s one of the studio’s key narrative designers. Specifically, it’s about storytelling that takes place not within instances but in the open world, and that includes everything from the environment and lighting to zone-wide announcements and ambient dialogue, not to mention NPC companions and map events. And all of it’s relevant to No Quarter, the next living story episode, which launches one week from today.

“The play becomes part of the story and the story part of the play.” -Novera King
“Every element of open world storytelling mentioned above is going to make an appearance in the meta-event for No Quarter,” she writes. “Plus, when we chose which NPCs to guide you through the linked events, we made sure to select characters with personal stakes in both the outcome of the meta and outcome of the golden path story. You’ll be spending quality time with a couple of the legion imperators, Efram Greetsglory and Malice Swordshadow, each with their own perspective on and experience of the civil war. And because the actions and activities that player characters engage in during this epic battle are tied to the most important themes of the episode, every moment you spend participating in this open world meta-event will make the commander’s journey richer and the story more impactful.”

A wee Drizzlewood Coast video accompanies the dev blog, proving once again that ArenaNet knows how to do pretty. On the other hand, it has technically been seven months since we had any confirmation from the studio about who is running the damn game. (Hey, can we nominate Novera King?)

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Fenrir Wolf

I’m excited for this but generally I’m far more intrigued with Jormag than I am with the charr war. I mean, the charr war is only happening because Bangar has… some issues to work through.

He’s charismatic and that’s problematic because he definitely has isues. For one thing, he feels like a failure compared to the other, more successful imperators, so he’s dealing with a lot of insecurity. He also feels less successful in his ventures than Rytlock, his subordinate, whom he’s paranoid of losing his position to. This has lead to a toxic inferiority complex that’s driving him to do these things.

Even Bangar’s racism can be tracked back his insecurities. Both Rytlock and Smodur have had more success with the other races, not Bangar. Therefore the other races must be evil, and only Bangar is strong enough to show them the light, only Bangar can free the charr from this new oppression they’ve unwittingly found themselves slaves to, only Bangar can tame Jormag.

Oh Bangar… What are we going to do with you?

Well, not murder you. I mean, Aurene made a point about that. It’s pointless to do so because it’ll only make him a martyr, the vacuum he leaves behind would just be filled with some other equally insecure hopeful looking to make their mark on the world.

Bangar needs therapy.

Jormag though… I feel a certain kinship to Jormag that I can’t exactly articulate, it’s actually lead to me creating art of Jormag for that reason. I find them inspiring.

The way Jormag is… I have a lot of familiarity with different personality types through therapy settings and life experiences and I can tell you that they’re on the level, but there’s someone else out to frame them. I have theories! The thing is? From the very first trailer, they haven’t sounded predatory or intimidated. It’s a mix of begging, reason, and frustration. They get very, very frustrated whenever they mention suffering, which just leaves me with this bizarre impression of a highly-sensitive dragon with too much empathy who’s simply unable to deal with all the pain in the world.

I have it on good authority that Jormag isn’t evil, too. Beyond that? I don’t know. I had a good idea they weren’t though, I mean, the voice actor would have to be pretty bad to mishandle tone that much and considering who Jormag’s voice actor is? I know they’re far too professional to make that mistake. Jormag sounds vulnerable, but I don’t think they know what’s going on either. Not fully.

My bet? Ever notice how Kralkatorrik’s torment looks like a crystalline version of Abaddon? Ever noticed how the weird green ghosts that’ve been turning up all throughout the Icebrood Saga look like realm of torment spectres? Also consider: “[The torment] promises, destroy everything, and the pain will cease” — Kralkatorrik

I think Abaddon is trying to destroy everything so that he can end his own torture and torment. I think he’s trying to smush realms together in order to do that. It’s just a hunch. I think basically he’s pushing against the very fabric of the mists to break reality. He’s gotten powerful enough that he’s been using some of the dragons to that end. I think that the whole charr war and the misdirection regarding Jormag is a giant distraction.

Instead of this, we should be paying very close attention to what Abaddon is doing.

We won’t do that until it’s too late, of course.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to building a council of redeemed dragons and that’s far more compelling to me than anything else Guild Wars 2 has done.

Footnote: For those who hadn’t noticed, there’s been a lot of mental health issues covered by Guild Wars, lately.

Rytlock: Inferiority complex. That’s really common amongst male charr, I think, perhaps something about the culture. He feels unworthy of Crecia and Ryland, so he keeps running off to tilt at windmills in an attempt to be worthy. This is something he actually even admits to us in Path of Fire.

Crecia: Codependency. After Rytlock having abandoned her and Ryland multiple times, she’s desperately looking for solidity and trust in her life. Bangar is exploiting that to ensure her loyalty. I feel Crecia is aware of this but she craves loyalty so much that it wouldn’t matter to her if she was being used.

Braham: Mommy/Daddy issues. He has complexes on top of complexes due to being betrayed so often, and with his issues having had him betray others as well he feels no better than those who’ve hurt him. The spirits of the wild really didn’t help him out in this regard, picking away at him like they did.

Marjory: Overprotective. She won’t face her past because she believes it’s up to her to be the strong, masculine one in her relationship. With Kasmeer’s beliefs recently callously destroyed, Marjory can’t really rely on Kas for support, she feels she has to be strong about Kas so she’s not facing he past traumas (Belinda).

And Jormag is literally begging to allow us their aid. What Jormag has said aren’t threats, but truths. Rytlock and Crecia’s wounds won’t heal because they won’t talk. We’re always picking up the pieces with Braham because he needs therapy and all we’ve done is put an elastic bandage on his mental booboos, so he’s always going to fall to pieces. Also, if you haven’t found Jormag’s hidden whisper yet…

We can repair what is broken, mend the wounds of this world; numb the pain with ice and frost.
You will see, I will help you to protect it, to defend it because I understand.
For the first time in millennia we can do what no others could, we can piece this world back together.
I understand this is what you want, it is the same as what I want, it is what we all want.
Cycles… come and gone, storms ebb and flow. The very movement of this world is pain.
The world pieced right back, freedom of certainty, of a world without this cycle of death.
We can change it, together! Seal the cycle, to heal Tyria! You’ve overcome so much, more than could be said.
I can feel it, all along the Shiverpeaks. [???] What you see in him… These memories of war.
Pain I shield, I will gladly take you. Your suffering is needless.
Please… Please let me help you. Our whole world suffers memories of a selfish past.
Nothing remains…

If you were trying to manipulate someone, that isn’t how you’d go about it. So I’m intrigued. I’m so eager to find out where they’re taking this story, but I can see that mental health issues heavily play into it.

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Bruno Brito

Wait, Rytlock was imperator?

I know the imperator is Smoldur. Did he die?

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Emmanuel Carabott

Smoldur is the Iron Legion imperator but essentially every legion has its own imperator like Bangar is the Blood legion Imperator. Rytlock is the blood legion tribune. I guess he might end up imperator if he kills Bangar but though he already had the opportunity and said he wasnt interested in the position.

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Arktouros

Wow a dev blog discussing story.

What a fantastic place to discuss story narrative design.

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Greaterdivinity

Holy hell I need that hummingbird skimmer(?) mount.

Sometimes we get the derpy unicorn/griffon mount.
Sometimes we get amazing looking mounts like this.

At least they’re consistently inconsistent : D