All the World’s a Stage

Posted: September 22, 2011 in Off Cuts

I’ve never considered role-playing in a computer game before. Ever.

Two things have significantly swayed me in the past eight or so months though. First and foremost – Guild Wars 2. As the amount of information being revealed has slowly swelled from a trickle to a torrent my imagination has grown with it. Even though only a relatively small part of Tyria has thus far been revealed through the various demos I already feel drawn into the fabric of this lovingly created universe. I care about the overarching storyline, the different races and the world as a whole.

The other factor that has fired my imagination has been the Mass Effect series. Almost chalk and cheese when compared to Guild Wars 2 I know, a sci-fi RPG / third person shooter and a fantasy MMORPG, but bear with me.

What really drew me into the Mass Effect series was the role-playing element. I played my first femshep as me from a moral standpoint, so she ended up about 75% paragon, 25% renegade. I found the storyline and the ability to choose different dialogue options and actions to be incredibly immersive.

Finishing the first game was a major milestone for me – it was the first (single player) game I have ever played all the way through to the credits. Considering how many games I own and how long I have been gaming that is both a very embarrassing admission and a testament to how great the game is.

Upon finishing Mass Effect I promptly imported my existing femshep into Mass Effect 2 and played that right through to the credits as well. For the sake of nostalgia I’m going to make the third game I play all the way through Mass Effect 3. I pre-ordered the collectors edition a few weeks ago.

While a little different from the paragon/renegade system in the Mass Effect series, the personality system of Guild Wars 2 will add immeasurably to the role-playing experience for me. It will even allow for a change of personality over time, depending upon the responses you choose when interacting with NPC’s. Tired of being a persuasive charmer? Choose a certain path of responses over time and you can eventually wrap up a conversation by punching the other party in the face.

I don’t yet know to what extent I’ll role-play in Guild Wars 2, or on how many characters. I have eight characters planned already, one for each profession. I also have an extensive back story written up for one of them, but he isn’t going to be my main.

Being able to join multiple guilds with one character is certainly going to open up a lot of possibilities and flexibility. If I do choose to role-play a certain character I can have him in my main guild to play with my mates, but also with a role-playing guild for the times I want to immerse myself a little more in the world.

The depth and quality of the Guild Wars universe lore weaves a rich tapestry against which to let my imagination run free.

The men and women of Tyria are ready, and we shall be more than mere players.

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