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Hot on the heels of yesterday’s post about role-playing, ANet announced more information today about personality in GW2. I’m excited about this update for sure because it adds character to, well, characters. To date, very little information about role-playing has been shared by ANet. As I stated yesterday, players are more or less on their own to create the experience. The personality update today provides the average player with the opportunity to flesh out their character during game play.

Most people are comparing the personality and personal story system to that of Mass Effect, and rightfully so, it is a good example of what, I believe, ANet is trying to do here. Mass Effect offered a bi-directional personality structure based on Paragon (read: good) and Renegade (read: evil). The player could create a character personality by making decisions that were similar to one of the ends of this continuum. GW2 offers a tri-directional personality structure of ferocity, dignity, and charm. Players can pick one and go with it, become a combination of these, or completely change their personality as the game goes on. Hey man, people change!

What this means for the average player:

People who play the game casually are treated to a more personalized game. They can make decisions and progress their story the way they like. If they don’t like how things turn out, GW2 allows them to change their personality through later decisions. In essence, players put just a little bit of thought into their characters during creation and at each decision and their whole gaming experience opens up. Beats the heck out of rolling a fighter and going to kill stuff. And hey, if that is how you like playing, that’s great and you can still play that way!

What this means for the player who enjoys role-playing:

This is another level of character development and personalization that can be done in game and experienced in game. It functions as a solo-role-playing experience akin to Mass Effect and other console-based RPGs. You get to customize not only your character history, character name, equipment, armor, titles, etc., but you also get to customize your experience in the world based on the decisions you make. For those of us who role-play with other people, it allows us to get to know our characters better and understand how they would make decisions. The personal story/personality system pretty much what people do when they role-play together anyway. The main difference is that the GW2 system can be seen as scripted role playing, while the person-to-person role-playing that people are talking about on the forums, participate in in paper and dice games like D&D and GURPS, and engage in with each other in guild halls or international districts of towns in GW is more free-form, unscripted role-playing.

For players new to role-playing:

RPGs like Mass Effect and this new personal story/personality system function as “training” for people who have never role-played. It is just you and you get immediate feedback from the game. If you’re interested in role-playing with other people, consider joining a role-playing guild. Sentinels of the Six and Forever Knights are a couple of examples–the latter is where I got my start in GW. Also, if you’re active on the GW2Guru forums, consider joining this group to learn about new GW2 RP guilds.