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Personality in Guild Wars 2: NPCs will give you pie

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

Do you like pie? Do you want game NPCs to give you free pie? How about a free jar of bees? (Don't look so surprised, it's an excellent weapon.) It may sound funny, but free goodies from NPCs are all part of the personality system in Guild Wars 2.

Way back in May, ArenaNet's Ree Soesbee gave us an exciting overview of how your personal story will work in Guild Wars 2. The whole point of personal story, and dynamic events for that matter, is to make you feel that you're truly in the world and making an impact.

However, it's a bit immersion-breaking if you've been tearing around building a reputation as a centaur-slaying hero, and then you enter town to be greeted by blank stares and static dialogue from every NPC. ArenaNet thought of this too. Follow along after the jump to see how the developers have addressed this issue in the latest blog entry: Personality in Guild Wars 2.

What's interesting about this newest blog entry is how so much of what we've learned before comes together. We've heard about karma, we've heard about personal story, and we've heard about the biography at character creation. These elements make for potentially great gameplay in their own right, but together they add up to lay the foundation for your character to have a truly unique personality that affects everything about the world around her.

Game Designer Curtis Johnson penned this entry, and he paints a picture of RP heaven: "In Guild Wars 2, we're going even further to make the out-of-combat experience a role playing experience by introducing "personality" as a player character role. How you respond to other characters develops and changes your personality over time, letting you affect how the game treats you. Personality is your character's attitude toward others; it grows and changes as you play through your personal story and as you adventure in the persistent world."

As you develop your personality, you'll unlock titles and earn rewards, but the reactions of those around you are the truly interesting part. If you've got a scary tough-guy reputation, merchants will cower at your approach, hoping to avoid your notice. Their reactions as you pass by, even without direct interaction, will be a direct reflection of the personality you've cultivated.

What if you decide to change after a while? If you're sick of being sweet and polite to everyone, that's okay. Part of the dynamic nature of the game means that you're never stuck with a choice like that. You can begin giving your reputation a makeover at any time, and teach those around you a thing or two about the new you.

Of course, this isn't for everyone. If you've been reading through this groaning and thinking that there's no way you want to be forced into a roleplay situation, never fear: "But what if you don't want to read flowery language and pick from a lot of dialog? What if you just want to simply kill everything and hand in some heads for a reward? No problem! We understand that not everyone wants to hone their interpersonal skills with NPC banter, but we recognize they don't want to miss out on all the benefits either. Well, have no fear because the most rewarding NPCs will, as an alternative, also sell their services for some gold if you haven't developed your personality or earned enough karma. And if you truly don't want to be bothered reading at all, we make clear the shortest path through a conversation so you can get back to the fighting."

As always, it looks like ArenaNet has added a little something to appeal to everyone, while making the overall experience something more immersive than what we've seen before. Check out the ArenaNet blog for the full story.

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