GW2 and Writing: The Lack of Depth
So, I am literally sick and tired of basically being told that I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to writing, lore, depth, story, etc. So I've decided to outline 3 basic examples of what I'm talking about when I say that "GW2's writing is weak".
Guild Wars 2: Guardians
So what do we know about Guardians from within the game itself? Well, we know that they're soldiers and tacticians, that they excel at selflessly protecting their allies from harm.
Where do they draw their powers from? According to the wiki and the official website, Guardians draw their powers from their virtues. And that's pretty much all we know about Guardians canonically.
Where do they get their virtues from? Are they granted by a higher power or are they given to them upon completing their training? Where do they train to become Guardians? When I create my character and start off as a level 1 Guardian, how did I get there?
Every race in the game can be a Guardian, now that's a design choice and a really good design choice. But while creating your character you're given the option to follow some form of deity or higher power. This would lead us to believe that Guardians are not religious since each race worships different deities. Which means they can't draw their powers from a higher power since Humans/Norns/Sylvari etc don't worship the same.
So where the hell are they getting their powers from? All we really know, is that it's considered as "magic". There is nothing written in game or out of game that explains how a Guardian comes to be a Guardian. So unless I missed it somewhere, it's literally not shown in game what so ever. This is what I'm talking about when I say that the game lacks a lot of actual depth.
Paladins in Dungeons and Dragons(all versions) are much more in depth. Every race can be a Paladin, just like in Guild Wars 2, however every race also has the option to select a deity to follow and every race can choose from all of them.
The deity you choose when you create your character is what grants you all of your abilities and powers. But there are some very strict rules which you cannot cross. For example, deities come with alignments and you're required to stay within said alignment to maintain a spiritual connection with your deity. If you follow Aendar, who's Lawful/Good, and your character shifts to Chaotic/Evil, your abilities, your powers, everything that makes you a Paladin will be ripped from you and you'll be left as a normal character that can only use basic attacks.
Each deity also grants you specific types of powers and abilities as all of them have varrying alignments and elements. If you worship an earth deity for example you'll have access to specific abilities that someone worshiping a fire deity wouldn't.
In addition, each deity has their own lore and backstories (which can also be altered and added on by the GM for even more depth). It feels more complete, it feels like you have more of a purpose and a place in the world to have this kind of depth to come back to.
But hey, that's a table top game, not a video game. Fey you're an idiot, it's completely different. So lets look at another game series
Warcraft: Paladins (and no, not just WoW. All of Warcraft)
So Paladins in Warcraft are a little different than D&D. Everything about Paladins is explained inside the games (the RTS and the MMO) as well as a metric-crap-ton of additional info outside the games. And when I say everything, I mean everything.
Where they come from. Why they exist. How they train to become Paladins. How they are granted their powers. etc etc.
Where do Paladins come from? The Knights of the Silver Hand was the original paladin order. Formed during the Second War, it was at its height until the time of the Plague. As paladins were immune to the Plague (and indeed all diseases), many members of the Order survived the initial push of the Scourge.
Like D&D, Paladins in Warcraft are the virtuous defenders of the weak and tireless. Though unlike D&D their main enemies are the Undead and the Burning Legion. Also similarly to D&D, a paladin must be good and will lose all Light-given abilities if he ever willingly commits an evil act. So basically the same minus the customization.
Now Paladins literally gain their powers from The Holy Light. The followers of the Holy Light do not worship any gods. Instead, it is a philosophy, training its followers to seek perfection within themselves. It is very much an active practice of virtue rather than a passive worship. Those who follow it closely gain spiritual awareness and guidance, allowing them to lead others. This directly translates to all of their abilities and powers through every Warcraft game.
So bam. There you go. There's obviously a lot more story and lore than that, but you get the idea. This is what they are, this is why they exist, this is where they get their powers from, etc. All of it and more explained.
Why is this important?
Because honestly it bugs the crap out of me that a game that I love is so god damn shallow. I create a Guardian, I'm lvl 1, and I can do stuff. Cool. Zero immersion for my class, no idea where I came from. I'm just here. I could always come up with an RP reason for why I'm here, but I'd just be making up 90% of it out of my ass. And any other Guardian out there could come up with their own reasons and we could easily be conflicted which is confusing.
Compared to. I created a Paladin in D&D or Warcraft, and everything is explained. Where my class comes from, what their history is, their purpose, their code. etc. And because all of this is available to me, I am then able to build myself into said story and RP accurately without risk of God-moding or creating random crap out of thin air. And other people RPing can easily understand and find reference to what my character is doing.
I follow the Holy Light, I can heal with it. I follow Aendar, I'm going to obviously be RPing as a Lawful Good character, I'm a Paladin so I can do these abilities while RPing.
Depth is important to the RPG experience of being in a god damn RPG. It is not okay to just go "oh you're here and you can use these abilities because you can" that is weak writing.
And it's not just classes either. Everything I just posted that most of you probably didn't read can be applied to almost all of GW2.