So in an interview with Ree Soesbee at VG247, a question was asked as to whether the focus on story is hurting gameplay, and the reply included the line “I don’t think that story and gameplay are in any way harmful to one another”. I disagree with this.
Now, I don’t see any evidence the focus on story has hurt the gameplay in Guild Wars 2 at all. However, I do think the story could be better if they were willing to change the gameplay to match it. For one example, they’ve made a big deal of having characters face a large boss and become a hero very early on, at the end of the tutorial section. But gameplay wise, the character is still very low level, and less powerful than most monsters and NPCs in the game. This dissonance between story and gameplay is just ignored.
The same sort of dissonance is why I’m leaning against playing an Engineer or Warrior.
I’m happy to see story become more important across all sorts of games; I hope one day we’ll see RPGs where the story and the gameplay actually support each other well, but I don’t think we’re anywhere close yet.