How to write the beginning/opening of a story?

The general core is the main character driving the story, yes, and his motivations is the key aspect for that drive, also yes. Yet, I do not think there any issues with starting the character already having their goals in minds, or currently facing a problem where their goals are compromised. It’s all about the execution.

Opening the story with the main character having a goal in mind, there’s no need for comparison. Instead, we’re left with how the character will change throughout that story. For example, the character is a drunkard, but throughout the story, he becomes less depended on alcohol, and his personality changes significantly compared to how he was in the beginning chapters. In the end, he quits drinking and becomes more responsible. What should be a requirement isn’t a comparison to before and after, but rather how they progress throughout the story until to the end, where their viewpoints will change.

This isn’t to say that it cannot reference those before times, that can be done through character interaction, say a guy knew the drunkard and states that “he was always in high class before he took the bottle. Ever since, the bottle became his world, and his personality drown in sorrows.”

I don’t think there needs to be a build up to a certain scenario, but that depends on the story you want to tell. In my example, does there need to be any build up to the world being engulfed in flames? Perhaps, but starting the story with the world already in fire, with the main character completely baffled can also hook the audience to invested more, rather than being spoonfed straight out the gate with mundane build-up that doesn’t need to be addressed (again, this is all dependent on the story to tell, and which techniques is more effective); it sounds like it's more like world-building, than actually writing a story.

I also argue that the audience might have some idea of the character based on the information provided. Albeit short, we know straight away that the main character is a drunkard, or drink himself to a drunken state that he’d fell off his bed in a sloppy manner.
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