Guild Wars - Information About This Unique Online Game

By: Tom Kranz

Massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) have become the cash cow of the computer game industry in recent years. Titles like World of Warcraft have millions of players and are among the most popular titles ever. Developers ArenaNet are aiming to break WoW's stranglehold on this emerging market with an MMORPG with a twist - Guild Wars.

Unlike other games, Guild Wars has no monthly subscription. This is a popular model in South Korea, where cheap and high speed broadband has led to subscription free games becoming the norm. Guild Wars represented a large gamble for publishers NCSoft, however, as this model had not been tried with success in the rest of the world.

With over 4 million copies sold, it's safe to say that the gamble paid off, and Guild Wars is one of the most successful MMORPG titles. The game has three standalone campaigns - Propechies, Factions and Nightfall - which can be bought and played by themselves. However, if you own more than one title, you can move your character between the different lands opened up in each campaign. A larger story arc interlinks all of the campaigns, and certain skills, items, and features are only available in each campaign.

Recently the first full expansion, Eye of the North, was released. Eye of the North requires at least one campaign, and uses existing characters from that campaign to build on the storyline. As EotN is an expansion aimed at existing players, there is no introduction area as in other campaigns. The missions and quests are challenging and firmly aimed at experienced players.

An interesting aspect to Guild Wars is that not only is there a strong story running through all campaigns, but there is an equally strong focus on PvP (player versus player) battles. Regular tournaments are held for hefty real world cash prizes, and special PvP versions of all the campaigns can be bought.

This unique method of splitting role playing and PvP players ensures that the 'griefing' that occurs so regularly in other MMORPGs is missing from Guild Wars. The focus on skill as opposed to having the latest items, and the lack of a monthly fee, makes it ideally suited to the more casual gamer.

With Guild Wars now an established title, special offers and cheap bundles are available to purchase the campaigns. With no monthly fees this makes Prophecies, Factions and Nightfall a cheap and easy title to introduce you to the world of MMORPGs. Now is the time to try them out, especially with the Guild Wars 2 beta due to be formally announced in 2008, with Eye of the North providing a bridge for characters accomplishments between the two games.

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