New Features That Guild Wars Brings To The MMORPG Genre

By: Tom Kranz

Massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG) are a new genre of computer games which are proving hugely popular around the world. Client software is installed on your PC, and this lets you connect to the game's servers. Joined thousands - even millions - of other players online, you are no longer restricted to just playing through a storyline by yourself.

MMORPGs expand the world of role playing games, allowing players the freedom to make their own storylines, and prove their skill not just against computer controlled opponents (NPCs) but also each other. Usually MMORPGs like World of Warcraft have a monthly subscription fee, on top of the initial fee required to purchase the game client.

Guild Wars from ArenaNet does away with these subscription fees. Once you have bought the software, installed it, and created an account to log in to the game, everything is free. This gives players the freedom to play Guild Wars as little or as often as they want.

Each character has a relatively low level cap of level 20. This is because Guild Wars is based more on skill rather than how far you have progressed in the game or what items your character has. Combined with the lack of a subscription fee, this has made Guild Wars very popular with casual gamers.

There are three campaigns - Prophecies, Factions and Nightfall. Each of these has their own unique characters, skills and items, along with the core characters and skills which are available in all campaigns. Each can be played as a standalone title, or registered with one account, allowing players to move their characters between the three storylines.

Prophecies alone has over 30 character/profession combinations, and more than 200 quests available through the storyline. Factions continues the initial storyline, moving events to a new continent. Nightfall, the third campaign, moves the action to an unexplored part of Tyria, and brings events in the main storyline to a climax.

Eye of the North is the game's first true expansion, requiring one of the campaigns to be installed first. Aimed at established players, there are no new professions or characters available. Eye of the North introduces some new features which link the existing titles to the forthcoming sequel. The beta for Guild Wars 2, starting in 2008, is sure to have a huge take-up.

Since it's release in April 2005, Guild Wars has sold over 4 million copies, and won numerous awards. With such a large established player base, as well as regular tournaments for cash prizes, the game is going still going strong.

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