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Guild Wars: Factions (Windows)

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85
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

Guild Wars: Factions is the second chapter in the Guild Wars Universe. Again, it is subscription free.

Factions is set in the Japanese touched world Cantha; actually it’s a continent south of Tyria for those who own Prophecies. The story begins with a letter from Master Togo to his old friend Brother Mhenlo, where he explains that a plague is spreading though Cantha and the healers can’t find a way to cure it, so he asks for Mhenlo's help. As a veteran, you already know Mhenlo, so he asks you to help him help the Canthans. If you start a new game, you will begin on an isolated tutorial-like island off the coast of the continental Cantha, and you will experience the story directly from the start. Ultimately, as Cantha is split into two powerful, yet rival, factions – the Luxons and the Kurzicks, you will have to choose a side and battle the other one.

Like Prophecies, Factions is a so-called CORPG rather then a MMORPG, which stands for Cooperative Online RPG. This means that the only true MMORPG-like environments are the cities or mission start locations; only there you can meet with hundreds of other players, chat with them, trade with them, or create or join groups. Once you leave the cities into an explorable area or start a mission, your group is on its own in an individual game instance.

At the PvE side (Player vs. Environment – basically the RPG part) you can solve a huge amount of quests (you gain experience and later Faction points from them) or participate in a mission (missions are big quests which advance the story).

On PvP side, you can now not only play in the various arenas or battle a Guild vs. Guild match, but now some Missions are story-related PvP Missions. This is also the primary way, once you choose your Factions side, to conquer and control cities and open special elite missions for the faction you are allied with.

Gameplay wise, as already said, you start in a city, where you create or join a group, either with other players or with NPCs (though you can also play alone, but then you may have difficulty beating the enemy). And while it is called an Online RPG, you can play it without other human players, not just the quests, but also the missions. You can control your character with either the mouse or the keyboard, moving though the instances. Once you have two towns on the world map, you can jump between those towns without walking the way.

When creating a character, you have to choose the class and later go dual-class, ultimately allowing 56 class combinations from the 8 classes: Warrior, Ranger, Necromancer, Monk, Elementalist, Mesmer, Assassin (new) and Ritualist (new). When playing a character, you have access to up to 8 skills/spells which you can take with you in an instance, and those can be chosen from 100+ skills per character class (but you have to gain them in the first place of course). There are both Prophecies-Skills (limited number) and Faction-Skills in the game, only those who own both chapters have access to all skills.

And since your maximum level is locked at level 20 (and the enemy level is not locked there), you have to carefully plan what classes should be in a group and what skills they use, because particularly if you are in a mission and your group is wiped out, you have to restart it (though while questing, you are revived at the next respawn portal – but with a hit point penalty of up to 60%).

Screenshots

Guild Wars: Factions Windows Character Selection (Prophecies/Factions mix)
Guild Wars: Factions Windows The Kaineng Center, the first city for the Prophecies' characters.
Guild Wars: Factions Windows World map of Cantha - the ship allows to travel to Tyria (only if your account has access to both games).
Guild Wars: Factions Windows Meet Urgoz and his two Greater Serpents; we will use his own minions to kill him using the Edge of Extinction nature ritual

Alternate Titles

  • "激战:派系" -- Chinese Title (Simplified)
  • "戦乱の章" -- Japanese Guild Wars In-Game Store title
  • "Guild Wars Factions. Русская версия" -- Russian title
  • "Guild Wars Factions 2008" -- budget re-release title
  • "Factions" -- English/French/German/Italian/Spanish/Polish/Russian Guild Wars In-Game Store title

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The Press Says

Game Chronicles Jun 27, 2006 9.1 out of 10 91
Gamesmania May 17, 2006 91 out of 100 91
1UP May 22, 2006 9 out of 10 90
PC Gameplay (Benelux) May, 2006 87 out of 100 87
PC Games (Germany) May 29, 2006 86 out of 100 86
Gamernode Jun 02, 2006 8.6 out of 10 86
ActionTrip Jul 25, 2006 85 out of 100 85
games xtreme May 30, 2006 8.2 out of 10 82
Eurogamer.net (UK) May 20, 2006 8 out of 10 80
Legendra Sep 01, 2007 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60

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Trivia

Removed/changed animal companions.

Guild Wars allows the ranger class to charm an animal companion, which will then fight on the side of it's master. The animal companion is a normal team member in the mechanics of the game, which means it attacks the enemy, it gets injured, it can be poisoned, it can die and it can be resurrected by it's master or through a global resurrection at a team wipe-out.

Factions was supposed to ship with those new animal companions: Black Moa, Crane, Lurker, Panda, Phoenix, Reef Lurker, Tiger and White Tiger.

However, as it is illegal to depict the death of an endangered species in China, the Panda - which could die in combat - needed to be removed from the game. And since Guild Wars is played globally, it had to be removed entirely.

The Crane was in the final version, but it had a red crest and black neck, which was found out to look like another Chinese endangered species and required a re-texture. It now has a blue crest and a white neck.

The full size Panda could be seen at the Farewell to Gaile event, where it was a NPC. Furthermore, there is also a miniature Panda available. Miniatures are designed to just follow the player and neither participate in battle nor can they be harmed or even die.

However there was a quite amusing bug in the game at some time. Huge snow boulders, which kill any creature they over-roll, we able to "kill" even the invulnerable miniatures - even with a proper death sequence (as they are just downscaled versions of the normal creatures/NPCs). So it was possible to kill Pandas in the game. ;)

The Day of the Tengu

The official release date of Factions was April 28, 2006. Yet on the day before, Factions was already available for those that pre-ordered the game or bought the pre-order box.

To celebrate this Pre-Starter-Event, ArenaNet added a special gimmick, The Day of the Tengu.

The players were invited to obtain 250 Naga Poison Teeth, either from quests or by normally killing Nagas. And then, in regular intervals of three hours starting from the Event beginning, the Canthan Emperor visited the monastery on the tutorial island to exchange those 250 Teeth with the Tengu Mask, which is a non-tradable item.

The Emperor visited the monastery just eight times, then the quests and Event were removed. All what remains are the Tengu Masks in the possession of those players who have participated in this Tengu Event.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2006 – #2 Best Online Role-Playing Game of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2006 – #5 Online Multiplayer Game of the Year
  • GameStar (Germany)
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 02/2007 – #3 Best RPG/Adventure in 2006

Related Web Sites

Xoleras (66224) added Guild Wars: Factions (Windows) on Apr 30, 2006