A history to player territory interaction and Realm of the Gods access.Note: the following information applies to Prophecies, Factions and Nightfall.
Till August 2007 the following game mechanic was in place:
The Guild Wars game world was split into five territories (America, Europe, Korea, Japan and Taiwan (actually also Macau and Hong Kong, but this is commonly referred to as just Taiwan, probably as the server is located in Taiwan)). Players could either play in their own territories or meet each other in the International District for trade or joining groups for almost all PvE/PvP activities, with the only exceptions being the Realm of the Gods elite-mission-like areas The Fissure of Woe and the Underworld as well as the PvP-tournament Tomb of the Primeval Kings / Heroes' Ascent.
The only way for an joint-American-European-team to do those three things was for players to change the territory in their account. However, this was limited to three times and then the territory was locked (similar to how DVD manufacturers locking the Region Code after several changes). The reason behind this was the strong relation between Fissure/Underworld and Heroes' Ascent, as PvP wins in Heroes' Ascent granted access to those two PvE areas. And if people could change territory easily, the whole concept would be in vain. And while European/American teams could join Asian teams in the International District, changing the account territory wasn't possible because of the language barrier (and the implementation in the game client).
After five consecutive victories in the Hall of Heroes (the final map of Heroes' Ascent), the territory of the winning team takes Favor of the Gods and that territory get access to the Fissure and the Underworld for at least 30 minutes (5 consecutive wins in 6 minutes intervals). So if Europe was holding the hall until America has conquered it, Europe still had access to the PvE-areas until America completed the forth holding (one win to take the hall, 4 wins holding it = 5 consecutive wins). In this time neither Korea, Japan or Taiwan could access the Realm of the Gods.
In the beginning of Guild Wars, Korea and America had dominated the Hall of Heroes, followed somewhere by Europe. It was said that it was something special for European players to get access to Fissure/UW with only a short time windows (the above mentioned 30 minutes). However, this has drastically changed over the years. I don't know whether there are much more European players, those have more free time, have better skills or just playing more PvP, but Europe has dominated the Hall of Heroes ever since. If I should guess the percentages (no real values available), I would say that 70% of the time Europe had the favor, 27% America and the last 3% split over Korea, Japan and Taiwan. And a common, and very sarcastic, comment was "Taiwan took favor?? Nice. Have fun with your 30 minutes Fissure/UW-access this year!" And as the favor was territory based, there was no way to access Fissure/UW using the International District.
With the release of Prophecies, the Fissure and the Underworld were something special, but with Factions (The Deep, Urgoz' Warren), Nightfall (Domain of Anguish) and Eye of the North (Slavers Exile), Fissure/UW were just two other elite-areas, just with limited access.
The first step against the territory-discrimination was done when the Hardmode was introduced, as boss monsters had a chance to drop Fissure or Underworld passage scrolls (which allowed a team to enter those areas with no favor).
But the major step was done August 9, 2007 with the abolishment of the PvP-territory-independent-favor-system. It was replaced with a even more controversial PvE-global-favor-system using maxed titles to expanding the now so called "time window" (it's now common to have a few weeks time windows).
As a consequence of the removed tournament favor (Heroes' Ascent is still there and still the same, they just don't fight for the favor any more, as they actually never did by the way), the region locking mechanism between American and European accounts was removed and a direct jump-across-the-ocean option was implemented (when choosing the district, the hidden ones are now shown). It was said that the Asian districts get also incorporated into world access once the game limitations were removed.
As of March 2008, America, Europe and Korea were - for the player's point of view - merged into one territory.
Bad news happened on March 31, 2008, were most people thought this to be a early April's Fool joke, as ArenaNet announced that effective April 1, 2008 a new Taiwanese law will come into effect protecting the Real Money Trading companies (the commonly known China Farmers) from the server operators which hinder the Taiwanese "economic". This made it for ArenaNet illegal to take any steps including banning accounts against those companies/individuals even when they deliberately violated ArenaNet's "original" End User License Agreement. See statement from Gaile Gray, at the time ArenaNet Community Relations Manager.
So, with April 1, 2008, accounts from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau users had been disconnected from most of the Guild Wars world, including entering international districts (and therefore playing PvE) or trying to trade with accounts from other parts of the world.
Announced April 8, 2008, ArenaNet and NC Taiwan had decided to shut down the Guild Wars Taiwanese server and migrate the Taiwanese accounts to America, removing all restrictions which were applied a week earlier. The community's reaction for this was just that the Real Money Trading companies did that already at their own, for selling their "goods" in America. So it was assumed that this was just a step to restore the playing ability for the legit users.
As of May 24, 2008, the Guild Wars world is still split into 2 territories: America (with American and Chinese districts)/Europe/Korea and the other one is Japan.
Finally, as of October 9, 2008, the travelling restrictions to Japan were lifted, making the game globally accessible to all players around the world.
April Fools' DaysSince 2007 ArenaNet inserts some jokes on April Fools' Day into the Guild Wars world.
2007 transformed all characters temporarily in the opposite sex. More info about this can be found here.
2008 transformed all level 20 characters into stickmen. In addition, ArenaNet published a Patch on their website, which generated an outcry among those not realizing it's an April Fools' Day Patch (which of course never went live).
2009 transformed all players in outposts into Mini-Gwen-Dolls, which can be seen here. In addition, like the year before, a Joke-Patch was included too.
CampaignsAs of September 2008, 5,589,000 campaigns were activated in North America and Europe. Besides Prophecies, this also includes Factions and Nightfall.
Assuming that in average one account has access to two campaigns, the number of accounts would be around 2,794,500.
The number of users having more then one account before the Xunlai Tournament House was introduced could be neglected as in-game rewards (such as titles etc.) were bound to an account, so it was more common to buy additional character slots instead.
But with the Xunlai Tournament House, which allows players to bet freely (no costs) on monthly tournaments and are guaranteed to receive in-game rewards (even if the played mixed up the betting completely, they get a few points as a consolation prize), people started to buy second, third etc. accounts to simultaneously bet there and receive even more in-game prizes. Therefore it's impossible to tell how many users play or have played Guild Wars.
Guild Wars ChinaBetween April 2006 and March 2008, two different Guild Wars versions existed.
The normal version published by NCsoft, targeted for worldwide. This version however was not available in mainland China, due to the Great Firewall.
So NCsoft made a deal with The9 Limited to let them operate Guild Wars in mainland China for 3 years. This agreement started in April 2006.
However the deal ended prematurely when The9 announced to stop registration on March 17, 2008, and to terminate Guild Wars China on March 31, 2008.
Note: unlike the Taiwan server shut-down a week later, where all Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan Guild Wars accounts were migrated to the US server center, the Guild Wars China shut-down stopped the game their forever, as it ran on a completely different game network.
ReferencesOne of the warrior skills in Guild Wars is called "For Great Justice!". This is most likely a reference to the infamous "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" Internet phenomenon that spawned in 2001-2002. More about this phenomenon can be read here.
Story conclusion design, end-game areas and creditsWhen Prophecies was released in 2005, the game had to combine a story arc and the open-ended ability of a MMO at the same time.
The story arc, which is told over the 25 missions in the game, completes with the death of the Lich Lord in the Hell's Precipices mission (mission 25). After a cutscene, the players find themselves back in Droknar's Forge, which they have visited six missions earlier. From this point on, the players can continue playing whatever they want.
Due to the game design, two things were missing:
Credits however are another issue. Neither an in-game credit roll was integrated, nor were any credits printed in the manual. (And what I was told from a credit question, ArenaNet didn't created a credit list and - now 3 years after release - the game is "too old" for them to compile a list of the people who worked on the game.)
When Factions, Nightfall and Eye of the North were released, the flaws in the design were fixed right when the campaigns/add-on were released.
For example, when the player kills Shiro Tagachi in the Imperial Sanctum mission from Factions, the players are transported to a special end-game-area - the Divine Path - which is a special map where the players meet the key-NPC's from the campaign, can craft special armor, can exchange an end-game-collector-item, and after a long parade, the credits begin to roll. The same also applies for the Throne of Secrets from Nightfall and the Epilogue from Eye of the North.
On the third anniversary of Guild Wars, a similar end-game-area was added to Prophecies with all the player features: meet the NPC's from the Prophecies campaign, experience fireworks, trade an end-game-collector-item and craft special weapons. However, due to there is no credit listing, no credit rolls were added.
Contributed by Rambutaan (432) on Sep 23, 2005. [revised by : Patrick Bregger (98613)]. -- edit trivia