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Guild Wars: Factions - the first expansion pack of the series.
Expansion pack probably isn't the right word - you don't need the first game (Prophecies) to be able to play this one. It works as a stand-alone package.
Factions introduces 2 new professions to the game:
Dual blade wielding 'ninja' type character. Shadowstep to your enemies and strike them down in a matter of seconds. A quick, slippery character who is able to get in and out of a tricky situation in a flash.
Control the spirit realm - summon spirits to be your aid. The Ritualists thrives on spirit summoning, a wall of blue 'floating' type characters who will attack your enemies with various types of skills. Also a good healer!
You start out with nothing - just a character and basic armour, aswell as a few skills and basic weapons. Build your collection up by beating down enemies and collecting their loot. From here you will engage in missions (with friends or computer controlled players - your choice!).
Chose from a vast selection of skills (unfortunately, you can only use 8 at a time!). Adjust your attributes to suit your game style (but don't worry, you can change your attribute levels whenever you like, you aren't stuck with your original decision!)
Factions is the shortest of the Guild Wars trilogy, but again the graphics and gameplay are immense. Although this game is old - do not underestimate it.
The beauty of both the soundtrack and scenery in this game are certainly not that of the Prophecies series, but they're still both enjoyable to view and listen too.
Travel through the lands of Cantha, chasing down the great Shiro. You'll find friends and enemies on the way - don't expect it to be easy!
A must buy.
Guild Wars to many is considered the poor mans World of Warcraft as there are no monthly fees attached and it is a smaller game in many respects. The game combines the action RPG genre with co-operative and competitive gaming.
Guild Wars Factions can both be used as a standalone game or an expansion to the main Guild Wars game. It takes all of gameplay and features the first game presented and throws it into a vibrant and bleak Oriental kingdom, mixing various folklore and eastern culture to create a hellish and yet beautiful landscape for the player to explore. The game expands on the ability to pursue a solo game as well as the co-operative and competitive aspects.
The expansion is best suited for those already familiar to the game as it is a degree harder than the original and also slightly more complex.
The game takes us to the Kingdom of Cantha, which is made up of jewelled frozen seas, Gothic forests, beautiful temples and diseased, overcrowded shanty towns. You have the option of starting out as a Role-playing character in this land or you can skip all of this and go straight for the player versus player combat. Personally I find the RPG side of things far more interesting and rewarding to the somewhat flawed PVP system.
Factions builds upon the already existing original game, adding surther skill sets, equipment and throws two more classes into the mix, the Ritualist and the Assassin. These new character types are as balanced as the older ones each with their strengths and weaknesses. If you start off on a RPG campaign you will be taken through the rather expansive story mission that is split in two separate paths allowing for a lot of replay value. Once completed like the standard Guild Wars there is also then a veteran mode, which presents a much harder challenge. To complete all of this will takes days off of your life literally, in total I think I pumped a good six or seven days into it all as my main character whilst on break from uni.
The solo game is easier and more fun when playing with friends, however it can be played all the way through with Henchman, which are computer controlled companions that are designed to help you on your quest. Due to the fact that your character never dies and suffers a minus to their stats when killed it is possible to slave through every level of the game solo if you are skilled enough. However if your whole team is wiped out down to a -%60 you are spawned back to the nearest town.
If you do own the original guild wars the two games are very much interconnected and one allows you to visit the other via a port halfway through the game. Through this port you can also visit the Nightfall expansion where you can recruit customisable NPC's which are very resourceful.
Where the first game is set in Tyria a medieval landscape and Nightfall an African inspired series of Islands, Cantha is very Oriental in its style. Like both of the other sections of the game it mixes beauty with the bleakness of struggle and war against evil races. The characters in Factions are all distinctly Asian in both their style, surroundings and physical appearance, making for a nice mix of cultures if you have all of the games.
In the middle of all of the Islands lies the Battle Isles which is where all the PVP comabt is carried out, no matter what game you have you can play within these arenas against other people, fighting for honour, faction and prizes that are all used to improve your characters.
Like the main game you must always be connected to the internet whilst playing there is no offline play. The advantage of this is everything is backed up continuously, meaning that if your computer explodes all of your data and characters will be safe. The disadvantage is that you cannot play if your internet connection dies or is unreliable.
The RPG aspect of the game while still strong is much shorter than that of the first instalment. You can reach the maximum level of twenty within a handful of hours and the tutorials are less clear than that of the first game. It is quick to throw you into the bleak story and throw you into combat with the aberrations that are the mutated forms of Cantha's population infected with a magical plague. Imagine mutated demonic zombies that burst into clouds of disease when killed and you pretty much have it spot on.
During the game you will be faced with a choice of siding with the Luxons, pirates of the frozen wastes or the Gothic Kurziks of the Fossilized forests. Siding as one will mean fighting the other, both in the story's campaign and in PVP combat. There are unique items skills and armour to be had playing as each side, meaning that to get everything you must play as both.
The story is a bit more vague than that of Tyria's story, with less cutscenes and poorer voice acting. The campaign holds less interest than that of the first however you do gain levels quick which allows you to search the continent for more impressive Elite skills, weapons and armour. This makes the games campaign less important really than the free roam of the continent, as there are so many parts of the map that you never required to set foot in. This makes exploring the continent far more interesting than it at first may seem, trying to hunt down the Elite bosses and elusive skills is where most of my fun in the game came from and where most of my hours were spent.
Despite my love of the game I would say that it is mainly for those that already are familiar with Guild Wars and those that wish to expand on their existing character. Newer players are likely to be put off of the game as the story does feel a little rushed and the learning phase is shorted heavily compared to the first game.
Guild Wars Factions is the first expansion pack for the original Guild Wars. While it can be used as a standalone package and does not require the original Guild Wars to play, you get the most benefit from owning the both of them. However I will be reviewing Factions as an expansion to the original Guild Wars, if you would like to find out what Guild Wars is all about check my previous review here:
Factions brings an additional 2 new professions to the table, an entirely new storyline, and few new game modes, a bunch of new skills and a whole new map for you to explore.
The 2 new professions are the Assassin and the Ritulist. The Assassin is a melee fighter, using daggers he "shadow steps" into the enemy, deals his damage and flees before the enemy can strike back. He's an effective hit and run character. The Ritualist is a summoner, she can summon spirits which can deal damage to enemies or give her team a bonus. She also has the ability to use Weapon Spells, allowing her to temporarily upgrade a team members weapon to deal more damage. The 2 characters are both fun to play with although neither of them really seem practical in PvE. The Ritulist has a few healing spells which makes her a little more useful, but these 2 professions seem aimed more at PvP, especially the Assassin. You can still play though the game with any of the other professions in the game and you don't have to choose one of the new professions. You also have the ability to transport your old characters from the original campaign over to Factions, however doing so you will miss on a couple of early missions (used as more of a tutorial) and a bit of the story.
Your Guild can now join an alliance, a group of up to 12 Guilds who can visit each others Guild Halls and play in each others GvGs. While Alliances are a fun feature their real purpose was to power the Alliance Battles. There are 12 vs 12 games in which your team is split into smaller teams of 4 and thrown onto a huge map playing for either the Kurzick or Luxon Alliance (Which side your playing for will decide on which your guild leader has choose). These are fun, fast paced games. Not as competitive as Heros Ascent or GvG, but fun nonetheless.
This time around the story is a little more dramatic. With Factions set in Cantha, with an oriental look and feel to is, it has been struck with a terrible plague turning its residents into mutants and monsters. Its down to you and your Master, Togo, to find out who's at the bottom of the evil plague and uncover a much more sinister plot. This time around the story is a lot thicker that the original game, while its not overly interesting, the story seems well structured.
Overall Factions seems like a nice addition to Guild Wars, although it is certainly the weakest of all the expansions. I would recommend it for Alliance Battles, as they are a more light-hearted look at PvP. Factions also offers another 2 character slots if you link it to your account which is well worth it. The storyline may not be very good, but its worth the money.
(please note personal views on the game are actually in points 18 and 19 :) )
Guild Wars : Factions
#2 - Factions (second campaign, does not need first campaign 'Guildwars - Prophesies' to play, can be used on its own) - Land is called 'Cantha' and is based on Japan and China
price varies from £20 basic up to £40 for collectors edition
6, Continuing £ outlay?:
none unless you wish to purchase extra character slots & packs
8, Places to buy:
Amazon, Game, PC Game shops
10, Game Play types:
Player versus Environment
Multiple versions of Player Versus Player, including :- Alliance battles, Team Arena, Random arena, Guild V Guild
You choose your primary profession on character creation, however secondary profession may be decided/changed within the game at various stages.
11, a, Assassin
The Assassin walks the shadows, a deadly viper ready to strike at the heart when an enemy least expects it. Assassins are masters of their chosen weapon, the dagger, and are experts at inflicting Critical Strikes that cause massive damage. The Assassin is trained to efficiently link attacks together in a chain without giving an enemy a chance to hit back. Their other magical skills include Hexes that lower a target's defenses and protect the Assassin from harm. Wearing only lightweight armor, they have mastered the ability to move as shadows, avoiding damage by not being there when an enemy's strike lands.
11, b, Ritualist
Where the Ranger lives as one with the spirit world, the Ritualist can and will be its master. Ritualists hood their eyes to commune with spirits that grant great power and protection. Ritualists channel other-worldly energies from the Mists and commune with Spirits through mystic Binding Rituals, bending them to aid their allies or punish their foes. The energy channelled from the Mists powers Ritualist skills, enhancing the deadliness of an ally's weapon and wreaking havoc on an enemy's Health. The Ritualist can also use the remains of the dead to defend the living, not by reanimating corpses as a Necromancer would, but through the ritual use of urns and ashes.
11, c, Monk
The Monk can speak directly to the gods to open a conduit for divine magic that can heal and protect allies in battle or unleash holy power upon the Monk's enemies. The Monk's connection to the gods is illustrated in the primary Monk attribute, Divine Favor, which grants extra healing ability and makes Monk skills in the divine favour line more effective. Monks often choose to focus on one of the other attributes. Healing Monks build up the Healing Prayers attribute to revive allies and mend their wounds. Smiting Monks put points into Smiting Prayers, which inflict damage on foes and work especially well against undead enemies. Protection Monks pump up the Protection Prayers attribute and use magic that prevents allies and themselves from taking damage.
11, d, Warrior
The Warrior is a Profession dedicated to up close and personal combat. The Warrior is the quintessential hack-and-slash fantasy hero: he is tough, strong, and adept at wielding melee weapons on the battlefield. The Warrior often functions as what many MMO gamers call "a tank",a word that describes a defensive, damage-absorbing juggernaut; with their heavy armor and damage absorbing runes and shields, Warriors fulfil this role by soaking up abuse that other characters in the group can't handle, and give other professions in the party such as Rangers or Elementalist's the distance needed to make use of ranged abilities. Despite being able to suit such a defensive role, the Warrior in Guild Wars is able to excel not just defensively, but offensively as well.
11, e, Necromancer
The Necromancer wields the power of death itself, a power no enemy can stand against forever. The dark arts of the Necromancer - Curses, Death Magic, and Blood Magic - usually take a toll on the caster by forcing a sacrifice of Health, but the harm that befalls a Necromancer's foes in return makes this a small, if painful, price to pay. Necromancers can command the corpses of their enemies (or even allies) as deadly foot soldiers using Death Magic, while Blood Magic drains Health from foes and transfers it to the Necromancer. Curses hurt the Necromancer, but wreak havoc among the Necromancer's opponents by sapping enemy Enchantments and healing abilities. Necromancers keep their Energy bars full with Soul Reaping, the primary Necromancer attribute, which feeds upon the deaths of others.
11, f, Elementalist
The Elementalist commands the four elemental forces: earth, air, fire, and water. With magic derived from the very foundations of nature itself, Elementalist's can inflict more damage in a single strike than any other profession. There are as many types of Elementalist's as there are elements and ways to combine them. Some Elementalist's choose to study two or more elements to maintain broad discipline, though many prefer to focus on one unique element.
11, g, Mesmer
The Mesmer is not content with living in reality - they prefer to create their own realities. Mesmer's are the mental masters of illusion, control, and domination, subverting an enemy's Energy for their own purposes and supporting the entire party in battle with powerful, mind-bending magic. Domination skills put Mesmer's in command of a foe's Health and Energy, while Illusion can inflict damage, slow an enemy, and drain away the powers of those that oppose them. The Mesmer can call on Inspiration to steal Energy directly from the opposition, and the primary Mesmer attribute Fast Casting works just like it sounds - you can sling your spells at a much higher rate than any other profession.
11, h, Ranger
The Ranger is more in touch with living nature than any other profession. Where the Elementalist harnesses and tames the power of the elements, the Ranger lives as one with life in all its abundance, and utilizes unique survival skills that come from this connection. Rangers can perform Nature Rituals that manipulate the environment to hinder enemies, or draw on the power of the wilderness to heal and assist allies in battle. The Ranger can also tame the beasts of the wild and command them to fight at the Ranger's side.
Guilds are really no more than 'groups' of like minded people. However, in Factions, the guilds can be Luxon or Kurzick, aligning to a Canthan Faction, and may earn faction points through PvE game or alliance battles. These faction points are then given to the 'guild' and possibly an 'alliance' between upto 10 Guilds for the purpose of gaining control of a town on the side of alignment (very confusing I know, best see http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/Image:Guild_Wars_Factions_logo.png)
Armour is crafted for the character you buy it for. It comes in a delightful grey, which you can have a lot of fun using dyes you can buy or find on your travels. You can also mix dyes. Armor comes in 5 separate pieces, meaning you could always 'mix and match' different armor 'art'. Spell casting armours have less protection in comparison to say, the Warrior.
13, a, Standard Armor
Can be bought/crafted at many stages in the game for PvE characters, but the area you have got to can limit the strength of the armor. The earliest Maximum armor can be crafted in Keining Center, which is your first port of call when you have left Shing Jea, the starter Island.
13, b, Ascended (More expensive) Armor
Rather expensive (between 8000 and 15000 gold a piece) occasionally with rare materials involved, these armors are no more protective than the highest standard armor, it's the 'look' and 'price' that makes these armors more about prestige and show off ability. The hardest armour to get is Obsidian - but for that armor you have to travel to the realms of Balthazar and Grenth (2 of the 5 gods) to obtain ectoplasm and obsidian shards as well as perform the quests to help the Eternal forgemaster before he actually will craft the armor. This is so difficult that anyone wearing obsidian armor is usually treated with a _lot_ of respect.
Intricately useful, weapons, wands, staffs, focus items and shields are very much part of how well you do in the Canthan (Factions) World
14, a, Basic weapons
A weapon can be one or 2 handed. One handed weapons can be used with an off hand item, usually a focus item of some kind or a shield.
14, a, I, Weaponsmiths
Dotted through out the game, these are characters that will (like armorers) create you a weapon for materials and some gold. They can also 'personalise' your weapon, increasing the damage you do with it, but it cannot be used by another person later.
14, a, ii, Collectors
Just like weaponsmiths, however these are usually outside towns in explorable areas. They usually want x number of a particular item in return for a weapon, instead of 'crating' the weapon with materials and gold. Collectors don't personalise weapons, but you can personalise weapons you obtain from collectors
14, a, iii, Green 'Unique' Weapons
Can be bought from other players, however, they are actually dropped by bosses in explorable areas. Drop rates vary, and you could go back to an area 100 times and still not get the boss to drop their green weapon when they die! (Yup - tried it)
14, a, iv, Loot (dropped) Weapon Colour classification
Weapons can be dropped by any creature in any explorable or mission area.
14, a, iv, 1, White
Usually pretty basic, only worth up to 50 - 150 gold at a merchant to sell
14, a, iv, 2, Cyan (blue)
worth up to 50 - 150 gold at a merchant to sell. Most crafted weapons come up as this color, but can be better than gold , purple or green.
14, a, iv, 3, Purple
Rare - usually worth between 100 - 300 gold. May or may not be as good to use as blue. Usually look different, have a different 'skin'
14, a, iv, 4, Gold
Very rare - usually worth between 200 - 500 gold. May or may not be as good to use as blue. Usually look different, have a different 'skin'
14, b, Weapon Modifications
there are times you can 'salvage' an item for its parts, meaning you have sword pommels, staff heads, wand wrappings, bow strings and a lot of other items. You can add these to some weapons (but not to green weapons) to improve/change them.
15, Basic Story:
200 years ago Shiro Tagachi, the Emperors most trusted bodyguard slayed the Emperor during the Harvest temple ceremony. No one has ever quite understood why the Emperors most trusted turned on his master. Soon there after Shiro was attacked for his treason by the Kurzick hero Viktor and the Luxon champion Archemorus, with the assistance of the assassin Vizu. As Shiro was slain, his death scream sent a horrific wave over Cantha - turning the Kurzic forests to Jade and the Seas populated by the Luxons to Jade. Now a plague has invaded Cantha, and with it a terrible mark... the simbol of Shiro. The deciver has returned, corrupting all in his path. Your task is to bring to gether the now rivaling factions of Kurzics and Luxons and fight the menace of Shiro, before his plague destroys Cantha.
16, PvE with a Character created with this Campaign:
For the purposes of this game I will be referring to the Canthan created character 'Melhei Haemathet' who you can see here on her little 'blog' http://melheihaemathet.blogspot.com
16, a, Creating your character:
Firstly, you pick the characters 'sex' - remember that females are obviously popular due to the watchability of the characters (according to the male game players I talk to, I have a female because I am... female lol). You then get to choose your primary profession (I chose necromancer), height, hair style, hair colour, facial features and skin color. You can also color your starter armor, however the armour is the only bit at this stage you will be able to change later.
16, b, Picking a profession:
Make an informed decision. Read up about all the professions, and try to pick one that appeals to you. I chose Necromancer, as it appealed to me gothically speaking, however my son chose a male Elementalist. Remember if you don't like it you have 4 slots (if this is your first GW purchase) to try varying professions, even as PvP characters to see the abilities at the max level 20
16, c, Picking a secondary profession:
After going through a induction training, eventually you will get to choose a secondary profession. Again, make an informed decision. Read everything. Pick something you feel will most benefit your primary profession. The most popular secondary professions are Monk and Mesmer, the Monk for self healing, the Mesmer down to some rather good repeating spells.
16, d, Picking a Guild:
many Guilds in the Faction campaign require you to 'farm' faction points via alliance battles to improve their alliance to control towns. The highest 'faction' point guilds run the Kurzick town of House zu Helza and the Luxon town of Cavalon, and have unique access to the elite missions there. In my opinion the rate some of these Guilds require you to farm it is any wonder you will get any time to play at all, knocking the fun out of it. Ry to find a helpful guild that will help you in missions and exploring. Avoid anyone who starts preaching about 'pwrnage' as they are usually immature or elitist or both.
17, PvE with a Character created with another Campaign:
17, a, Accessing the new campaign
You have to gain a mission from Lions Arch (GW:Prophesies:Campaign1) or Consolate Docks (GW:Nightfall:Campaign3). You will join this campaign at the Keining Center - a later stage than characters created in this campaign, missing the first 2 missions.
17, b, What you get for buying this as an add-on campaign:
2 extra character slots
18, Comparison to beginning in other campaigns:
Comparing to Prophesies (original Guild wars) - Factions is a lot quicker to start a character off in PvE. As soon as you have gone through beginning induction you are immediately viable to enter / create guilds and guild halls. Levelling is faster, and finding quests and missions is very easy. Its worth while to note however that factions is a smaller campaign than either Guild Wars or Guild Wars:Nightfall
19, Basic Game Play:
As a complete beginner to Role Play games like this when I bought Factions, It was very easy to get used to. Movement around the areas is quite easy, and if you cant find people to go out with the 'henchmen' are not too bad really. Other than my biggest bug bare of people selling in general chat zone rather than trade, people are usually quite nice, however, just like any other community game, you will always get some idiots.
I do mostly play on the Story (Player versus environment) but as a guild we do venture into Player V Player for a laugh, usually getting completely wiped out by the other team. The whole game is about tactics, who has the best made armor, the best customed weaponry, the best skill build (you may only take 8 skills into any area) and even what professions and builds you have in your team. During PvE you are slightly forewarned of what you will be facing and can adjust your skills, weaponry and even your whole team to get you a good outcome, but PvP gives you the extra dimension... real people doing exactly what you are doing!
20, Age restriction
The game is restricted to age 12 in this country
20, a, Blood, gore and death
There isn't any blood, however, things do die, and murder is involved in a couple of the story lines. The most gore things I've come across are some of the afflicted look absolutely horrific.
20, b, Adult related influences in game
You can purchase alcohol and get drunk in the game. There's even a title for it. There are no sexual references. In factions there is no real context for the 5 gods either, however there may be some conflictions for anyone of a severely religious nature, but only if they forget this is a game and fantasy. There are no adult related actions in the game other than fighting.
20, c, Language
Language in the movies and game characters is clean, however this game has interaction with real people, and they are occasionally the ones that swear etc you can report people for nasty behaviour
20, d, In game profanity filters
There is a filter, set in options. It has 3 settings, none, normal and Maximum. On Normal, the filter will knock off all the strong profanities and some 'soft' profanities. Maximum basically blocks anything remotely distinguished as rude or derogatory (albeit the word noob). If you think of it that it is a american based game, and words seen as remotely rude over there aren't allowed. IE you cant call your Character 'Pussy cat' due to the word 'Pussy'
21, Exactly what am I buying
basically a unlimited server access key code, the basic game engine can be downloaded from the Guildwars website.
21, a, Standard box
> 4 character slots (if purchasing in addition to other GW campaigns you gain additional 2 slots to your account instead)
> Campaign Book (story line, basic game bits etc)
> Quick reference card
> Plastic collectable credit card sized card with a scratch panel - under which is the code key.
> Advertisements for other NCSoft games
21, b, Collectors box
> 4 character slots (if purchasing in addition to other GW campaigns you gain additional 2 slots to your account instead)
> 2 CDs
> PlayNC catalogue
> Guild Wars Factions Manual
> Guild Wars Factions Quick Ref Guide
> Plastic Collectable Security/Activation Card
> Ritualist Cloth Picture
> Guild Wars Factions Desk Calendar
> Guild Wars Factions Mouse Mat
> Guild Wars Factions Sticker Set
> Guild Wars Factions Artbook
> Exclusive Guild Wars Factions Poster
> High-resolution Map of Cantha
> Exclusive in-game signature emotes for the Ritualist and Assassin
> Guild Wars Factions soundtrack CD + bonus to download extra music on Direct Sound website
21, c, Standard from NCSoft (upgrade account)
> additional 2 slots to your account
22, Online sites to get help
> Official website http://guildwars.com
> Official Wiki http://wiki.guildwars.com
> http://www.guildwarsguru.com/ - Guild Wars Guru: News and Forums [Elite Fansite]
> http://gwvault.ign.com/ - Guild Wars Vault: News and Forums [Elite Fansite]
> http://www.gwonline.net/ - GWOnline.net: News, Forums, and Chat [Elite Fansite]
> http://www.crossingtyria.com/v2/ - Crossing Tyria: News, Forums, and Chat [Honored Fansite]
> http://www.theguildfriends.com - The Guild Friends: News, Forums, Guild Listings [Honored Fansite]
> http://www.guildwarsrealm.net/ - Guild Wars Realm: News and Forums [Honored Fansite]
> http://gw.gamewikis.org/wiki/Main_Page - Guild Wiki: Guild Wars Encyclopedia [Specialty Fansite]
> http://www.guildcast.com/show/ - Guild Cast: Podcasts
> http://gw.gamependium.com/ - Guild Wars Gamependium: News, Build Database, and Guides
> http://gw.mmodb.com/ - Guild Wars MMODB: News, Weapon and Item Database
> http://www.gwcartographer.com - GW Cartographer: Guild Wars Fan-Lore
> http://www.crithitcomics.com/healmain.htm - Healbot Blues: Comic (archives)
> http://tcfish.teutonictemplar.com/ - TC fish's Aquarium: Armor Database
Guild Wars Factions is the continuation of the epic online battle set forth in Guild Wars, the ground-breaking online role-playing game that took the gaming world by storm in 2005 with its fantastic design, depth of play, and no-subscription-fee model. Guild Wars Factions opens another gateway into the Guild Wars universe, allowing new players to join the community of more than one million gamers already playing Guild Wars and providing veterans with a new world of conflict, combat and thrilling adventure in the mysterious realm of Cantha. As the saga continues, the factions of the empire battle for the realm; players will be able to pledge their allegiance to one of these factions and by their actions determine who the winner will be. While Guild Wars Factions is a standalone product that does not require the Guild Wars to play, gamers with Guild Wars accounts who purchase Factions will be able to play in the both campaigns with their existing characters.