Guild Wars (series)

Guild Wars (series)

Infobox VG
title=Guild Wars


developer=ArenaNet
publisher=NCsoft
designer=Mike O'Brien
Patrick Wyatt
Jeff Strain
released=April 28, 2005 ("Prophecies")
April 28, 2006 ("Factions")
October 27, 2006 ("Nightfall")
August 31, 2007 ("Eye of the North")
genre=MMORPG
modes=Multiplayer
ratings=ESRB: T
PEGI: 12+
OFLC: M
platforms=Windows
homepage= [http://www.guildwars.com/ www.guildwars.com]

"Guild Wars" is an episodic series of multiplayer online role-playing games developed by ArenaNet and published by NCsoft. Three stand-alone episodes and one expansion pack were released in the series from April 2005 to August 2007.

"Guild Wars" provides two main modes of gameplay—a cooperative role-playing component and a competitive player vs. player (PvP) component—both of which are hosted on ArenaNet's servers. The games depict the history of the fictional fantasy world of "Tyria", each campaign focusing on events in disjoint sections of the world, but roughly parallel in time. A player creates an avatar to play through the cooperative storyline of a campaign, taking on the role of a hero who must save Tyria from episode-specific antagonists. Players can group with other players and non-player characters, known as "henchmen" or "heroes", to perform "missions" and "quests" found throughout the game-world. PvP combat is consensual, team based, and limited to areas designed for such combat. Players are allowed to create characters at maximum level and the best equipment specifically for PvP play, which is unusual for MMORPGs.cite web|title="Guild Wars"|url=http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=119730|publisher=Computer and Video Games|author=PC Zone Staff|date=2005-06-10|accessdate=2007-10-08] ArenaNet hosts official "Guild Wars" tournaments where the most successful players and guilds may compete for the chance to play live at gaming conventions and win prizes up to 100,000 USD.cite web|url=http://guildwars.com/competitive/gwwc/worldchampionship-rules.php|title="Guild Wars World Championship rules"|author=ArenaNet|accessdate=2007-02-28] cite web|url=http://guildwars.com/competitive/gwfc/gwfc06-rules.php|title="Guild Wars Factions Championship rules"|author=ArenaNet|accessdate=2007-02-28]

The games in the "Guild Wars" series were critically well received [cite web|url=http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/guildwars|title="Guild Wars (pc: 2005): Reviews"] [cite web|url=http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/guildwarsfactions|title="Guild Wars Factions (pc: 2006): Reviews"] [cite web|title="Guild Wars Nightfall (pc: 2006): Reviews"|url=http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/guildwarsnightfall] [cite web|title="Game Rankings - Search - Guild Wars"|url=http://www.gamerankings.com/itemrankings/itemsearch.asp?itemname=Guild%20Wars] and won many editor's choice awards, as well as awards such as best value, best massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), and best game. [cite web|title="Press: Awards"|url=http://www.guildwars.com/events/press/awards/] "Guild Wars" was noted for being one of the few commercially developed games in the MMORPG genre to offer online play without subscription fees, [cite web|url=http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.02/play.html?pg=6|title=Wired 13.02 PLAY] its instanced approach to MMORPG play, [cite web |title="Guild Wars"|url=http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=59083|publisher=Eurogamer|author=Kieron Gillen|date=2005-05-16|accessdate=2007-10-08] and the quality of the graphics and play for computers with low specifications. [cite web|title="Guild Wars"|url=http://au.pc.gamespy.com/pc/guild-wars/613203p4.html|publisher=GameSpy|author=Dave Kosak and Miguel Lopez|date=2005-04-26|accessdate=2007-10-08] In February 2008, NCSoft announced that 5 million units of games in the "Guild Wars" series had been sold. [cite web|title=Guildwars.com February Press Release|url=http://www.guildwars.com/events/press/releases/pressrelease-2008-02-26.php. Note that units sold does not equate to number of players, and, because "Guild Wars" accounts never expire, there is no notion of "active account" as used by other MMORPG companies.] The sequel, "Guild Wars 2", was announced in March 2007. It will have updated graphics and gameplay mechanics, and will continue the original "Guild Wars" tradition of no subscription fees.cite web
title = "The best things in life are free"
publisher = Eurogamer
author = Purchese, Rob
url = http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=75018
date = April 6, 2007
accessdate = 2007-04-17
] No release date has been announced.

Campaigns

Full games in the original "Guild Wars" sequence were released in episodes known as "campaigns". Players must purchase an individual campaign in order to access the game elements specific to that campaign; however, all campaigns are linked in one game world. Each campaign is independent of the others, with its own co-operative storyline, campaign-specific skills, and competitive arenas. Players owning different campaigns may still interact in shared areas, including trading for items specific to the campaigns they have not purchased. Players who own two or more campaigns may transport their characters freely from one campaign to the other.

The first campaign, "Guild Wars Prophecies" (originally named "Guild Wars"), was released on April 28, 2005. The "Prophecies" storyline is situated on the continent of "Tyria" and revolves around the "Flameseeker Prophecy", a prophecy made by an ancient dragon.

"Prophecies" was followed by "Guild Wars Factions" on April 28, 2006, released exactly a year after "Prophecies". "Factions" is situated on the small southern continent of "Cantha" that is separated from "Tyria" by a vast ocean. The events of the "Factions" campaign concern the return from death of a corrupted bodyguard named Shiro Tagachi. "Factions" features a global persistent war between the rival vassal nations of Cantha, the Luxons and the Kurzicks, and the notion of guild alliances (see "guilds" below).

The third campaign, "Guild Wars Nightfall", was released on October 27, 2006. "Nightfall" features the arid continent of "Elona", joined to southern "Tyria" across a vast desert. "Nightfall" introduced "heroes", advanced computer-controlled units that can be micro-managed by players, including the ability to customize their skill layout and equipment.

Scrapping their initial plans for a fourth campaign, ArenaNet have released an expansion pack, "", to the previous three campaigns on August 31, 2007.cite news|url=http://the-inquirer.net/default.aspx?article=37986|title=Fresh Guild Wars announced|publisher=The Inquirer|author=Valich, Theo|date=March 5, 2007|accessdate=2007-03-05] cite news|title=Guild Wars Reborn|publisher=PC Gamer|date=2007-05-01] Not being a full campaign, this expansion requires one of the other released campaigns, and is only accessible by player characters at level 10 and above. "Eye of the North" therefore does not feature new professions or tutorial material, but contains new content for existing characters: new dungeons, a number of new skills, armor, and "heroes". "Eye of the North" is set in previously inaccessible territory from the first Guild Wars campaign, "Prophecies". It is intended to be a bridge to the sequel to the "Guild Wars" series, "Guild Wars 2". As a promotion for their online store and "Eye of the North", ArenaNet released a "bonus mission pack" to online purchasers;cite web|url=http://www.guildwars.com/products/extras/missionpack/default.php|author=ArenaNet|date=July 5, 2007|title="Guild Wars" Bonus Mission Pack Promotion"|accessdate=2007-07-09|work=Press release] containing playable recreations of four incidents in the history of "Tyria", "Cantha" and "Elona" which each expand the backstory for one of four major NPC characters.cite web|url=http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/Bonus_Mission_Pack|title="Guild Wars" Bonus Mission Pack Promotion"|accessdate=2007-12-17|publisher= [http://wiki.guildwars.com/ Official "Guild Wars" Wiki] ]

Accounts

A new player must create a Guild Wars account using a unique e-mail address and an access key received from the purchase of the game box or through the online store. Once created, additional keys may be added to the account; these keys can belong to additional campaigns that are linked to the account, or certain purchasable features (such as additional character slots) bought from the online store. Once a key is added to an account it cannot be removed and accounts cannot be merged. However, once a purchase is made through the integrated store, the account name used is therein linked to a new ArenaNet account, and henceforth cannot be changed via the in-game "Change Account Name" option.

An account is initially set to a specific region depending on the version of the game purchased; Europe, America, Korea, Taiwan or Japan. Players from Europe, America and Korea may freely move between the three regions. Regardless of the account's home region, players in all regions can meet and form parties in international "districts" (instances of in-game outposts). These districts are also in the language of the original region.

A new account has four character slots; each additional full campaign added to the account adds two further character slots. Extra character slots may be purchased from the online store.

Gameplay

The game is presented as a number of instanced zones accessible through staging areas known as "towns". These staging areas are fully navigable 3D maps where the player avatars may interact with each other or with NPCs that provide services such as merchanting or storage. From a town, players can enter instanced gaming areas either by crossing the border of the town or by initiating a storyline "mission". Each instance is allocated freshly for the adventuring party that enters it. As the characters progress in the story or explore the game world, they gain access to additional towns. Players can transport their characters instantly between towns using the game-world's map.

Player characters in "Guild Wars" are controlled from an over-head third person perspective in a 3D game environment but with only two degrees of freedom: characters cannot move vertically. First person perspective is available but is generally too cumbersome to play effectively. For every new character, the player can choose to create a role-playing character that begins in low level areas, or a PvP-only character at maximum level and the best equipment. Both modes encourage teaming up with other players or AI controlled NPCs known as "henchmen".

Player characters have a fixed "primary profession", determined at creation time, which dictates their appearance, certain primary attributes, and the kinds of armor available to them. The "warrior" profession, for example, has access to the primary "Strength" attribute that increases their effectiveness with martial weapons, and is able to wear heavy armor providing the highest protection of all professions. "Elementalists", on the other hand, wear weaker armor, but can use their primary "Energy Storage" attribute to have a much greater energy pool than other professions. Player characters can also choose a variable "secondary profession" that gives them access to all the skills and secondary attributes of that profession. A Warrior/Elementalist (abbreviated in-game as "W/E"), therefore, is a warrior who may use spells in combat, similar to the "Spellsword" archetype from RPGs.

All player characters have a maximum character level of 20 that is reached fairly early on in the co-operative story. Armor and weapons also have fixed maximum stats and a fixed variety of modifiers, and these items at the highest stats are easily attainable. Most of the gameplay is balanced around a party of eight level 20 players sporting items with maximum stats. The choice of armor and weapons influence the character's health points. Unlike most RPGs, "Guild Wars" has no healing potions; instead, the party's health is managed by a number of healing skills in every class. In addition, a character regenerates health if he or she sustains or deals no damage for a certain period. The primary profession and attributes determine the character's energy, which also regenerates (at a fixed profession-dependent rate).

Players may customize their character appearance from a fixed palette of face and hair models, skin color, height of the avatar, and by their choice of armor. All armor and weapons in the game can be dyed to further differentiate the characters. Finally, characters may display their guild affiliation and, optionally, a "title" they have earned for in-game achievements. The most prestigious titles often require significant investment of time and often in-game money.

ArenaNet originally intended that players would take their co-operative characters to the competitive arenas after finishing the co-operative content.Fact|date=October 2007 The co-operative and competitive modes of the game were therefore closely linked, sharing essentially all gameplay mechanics. This scheme proved to be unpopular with players,Fact|date=August 2008 for co-operative players did not make the transition to PvP and disliked the influence of continual rebalancing that PvP had on their preferred style, and competitive players bemoaned the drudgery of the repetitive PvE content needed to build new competitive characters. ArenaNet thus made a number of changes to separately cater to the two divergent playing styles and player communities: adding PvP-only characters with maximum levels and equipment soon after the release of "Prophecies", making skills and upgrades unlockable from purely PvP rewards before the release of "Factions", and allowing PvP equipment to be freely altered without "re-rolling" after the release of "Nightfall". "Nightfall" also introduced powerful PvE-only skills that were barred from the competitive arenas, a scheme greatly extended in the subsequent "Eye of the North" release. The final division came in mid 2008 with several ordinary skills divided into PvP and PvE modes, with the PvE specific modes reverting to earlier forms of these skills that were found to be overpowered in competition.

Combat

Characters can be equipped with eight "skills" (special abilities), chosen from their two professions (or from a handful of profession-independent skill lines in PvE). Most skills have a governing "attribute" that determines its effectiveness; these attributes are assigned using a number of "attribute points" similar to D&D's point buy ability score generation system. All offensive skills are generally targeted either at an enemy or at the area around oneself; "Guild Wars" does not allow targeting a location or an area. Characters may also use beneficial skills such as healing spells or enchantments on themselves or allies.

All weapons of a certain type have a fixed automatic attack rate, but can have various damage values up to a fixed maximum damage for each type of weapon. Each kind of weapon also has a fixed range, though non-melee weapons can use terrain features to alter that range. Non-weapon offensive skills have fixed ranges that cannot be altered with terrain. If a skill or weapon attack is initiated with its target out of range, then the character moves in the most direct way (based on the game's automatic path-finding) to get in range before initiating the action; during this time the action can be cancelled without penalty. When in range, the character becomes stationary to initiate the action, and will pay the entire "energy" or "adrenaline" cost of a skill at the start of activation. Most attacks activate quickly and the character can move again before the animation completes, but the activation time for other skills can last several seconds during which the character remains pinned. During the activation, the action can be "interrupted" by foes using interruption skills, in which case the skill immediately begins its cooldown cycle, or the action can be voluntarily cancelled by the initiator without incurring a cooldown penalty. Many skills have an additional "aftercast" delay after successful activation during which the character cannot take any action. Offensive hexes and certain other skills can be used to interfere or punish the use of skills and attacks by foes (or even punish their non-use); such effects are generally triggered on successful activation, though it is also possible in some cases to prevent the activation itself.

Melee attacks that are successfully activated cannot be avoided by movement alone, even if the target runs outside the weapon's range before the attack animation completes. Ranged projectiles are automatically aimed, but require line-of-sight and can be dodged if the target moves during the flight time of the projectile. Attacks can be "blocked" or made to "miss" by means of defensive skills. Magical projectiles created by spells cannot be blocked, but such spells, if targeted, can be suppressed or made to "fail" by using defensive skills. A number of skills exist to mitigate received damage, including certain skills that limit received damage to a percentage of the target's maximum health; such skills can be used by characters with very low maximum health to paradoxically increase their survivability by reducing all received damage to tiny and easily countered figures, a strategy often used to farm creatures that cannot counter such protections.

"Guild Wars" has been likened to collectible card games such as because of the way the different skills interact.cite web|title = "Guild Wars Interview"|publisher = IGN|author=Butts, Steve|url=http://pc.ign.com/articles/400/400429p1.html|date=May 1, 2005|accessdate=2006-12-15] While in a town or staging areas, a character's skill and attribute selection can be freely modified to construct a "build". Once in a combat zone such as an explorable area or a PvP arena, the build becomes immutable until the character exits the combat zones and returns to a staging area. Players generally either choose a specific build for a given area or role, or use general builds that synergize with the builds of other characters in the party.

Co-operative gameplay

The co-operative parts of "Guild Wars" use several standard tropes of the MMORPG genre. Players explore the game-world, kill monsters, perform quests, and complete missions to earn rewards and advance the story. Rewards include experience points, skill points, skills, gold, faction, and items for the player character. Some of these rewards advance not only the particular character but also unlock features of the game account-wide.

In each campaign the player is involved in a linear story with which they interact by performing a series of "primary quests " and "missions". Quests are given to a player by NPCs via text dialog. As quests are completed new areas, new quests, and new missions are unlocked for the player's character to access. Missions allow the player character to participate in the major events of the storyline, such as significant battles against the main antagonist. Both quests and missions can feature in-game cut scenes which advance the story and provide context to the actions which follow. Cut scenes are in the third-person, often featuring the party leader's character and revealing elements of the game that the character would not normally be aware of, such as the actions of an antagonist. Players are given the option of skipping the cut scenes if all party members agree upon it.

Competitive gameplay

Player versus Player (PvP) combat in "Guild Wars" is consensual and team-based. Such combat is restricted to special PvP areas, the majority of which are located on the core area known as "The Battle Isles". Individual campaigns also have certain campaign-specific PvP arenas. Players may participate in PvP combat with either their role-playing characters or with characters created specifically for PvP. Characters are rewarded with experience points for victories in competitive battle and the player account also acquires "faction points" redeemable for in-game rewards.cite book | year=2006 | editor=ArenaNet | title=Guild Wars Nightfall Manuscripts| pages=126-134 | publisher=NCSoft| language=English | id=] In addition to this victory may also award points which contribute towards completion of character or account based "titles".

The following are the competitive modes in "Guild Wars":; Random Arena : Four-on-four matches with teams randomly composed from those waiting to enter combat. There are many different arenas with different victory conditions: deathmatch and kill-count.; Team Arena : Four-on-four matches with player-managed teams. These matches are played in the same areas as the Random Arena with a few exceptions.; Heroes' Ascent : A continuous tournament where players form teams of eight to battle in a sequence of arenas, culminating in the "Hall of Heroes" whose results are broadcast to all online players in addition to rewarding the victors with high-end loot. Arenas in the Heroes' Ascent tournament include deathmatch, altar-control, and capture-the-relic victory conditions. Victories in the Heroes' Ascent award players with "fame points" that can be used to determine the "rank" of the player.; Guild Battles : Two guilds meet in guild halls and stage a tactical battle with the aim of killing the opposing "Guild Lord", a well-protected NPC. Victory in guild battles affects the "rank" of the guild in the global Guild versus Guild (GvG) ladder. GvG is considered the most supported of competitive formats in Guild Wars. In 2005, ArenaNet hosted a Guild Wars World Championship, and in 2006, the Guild Wars Factions Championship was hosted as well. Since then, the Automated Tournament system has become the norm, but smaller 3rd-party tournaments have been hosted, including the Rawr Cup and the Guild Wars Guru cup. The GWWC, GWFC, RawrCup, and GWG Tournament all had real life prizes; the former tournaments had cash prizes, the RawrCup and Guru Tournament had laptops and MP3 players to give away.; Alliance Battles : "Guild Wars Factions" introduced an arena where twelve players aligned with one of the opposing "Kurzick" and "Luxon" factions team up to fight an opposing team to gain new territory for their faction. The twelve player team is comprised of three teams with four human players each. The three teams are selected randomly from the teams waiting on each side when the match begins. Alliance Battles grant "alliance faction" and affect the border between the two factions in the "Factions"-specific continent of "Cantha". The location of the border affects the map in which the battles take place by adding a bias to favor the faction losing the war.; Competitive Missions : "Factions" also introduced a pair of competitive arenas, named "Fort Aspenwood" and "The Jade Quarry", where randomly assembled teams of players from the opposing nations enact particular events in the Kurzick/Luxon war. Victories in these missions have no global effect, but do grant the players with "alliance faction".; Hero Battles : Players with "Guild Wars Nightfall" or "" can access an arena where two players, each controlling three NPC "heroes", compete to gain control of strategic points. As the player can control their heroes these battles incorporate an aspect of real-time strategy games. Hero Battles also have a ladder, similar to Guild Battles.

Guild and Hero Battles have a continuously running "automated tournament system".cite web|url=http://eu.guildwars.com/pvp/article/at_faq/|title="Automated Tournaments FAQ"|publisher=ArenaNet|accessdate=2007-10-23] Players or guilds elect to participate in the tournament by buying in-game tokens using their PvP faction points. The participants are divided randomly into groups of 32 that participate daily in up to five Swiss rounds held on a fixed schedule. Participants who are unable to field a full team automatically forfeit their round. The top eight candidates at the end of every month continue on to a single-elimination tournament, and the final victors earn a number of real and in-game rewards. Players who do not participate in the automated tournament are allowed to place bets on the results of these tournaments for a number of in-game rewards.

Many competitive matches may be observed by players by means of an "observer mode". Important PvP matches such as matches in the "Hall of Heroes" or between highly rated guilds may be observed (after a delay of fifteen minutes) by others in order to see the tactics used by successful teams and attempt to learn or counter them. Guilds may additionally observe their own Guild Battles for a fixed period of time.cite web|url=http://eu.guildwars.com/pvp/article/observer_mode/|title="Observer Mode"|publisher=ArenaNet|accessdate=2007-10-23]

Guilds

As the name suggests, guilds are a core element of "Guild Wars", manifesting not only as social units but also being closely linked with the game mechanics. Although a player is not required to join a guild, it adds value to the gaming time and increases camaraderie. Often, joining a guild is a good way to get help from more experienced players as the in-game guild interface allows communication between guild members.

A guild leader creates the guild by registering a guild name and a "tag" (between two and four characters long) with a Guild Registrar, found in some major towns. The guild tag is displayed in brackets after the names of guild members. The leader also designs the guild's cape (from a large palette of shapes, patterns and emblems), and purchases a guild hall that serves as the guild headquarters and may be furnished with merchants, traders, and storage NPCs. Each guild hall is an individual instanced outpost located at the same spot on the Battle Isles, but they are not physically accessible to non-allied members as the only way to enter a guild hall is by "map travel". The guild leader recruits new players to the guild and can promote a number of them to "guild officers", who can then help with the recruitment and further promotion of officers. All player characters on the same "Guild Wars" account belong to the same guild. Players may leave their guild whenever they please, but only the leader and officers can dismiss non-officer players from the guild; the leader has the additional power to dismiss officers and disband the guild. Guilds have a membership limit of 100 members; player communities with more than that many members generally create allied sister guilds, often named similarly and using the same tag.

Up to ten individual guilds may ally together to form an "alliance". Members of an alliance may communicate over a shared chat channel, and visit the guild halls of the other guilds of the alliance.cite book | year=2006 | editor=ArenaNet | title=The Guild Wars Factions Manuscripts| pages=109 | publisher=NCSoft| language=English | id=] Each alliance has a leader guild that initiates the alliance, the leader of which guild is also the alliance leader, who may admit or dismiss guilds from the alliance. Each alliance must be devoted to either the Kurzicks or the Luxons, the two Canthan factions (from "Guild Wars Factions") locked in perpetual conflict. Players can accumulate "faction" (reputation) with either the Kurzicks or the Luxons, which can either be "donated" to the alliance or redeemed for certain in-game rewards. The alliances with the highest total amount of donated faction are given control of certain in-game outposts on the Canthan continent; controlling an outpost gives the alliance members access to restricted areas of the outposts, containing, among other things, merchants who sell at a discount. The best alliance-controllable outposts are the Kurzick and Luxon capital cities, each of which contains a restricted entrance to an "elite" co-operative mission.

In addition to membership in guilds, a player may be a guest of any number of other guilds. Guest privileges are limited to visiting the guild hall and participating in guild or alliance battles. An accepted invitation expires after eight hours.

Technical features

Development

"Guild Wars" is the first game created by developer ArenaNet. Senior developers from Blizzard Entertainment, some involved in the early development of World of Warcraft,cite web
title = "Rebel Faction - Arena.net's Jeff Strain"
publisher = [http://www.gamesindustry.biz gamesindustry.biz]
author = Rob Fahey
url = http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=14931
date = 2006-02-24
accessdate = 2006-12-12
] left to create ArenaNet to develop a game which took risks with game design and business model.cite web
title = "Guild Wars Factions"
publisher = [http://exe.gotfrag.com/portal/home/ GotFrag]
author = Jason Barker
url = http://exe.gotfrag.com/portal/story/32316/
date = 2006-05-27
accessdate = 2006-12-12
] Guild Wars development was first announced in April 2003.cite web
title = "NCsoft unveils ArenaNet's highly-anticipated competitive role playing game, Guild Wars"
publisher = NCSoft
author = ArenaNet
url = http://www.guildwars.com/press/releases/pressrelease-2003-04-22.php
date = 2003-04-22
accessdate = 2006-12-12
] "Guild Wars Prophecies", initially marketed simply as "Guild Wars", was released in April 2005.cite web
title = "Guild Wars to Launch April 28 in North America and Europe"
publisher = NCSoft
author = ArenaNet
url = http://www.guildwars.com/press/releases/pressrelease-2005-02-14.php
date = 2005-02-14
accessdate = 2006-12-12
] "Sorrow's Furnace" added further playable content to "Prophecies" in September 2005.cite web
title = "ArenaNet Releases their Guild Wars Update: Sorrow's Furnace to Launch September 7th"
publisher = NCSoft
author = ArenaNet
url = http://www.guildwars.com/press/releases/pressrelease-2005-08-29.php
date = 2005-08-29
accessdate = 2006-12-12
] "Guild Wars Factions" was released exactly a year after "Prophecies" in April 2006 followed six months later by "Guild Wars Nightfall" in October 2006. A fourth campaign was in development, but after reviewing feedback from fans and the sort of changes they wanted to make,cite web
title = Feature: Guild Wars 2, GW Expansion Unveiled
publisher = kotaku.com
author = Brian D. Crecente
url = http://kotaku.com/gaming/feature/feature-guild-wars-2-gw-expansion-unveiled-244666.php
date = 2007-03-26
accessdate = 2007-03-27
] ArenaNet elected to focus on an expansion pack, "", released in August 2007, publisher = NCSoft
author = ArenaNet
url = http://www.guildwars.com/press/releases/pressrelease-2007-03-27.php
date = 2007-03-27
accessdate = 2007-03-27] and "Guild Wars 2".

"Guild Wars" development began in an environment following the release of "EverQuest" when a number of new MMORPGs were announced. ArenaNet positioned "Guild Wars" in a niche in this landscape, offering unlimited gametime without subscription fees. ArenaNet believed that players would not pay subscription fees for every online game they playcite web
title = "Guild Wars - Jeff Strain Interview"
publisher = GameSpy
author = Dave Kosak
url = http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/guild-wars/561040p1.html
date = 2004-10-27
accessdate = 2006-12-12
] and that paying a fee would cause players to make a "lifestyle commitment" to a particular game, rather than the usual behaviour of playing many different games and switching between them.cite web
title = "Guild Wars Interview With ArenaNet's Jeff Strain"
publisher = [http://www.telefragged.com/ TeleFragged]
author = Finger
url = http://www.telefragged.com/interviews/guildwars/
date = 2004-12-16
accessdate = 2006-12-12
] Jeff Strain, a founder of ArenaNet, said, "It is our opinion that the free online gaming model combined with frequent content updates is the optimum online paradigm for interfacing with consumers and creating a significant, enduring gaming franchise."cite web
title = "The Tech of Guild Wars"
publisher = IGN
author = Dan Adams
url = http://pc.ign.com/articles/534/534454p1.html
date = 2004-07-29
accessdate = 2006-12-12
]

ArenaNet has used open beta testing throughout the development of the "Guild Wars" series. For the first public appearance of "Prophecies" in April 2004, that occurred in conjunction with E3 2004, people were encouraged to download the client and play an online demo of the game to test its networking capabilities.cite web
title = "E3 for Everyone!"
publisher = NCSoft
author = ArenaNet
url = http://www.guildwars.com/press/releases/pressrelease-2004-04-19.php
date = 2004-04-19
accessdate = 2006-12-12
] This was followed by a preview event and several beta test weekend events.cite web
title = "Guild Wars World Preview Event Starts Friday"
publisher = NCSoft
author = ArenaNet
url = http://www.guildwars.com/press/releases/pressrelease-2004-10-26.php
date = 2004-10-26
accessdate = 2006-12-12
] Both Factions and Nightfall had similar test weekends prior to their release. Nearly 500,000 players spent an average of 8.5 hours playing the Nightfall PvE content during its second beta test weekend.cite web | url = http://www.guildwars.com/press/releases/pressrelease-2006-10-05.php | title = Guild Wars Nightfall Debuts to Mass Acclaim and Record-Breaking Numbers in Weekend Global Event | work = ArenaNet | accessdate = 2006-10-05] In addition to the public beta events, ArenaNet used continuously running closed alpha test servers throughout development; some alpha testers were ArenaNet employees but most were volunteers from the player community who signed a non-disclosure agreement with ArenaNet. After the release of "", the bulk of the development and test teams were moved to the "Guild Wars 2" project, though a small maintenance and QA team remains on the original "Guild Wars" project. The group of volunteer alpha testers was disbanded in January 2008, and no plans have yet been announced about repeating such an alpha test program for "Guild Wars 2".

Aspects of every campaign have been influenced or modified based on feedback from the player community.cite web | url = http://firingsquad.com/news/newsarticle.asp?searchid=12908 | title = Guild Wars Nightfall Interview | work = FiringSquad | accessdate = 2006-10-26] Such changes began soon after the release of the original "Prophecies", when, for instance, skill acquisition in the co-operative campaign was simplified, and PvP unlocks were made purchasable with the new mechanic of "faction" rewards for competitive victories.cite web
title = "Game Update Notes Archive: June 2005"
publisher = NCSoft
author = ArenaNet
url = http://www.guildwars.com/support/gameupdates/updatearchive-2005-06.php
date = 2005-06-30
] Although further playable content—such as quests and missions—are no longer expected for the original "Guild Wars" series, ArenaNet continues to make such changes to the gameplay elements and monitors game balance issues.

ArenaNet also continues to develop in-game events that generally coincide with real events such as Christmas, Halloween, and the Chinese new year (for the Asian-influenced in-game continent of "Cantha"). These events feature mini-games, quests, event-specific PvP game types such as the Dragon Arena and snow-ball fights or beetle racing, special decorations for in-game outposts, and various in-game rewards such as masks and collectible gifts. Regular events also occur every weekend; each such event temporarily increases certain in-game rewards such as the drop rate of loot, reputation points for various in-game activities, or "faction" points.

Game engine

The game engine for Guild Wars was developed by ArenaNet. Engine components developed for Guild Wars are available to be licensed to other NCsoft companies and have been used in other NCsoft games. However, ArenaNet have said they will not license the game engine technology to non-NCsoft companies.

Content delivery and network architecture

To support their fee-free approach to online gaming the server architecture developed for the game was core to minimizing the bandwidth costs associated with maintaining game servers.cite web
title = "Guild Wars"
publisher = [http://www.wargamer.com The Wargamer]
author = Chris Massey
url = http://www.wargamer.com/articles/guild_wars_interview/Default.asp
date = 2003-11-10
accessdate = 2006-12-12
] Infrastructure design was influenced by the developers' experiences with Battle.net development.

The game client is available for download as a very small file. Each time there is an update to the game the existing client automatically downloads a new version of the client which examines a manifest of files to determine which files have been modified and therefore need to be downloaded to the client machine. This manifest is prioritized, the most important files are downloaded prior to the player being able to start the game, the rest are downloaded in the background while the player is playing. ArenaNet uses this rapid update technology to make changes on demand and close exploits in the system.

ArenaNet also utilizes their update technology to preload content from new "Guild Wars" campaigns onto existing players' accounts prior to the release of that campaign. The content is only activated after the right key is added to the player's account and the game servers allow the campaign changes to go live.

The game is server hosted. Much of the game mechanics are performed or verified by the game servers. The Guild Wars servers are set up in a distributed model. Players are presented with what appears to be a single server but their data is moved to different locations or servers depending on where in the world they are playing and server load at the time.

References

External links

* [http://www.guildwars.com/ The official "Guild Wars" website]
* [http://wiki.guildwars.com/ The official "Guild Wars" Wiki]
* [http://guildwars.com/community/fansites/ ArenaNet's listing of recognized "Guild Wars" fansites]


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