The original Guild Wars Prophecies showed the world that massively-multiplayer online role-playing games can be successful without monthly fees and shook up the standard business model set by Sony and Blizzard. Guild Wars Factions has something to offer for both Guild Wars gurus and new players alike with new story missions, two professions, an additional PvP mode and a whole new continent to explore.
Factions is a stand-alone campaign, meaning that you won’t need the original Guild Wars Prophecies to play. However, if you own the original Prophecies you can bring your character over to Cantha - the breathtaking Asia-inspired continent where Guild Wars Factions takes place. Filled with towering pagodas and lush environments, Cantha looks fabulous and adds an eastern flavor to the stock medieval fantasy land of Tyria from Prophecies.
Two new professions are also added to the original six from Prophecies. The Assassin excels at close combat and can deal large amounts of damage quickly while avoiding attacks, while the Ritualist prefers to deal damage by summoning ephemeral spirits to do its bidding.
While the new character designs look great, we were disappointed in how they played. The Assassin played like a second-rate Warrior. Their attacks looked impressive with lots of acrobatic flips and lunges, but their skills didn’t seem to pack enough of a punch. We were also a little underwhelmed with the Ritualist’s summoning abilities which called forth a mass of pathetic transparent spirits that couldn’t really hold a candle to the Necromancer’s undead minions.
Despite our dislike for the new professions, one of the great things about Guild Wars is its incredibly flexible character creation system. As with Prophecies, you’ll need to choose a secondary profession. With seven alternative professions to choose from and hundreds of unique skills to learn, you can mix and match professions and skills to create almost any type of character. Would you like an Assassin/Monk who can hold his own in hand-to-hand combat and heal on the side? Or do you prefer Ritualist/Mesmer who can summon spirits while casting area-of-effect spells from a distance?
The choice is yours, and with the ability to adjust your attributes and change your skills before any mission or PvP battle, Factions never leaves you feeling like you made the wrong choice and encourages you to experiment with various character builds and skill sets until you find the combination that works best for you.