The world of MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) gaming can be quite daunting for newcomers. If youíve never played such a gaming title in the past, you could be forgiven for feeling more than a little overawed. Youíre suddenly surrounded by thousands of gamers, all of which seem to know exactly what to do, and precisely whatís going to need to be done to beat the game. So taking into account the cost of the initial purchase, plus the required monthly subscription, most seem happy to continue getting their multiplayer action on their home consoles.
But here comes Guild Wars from NCsoft. Now Guild Wars is quite a different beast from the likes of World of Warcraft or Everquest. While these games rely on monthly subscriptions to cover all kinds of costs, with Guild Wars you never pay anything more than the initial purchase in your local gaming emporium. Again, where the other big hitters in the genre require incredible numbers of hours put in, in order to get to any kind of decent in game level, Guild Wars requires you to display your intelligence and skill. With the in game level cap set at 20, which is reachable in quite speedy time, your own skill is required if your going to Ďbeatí the game.
Guild Wars itself is all about the missions. Through the whole game youíll usually have a few missions on the go, ranging from the important ones that require completion in order to progress the story, to the tiny little sub-quests that simply give you a few extra coins, and a fancy new weapon. Itís to the games credit that these sub-quests arenít solely busy work, requiring you to spend hours traversing the game world in order to keep you busy, and earn your character an extra step up the experience ladder. If anything, these quests are quite often more involving than the main storyline.
Missions themselves are very easy indeed to discover. Talking to the majority of the games NPCís (non player characters) will give you the opportunity to take on a task that theyíd love you to complete. While the opening missions show off the basics of Guild Wars gameplay, it isnít too long before youíre encouraged to team up with another gamer and combine your skills to continue. Finding someone whoís willing to become your in game buddy isnít too difficult at all. Even if you donít know anyone already in game, there are numerous players at the in game hubs (the cities, where all players are viewable) that are at the same point as you in game, and are looking for a like minded gamer to team up with. Once you have your small party (maximum party sizes increase as you progress through the game), you can move out of the city and into the wild plains of Guild Wars. Once youíre outside a cityís walls, you wonít see any other players (apart from your companions of course). Here itís you against the world. Thereís no queuing up to defeat a creature that requires being defeated before you can continue the online story here.
Your chosen character is based on one of six chosen Primary Professions. Each profession of course offering its own unique strengths and its own unique drawbacks. Your outward identity, which everyone online will see is governed by your profession choice too. If you decide to set yourself as a great hulking warrior, thatís what everyone else will see. Set yourself as a tiny, feeble looking elementalist, and thatís what youíll appear as. As you progress through the game youíll have the choice to give yourself a secondary profession. Making use of this little feature gives you access to a second set of attributes and skills, if lacking the main primary attributes that gives each professions itís true unique identity. If that wasnít enough variety for you, each profession also has a set of attributes you can build up with attribute points. Guild Wars allows to actually remove points from an attribute in the future, if you realise you were heading down the Ďwrong pathí, and required some other ability heightened to give you the best experience.