I've been playing Guild Wars since it came out back in 2005 and it has come a hell of a long way since the first chapter (now known as Prophecies). With intreguing storylines from each chapter you'll definately find it hard to tear yourself away from.
So what do you get with this product? As well as Prophecies which is based on the Continent known as Tyria, you also get Factions, which is based on Cantha, and Nightfall, which is based in Elona. The Forth game, Eye of the North is unlike Factions and Nightfall as it is actually an expansion of the continent, Tyria.
Here are brief synopsis of each of the chapters/expansions.
Chapter 1: Prophecies
The last day dawns on the Kingdom of Ascalon, its people unaware that everything they'd ever known would end in an instant. The Charr, a race of beasts continue to fight for control and King Adelburn needs new blood to fight against them. You have decided to join the King's Army, little knowing that it is a journey that will take you far from Ascalon, forfilling a prophecy you are destined to follow.
Chapter 2: Factions
500 years ago, the Betrayer, known as Shiro Tagachi murdered the Emperor Angsiyan. Once the Emperor's most trusted bodyguard, no one knows why he turned on the Emperor. All that everyone knows is, when Shiro was finally killed by the Assassin, Visu, Shiro's death wail turned the forests into stone and the seas into Jade. The day would be forever known as The Jade Wind.
500 years on, you are in training at the tranquillic island known as Shing Jea Island. Trained by the renowned Ritualist known as Master Togo at his Monestary, you have been chosen to represent the Monastary at a gathering on Minister Cho's estate, unaware that a plague has taken ahold. Shiro Tagachi has returned and he's back for vengence. Only you can stop the spread of the plague...and only you can stop Shiro from achieving his goal.
Chapter 3: Nightfall
Lore tells us that there are 5 Gods, Balthazar, the God of War, Dwayna, the Goddess of life and air, Grenth, the God of cold and death, Lissa, the Goddess of beauty and illusion, and Melandru. the Goddess of earth and nature. All are worshipped by the people of Tyria, Cantha and Elona, but little does anyone know that there was a 6th God...Abbadon, the God of secrets. Banished from history, Abbadon was condemned to the Realm of Torment after turning to demonology centuries ago.
Varesh Ossa, a descendent of the great Turai Ossa, who defeated the undead lord Palawa Joko centuries ago, is leader of the Kournan Empire on Elona. Like Turai, Varesh is a spiritualist by nature and a brilliant commander in battle. However, her Spiritual journey has accidently uncovered the forgotten God. Now under his control Varesh sets about to bring darkness to the continent and beyond.
Unaware of your destiny, you have joined the Sunspears in Istan and Kormir, a legendary Spearmarshal, is training you to become a leader within the Sunspears. As you fight off a Corsair raid on a village, word begins to spread of strange symbols appearing on walls and on the bodies of dead miners. Nightfall has begun...and only you can stop it!
Chapter 4: Eye Of the North
Just when you thought it was safe to retire to the quiet life of home, an earthquake has revealed a large crevice on the landscape of Tyria, Cantha and Elona. Sent to investigate, you have little idea of what to expect when you explore an underground monestary. As the earth continues to shake around you, you know that you have to find the root cause of these quakes before the city above you falls...and quickly.
However, as you continue to explore this underworld, you are met by a Dwarf and a strange creature known as an Asura, who tell you about demons that have over run the Asura transport network and are heading their way. The only way to escape from these strange demons is to join up with the Dwarf and Asura, and follow them to the North of Tyria, in an area known as the Far Shiverpeaks. Trapped in the North, you hear stories of a demon known as 'The Great Destroyer' who threatens all of Tyria, Cantha and Elona if left unchecked. Gathering your allies, you face your greatest challenge yet...destroying the Destroyer!
Here come the good points and the bad points to this game, starting off with...
The Good Points:
No monthly fee: That's right! NO monthly fee! This game is free to play online. Excellent considering the credit crunch hitting our pockets these days.
Graphics: They are absolutely stunning! The specs of this game are quite generous so as long as you have a 256MB Graphics card and at least 1GB of memory, this game can run very smoothly. However it is always better to have a 512MB or above Graphics card to see it in its full glory.
Storyline: Endeering and intreguing you'll want to follow the story right to the end. Watch as your character talks in cutscenes to other characters in the story.
Want to Solo and don't want to be disturbed?: No problem! Take a few npcs and walk out of town. Each player gets their own 'copy' of the Guild Wars universe so you won't get any annoying tells from people while you're trying to get that quest done. If you want to party with others simply port back into town and join up with a few players before walking out the door again. Nightfall also introduced the concept of 'Heroes' which you can customise and team alongside with. This trend was continued with Eye of the North, and if you have Prophecies and Factions installed you can also get a hero character from those chapters as well.
Got a Prophecies Character and want to play in Factions?: Simply head to Kryta's Lion's Arch and after completing a specific quest you can hit the shores of Cantha in no time as long as your character is level 10 and above. Guild Wars chapters act as a stand alone or as an expanded universe so you can take any character from any chapter and play the story of the another chapter.
Now...to the iffy point:
Level cap: With all Chapters, the highest level you can attain is level 20 which in Factions especially, can be attained very quickly. Eventhough I've put this in the iffy points I can see why the level cap is so low. Guild Wars isn't really about attaining levels. Its focus is on the skills you take with you. You're only allowed a total of 8 skills so you have to choose wisely before leaving town with the skills currently equipped. It also relies on the skills your npc's, heroes and other players in your team have.
Now to the bad point:
Lack of Z Axis: One thing that kinda ticked me off in the beginning is unlike games such as City of Heroes and World of Warcraft you cannot jump in this game, nor if you go to the edge will you fall into the water or the ground below. To reach the bottom, you have to walk around to a flat surface at the bottom so there's never a 'short cut' to that pesky quest in the obscure places.
All in all, this is a very good game to get into, whether you're new to the world of MMORPG or a vetran. Its Free to play service means its also an excellent game to play if you're budget conscious (seriously who isn't right now?). So what are you all waiting for? Go get it and enjoy it!