Guild Wars: Factions, the newest stand-alone expansion for the popular online game Guild Wars by ArenaNet and NCsoft. The game was launched on April 28th and many gamers flocked in the new content and continent named Cantha where the new storyline transpires.
Campaign 2: Factions introduces many new features not found in the first Campaign, Guild Wars: Prophecies. Three new PvP Arenas (if you want to call it as an 'arena') were introduced, namely the Alliance Battles, Fort Aspenwood, and Jade Quarry. These three PvP areas provides different modes or types of PvP, instead of the usual GvG (Guild vs Guild) and HA's (Heroes Ascent)-Team Arena-Random Arena's Team-vs-Team, now players are into a competition to conquer the lands of their foes - Faction vs Faction (FvF).
There are two warring states in the Continent of Cantha, the Kurzicks and the Luxons. Players will take sides, form alliances and fight in the Alliance Battles. The Alliance Battles is the PvP Area or mode where the borderline between the two states depends. If the Luxons won more battles during a 24-hour period, the borderline moves towards the Kurzick territory and with it, Luxons conquer towns. This is where most of the fun begins, each town conquered can be owned by an Alliance and will give them special privileges like access to NPCs who sell discounted items and an ability to display fireworks for everyone (in the town) can see. There are some towns that can not be conquered however, like the Capital Cities - House zu Heltzer from the Kurzick side and Cavalon from the Luxon side. But these two Capitals hold one exclusive mission no other town has, the coveted Elite Mission, a 12-man team mission where exclusive items are dropped.
I will leave all the other explanations to the GW Fansites who are doing in-depth reviews and instructions for each feature. I will continue on with how I personally feel and see the stand-alone expansion. And I can say that they did a job well done. I like Cantha, I even compiled a high-resolution, cloudless map for the continent of Cantha (Cantha Continental Map and is also creating maps for the Alliance Battle feature where different maps are used depending on where the borderline is at (see the Alliance Battle maps here).
Graphics are better now that the game is using DirectX9. The sounds are good, though I will suggest you get the expansion pack sounds for GW:P and GW:F at DirectSong. Gameplay is better, and the new concepts are good. Though there are some shortcomings, all these are overshadowed by the overall performance, quality and status of the game. We can only expect more from ArenaNet as they promised a release of a new stand-alone expansion every 6 months.
What could be next? Campaign 3, which will be showed to a select few eyes this coming E3 2006 Convention.
Get Guild Wars: Factions NOW!!
Oh, don't forget, they introduced a new type of mission, two 8-man party missions, yes,a mission where two mission-towns are connected.