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Welcome to Cantha
I've got to confess when I was approached to review Guildwars: Factions, I was a little hesitant to go forward with it, simply because I'm not really a hardcore role-playing game, or RPG, player and even less so with the online versions of them. I went through with it anyway and to my surprise I found out that it changed my perspective on the whole genre. Join me on my adventurous exploration of the game and the virtual world inside!

NCSoft has crafted this sequel to the already successful Guildwars: Prophecies, or rather they expanded it to create Factions. It's an online role-playing game with no monthly fees that you can play by yourself or with friends. The game doesn't need the other Guildwars edition to play, it's a standalone. This way existing players can expand and new players can start with this edition and move on to the other.

The game plays out in the lands of Cantha, a three-nation continent far to the south of the lands of Tyria where the original game took place. The setting for this continent is more exotic, an Asian inspired continent. The player can travel between the continents by boat if they have both games. The gameplay between the two is the same with the exception of the expansions made for Factions edition.

About NCSoft
Founded in 1997 in Korea, NCsoft has tried to create a whole spectrum of online worlds for the regular Internet gamer. The game Lineage came soon after NCSoft opened its doors in 1998 and is one of their bestsellers with over 3.5 million subscribers worldwide. It set the basis from which NCSoft started working and made it possible for them to expand in Taiwan, North America Japan and China. Today they still strive to conquer the gaming market with their products and hope to lead the way and making Korea a big forerunner in the online gaming industry.

In a Land Divided, Unity is Power

Across a sea of jade
Lies a work torn asunder
By the hatred of two warring nations.
To those who would proceed
Take heed...
All must choose a side.

That's a quote taken from the box itself, a pretty powerful, yet cryptic statement. Basically that is what the game boils down to, in a few sentences. Read on to find out what that all means, but for now I'll show you the system specifications.

System Specifications
Minimum Recommended
Operating System Windows 98/ME/2000/XP Windows 2000/XP
Processor Pentium III 800Mhz or equivalent Pentium III 1 Ghz or equivalent
Memory 256 MB 512 MB
Hard disk space 2 GB 2 GB
Graphics Radeon 8500 or Geforce 3 or 4 MX series with 32 MB of VRAM Radeon 9000 or GeForce 4 Ti series with 64MB of VRAM
Sound 16-bit sound card 16-bit sound card
Control Keyboard and Mouse Keyboard and Mouse
Connectivity 56k dailup broadband

Installing the game is pretty straight forward. Either download the client from the Internet or install it from CD. This depends on where you bought the game; you can buy the game boxed in the shop or over the Internet and only get the activation key sent to you. When you use the boxed version you get 2 CDs that install roughly about 2 GB of data as opposed to the Internet client which is smaller but needs to download a whole lot more to get the data for the online worlds.

One neat solution Iíve discovered is that when you have to reinstall the game, due to a cleanup of the system or otherwise, you can simply double click the executable and the game corrects itself again. That means that you wonít have to install it again in such events or, in my case, I didnít have to reinstall it when dual booting into Windows XP x64. which is always a bonus!

Its been suggested that if you experience lags while playing the game that you should rather install the Internet client then the CD version. Since I had such problems I've tried it and saw some improvement. I'll go into that a little more in detail on the next page.