Despite the fact that you start your journey surrounded by the gorgeous lands of Pre-Searing Ascalon, you soon find yourself in a burned-out shell of the land you grew to love. This helps your character get involved in the hatred for the relentless Charr, and the ongoing dedication to destroying them at all costs. Take note of this animosity, it will carry on for a long, long time.
Once known as Ashford Abbey, the newly-named Sardelac Sanitarium was established to house those Ascalonians who could no longer mentally deal with the destruction of their lives and their land. You'll find many landmarks here to remind you of the life that once was, and inspire you to eventually move on, seeking greener pastures.
Into the snowy Northern Shiverpeaks you venture with Prince Rurik on your way to find a better land for the displaced Ascalonians. This is your first real taste of another friendly culture outside of the home in which you were raised. The Shiverpeak Dwarves prove to be both friend and foe throughout the entire series of campaigns.
As a testament to the many hidden mysteries that Arena.net places in their games, the Wizard's Tower floats high above Kessex Peak seemingly out of reach. Many villains, including Galrath and Verata seek entrance to the tower, but none have discovered access yet. Is this another untapped avenue in the Prophecies plot line? Or does it simply end with a series of quests, never to be explored in the future? Arena.net has surprised us before by re-introducing old favorites, so we can only hope that this will one day find its true purpose.
Thawing yourself from the ice and eventually escaping the dangerous beaches of Kryta, you will soon discover the thick tropical regions of the Maguuma Jungle, where new friends and foes await your charge. It is rumored that the humans who once inhabited this region were lost forever to the lush greenery and wildlife, but it's up to you to rediscover their location and clarify their purpose.
Intermixed within the higher elevations of the Maguuma Jungle is the desolate wasteland of Druid's Overlook. Don't let the barren environment fool you though; the land is crawling with life in every corner, just thirsting for your blood.
The Amnoon Oasis welcomes new travelers to the Crystal Desert, where we discover more information on the great history of The Forgotten who influenced the Tyrian lands centuries ago. The desert is also where your character will battle its Doppleganger in order to achieve Ascension, granting your character the blessings of the Tyrian gods.
The Ring of Fire Island chain is home to a constant stream of volcanic activity, making it one of the most dangerous and uninhabitable area of the Tyrian lands. It is rumored to hold an array of demonic and unnatural beings unlike any we've seen to this point. The center volcano, known as Abaddon's Mouth is rumored to be the gateway into the Underworld.
In Cantha, the land of <em>Factions</em>, you will discover distinct cultural and environmental differences from what you were used to in <em>Prophecies</em>. This Asian-themed chapter introduces us to an entirely new storyline, staying far away from the recycled content you find in many other MMOs and their expansions or sequels these days.
In <em>Factions</em>, we're introduced to new races for our henchmen for the first time. This includes not-only the Tengu pictured here, but also Wallow later in the story. We're also treated to two new playable classes: The Ritualist and The Assassin, still considered two of the most powerfully-specialized classes in the game today.
Once you leave the safety of the starter island and reach the Canthan mainland, you'll notice something we haven't experienced in <em>Guild Wars</em> yet: a crowded, bustling metropolitan area. Kaineng City is a maze of slums, sewers and back alleys with dangerous gangs lurking around every corner.
For the first time in <em>Guild Wars</em>, we get to choose our side of the storyline: Kurzick or Luxon. This is repeated in later installments of the game, but after we escape the crowded metropolotan area, we get our first experience with how it works. By choosing the Luxon side, you'll explore vast seas of solid jade and fight displaced sea creatures that have adapted and evolved in their new home.
Continuing on with the other side of the plot, the Kurzick storyline exposes your character to the dark, eerie Echovald Forest comprised of some of the most gorgeous architecture you'll ever see carved into a giant tree. While the Luxons are a more nomadic people, traveling on the backs of enormous turtles, the gothic Kurzicks make a point of establishing themselves in the cathedrals of the dense forest. Of course, no matter which story you choose, both sides are playable for each character. This not only makes a less linear plot, but also extends the replay value of the game.
One of the two new classes introduced with <em>Factions</em> is the Assassin. This profession centers around the use of stealth and specific attack chains to quickly eliminate single targets effectively.
The second new class introduced with <em>Factions</em> is the Ritualist. These spirit conjurers can call upon the powers of the dead in ways that Necromancers only dream. They are considered one of the most powerful and adaptive professions in the game.