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Guild Wars: A guide to Pre-Searing

Shawn Schuster

The last day dawns on the Kingdom of Ascalon. It arrives with no fanfare, no tolling of alarms. Those who will remember, will speak fondly of the warm morning breeze. People carry on with their daily lives, unaware that in a short while... everything they have ever known will come to an end.

This is the opening dialogue for the original Guild Wars, directly after you initially create your character in Prophecies. It lets us know that the beauty we are about to experience in what is known as "Pre-Searing Ascalon" will only be temporary.

The name "Pre-Searing" comes from the fact that everything in this tutorial area of GW:Prophecies occurs before the Searing, when the evil Charr burned the lands of Ascalon to the ground. Because of the fact that it precedes the rest of the storyline by two years, the area cannot be accessed again once you leave. For this reason, you will find many players who remain in the Pre-Searing area permanently, as a roleplaying homage to their original homeland and its preservation. In fact, this starter area has had such an impact on players that an entire fan-based community has been created around it.

The area itself is fairly small, with an ideal exit level set around 6 or 7. Of course, your character can leave earlier or later depending on personal preference. There are some who have managed to leave at level 1, and others who have spent many months grinding to level 20 on low-level mobs just to get the prestigious "Legendary Defender of Ascalon" title. This title is entirely too complicated to explain in this article, but some research on what is known as death-leveling will help you appreciate this jaw-dropping feat.

When you first arrive in Pre-Searing, you start in Ascalon City: the main hub of the five available towns and outposts. This is where you can linger for awhile, gaining quests that relate to the area, learning how to use the merchant, how to join others in a group and so on. This city is quite large in comparison to others in Pre-Searing, with three levels of stairs and a wide array of quest chains to keep you entertained and educated for awhile.

One of the best aspects of Pre-Searing is the fact that you have a limited amount of skills available to you, and a limited maximum armor type that can only be obtained through collector NPCs. These collector NPCs offer a variety of pieces with improved armor rating depending on the class, but it's important to note that there is no NPC for headgear armor in Pre-Searing. This is something ArenaNet removed from the game, so you're stuck with the headgear you received when you created your character.

An extremely popular NPC and future icon of Pre-Searing is the small child known as Gwen who resides just outside the gates of Ascalon city. Gwen is the first real example we have of an NPC who can join you, although she is not considered an actual party member, nor is she considered a henchman (there are no henchmen in Pre-Searing). Ironically, because of her iconic status in the game, ArenaNet brought her back as a grown teenager in the Eye of the North expansion.

Once you get to the point where you feel comfortable with most of the enemies you've encountered in Pre-Searing, and you've finished most quests available to you, there is an advanced area of this land where most higher-level players go to gain experience and face a genuine challenge. This area is known as "North of the Wall" or simply The Northlands where the Charr reign supreme. This is also the only place where players seeking the Legendary Defender of Ascalon title can gain any experience. Luckily, there is no death penalty in Pre-Searing though, which comes in handy when you'll face these advanced enemies.

Be sure to continue reading about the outposts and landmarks of this area in the Pre-Searing Gallery.

Gallery: Guild Wars Pre-Searing Gallery | 11 Photos

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