Guild Wars Factions Environment Preview - The New Continent of Cantha

Take a tour of some of the prettiest (and most dangerous) places that you'll explore in the upcoming stand-alone chapter of Guild Wars.

Guild Wars was one of the best-selling PC games of 2005, thanks to its unique take on online action role-playing and its beautiful graphical look. It also didn't hurt that the game doesn't require a subscription fee to play. That combination proved to be popular with gamers everywhere. Now developer ArenaNet is prepping the first major addition to Guild Wars, appropriately named Guild Wars Factions. This new chapter will introduce players to new professions, skills, missions, and enemies, as well as a whole new continent of the world that they haven't seen before. The continent of Cantha is located south of Tyria, the continent where the original Guild Wars is set. Cantha architecture could be described as almost Asian in look and feel, and you'll certainly get a chance to explore a continent that's unlike anything you've seen thus far in Guild Wars.

Cantha is an Asian-inspired continent, and it looks it.

You won't need the original Guild Wars to play Guild Wars Factions, though if you do own both games, you'll be able to transfer your characters between both continents by boat. Guild Wars Factions is due to launch this spring. You can get your first glimpse of Cantha here. We've got details on some of the prettiest (and most dangerous) places where you can go on the continent.

Welcome to Cantha

It is not uncommon for new arrivals to Cantha to be overwhelmed by the maelstrom of activity in the harbor. Ships from all over the world can be seen unloading their wares and reloading with other precious commodities.

Outside of the hustle and bustle of the Kaineng City, the rural outskirts provide peace and solace for those who wish to study the arcane arts. One of the most prestigious schools in all of Tyria resides on Shing Jea Island, just off the northwest corner of Cantha.

Petrified Forest

Two hundred years ago, the Emperor of Cantha was slain by his closest bodyguard--a man by the name of Shiro Tagachi. When this bodyguard was finally brought to justice, his death wail was so powerful and full of hatred that it petrified the forest and turned the sea to jade, forever changing the landscape of Cantha and its neighboring nations.

In the intervening years, life has crept back into the wasteland that was created after Shiro's wail. The sun's rays have broken through the cracks in the solid stone canopy, and where they touch the ground, plants are beginning to grow. Humans have returned as well, building their homes into the trees themselves.

Jade Sea

On the other side of the continent, in the Jade Sea, ships caught in the ensuing storm can still be seen stuck solid in the frozen waves, now turned to solid jade. Traveling across the sea is now done with beasts of burden--giant turtles and huge snails.

Today, there are gigantic quarries where the jade is mined. It is not uncommon for the miners to uncover perfectly preserved sea monsters, frozen for all time, inside huge blocks of jade.

The Undercity

Cantha is a nation of many, many people. The marketplaces are packed, the cities are overcrowded, and the sewers are overflowing with waste. Underneath the busy streets, the darker side of Cantha rears its ugly head. If you're looking to engage in unsavory activities, this would be the place to come.

The Emperor's Palace

Built right after the death of the emperor (at Shiro's hand), the emperor's palace is well guarded. There is only one way in, and all visitors are closely watched.

For those who do get inside, the palace is a place of tremendous wonder. The Emperor of Cantha, his likeness painted on huge sparkling murals, keeps a watchful eye over the compound. Each courtyard is blocked off from the next by a series of complex gates, another piece of the elaborate defenses that protect the ruler of this land.

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