Guild Wars Profile Preview - The Environments of Guild Wars

We have exclusive details and screens of all eight major environments in Guild Wars.

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Guild Wars, the debut online role-playing game from ArenaNet, has gone gold, which means it will arrive in stores next week. And so while you're busy sharpening your virtual swords, we've got the details on all eight major environments that will appear in the game, including one that has remained a secret until now. Guild Wars differs from most traditional online role-playing games in several ways. First of all, it won't require a subscription to play; just purchase the game, and you can play it all you want online. Second of all, the focus in Guild Wars isn't on getting experience points and leveling up constantly. Instead, you'll need to acquire and select a handful of skills that best those of your opponents. Think of it kind of like the card game Magic: The Gathering. And finally, your opponents in Guild Wars will mainly be your fellow players, as you can form guilds and battle it out in the many different arenas to determine which guild is the best. So without further ado, here are the eight environments of Guild Wars.

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Ascalon
Players enter the game in the Kingdom of Ascalon. The warm breeze blows in from the north, shuffling the long grass and tossing the leaves hither and yon over the worn dirt pathways. The people here are friendly and helpful, eager to lend a hand or do you a favor. There is no other place quite so tranquil and pleasant in all of Tyria.

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Crystal Desert
The Crystal Desert is a nexus of powerful mystical energies. For centuries, entire cultures have made pilgrimages to the burning sands in search of spiritual atonement. Their bones litter the dunes, a testament to the dangers of this inhospitable environment. The only other evidence of these cultures' existences is the hollow, wind-eroded buildings of their temporary civilizations.

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Fire Island Chain
The rumbling fury of the Fire Island volcanoes is rivaled only by the ire of the gods themselves. Molten flows of lava make their slow, considered march toward the open ocean, where, when the red-hot magma hits the sea, a plume of hissing steam rises high into the darkening sky. There is very little that can survive in the shadow of the volcanoes, but what is there is not to be dealt with lightly.

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Kryta
If ever there were such a place as paradise, Kryta would rival it for beauty. Crystal blue ocean meets alabaster sand on the shores below the thatched roofs and stone-buttressed temples of this coastal civilization. One of the three great kingdoms of this area, Kryta has fared better than the other two. Its civilization still thrives, whereas the others either struggle or have been destroyed altogether.

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The Maguuma Jungle
There is much to fear in the dark recesses of the jungle. The upper reaches of the Maguuma are parched, cracked, and arid, a result of the huge thorny trees whose roots have soaked up all the water in the top layer of the soil. But deep down at the bottom of the valleys, where the sun's rays no longer reach and the moisture collects in shallow pools, the fight for survival rages on. If the creatures don't get you, the plants will.

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Post-Searing Ascalon
The haunting visage of twisted, burnt wreckage tells the tale of Ascalon's fate better than any bard ever could. The day of the Searing was like any other. The sun was shining and the people were going about their daily lives--until fire and brimstone rained down from the heavens. The Great Northern Wall came crashing down, and the beasts from the north flooded into towns and villages. In one blinding flash, the once-powerful kingdom of Ascalon was brought to its knees.

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Northern Shiverpeaks
Rising up more than 10,000 feet above sea level, the tops of the Shiverpeak Mountains are frozen year-round. There are only two known passes through the treacherous mountain peaks. The northern most of those, Borlis Pass, is currently held by a group of xenophobic dwarves who are not too keen about letting anyone cross over their territory. Enter the pass at your own risk.

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Southern Shiverpeaks
The dwarf tribes who make their homes in the Shiverpeaks were once united under a common banner. Those days are long past, and in their place a civil war rages. The dwarven king and his loyal supporters have but one stronghold left deep in the south, and even it is in danger of falling to a far larger enemy force. Don't let the tranquil look of falling snow deceive you. The Shiverpeak Mountains are in turmoil.

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jakeboudville

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really impressive