By Zach Case

Over this past decade game development companies have been sprouting up like weeds. Many developers are finding it hard to ?stay afloat? with all of the new and old competition they face. ArenaNet however found a way and they are now on their way to being recognized as one of the greats.

ArenaNet was founded in 2002 by a group of three men who originally worked for Blizzard Mike O?Brien Patrick Wyatt and Jeff Strain. When these three first created this company they named it ?Triforge?. It was soon later changed to ?ArenaNet?. Later in 2002 ArenaNet was bought by the Korean company NCsoft.
These game developers have firm beliefs that they like to live by in order to satisfy the customers and players. The first belief they have is they will never have you pay for a subscription. All of their games are a one time fee. The company also believes in making new innovations in the gaming community and not just copying the success of other companies.

ArenaNet has only developed one game that is available on the market at the moment. Guild Wars is a free MMORPG that only requires you to buy it to play. This game has four expansions including the first that are available to everyone world wide! The four expansions include Prophecies Factions Nightfall and Eye of the North. Guild Wars: Prophecies was ArenaNet?s very first game. Prophecies was released on April 28th 2005. This game is first set in the town of Ascalon where your character will have a series of adventures exploring the vast landscape. When you first start out you are trying to find out what the Charr (local enemy) are planning. This is only the start of a grand journey in Guild Wars: Prophecies.

Guild Wars: Factions was released on April 28th 2006. In this expansion you are set in an ancient Chinese land where you are needed to help Master Togo on Shing Jea Island. Here you are going to investigate the strange sighting of ?Infected? beings and creatures. This will take you to a great landmass east of the island to the city of Kaineng. A new feature was added along with the Faction expansion. You are able to take the sides of Luxon or Kurzick. Once you pick a side you will be able to take part of ?Faction PvP?. Faction PvP is a big battle when Luxons fight Kurzicks in a variety of game modes. During the fight you earn factions which can be used to redeem various objects.

The third expansion Guild Wars: Nightfall was released on October 27th 2006. You start this expansion by having a recruit tutorial which will show you the ropes if you are new. (Experienced players are recommended to skip this.) Nightfall introduced a new hero concept to the game. A hero in Guild Wars in a computer controlled NPC that will fight along side you when in battle. Hero?s are unique to each player so each gamer will be able to customize the weapons/armor the hero wears and which skills the hero can cast. Heroes will also level along side you; their level cap is the same as yours (20).

The last expansion is Eye of the North. Eye of the North (EotN) was released on August 31st 2007. This expansion was geared more towards max leveled players. However players under level 20 will carry a boost that will change their Health and Energy to a level 20?s. EotN is based in the mountainous region of Prophecies. EotN is a base camp for all the survivors of the Charr attack on Ascalon. This expansion also introduced two new types of beings Asura and Norn. The Asura race is populated by highly intelligent creatures who have mastered the art of creating G.O.L.E.M.?s. The Norn race is populated by giant like beings who have the power to change into a bear wolf and other types of creatures. The Norn are very nature loving people.

ArenaNet is currently working on their newest game Guild Wars 2. Guild Wars 2 is a sequel to Guild Wars that takes place over 100 years into the future. The developers at ArenaNet want to make this game unique a different kind of MMORPG that really does change around the choices your character makes through out the game. Some new features that this game will introduce are different races to choose from world events combo skills and much more!

In Guild Wars 2 you will be able to decide if you want your character to be Asura Norn Human Charr or Sylvari. This will change your characters story line drastically. Different races will have access to different perks. For example the Norn will have the special skill to change into an animal spirit.
This game is also going to introduce the world event system. This is where something in the world will happen and you can choose to go and help or continue what you are currently doing. If you choose to do nothing the event will still happen! It doesn?t matter if you ignore it or not your character will feel the effects of what ever happened. An example of a world event is a group of centaurs attacking a city. You can go help the city in peril or you can just ignore it. If you were to ignore it the city will be destroyed and you will have to wait for the city to rebuild.

One of the last new features we have been told about is the ability to use skills in ways people haven?t be able to before. So for instance you and a friend are fighting a Swamp Skale. If your friend was to cast a fire wall in front of you and you cast whirlwind with your axe you would send that fire wall flying into your enemy! This feature will introduce combos that you and your friends can find before anyone else.

The exact release date has not been told to the public yet but I think it is safe to say to expect a release date towards to the end of the year or early 2011. Live demos have already taken place at expos worldwide!

I think it is safe to say that we will be hearing a lot more about ArenaNet as the years go on! If you would like to learn more about ArenaNet please go to Http://www.arena.net ; if you would like to learn more about their new game in development please go to Guild Wars 2.

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