NCsoft have announced the next chapter in the Guild Wars franchise, Guild Wars: Factions, which due for release in the second quarter of 2006. Factions introduces new regions, professions, skills, missions, and monsters, along with expanded options for both Cooperative and Player-versus-Player (PvP) play, and enhanced features for guilds:

"Players will get their first chance to experience the new campaign when ArenaNet opens its servers to everyone for the Guild Wars: Factions Global Free-for-All PvP Weekend. This worldwide event--scheduled for January 20 through 22--is open to both existing Guild Wars players and to those who do not have a Guild Wars account. ArenaNet is distributing free access keys to the event at

The event will enable players to experience two new professions being introduced in the campaign, the Assassin and the Ritualist. Participants will also be able to try out a number of the skills added to Guild Wars: Factions, including some of the deadly skills of the Assassin and the arcane spells of the spiritual Ritualist. They will also be able to get familiar with the new PvP continent, Battle Isles. Battle Isles will introduce players to new PvP experiences, new and expanded arenas, new quests, and a new explorable area as well.

Another feature available during the Guild Wars: Factions Global Free-for-All PvP Weekend is Observer Mode, where players who aren't participating in a battle can view the proceedings and check out the strategies and tactics used by top-ranked guilds as they fight for supremacy."

"We're excited to be offering this free preview of Guild Wars: Factions to players throughout the world," said Patrick Wyatt, co-founder of ArenaNet. "Factions is a huge step in the continued evolution of the game, and I think gamers are really going to be excited about the new features they're going to see!"