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Exploring Ascalon: Exclusive Guild Wars images

Take a trip around NCsoft's eagerly awaited MMORPG with our exclusive screenshots and info

Guild Wars, the MMORPG from NCsoft that places player skill and action-packed accessibility above the duller traditions of the genre, is creeping up on its PC release on April 29.

Developed by ArenaNet, Guild Wars brings instanced PvE combat and structured PvP competition together in one huge mash-up of MMORPG madness. You'll be able to adventure on your lonesome or with friends to gather items, gain experience and complete quests; or form Guilds to take on the competition of other human teams, with the ultimate aim of being the most powerful Guild in the world.

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Southern Shiverpeaks

This potentially revolutionary MMORPG experience will be set in the world of Tyria, a place with all the variety and beauty you expect from the genre - but with none of the dull delays as you schlep for hours between areas. In Guild Wars, when you want to be somewhere you can be there instantly.

We've put together a tour of Tyria so you'll know exactly where to head when you enter the world of Guild Wars. From the gentle Kingdom of Ascalon to the sulphurous pits of the Fire Islands, our tour of Tyria takes in every important area you'll see. Check out our exclusive new screens too.

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 ask a favour. There is no other place quite so tranquil and pleasant in all of Tyria.

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 their existence is the hollow, wind-torn buildings of their temporary civilizations.

Fire Island Chain

The rumbling fury of the Fire Island volcanoes is rivalled 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.

Kryta

If ever there was 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 where the others either struggle or have been destroyed altogether.

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Northern Shiverpeaks

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.

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.

Northern Shiverpeaks

Rising up more than ten-thousand 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.

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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The Kingdom of Ascalon - after The Searing

Guild Wars will be available for PC next Friday. If you're hungry for more, you could also check out our in-depth interview with Jeff Strain, the game's producer at ArenaNet, here.

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