Gamers everywhere can try Guild Wars for free this weekend with the following keys:
Note that you don't have to be in the same country as the servers you select. Download the game client for free here.
They're billing this global free-for-all PvP weekend as a preview of the upcoming Factions expansion, which includes new locations and professions (assassin and ritualist). Feel free to buzz me when you get there; my main character's Jacques Marteau, a warrior-monk who loves hammering things.
Also, meet my new assassin-warrior, Iwamura Sayuri. Sayuri is the name of the heroine of Memoirs of a Geisha, and Iwamura is the family name of her romantic lead. A Japanese ninja girl, in a Western fantasy world, built by Korean developers -- don't you just love multimedia cultural crossovers in gaming?
At one of the new locations, Sayuri observes the most masochistic NPCs in the history of RPGs. They just stand on the beach suffering from various conditions, die, and resurrect, only to suffer those conditions and die again. Why do they do this, you ask? They suffer and die, over and over again, just to demonstrate in-game maladies. If you can think of some other poor bot, in some other game, with a worse job, I'd like to hear about it.
Guild Wars' business model relies on the theory that gamers who hate server and item fees will pay for expansion packs. They tested the waters with Direct Song audio add-ons; Factions will be the acid test of that theory.
By the way, Direct Song, get another payment gateway aside from PayPal. They can't receive my payments from the Philippines. If Factions succeeds, your business model will be further validated, and PayPal won't be enough.