ArenaNet is a computer game developer and part of NCsoft Corporation, founded in 2000 by Mike O'Brien, Patrick Wyatt and Jeff Strain and located in Bellevue, Washington. They are the developers of the episodic Action RPG series Guild Wars.
The founders of ArenaNet were former employees of Blizzard Entertainment who played important roles in developing the highly successful computer games. Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Diablo II , and the Battle.net gaming network. Their new studio was briefly called Triforge, Inc. before changing its name to ArenaNet and being acquired by NCsoft.
On September 10, 2008, NCsoft announced that all their North American and European subsidiaries, including ArenaNet, were to be governed by a new division named NC West (a tentative name), headquartered in Seattle, Washington. ArenaNet will no longer report directly to NCsoft Korea. Three of ArenaNet's executives will leave ArenaNet to assume leadership positions in this new organization: Chris Chung will become its CEO, Jeff Strain its president, and Patrick Wyatt its CTO. Guild Wars 2 will continue under the direction of Mike O'Brien, who remains at ArenaNet.
Guild Wars Prophecies
Guild Wars is a game that attempts to merge the Action RPG and the RPG game genres into one, with competition in both the player versus player (in random matches, teams, tournaments, or guild battles), and player versus environment (in missions, quests, or area exploration) forms. The developers call this blend a CORPG, short for competitive online role-playing game. Important goals of the game are both to minimize the amount of repetitive actions a player has to perform to become a respectable force in the gaming world (called grind), and also to minimize a player's dependency on game items to stay competitive. These are two goals that set the game apart from most MMORPG's, where one hardcore player will gain major advantages when competing against another more casual gamer simply from having played the game more and found better items. In Guild Wars, the advantages in battle will instead come from how well a player use the character's Guild Wars Nightfall skills, an art that is hard to master even for professionals, with the game's hundreds of available skills. The game is different from most MMORPG's in that it will never have any additional recurring fees, but bases revenue on standalone game expansions, or "campaigns". This structure was scrapped soon after Nightfall, as it became too time consuming, and needed each new chapter to introduce totally different concepts to the saga.
Guild Wars Factions
Guild Wars Factions is the first sequel to Guild Wars, and among other things adds a new world map with accompanying missions, two new professions (the Assassin and Ritualist), several new gaming modes, and "titles" which measures the advance of characters in several tasks. It is sometimes referred to as the second "chapter", with the first one being the released game itself, but then with the label Guild Wars: Prophecies to make a distinction between the chapters. Be aware that this is not an expansion pack, but a stand-alone product, meaning that it does not require Guild Wars: Prophecies to play, although it enhances the player's gaming experience to have both titles.
Guild Wars Nightfall
The third chapter in the Guild Wars saga, titled was released on 27 October 2006. As with the previous chapters, this is a stand-alone product, but it can be merged with the previous campaigns to enhance the gaming experience. This third chapter introduces a new world map, two new professions (the Dervish and Paragon), a new PvP mode, but its most remarkable new feature is the introduction of "Heroes" who travel with the character between missions and campaigns and are fully customizable by the player.
Guild Wars Eye of the North
Eye of the North is the first true expansion pack in the Guild Wars series. Released on August 31, 2007, it requires one of three earlier full campaigns, and introduces two new races—the Asura and the Norn—that will be playable in the upcoming Guild Wars 2. It is intended to bridge the gap to Guild Wars 2 by means of a Hall of Monuments, a mechanism that allows transferring achievements in the original series to the sequel.
Guild Wars 2
Announced in March 2007, Guild Wars 2 will be the sequel to the current Guild Wars series of games. The game is set hundreds of years after the events in the original series and is expected to contain several new features, consisting of a more persistent world (as opposed to mostly instanced), an altered NPC system and an updated graphics engine. No release dates have been announced, and public beta-testing has been stated to occur closer to the release of Guild Wars 2. On the morning of August 20, 2009, ArenaNet released the first trailer for Guild Wars 2 on their website.