Warcry has put together a preview of Guild Wars, after some hands-on time with the MMORPG at this year's E3. An excerpt:
At the core, the game is based around a level, class, skill/spell and item system. In the preview, a level cap was locked down at 15. Instead of gaining levels, you gained skill points to expand your skill/spell arsenal. It is a tried and true combination that has worked and failed in countless games before Guild Wars was ever thought of. The unique thing here is the way that skills and spells are incorporated into the loot system by way of so-called skill gems. While it is a system that makes the realist in me cringe, it is also a system that works remarkably well in the gameplay. When you kill a (boss) or (named) monster, it yields two skill gems that you could train at your class trainer for a miniscule amount of gold or sell to the Gem Trader. The concept of a market value Gem Trader turned out to not work very well, unfortunately. People quickly figured out the way it worked and made massive amounts of gold because skill gems were relatively easy to get, and the value of skill gems to the trader plummeted because of it. There was eventually no money influx towards the end of the preview.
Another very interesting thing about Guild Wars is the patch system. If you're familiar with Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs), you'll also be familiar with the idea of patches and the dreaded patch days. Essentially, these are days where the playing servers are taken down for several hours at a time to update the server software, which can be very annoying. This won't happen in Guild Wars because of ArenaNet's intriguing patch system. Every time you load an area, it checks for updates on the server and downloads them accordingly instead of having everything run through a centralized (patcher) that runs before the actual game. This is a very unique idea I hope to see licensed to future MMOGs.