It’s 100 years later in the world of Tyria, in the kingdoms of Ascalon and Kryta - the original Guild Wars: Prophecies setting. The same key tenets of gameplay remain in place, but much has changed alongside the ever more sparkly graphics; not least that everything seems… well… persistent. Up until the advent of the sequel, when you ventured outside a settlement there wasn’t much chance of bumping into a friend.
No chance actually - you and your party would meet up, then fight through an instanced zone. Loads of other people could well be fighting there, but you’d be in a curtained-off, parallel dimension, and never the two would meet. Guild Wars 2, however, will take place in a fully persistent world - and still won’t ask you for any fees.
Everyone won’t be plunked onto one gigantic playing area though, filled with exuberant teens yelling ‘”WTF Lag!” Much like World of Warcraft, everything will be carried out on different worlds/realms sharing the same content. However, unlike WoW, these separate worlds won’t be on different servers - instead being linked through the almighty clicks and buzzes of one über-server. This allows for something unthinkable in something like WoW: namely, World versus World combat.
Far from the isolationism shown by WoW servers, those who like a spot of PvP can either stick with traditional Guild on Guild action or venture into areas known as The Mists and take on representatives of other worlds - and a gigantic strategy game ensues with each parallel realm fighting for territory. In what’s perhaps a push for simplification too, you’ll no longer have a separate RPG and PvP avatars either - NCsoft isn’t afraid of ruffling the feathers of the hardcore with this one.