Factions is a stand-alone campaign that can be run without owning the original Guild Wars (Prophecies) game. Set in Cantha, a distinctly Asian feeling locale, Factions features two warring groups, Luxons and Kurzicks. They are always fighting over territory and you must align yourself with one of them, becoming a "friend". You do this by gaining "faction" with your chosen group by completing various quests and missions. If you are aligned with one faction, you will not be able to use the NPC characters like merchants in the opposing faction's areas. You may still access the Xunlai chests for your storage account though.
Each completion will move you forward in the game and the map and open up new map travel locations to use. As with other GW campaigns, Factions has a story line to follow. There are also many "side quests" useful for leveling your character, but you do not need to do them to progress. Factions also introduces two new professions, Assassin and Ritualist.
Factions is a great place to level a new character quickly. 2,500–4,000 point quests are common. Party size is only four at first, rising to six on the final Zen Daijung mission on the island. Party size is eight once you get to the mainland. It is possible to level a new character to 20 in one fairly long day, easily in two days.
One of the things that helps is the fact that you can get a summoning stone for your own personal Fire Imp. These are very useful since there are no Heroes here. Only one can be used per party, which is common with summing stones. It lasts one hour or until it is killed or you zone, which resets the cool down clock.
There is a "new player" Island where your you will start. It is a "stand alone" game and you do not need to have any other Campaigns in order to play it. If you do have any of the other campaigns, it will be boring at first since GWF will run you through all the new player training, like how to navigate, use the Map Travel system, how to acquire skills and equip them, etc. Every character has the option early on to experience all the available secondary professions. You will talk to Togo and he will send you to each trainer for that Profession.
One nice thing about this campaign is that there are Xunlai Agents here (unlike Pre-searing in Prophecies) and you can access your storage chest to get anything you have stored in there from other campaigns. It's a nice way to speed up leveling by capping appropriate skills and weapons on another character in a different campaign, and passing them on to your new one.
When you first talk to Togo, found in Linnok Courtyard, an explorable area accessible from Shing Jea Monastery, just grab all the profession quests right then. Then just complete each one and jump to the next one in your quest log without jumping back to turn it in. You will be offered the appropriate profession skills and attributes for each. You do not need to switch skills each time but be sure to read the dialogue for each one. A couple do require a particular skill to complete. When you are done, you can map back to Shing Jea Temple and turn them all in at one time. It's a real time saver if you are trying to level quickly. At that point, you will be given the option to chose a secondary. It is not required that you do if you have not decided yet.
After completing the missions on Shing Jea island with the Zen Daijun Mission, you will be sent to Seitung Harbor to talk to First Mate Xiang on the docks and get a ride to the mainland to really start the campaign. You will be transported to Kaineng Docks to continue.
Kaineng Center, the main city on the mainland, is a real pain. Much like the other areas, there is no direct path to anywhere! If you have not opened up the map, it is very confusing to get from one place to another. It is not at all clear which area is the travel path and which is a building. It gets better as you open the map and get used to the layout. You will soon memorize routes to get around the city until you get some map points set.
While here, you can get quests to take you to any other campaign that you own on your account. It's the only way to acquire Heroes to help you fight your way through the quests and missions. Other Campaigns also have quests to get to Factions as well.
The Henchman selection is pretty good and the parties are eight strong, which helps. You can do well with just Henchmen. Some places even allow you to add more than one Healer since they seem to double up on the number you can select from. This is not in all places so watch for it.