Guild Wars: Prophecies (renamed after the release of Guild Wars: Factions) sets players in the fantasy world of Tyria.
When creating a character, the player has to choose whether they want to create a Role-Playing character or a PvP-character and what character class they want to play (Warrior, Ranger, Elementalist, Mesmer, Necromancer or Monk).
Shortly prior to the game start, the three human kingdoms of Tyria - Ascalon, Kryta and Orr, fought each other in many guild wars. The last guild war abruptly ends when the Charr began to overrun the weakened kingdoms.
The Charr, a violent race from the north (whose homeland can be visited in Guild Wars: Eye of the North) began an invasion of the kingdoms of Tyria. Kryta's expelled Saul D'Alessio and his White Mantle repelled the invasion, Orr was annihilated when Vizier Khilbron cast a forbidden spell to protect the capital city of Arah resulting in the Cataclysm and the sinking of the kingdom to the ground of the Sea of Sorrows, what still stands is the Kingdom of Ascalon protected by their Great Northern Wall.
The player starts at the day of, and just some hours prior to, the "Great Searing", the Charr ritual that turned the green lands of Ascalon into a wasteland. At the beginning of that day, Ascalon looks for heroes help fighting the Charr and here is where the game starts.
In this tutorial area, the player can play alone or with another player, to complete the first quests, acquire the first skills and get in touch with the game world. After choosing a secondary profession, the player can leave the tutorial and start the "real" game.
Note: choosing a secondary profession is a crucial part in the design of Guild Wars, as the player does not play just a monk or a warrior, but a combination of the professions. With the six character classes, Prophecies effectively has 30 different character combinations.