The term account refers to the authorized user account granted to a player by ArenaNet, usually by purchasing a Guild Wars product. Accounts are tied to individuals and are not transferable, as specified in the EULA.
An account can be created in two ways:
- Buying a campaign (or a compilation containing several campaigns) and choosing to create a new account
- Buying the PvP Access Kit and choosing to create a new account
Free trial accounts were previously available, but the creation pages are no longer accessible*. The below information describes trial account limitations for when they existed.
- They could only be played for 14 days or 10 hours of playtime, whichever came first. The remaining time was displayed ingame.
- They could not create PvP-only characters nor travel to the Battle Isles.
- Characters could not use the all or trade chat channels, party search, trade with other characters (nor drop items/gold for other characters to pick up), pick up unassigned items nor access storage. They could not invite other characters to form a party, but they were able to be invited.
To turn a trial account into a permanently usable account without these restrictions, one of the products mentioned above must have been bought and added to the account.
Game boxes are available for the three campaigns and the Eye of the North expansion. The package contains an optional DVD to reduce download times and an access key, which can be added to an existing account. Several Compilations are available, containing only a single access key for all features.
Further upgrades are available via the Guild Wars Online Store. These features are added directly to the account. Usually, the account needs to meet certain requirements, e.g. expansions cannot be added unless the account contains a full campaign, and most offers are unavailable to trial accounts.
Adding multiple campaigns to an account will increase the amount of character slots and storage panes available. Adding multiple campaigns to a single account is also required to access certain multi campaign content.
Trial keys for one campaign can be added to accounts that do not yet have access to the relevant content. This gives the same 2-week/10-hour access as would be available to a new account. Players can continue to use any unlocked features (e.g. trading, global chat, or Embark Beach), but they do not gain any new ones, such as additional storage or campaign-specific skills.
An account can be given a unique name, which is used to allow the player to enter Automated Tournaments. By speaking to Tolkano you can set the name of the account to the name of one of your existing characters. This will reserve the name, preventing others from using it while it is linked to your account, so if you delete the character the account was named after, the name cannot be used by another person. This name may be changed every 30 days.
Some aspects of Guild Wars game play are tied to the account. For instance, PvP skill and item unlocks are tied to a user's account instead of to the individual characters on that account. Titles related to PvP play are also tied to account, this includes Hero, Gladiator, Champion, Codex, Allegiance rank, Gamer and the Zaishen titles.
If a malicious person gains access to your account, both your invested time and money may be lost. For that reason, ArenaNet recommends that players follow some basic security advice to protect their accounts against account theft.
- Although users may own multiple accounts, accounts cannot be merged.
- As of February 2023, it is still possible to create a trial account if you own a valid trial code.
Restoring a compromised account
Since late 2012, the Guild Wars Account Restoration Tool is no longer functional, so account restoration is unavailable. "At first we believed that the tool could be repaired, but at this point we know that it would require a programmer to completely rebuild it from the ground up and that it would take many weeks of programmer time. At this point, we do not have plans to rebuild the tool".
When the Guild Wars Account Restoration Tool was functional, if your account got compromised (i.e. hacked), it could have sometimes been restored by ArenaNet under the following conditions:
- The hack must have taken place on or after 1 October 2011.
- You must have been able to verify ownership.
- The hack could not have involved a third-party tool that you used.
- Only the account could be restored and only to a specific point in time prior to the hack, e.g. you could not restore only a specific character or item(s).