With the start of the Living World Season 2 we will see an all new feature that, well, Colin Johanson puts it best here:
Starting with Season 2, each new episode of Living World will use the same UI as your personal story. A green star will mark locations, and a green story UI in the top-right side of your screen will summarize the current step your character is on. The gold star UI we previously used for Living World will only be used for holiday festivals in the future. When your character is actively on a Living World story step, you will have one single green star leading you to the next step in the world and the top-right UI will reflect that step, just like you experienced in your personal story from levels 1-80.
We’re modifying the story Journal in your character’s Hero Panel so it will track all of your character’s story steps. From that panel, characters who are level 80 will be able to select between playing their personal story and the Living World story. For the Living World story, you’ll be able to select which unlocked episode you’d like to play. Characters under level 80 will be able to see the available episodes, but will not be able to play them until they reach level 80. Think of the Living World story as the constantly expanding continuation of your character’s storyline once they reach level 80.
This means, just on a surface level of reading into what Colin is saying here, that all of these new Living World stories we see in the future will be readily accessible permanently. This feature has been something long called for by the community and we finally see it in the newest Living World. Imagine if we had this last Season for the Cutthroat Politics or the Dragon Bash. I’d still be punching Canach in his face if I could.
Colin goes on to say that unlocking the new content in your journal is simple as logging in during the period the Living World content is in rotation so you can get permanent, free access to that storyline it. After that you can log in to any character on your account and play it from your Journal forever. Don’t worry if you can’t log in, either. For a small fee of 200 gems, and really that is small compared to a lot of the outfits we’ve seen as of late, you can unlock the episode you missed and jump right into it.
Furthermore he says:
Because story steps for your personal story contain choices that permanently alter your character, we will not be allowing the replay-story-step functionality for the existing personal story at this time. Also, because Season 1 of Living World was not built with the Journal in mind, it will not be available in the story Journal on initial launch when Season 2 begins. We do hope to add Season 1 to the Journal in the future. As I mentioned earlier, only festivals will continue to use the gold star UI. They will not be in the story Journal, and they will remain as temporary content that comes in each year for a period of time and then packs up and leaves when the festival has completed.
Maybe we will be able to see he return of the Tower of Nightmares in the future for some pruning time but we will have to wait for that. For now we have a whole new Season to absorb and I know I will be pretty absorbed in it if the journal meets these claims. This is especially true if the reward and challenge is a worthwhile endeavor. Some of you know my criticisms of this recent Festival of the Four Winds for those two exact issues.
Colin makes sure to address my worries by stating:
In Season 2, we will be moving away from the concept of meta-achievements entirely and modifying how we handle rewards and achievements for Living World content. Completing the storyline of an episode will grant you a reward at the end of the episode, and a variety of new rewards will be available through the open world content added via each of the episodes.
Achievements within story steps from episodes will operate very differently as well. Once one character on your account has completed an episode in their story journal, every character on your account will have access to a set of challenging achievements. At any time once unlocked, you can return and attempt to replay that episode in order to complete the achievements. The achievements will be much more difficult to complete than those traditionally found in Season 1, and are intended to be challenging achievements for skilled players to overcome. Each achievement will award both achievement points and material rewards.
Well. I’m sold on this if it meets everything that it states here. There is so much more to say about exploring more closely what is being said in each story, being able to enjoy a particular fight you love so much over and over or just being able to connect the story together by rapidly playing through it in quick order.
This certainly has me excited for what is coming next. Permanent content, new challenges and stories, and all wrapped up in a seemingly clean new UI? This is exciting for someone like me who has been waiting to be wooed by the guys at ArenaNet again.
Check out their blog post at www.GuildWars2.com for more information concerning this release. Drop some comments below, or send us a tweet at @CanadasMathlete or @TenTonHammer, about you think about this new feature and the upcoming Living World Season 2.