After a much needed holiday from its fortnightly releases, Guild Wars 2 is again preparing for a new season of time-limited updates and story content. This time, though, they won't be quite so time-limited. ArenaNet have announced a new Journal feature, which, they say, will let players save and revisit each season two episode.
From the first episode, due out July 1st, players will be able to 'bank' Living World content by logging in during the two-week period that it's active. Should players miss an episode's window, they'll be able to buy replay access through in-game gold.
"With this addition to the story Journal, content from Living World episodes will be a mix of new story steps and open world content," explains game director Colin Johanson in a press release. "Story steps will work just like existing story steps in the game today by taking you on a journey specific to your selected episode, which ties into a broader narrative from the season's continual story progress. Open world content additions to Living World updates will permanently expand or change the world of Tyria and will tie to the theme and story of the episode."
If I'm understanding it right, the replay will essentially let you experience the Living World's plot beats on your own time. It makes sense: if a player is too low-level to participate, or simply misses one of the updates or challenges, being able to go back in time will give them a chance to 'catch-up'. One effect of the first season's update frequency was that could leave those that couldn't participate feeling like they'd missed out on some important event.
It's also good to see that the open-world content will become permanently available. All signs point to season two introducing new areas, which gives the developers a broader scope for events and bosses that won't disrupt the main game's zones.