Colin Johanson wrote a post about what Living World and its content mean to Guild Wars 2 in total. The main idea of the Living World concept is to provide unique and fun experiences in the game world through different storyline as we have in Flame and Frost updates.
Living World is really a broader concept, it’s the idea that Guild Wars 2 is (and will become more so) a truly living game, where the world can change and constantly evolve going forward.
This will come in a lot of different forms. One example of stuff we’ve done in the past is new events, dungeons, guild missions, etc. being added that constantly expand the range of content and experiences. We want to keep doing more and more of this with our world in the future, to constantly provide new exciting things you can discover and experience any time in Gw2.
Another form of this is through special events, things like Halloween, Hunger Games, or Wintersday where content is available for a period of time, is removed from the game when that period is over, and could appear again in the future in some form to help provide unique and fun experiences in the game world.
Finally, the storyline of this type of content going into the world is really the “living story” in a sense for the game. We want to try and theme our releases with storylines and main characters in the game world that have exciting story arcs, a lot of the permanent new content, special events, etc. will all have these core story arcs that drive them in the game world. Much like the story of Halloween drove around the potential return of the Mad King, storyline for our living world releases will play a big part in the content that appears and changes the world as a result.
We want to make this a much bigger part of where Gw2 goes in the future, to give a sense that the world truly can change constantly as you’re playing and every time you login. What we’ve done with Flame and Frost so far is really a very small example of what we view the living world to be as a future possibility for Gw2. Things more along the lines of Halloween, Lost Shores, and Wintersday are stronger examples, along with the new events, guild missions, etc. we’ve added in releases since launch.
The goal is to provide a unifying storyline to the world that ushers this new content into the game, changes the game, and makes the world feel truly alive. It’s like every month your GM is running new scenarios for your gaming group to enjoy, or your favorite TV show is airing new episodes to experience. We’re really barely scratching the surface of what this concept can be for our game, and we’ll be building much more in that in 2013.