Living World episodes must be unlocked in order to play them. Once unlocked, an episode can be accessed by any level 80 character on the account.
There are two methods for unlocking episodes: acquiring it for free during its release window, or purchasing it at a later date.
Unlocking an Episode For Free
Episodes can be unlocked for free by logging into the game at any time during the episode's original release window. Generally, this window runs from the date of the release of an episode until the release of the following episode.
If a user misses the window for acquiring an episode for free, these episodes can also be purchased for 200 Gems.
To purchase an episode, simply navigate to the Story Journal in your Hero Panel. Any episodes which have not been unlocked yet will be marked with a "lock" icon, as well as a "Buy Now" button which can be clicked to spend Gems to unlock the episode.
The associated expansion must be owned on an account before one can play the associated episodes. Owning the associated expansion is not required to be able to unlock the episode for free during its release window, but the expansion must be purchased in order to access and play the associated content for episodes which are unlocked on a user's account.
The table below outlines the various game versions and expansions - the base Guild Wars 2 game, Heart of Thorns, and Path of Fire - and the Living World seasons each provides access to.
|Guild Wars 2 Base Game||Heart of Thorns Expansion||Path of Fire Expansion|
*Season 1 content was temporary and, as such, is no longer playable, though it was accessible to owners of the base Guild Wars 2 game during its release.
Please note that purchasing an expansion does not automatically unlock the Living World episodes within its associated season(s). Users will still need to purchase these episodes if they did not login during the original release windows. Expansions simply grant the ability to play associated episodes which have already been unlocked, and will allow users to immediately start playing new episodes as they are released.