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Game purchase and understanding what content is playable.

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I purchased GW2, HOT, and POF with access to living world season 4 this past April. I went thru POF and started HoT. Does living world 4 open up or is it only a paywall? Does it become available for free during certain times of the year and if so are there any posted dates?

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You're playing the game backwards, so beware of that. Its PS->LS2->HoT->LS3->PoF->LS4->Icebrood Saga, with a missing LS1 for which some missions are recently playable and some were turned into Fractals.

Expansions serve as a platform for introducing new features (classes, skills, masteries, etc.) etc. They just happen to include a bit of story, while the majority of the story is shipped with Living World for free, but only to people who log in at the time. If you didn't log in when the episodes were live, you don't have access to them, and must purchase them from the gemstore (but you buy them with gold, unlike the expos).

What you really get when you "buy the game" is the platform they ship out new (free) content on. Most players are expected to just pick up the latest content and go with it, never looking back. So playing past content is considered extra.

I hope this answers your question.

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