So, I am opening this thread to get some feedback on what you as a content designer would deliver as a living story. Be creative, stay positive and thro some of your ideas in the pot.
Here is mine:
These are the steps I would have taken as a content designer to deliver living stories:
I will start by identifying the areas that ANET has plans for opening up and build a plot that will take players to those areas according to the pre-established internal schedule for the release. I will create characters, establish connections and give all the important characters a story arc to take the players on a journey thru the living world with those characters. I'll keep the story arcs open and in-pace with internal content release schedule but based on lore that'd have brought back some nostalgic feelings and created some fresh new characters with rich details to take the story forward. I think it is necessary to make that bridge otherwise, things may feel disjointed.
For each story arc, I'll create a hook that'll involve useful ingame rewards with interesting elements for lore-lovers. For certain arcs, I'd probably look for some twists in the plot to keep players engaged in the story and for some story lines I'd include missions similar to the ones ANET created for Guild Wars Beyond. One way I will bring permanent changes to the world is by developing the character of the main NPCs in the each story arc and giving them permanent spots in the world where some of the ingame activities will revolve around them. This is an easy way to bring permanency utilizing dynamic events mechanism.
As more and more story arcs get opened, I will start consolidating the storylines again based on the internal release schedule. At the closure of each arc, I'd reward players based on their participation. I'll divide the storyline activities into low, medium and high difficulties with more content to low and medium while providing small but, unique and noteworthy reward for completing high difficulty ones. I'll create personalized scripts for NPCs to recognize each player's contribution to the story. The NPC will tell stories of the players who are among top contributors. By completing these storylines, players will earn the right to carry legendaries that'd be personalized just for them. These weapons will be the player's signature on the fate of the world. Instead of spewing out useless reptitive banter, I'll try to engage NPC into a meaningful discussion with the players where the NPC may give clues to future living stories or interesting upcoming changes in the game world.
tl;dr: My primary focus will be to take the current lore and expand it into multiple story segments that a player can witness develop and bring forth a meaningful conclusion to the journey where the player can thank oneself for taking part. I'd not slice and dice living stories to give away rewards or turn it into a checklist but, I'll reward my players for their contribution thru rich stories, developed characters, personlized items, genorous loots.