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Guild Wars 2's next story season The Icebrood Saga starts this month

Plus, first expansion now free with Path of Fire.

Free-to-play MMO Guild Wars 2's latest season of "Living World" episodic updates, The Icebrood Saga, will begin on 17th September, according to developer ArenaNet.

The Icebrood Saga marks the start of a new storyline for Guild Wars 2, which, following on from the defeat of the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik at the conclusion of last season, begins as an ancient power stirs beneath the icy spires of Far Shiverpeaks.

Alongside the new story arc, Guild Wars 2's latest season will introduce a variety of new features, including new boss creatures around Grothmar Valley and the Northern Shiverpeaks, plus 10-man boss encounters known as Strike Missions. These, says ArenaNet, will "combine the group coordination skills of raids with the large-scale conflict of a Guild Wars 2 meta event".

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The Icebrood Saga kicks off on 17th September with scene-setting prologue episode Bound by Blood, which will be followed by Episode One some time this "autumn".

The entire episodic season will be free to players that own Guild War 2's second paid expansion, Path of Fire - and ArenaNet has also announced that, from now on, its first paid expansion, Heart of Thorns, will be included as part of Path of Fire for free.

Those that purchased Heart of Thorns previously will, says ArenaNet, get a special Heart of Thorns Veteran's Pack, containing the likes of an exclusive Mordrem glider, the "Vanguard" title, plus a voucher for one of a possible sixteen different gem store armour skins.