Tina Lauro Pollock

Reporter

Tina is the purveyor of Massively Overpowered's MMO Mechanics and Guild Chat columns, and is the newly installed writer of the long-running Flameseeker Chronicles for Guild Wars 2. She is hard at work on her first video game, the indie space 4X game Predestination.

Twitter: @purpletinabeans

Guild Chat: What to do when your MMO guild is close to imploding

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively commenters can join forces to help solve the guild dilemmas of fellow readers. This time, I have a sad submission from Louise, a guild officer who is at present in the middle of the worst kind of guild wars. She explains that a personal bust-up has been festering within her guild’s ranks between the guild leader and another officer, caused by an inconsequential fallout that she doesn’t know the full details of. The dispute has spilt out to the wider roster as the pair snipe at each other and manoeuvre behind the scenes to undermine the other, which is making members leave the guild, mute chat, and take sides in the row. Now Louise faces a dilemma: How can she resolve this fallout and come away with a still-functioning, harmonious guild at the other end? Read on for Louise’s full submission and my response, and don’t forget to share your advice in the comments below.  Read more

Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2’s living world season 3 in review

The Guild Wars 2 story arc found in the Living World’s third season has contained more twists and surprises than even I had anticipated, and I feel that an in-depth recap of the season to date will help keep the meandering threads of lore fresh in our heads as we await the final episode of the season. Although I have an extensive back catalogue of episode deep dives for those who want more detailed information, I felt the need to summarise the key events of the season in one place for simplicity’s sake, especially since that last episode will be upon us relatively soon if the usual ArenaNet content release cadence is anything to go by.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, you’ll find a complete summary of the Living World season so far, complete with links to more in-depth coverage of each episode for those who perhaps missed a little story along the way. Remember to log into the game to bank the current episode, Flashpoint, while it’s live to save the need for a gem purchase down the line.

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Guild Chat: The fairest way to govern guilds

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which I get together with the Massively Overpowered readership to help one reader in need solve his or her guild-related issue. In this edition, reader Paul wants to know the best way to govern his guild now that he has chosen to open up his once friends-only guild to the larger game community. Before the switch, Paul didn’t have any need for a solid guild structure and set way to run things because he was in a group of friends who worked well as a unit. Now, however, Paul is starting to recruit new members to fill the friendship group’s ranks to facilitate quicker and easier grouping without forcing friends to commit.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Fashion Wars wishlist for Guild Wars 2

I’ve recently been spending an increasing amount of my time improving the looks of my Guild Wars 2 characters: Although I have always greatly appreciated the wardrobe and dye options available to me, never before have I put in quite so much effort in creating fully realised looks that require such thought. I’ve been largely inspired by the handful of Guild Wars 2 Facebook groups I belong to, having weighed in on some lively debates over character design choices and having oohed and ahhed over some awe-inspiring finished looks. I also love seeing inspiration sketches and the online version of magazine cuttings; there’s something very charming about dreaming up a look for a character and then translating that to the skins and dyes that we have in our toolset.

In this edition of Flamseeker Chronicles, I thought it would be a fun departure to share some of my fashion wishlist and the rationale for some of my wishes with you. My toons are a perpetual work in progress, and I love thinking up imaginary pieces that would enhance them. I’d love to know if you’ve ever stumbled across an image that inspired a character design, and I’d likewise love to see how your characters are currently kitted out.

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Guild Chat: Moving up the ranks in MMORPG guilds

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively Overpowered community gathers together to help one reader in need with his or her guild-related dilemma. This time, reader Jake wishes to gather opinions on the best way to fully integrate into a new guild and move out of the initiate rank and into the upper echelons as quickly as possible. Jake is new to MMORPGs, this is his first guild, and he has joined without the benefit of real-life friends already being established in the MMO world. He is part of a levelling guild with a rather large roster of over 100 characters and is having fun but is wondering how he advances the ranks and becomes a more permanent fixture in his virtual home. Read on for Jake’s full submission alongside my ideas for impressing his new guildmates. and don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Surviving the Guild Wars 2 WvW invasion

I’ve been asked several times for my opinion on how best to handle the influx of non-WvW Guild Wars 2 players to the game mode in the wake of the reward system update. As you’ll all know, I am not a committed WvW player and tend to play the mode only when I have a specific need to or when I’m helping out a friend, but nevertheless, I have compiled some helpful advice for those who wish to start skirmishing now. Make no mistake about it: WvW can be as entertaining as it is intimidating when you get into the groove, though to get the best out of the game mode you’ll need to pick up on WvW etiquette fairly quickly.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll help you navigate the rapid-fire world of WvW, giving you advice on keeping commanders happy, getting the best out of your efforts, chatting strategically, and setting your toon up for WvW success.

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MMO Mechanics: Making healing interesting in MMORPGs

I was reading a recent Daily Grind article on the topic of unique healing classes and it prompted me to think about the variety of mechanics on offer for healing in MMOs that go beyond the World of Warcraft model. There are few MMO mechanics that run the risk of being diluted down by mods and add-ons in the way healing mechanics can be, which makes the area a fantastic area for a thought exercise in keeping healing interesting in MMORPGs.  Pair the lack of immersive interaction with the mechanics presented by the existence of click-heal and other ‘easy-heal’ overlays with many people’s general wish to be the more extroverted hero character instead of the less flashy but also very much needed party healer and it’s easy to see the need for more incentives to be presented by development teams.

In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’ll take a look at some of the class suggestions from the Daily Grind article mentioned and will attempt to summarise what makes those classes so unique and interesting, hopefully in order to find a commonality between some that goes beyond the basic healing mechanics we know from more traditional MMOs.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 season 3 finale predictions

I’ve had enough time to fully reflect on my Guild Wars 2 Living World season 3 experience to date and wanted to circle back through what I now understand to be the state of play in order to gather my thoughts on where the final episode might take us. We’ve bounced across Tyria chasing the White Mantle, bonding with Aurene, helping to secure Kryta, navigating the tricky interpersonal relationships behind Dragon’s Watch members, and helping Taimi get answers about the elder dragons. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ll also have noticed that major expansion spoilers have also been leaked across the interwebs, so my mission is to attempt to draw conclusions for what might feature at the end of this season to lead us neatly into the second GW2 expansion.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m going to briefly recap on the major story threads of the season so far and will then make some loose predictions about what might happen in the final episode. Note that this piece is most definitely spoilerific for those who haven’t finished the last chapter and also potentially for those who have managed to avoid the expansion spoilers. Feel free to bookmark this one for later if that applies to you!

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Guild Chat: Keeping romantic relationships from affecting MMORPG guilds

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively Overpowered readership can band together to solve the guild-related queries and problems of readers in need.  In this edition, reader Roxxus is worried about forming a romantic attachment with an in-guild love interest in case it affects the guild’s group dynamics and ruins the fun that the pair is currently having as platonic guildmates. Roxxus seems to be concerned about how to handle an online relationship without opening up that blossoming romance to the external influences already present in his or her guild, and the pair is perhaps considering getting together without telling anyone else in the guild. Read on for Roxxus’ full submission as well as my ideas, and don’t forget to leave your own thoughts on the matter in the comments.
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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Guild Wars 2’s Flashpoint

I’ve managed to calm myself enough after finishing my Guild Wars 2 Flashpoint initial impressions piece two weeks ago to bring you a much more detailed look at the action-packed episode that is the penultimate instalment in the Living World’s eventful third season. The story contains so many twists and turns that you’ll be dizzy by the end, and in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months and missed all the hype about this content drop, you’ll want to know that Lazarus’ true identity is revealed within Flashpoint.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll unpack the reveals and angles taken by the penultimate episode of Season 3 and will share my most and least favourite aspects of the episode while I’m at it. This article will contain significant spoilers and is not safe to read for those who haven’t completed Flashpoint and have managed to avoid the spoilers so far. You can always bookmark this one to come back to whenever you have managed to find time to enjoy the content for yourself.

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Guild Chat: How do you deal with chronically inactive MMO guildies?

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which I band together with the Massively Overpowered readership to solve the guild-related issues of readers in need. This submission comes in from reader Question, who has recently been having trouble with prospective guild members hogging attention and spots for extended periods of time without actually desiring to become a productive member of the guild. The problem for Question doesn’t lie in the fact that these people delay membership or never join at all, but is more to do with the guild resources that are wasted in training these members for spots they never take up, so he wishes to find a solution to more quickly identify these cases to prevent this waste.

Read on for Question’s full submission and my take on the matter, and don’t forget to leave your thoughts on the eternal-promise types in the comments.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: First impressions of Guild Wars 2’s Flashpoint

I can’t quite believe that we are already on the penultimate chapter of Guild Wars 2‘s third Living World season, but if I were under any illusion that the story is rolling quickly toward its climax, then it was shattered upon watching the fabulous trailer for this story instalment. The fifth episode of Living World Season 3 is available to experience for yourselves right now and I know so many of you will be thrilled with its shocking reveals and fast-building action. The episode in question, dubbed Flashpoint, takes us into the thick of the action in yet another lore-rich zone that’s bursting with intrigue. Logging on any time from now until the release of the final episode of Season 3 will bank Flashpoint in your story journal for later play, so don’t forget to relog if you aren’t actively playing right now.

I was invited to another super-quick playthrough with the developers on the stage client in preparation for today’s launch so that I could throw out some quick first impressions to coincide with release day for this week’s Flameseeker Chronicles. I had a 30-minute guided session with the devs followed by free rein over the last weekend, but large chunks of what I experienced is information I’m not allowed to divulge just yet. I played through a little over a chapter during my playtesting and my jaw was on the floor for most of that time, so I do urge you to check out the content for yourself if you’re at all invested in the lore. Although my coverage will be as spoiler-free as possible, proceed with caution until you have played through for yourselves if you’re worried.

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Guild Chat: Planning a long break from your MMORPG guild

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively Overpowered community can discuss and solve a whole plethora of guild-related issues other readers are facing. In this edition, reader-in-need Gwen is seeking our help with finding sensible ways to take an extended break from the guild she leads. She recently has received the happy news that she is pregnant and wishes to plan ahead for the time leading up to her baby’s arrival and that crucial bonding period thereafter, and she is thinking of taking maternity leave of sorts from her MMO of choice to welcome her new bundle of joy.The trouble is that she does wish to go back to her gaming as soon as she feels ready and doesn’t wish to retire her guild, so Gwen is looking for advice on how to conduct some sort of handover so her guild doesn’t die a slow death in her absence.

Read below for Gwen’s full submission and my response, and don’t forget to leave your helpful advice in the comments too.

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