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: When sibling rivalry is ruining MMO guild relations

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which I attempt to resolve all of your guild-related issues with the help of the Massively Overpowered commenter community. This time, reader Sol has asked for help in bringing some sibling conflict to an end in his guild: He is an officer who is at the mercy of the two guild leaders, who happen to be sisters who seem to disagree on most guild leading decisions. Sol is frequently asked to arbitrate the disputes and frequently ends up in the firing line himself as a result, and adding to this is the knock-on effect their rather public arguments are having on guild membership levels. Sol is torn: Should he keep on trying to make peace between the sisters, or should he move on to pastures new in the hopes of finding a more comfortable in-game home?

Check out his full submission and my advice on the matter below, and don’t forget to add your thoughts on the topic in the comments.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Deep-diving Guild Wars 2’s A Bug in the System (Part 1)

Season 4 of Guild Wars 2 Living World was off to a roaring start with Daybreak so I was expecting a solid follow-up in A Bug in the System, and I can now say I wasn’t left disappointed. ArenaNet‘s focus on interesting story delivery hasn’t waned with time and the narrative is greatly improving as a result: Moreover, the teaser trailer for this episode was stronger than any of the Daybreak or even Path of Fire marketing content in my humble but honest opinion. I’ve rambled on about this before, but the trailer had a smooth delivery and polish that simultaneously captivated current players and contained enough information to entice newbies. The episode is gritty, dangerous, and humorous, and I’m delighted to share its twists and turns with you.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll discuss the main plot points for this episode and will share my highlights with you. This article is best read after completion of the episode if you’re worried about spoilers, though tags will be used where needed to avoid the biggest spoilers.

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Guild Chat: Rebuilding a real-life home and an MMORPG guild all at once

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which many Massively Overpowered readers get the help they need to achieve better balance within their guilds through the help of our commenter community and my musings on their dilemmas. This time, reader Jase has a well-established, small Final Fantasy XIV guild that has suffered from cliques and division since he was forced to take time away from the game after the hurricanes tragically destroyed his home. A small band of officers got very used to doing things their own way in his absence and were neglecting the wider member base and excluding them from endgame exploits at peak gaming times, but none of Jase’s measures to fix the issue has helped and the guild recently had a mass exodus of members caused by these officers. Jase is left wondering how to rebuild at this point: Although the members have rejoined, they only did so to use the resources the group worked on together and they are trying to get him to relinquish full guild control to them.

Read below for Jase’s full submission and my thoughts on the matter, and don’t forget to share your ideas with this guild leader in need in the comments section. His submission is a lengthy one with many twists and turns, so give it a good read to help with your advice.

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MMO Mechanics: The Fair Play Alliance and mechanising fairness

News of over 30 gaming companies taking a united stand against unfairness and toxicity in online game communities sprung out of GDC 2018 a few days ago, with some rather surprising company names making the list of those involved. The issue of toxic behaviour is a tough nut to crack, and these companies believe that the best way to tackle the issue is by pooling research and resources to share knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. It’s an interesting and complex idea that has got me thinking, so I just had to take up an issue of MMO Mechanics to discuss the potential implications for MMOs and near-MMOs.

In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’ll look at the mission of the Fair Play Alliance, discuss the ground they’ve covered so far, explore a case study of how toxicity affects one involved MMO developer, and then will give my thoughts on mechanical rollouts that could be employed to help smash toxicity.

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Guild Chat Special Edition: Interviewing Guild Wars 2 guild POOF

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which we examine all things guild-related and solve problems faced by fellow members of the Massively Overpowered community. This edition is rather different, however: I had the opportunity to interview the key players in a Guild Wars 2 guild named POOF that featured in ArenaNet’s Friend/Ships campaign, which you may have read a little bit about in Flameseeker Chronicles. Friendships have been at the forefront of ArenaNet‘s minds for the last month or so and POOF’s guild story is one that was featured within the campaign (the video is below for those who haven’t seen it). I asked them about how they organise their guild, what makes POOF so special, and how they support their members, and I’m delighted to share their insights with you in a special edition of Guild Chat.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: First impressions of Guild Wars 2’s A Bug in the System

Today is the day we’ve been waiting for: After a short delay, episode 2 of Guild Wars 2‘s fourth Living World season, A Bug in the System, is finally ready to release. It feels as though Daybreak was a lifetime ago after being spoiled for so long with super-fast episodic content drops throughout the Path of Fire story, so I’m delighted to finally get to grips with some new story now. I had a little glimpse at the action two weeks ago in a dev-guided preview and was honestly left jaw-dropped, so it’s been exceptionally difficult waiting for its release to talk about my impressions. The episode is dangerous, political, and impactful, and I am just about hanging onto my seat as I get to see more today.

In this episode of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll recap on Daybreak’s content for those who haven’t quite caught up before launching into my first impressions of A Bug in the System. I played for around 45 minutes with some key developers and have only had a glimpse at the content, so this article will be a nice teaser for today without spoiling too much more than the trailer does. Having said that, if you would prefer to go in fresh, give this one a skip to avoid potential spoilers until you’ve played yourself.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: My favourite Guild Wars 2 Friend/Ships stories

Friendships and social interaction are everything when it comes to enjoying MMOs in my mind, so you can imagine how much I adore the Guild Wars 2 Friends/Ships initiative that ArenaNet started this month to celebrate Valentine’s Day outside of Tyria. Using the hashtag #GW2Friendships hooks up players’ game-related friendship stories to a special webpage that is full of feelgood, touching GW2 anecdotes about how the game brings people together, and I’ve had a wonderful time checking out all the ways in which the game has managed to solidify such meaningful relationships between people. It’s wonderful to see a Valentine’s Day initiative that doesn’t centre only on romantic love: I’ve seen stories that involve couples, of course, but most are stories about friendship and some again even tell of bringing family units closer together through their shared hobby.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll take you through some of my favourite stories I found during my browsing and will also share my own. You can read the full submissions by clicking the link in each heading: I don’t want to simply regurgitate each story in this article but I do give you enough information to get the gist while also explaining why I loved it so much. Feel free to join in with the friendly sharing in the comments here as usual, but remember that the Friends/Ships initiative runs until the end of the month and the associated competition for sharing your story (in which you can win a trip to the ArenaNet studio and PAX West!) runs until February 28. Simply use both the #GW2Friendships and #GW2Giveaway hashtags on your social media share of the story to enter: Check out the full terms before posting. Read more

Flameseeker Chronicles: My Guild Wars 2 goals for 2018

It’s the time of year for spring-cleaning and goal-setting, where we look ahead to a fresh start filled with plenty of days left for accomplishing all the things we didn’t quite get around to in the previous year. I love taking stock of my yearly MMO progress, especially in Guild Wars 2, and using that reflection to form some new goals to keep my focus and make things challenging in the year ahead. I’ve decided to share my 2018 GW2 to-do list with you all in the hope that it might inspire you to create one yourself.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll explain my 2018 goals. Some of my goals are far more ambitious than others, while a few on my list are simply continuations of goals I set for myself year-on-year. I never truly aim to complete my entire list, but it does serve as a fantastic point of reference for times when I feel a little directionless or restless and need some inspiration. Don’t forget to share your goals with me in the comments; who knows, perhaps some of your goals would be added to my list too!

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Guild Chat: Choosing your MMO guild officers wisely

Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column through which we join forces to solve a particular guild-related issue for one Massively Overpowered reader in need. This time, we have a submission from reader Dan, who has recently decided that his small casual guild needs some officers after some of his real-life friends volunteered to take up the role. Dan’s question lies in the best way to select those officers and he wonders whether selecting his friends will make the guild seem quite cliquish and impenetrable for the new members, or whether having real-world people he can trust in the role makes things any easier. I’m sure many guild leaders can look back on the early days and sympathise with this dilemma, so I’m happy to provide an answer to this common problem here within Guild Chat.

Read below for Dan’s full submission and to see my reasoning on the matter at hand, and don’t forget to keep scrolling and leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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Guild Chat: Should I hop MMO guilds with my guild leader?

Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column through which I join forces with the Massively Overpowered readership in order to tackle some guild-related issue. Our reader in need this time is K, who wants to know whether he should join a new guild with his current leader after his guild ceased fielding raids. Although K has been offered a spot on the new guild’s training raids, which should suit his experience, he is worried about the ability gap and the risk of not fitting in.

Provide your thoughts in the comments and read below for his full submission and my response.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: 2018 Guild Wars 2 predictions

I adore looking back on last year’s predictions about what’s to come in Guild Wars 2 in the next twelve months: Even when my predictions are totally wrong, they stand as an excellent marker of how I was feeling about the game and what the gaming climate was like at the time the predictions were made. I love making new predictions each year and it’s a key part of my annual MMO checklist, alongside setting my personal gaming goals for the year ahead to look back on at a later date too. This year’s predictions blend safe bets based on where development is currently at with some more far-reaching points of note.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll look back on my old predictions and appraise them retrospectively, and I’ll also set new ones for 2018. This article will be spoilerific by nature if you’re not caught up with current developments, so skip for a while it if you’re behind.

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Guild Chat: The best MMORPG advice of 2017

There’s no more perfect time to reflect on the last twelve months than when you’re ringing in the new year, so that’s precisely what I plan on doing in this edition of Guild Chat. More readers in need have been helped than ever before by both my musings on the topic at hand and the useful perspectives offered in the comments, and some of the submissions have really stretched my MMO agony aunt credentials! It’s been a whirlwind of officer meltdowns, guild fragmentations, adapting to new content types, and deciding when and how best to leave an unsuitable guild, and I’m very glad I have the MOP community with me to weigh in on these issues too.

In this edition of Guild Chat, I’ll take a look at some of my favourite 2017 entries and will showcase the brilliant ways in which MOP readers have enhanced the article with their insightful comments, adding new perspectives or simply approaching the submitter in a way that makes the advice make sense. Here’s to a wonderful 2018!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: A Guild Wars 2 2017 column retrospective

Welcome along to a rather festive retrospective in which I sum up 2017 for both Guild Wars 2 and Flameseeker Chronicles! A large glass of buck’s fizz and a good helping of homemade Christmas cake have fuelled the writing of this article, though I didn’t need cheery holiday snacks to brighten my Boxing Day morning when I had so many articles to look back on and a huge amount of excellent gaming memories to reflect on. Once the festive season is over, I’ll write up my predictions for 2018 and will revisit my 2016 crop to see if I was in any way accurate, but for now I wanted to reflect back on a year well done.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll revisit the milestones that made it a great year for GW2 and the content spawned from them, hopefully finishing my reminiscing with a solid picture of how the year refined the game and what direction ArenaNet might take in 2018. This will be a useful rundown for those of you who might have missed some entries along the way and wish to get to the good bits while enjoying any festive time off you have. Enjoy my musings and have a very happy holiday season!

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