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

MMO Mechanics: Material storage and the Guild Wars 2 economy

Guild Wars 2 launched its second expansion, Path of Fire, a few days ago, and as you might expect, a new expansion means some immediate priority shifts will deeply affect the game’s economy. New materials are added, which are required by the newest recipes and are thus highly sought after, and other materials will fluctuate in value depending on their usefulness within the new content’s scope. Players typically react to this short period of market turbulence by keeping the materials that they farm until they are absolutely sure of their uses and worth: There’s nothing worse than selling a big pile of a rare material you thought you didn’t need only to realise your error later.

However, ArenaNet decided to temporarily keep a “handful of items” off the list for the game’s material storage system in an attempt to force players’ hands: The company is attempting to combat the shockingly high prices seen for expansion materials back at Heart of Thorns’ launch by discouraging player warehousing of valuable yet abundant materials. The news has caused quite a splash in the game community and it’s exceptionally interesting mechanically speaking, so I just had to dedicate an edition of MMO Mechanics to the topic.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Our Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire launch countdown checklist

I can’t quite believe that around 18 months of Guild Wars 2 development is about to drop in our laps this week through the Path of Fire expansion! It feels entirely different to the mammoth Heart of Thorns hype train that was somewhat marred by first expansion trepidation and the controversial pricing structure and content inclusions: On the second pass through an expansion release cycle, ArenaNet has managed to field a largely more low-key, straightforward road to launch, barring some grievances regarding material storage and gear identification. The hype train is building this week, and I wanted to help the effort by sharing my launch countdown checklist with you all so you can join me in

The hype train is building this week, and I wanted to help the effort by sharing my launch countdown checklist with you all so you can join me in looking forward to the expansion drop. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll speculate on main story points I hope to see in PoF, give pointers on prepping for Friday, and share some of the upcoming must-see ArenaNet launch materials. I’ll mainly just throw some ideas out that might help distract you while you wait on the big day. Do take note that those who wish to avoid all information about the expansion before Friday should give this column a miss for now in case of spoilers.

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Guild Chat: Dealing with the ‘it’s me or the MMO guild!’ ultimatum

Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively Overpowered readership can band together to help a gamer-in-need with his or her guild-related dilemma. This time, an anonymous reader dubbed ‘R’ has written in with a matter of the heart that threatens his or her MMO enjoyment: While R is very much enjoying the MMO and guild he or she is part of, the demands of the guild are fairly steep and R’s girlfriend is feeling second-best. R is in a predicament where the guild leader doesn’t want to give R any sort of preferential treatment and expects him or her to show up just like everyone else does, but R’s girlfriend is getting more and more upset with how much time the guild demands of her partner. The situation between the couple has become so heated that the girlfriend has given R an ultimatum and wants to see her partner quit the game entirely.

There are more details to R’s tale, so check out the full submission below and my thoughts on the matter before you weigh in with your advice in the comments.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Getting to grips with Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire mounts

ArenaNet dedicated last week to all things mounts, so it stands to reason that I’d simply have to provide you with a run-down of the flashy new expansion inclusions for Guild Wars 2: Path of FireRather than filling a perceived travel efficiency gap, the steeds created for PoF include a fairly extensive suite of travelling tools that help set them apart from the run-of-the-mill mounts in more traditional MMOs. These mounts are built to feel weighty and move realistically, changing how the player interacts with the virtual environment and allowing for more freeform map designs than ever before.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m going to discuss all things mounts and dig into the development rationale behind them. I’ll weigh in with my thoughts on how the mounts might impact future map development and change how we approach travelling in Tyria as well.
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Guild Chat: Enacting change in an MMORPG guild

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the online spot for all things guild-related where we band together to tackle a submission sent in by a needy Massively Overpowered reader. This time, reader Will has asked for my ideas on making his current guild change its content emphasis to match the newest trends in his MMO of choice. Will explained that the content that his guild currently focuses on has suffered from a sustained lack of support on the development front and would far rather devote the bulk of his gaming time to engaging with the content that is well supported, but he is meeting resistance from his guild. Firstly, his guildmates seem to still enjoy the old content, and secondly, they believe abandoning the aspects of the game they enjoy but are currently being neglected developmentally will only back up the developer’s argument for placing it on the back burner in the first place.

Read Will’s full submission and my advice to him below, and of course don’t forget to add your thoughts on the matter in the comments section.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 Elite Specialization preview weekend impressions

Over the weekend Guild Wars 2 players had the chance to get to grips with the new Path of Fire elite specializations in a PvP setting, so I, of course, jumped in with both feet and tried out some of the specializations for myself.

You’ll know already if you’re familiar with my ramblings that PvP isn’t a massive love of mine, but I simply couldn’t resist giving it a go for the sake of the elite specializations. I didn’t get to sample each one for myself because I had some key family events that fell over the weekend too, but I’ve been sure to provide a brief as-I-saw-it summary of the elite specializations I didn’t get to spend time actively playing.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll share my thoughts on my preview time spent playing around with the Weaver, Holosmith, Mirage, Scourge, and Spellbreaker and watching the work of the other elite specializations. These are simply rapid-fire impressions — I had to be brief to fit them all into the span of one column — but they should nevertheless be helpful to those who didn’t get hands-on over the weekend.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Impressions of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire preview weekend experience

I’m delighted to have found a moment to bring you an extra edition of Flameseeker Chronicles that outlines my thoughts on the first Guild Wars 2Path of Fire preview weekend. From last Friday until Sunday, every player was invited along to take some tentative steps into the Crystal Desert and get to grips with the raptor mount. We were also treated to a little bit of introductory story that ties the new zone directly to the Living World Season 3 finale without missing a beat.

So today, I will break down my preview experience into the main points, including my highlights and unfortunately ending on a pretty crummy negative. I’m hoping that further development based on the feedback from this weekend will help to lessen or negate my issue though, so I won’t be frowning for very long! Note that this article will contain some spoilers regarding the introductory story, so it’s best avoided if you are waiting until September to find out more on that front.

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Guild Chat: What to do if drug use impacts your MMO guild

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which we all band together to help someone get on top of his or her guild-related issue: While I give my two cents here in the article, plenty of useful advice and different perspectives on the matter at hand emerge in the comments section. This time, reader Michael has a rather challenging issue to deal with that hinges on his guildmates’ drug use. Michael’s guild centres around an online friendship group that began in MOBAs and has recently been adversely impacted by the behaviour of several members of the group who live close to one another. These members have, for as long as Michael has known them, taken recreational drugs while gaming, but recently Michael has noted some personality changes and volatility that is uncharacteristic of his friends. He wants to know how best to deal with the issue and bring back positive relations in his guild.

You’ll find my two cents in the comments, but this is a massive topic that needs a measured approach. The submission does not include specifics of what drugs the friends are consuming and whether or not those substances are controlled or otherwise legally restricted in their country. I am in no way qualified to give professional advice about drug consumption and all advice given is in support of seeing a medical professional who specialises in drug dependence and addiction. Add your own thoughts in the comments, of course, and see Michael’s full submission below.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Cautiously optimistic about Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion

ArenaNet chose to very cleverly stave off the post-season blues by teasing a long-awaited, much-anticipated, and very-spoiled Guild Wars 2 expansion announcement as a close to the living world’s third season. We didn’t have long to wait before August rolled in and the expansion announcement was upon us, and now I’m even more hyped for the beginning of Path of Fire. Putting the core Heart of Thorns and season 3 stories to bed is bittersweet since I am one of the rather uncommon creatures that largely enjoyed the direction the last expansion went in and I doubly enjoyed the last season’s breaking of the great content drought in such a spectacular, confidence-building fashion.

PoF will be upon us next month, and I don’t have much article space remaining before it drops in our laps, so I thought I should begin the lead-up to launch with an overview of my thoughts about the expansion announcement and the main features it highlighted for us. I know you’ll have been expecting the final edition of my look at season 3 instead, since I have only given you some Siren’s Landing impressions so far from the finale, but talking about the big news felt far more pressing, and I feel that it’ll give those who are currently revisiting the game due to the expansion hype time to catch up with the season before I spill the beans.

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Guild Chat: Damage control after MMO guildmate poaching

Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column through which I gather the Massively Overpowered readers together to help me tackle a guild-related issue. This time, reader King wants to know how to stem the steady flow of his guild ranks into another guild’s after some recent hype in-game started the poaching off. King mentions that he feels that the guild was running fairly well until another guild leader joined his usual runs as a PUG and people started becoming interested in his tales of great success on Discord. Feeling that the grass was most definitely greener on the other side, what started off as the reciprocal filling of gaps for one another’s guilds has become a spot of member poaching.

You’ll find King’s full submission below alongside my response as to how to deal with this poaching problem once and for all. As ever, King and I would both greatly appreciate your advice and would love to see it in the comments section.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 One Path Ends is live, plus first impressions of Siren’s Landing

I realise that you were probably expecting some rather excited ramblings that contained my first impressions of the Guild Wars 2 season 3 finale, One Path Ends, to drop the moment the episode became playable, but the structure of my coverage for this episode is a little different than the rest of this season’s articles. This time around, my pre-episode playthrough with the devs was very different: The episode itself remained locked for the playthrough hour and the press accounts were deactivated afterwards to ensure that the finale would be an absolute surprise for everyone involved with no spoilers. We instead had a guided group tour of Siren’s Landing, the new open world zone that holds the bulk of the action in this episode.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll share my thoughts on the new zone with you while also talking about the zone’s relative location and basic meta. My full thoughts on the actual episode will come in the next edition without the usual first impressions piece, so you won’t have to wait too long for that if you are not playing for yourself and are living this season vicariously through others! Please note that the article contains meta and zone content spoilers, so read on with caution if you prefer to see that for yourself first.

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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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