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

Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking more of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire story

As promised, Flameseeker Chronicles is back with a continuation of the Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire story deep-dive I’ve been crafting over the last few weeks. I’ll briefly recap you on where we left off and then will launch into covering the rest of Act II. The volume of story content that came with the latest expansion is appreciable and deserves to receive a thorough breakdown, and I can’t wait to share more of it with you while adding some thoughts as I go. Not everyone is as enthused with the story, of course, so I hope these unpacking articles also help anyone who doesn’t wish to dedicate time to more than the bare bones of the story: You can always use breakdowns such as these to fill any lore gaps that arise from you skipping content you don’t enjoy, after all! Note before you proceed that, just as was the case in the other story breakdown entries, this article will contain significant spoilers if you haven’t completed Act II of the story for yourself.

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Guild Chat: Dealing with one bad egg in an MMO guild – without breaking the others

Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column through which we all band together to help a reader in need solve their guild-related dilemma. This time, reader Cee is wondering how best to handle one person who doesn’t seem to settle into the rank and file of his guild without ruining the solid working dynamic with the offending party’s friends. Cee feels that almost everyone else in the guild finds this person funny and friendly, but after a couple of complaints and uncomfortable exchanges, Cee doesn’t feel the same. The member came into the guild as a part of a group of friends during the guild’s initial recruitment phase, and although this member was initially affable with Cee and his officers and slotted in well, there has been growing friction between a small group in the guild because of more raucous behaviour.

Read Cee’s full submission below along with my take on the problem, and don’t forget to leave your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Act II of Guild War’s 2’s Path of Fire story

In the last edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I discussed the opening sections of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire‘s story while providing you with a brief overview of what came before it. The return to Elona has been enjoyable and the character dynamics are developing nicely: The sheer breadth of content offered with the expansion in terms of story is fairly impressive and it deserves a thorough examination and explanation, so you know I’ve been bursting to continue covering it. In this edition, I’ll outline the rest of Act I and will begin into Act II: I’ll discuss Night of Fires, The Sacrifice, and Crystalline Memories. As before, expect significant spoilers if you’ve not had the opportunity to enjoy the expansion story for yourself yet.

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Guild Chat: Should MMO guilds use trigger warnings?

Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column through which Massively Overpowered readers can air their guild issues and get help solving them from the article and its comments. This time, guild leader Ry has asked for advice on using trigger warnings and dealing with sensitive topics within the guild environment after one of her members left the guild over a difficult topic was discussed in the guild and took members with him due to the public nature of the conversation. Ry wants to know whether or not guilds have any sort of responsibility for the conversations held within them and the content that players might see there, and she also wants to know how to deal with similar scenarios should they ever come up again.

Ry’s full submission better outlines the issue at hand, though anything specific about the trigger incident has been removed so as to protect the dignity and privacy of the person who left the guild. Even though Ry ensured that he is not identifiable by her submission content, I’d hate for that person to perhaps stumble across this article and see that context spelt out here. Read below for my advice on the issue and don’t forget to add your thoughts on the matter in the comments below. Remember that I am in no way qualified to give advice on dealing with mental health issues or supporting friends through trauma and that all advice given here is purely supportive.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire story

I feel as though the time is finally right to talk to you all about the awesome chunk of story that dropped with Guild Wars 2‘s second expansion, Path of Fire. In terms of narrative quality and the amount of story content received, the expansion has fared very well indeed, so it’s been killing me not sharing my story thoughts with you sooner. The return to Elona has been handled beautifully and the area’s rich history was well presented for the uninitiated. There are enough unexpected twists and turns to keep things interesting, yet it still heavily relies on utilising the familiar dynamics of the NPCs we know and love.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I will cover the first two chapters’ major story points for you: I’ll leave my usual hated and rated sections for the end of the story deep-dives. This article will contain significant spoilers for those who have not yet completed the expansion’s story for themselves, so I recommend skipping this article or proceeding with caution if that applies to you. You have been warned!

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Guild Chat: Coming back to an MMORPG guild after a long hiatus

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which readers in need can source some solid advice to help them solve their guild-related issues. This time, an anonymous reader is wondering how to approach returning to a guild after being offline for some time. The submission asks for our tips on rejoining a once-friendly guild that was the reader’s in-game home before she took a long break from her MMO of choice. While she enjoyed the vast majority of her time spent with her guild, it was in part because of some tension in the guild that she fell out of love with the MMO for a while. Now that she’s back, our anonymous reader is wondering whether or not to accept the guild invite that winged its way to her when she logged back in, and if so, how to reintegrate with her old guildmates.

Read below for the full submission and my thoughts on coming back to a guild after a long hiatus.

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Exclusive Guild Wars 2 interview on Path of Fire’s launch and philosophy

Spurred on by my excitement for Guild Wars 2‘s second expansion, Path of Fire, I reached out to ArenaNet shortly before release to secure a post-launch interview to ensure all my most burning questions could be answered. I drafted my questions not long after launch, and while I most definitely wished to discover whether the initial launch hiccups affected the immediate uptake of the expansion, beyond that I sought more information on the development of such a decisively different expansion than Heart of Thorns was.

This launch diary installment will share ArenaNet’s responses to my PoF questions: Mounts, elite specializations, and the new maps were huge topics of discussion aside from the more general launch and development questions I had. Read on!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: One week into Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire

I’ve had my hands on Guild Wars 2‘s second expansion for a week and some change now and have built up a more solid picture of Path of Fire in that time. I have to say that I’m still just as impressed as I was when I wrote my first launch diary entry: I’ve completed the main story at this point (though I’m getting ready to rerun it again to bank achievements I missed on the first run-through), and aside from my launch weekend issues and some niggly mechanics along the way, I’ve been blown away by the quality offered in terms of story content, mount mechanics, and the new elite specialisations.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll continue my launch coverage by discussing some more in-depth points that I’ve noted now that I’ve had a full week of play time (although it’s been over a week, the EU connection issues largely killed the first few days for me), and I’ll also look at some not-too-surprising but still greatly appreciated benefits the expansion has had on Central Tyria and Heart of Thorns zones. Please note that there will be some spoilers below, both through images used and inferences to story encounters, even though I’ll make an effort to avoid them for main story arcs.
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Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire launch diary: Initial impressions

My initial impressions on Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire launch are rather late to the table, owing to some fairly significant connection issues since launch that ran up until yesterday, but I’m delighted to share my first thoughts on the second Guild Wars 2 expansion with you at long last. I really count yesterday as my first day of play since the instance creation issues prevented me from progressing my Path of Fire story chain until then, so although I’ve had all weekend, this first launch diary entry will simply detail the things that I noted within the first day of play.

Don’t worry about story spoilers being contained below: I’m not ready to share story details with you yet and wouldn’t even if I could! Expansions are a long time in the making and fans deserve to enjoy all that entails first-hand without it being spoiled. Anything at all problematic will be marked with spoiler tags just in case. Enjoy my list of the good, the bad, and the janky, and check out my screenshot gallery at the end of the article too (though skip this if you don’t want location spoilers).

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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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