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: 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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MMO Mechanics: 2017’s MMO Mechanics in review

I cannot quite believe that we’re saying goodbye to 2017 and ringing in 2018 so quickly: It certainly doesn’t feel as though an entire year has passed since I last looked back on the progress of the column and delved into the comments section to see how the topics at hand were debated there. MMO Mechanics is my favourite column to write, though I didn’t visit it quite as often this year since Guild Chat received quite a few submissions, and what makes it so fantastic is the way the comments section extends the topic beyond my offerings for a more rounded look at the topic at hand.

With mulled wine in hand and festive decor all around me, I’ve curled up on my couch to craft another look back at a year of conversation: In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’ll recap my thoughts on the main topics I covered this year and will highlight the comments that stood out to me because of how they furthered the conversation. This should be a great column snapshot for you if you’ve missed some editions along the way, and I also love having a chance to highlight the commenters that make the column great. Be sure to check and see if your comments are featured!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2’s Hall of Chains raid wing first impressions

I promised you at the end of last week’s rundown of Guild Wars 2‘s fourth Living World season’s launch episode that I’d return this week with a first look at the new raid Hall of Chains and I never want to disappoint! While I haven’t stood toe to toe with each of the raid bosses yet, I’ve been glued to boss kill videos and have been gaining a feel for the fights I’m due to face. I’m delighted to explain my take on the new endgame content and I’m hoping that some of you are joining me in trying it out!

In this week’s Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll discuss each of the new raid bosses briefly and will outline the premise of the encounter mechanics. I won’t spend long outlining very detailed tips and tactics at this stage since I haven’t been hands-on with everything myself yet, though I will furnish you with some tactics guides as I get more experience post-holidays if there’s demand for them. Note that there will be spoilers for those who haven’t tried the content themselves yet, so bear that in mind before reading on. I’ll avoid totally spoilerific images and will hide big lore points behind tags.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Deep-diving Guild Wars 2’s living world S4 Daybreak

I’m back with an earlier-than-anticipated special edition of Flameseeker Chronicles to share my impressions of the opening episode of Guild Wars 2‘s fourth Living World season. I am blown away by ArenaNet‘s commitment to the content cadence we’ve come to expect and am thoroughly impressed that the new season is upon us so swiftly after Path of Fire‘s launch, and the direction in which the season seems to be travelling is very promising indeed. The content feels more dynamic than previous offerings, relying heavily on panoramic details, mechanically rich scenarios, and strong dialogue to give us a narrative that feels more alive than ever before.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll share with you the main story points of the episode and will discuss my highs and lows throughout. Please note that, although major spoilers will be hidden by tags where possible, this article is best enjoyed after you’ve played the content for yourself due to significant spoilers throughout.

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Guild Chat: The best way to deal with MMO burnout

Welcome along to another advice-filled edition of Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively OP commenters can help solve the guild drama of their fellow readers while also reading my take on the scenario at hand. This time, reader B is wondering how best to deal with burnout and the usual peer pressure to keep playing his MMO of choice. While he used to absolutely enjoy playing and has not needed to take a break before, recently B has been reluctant to log in and the daily grind is becoming more of a chore than a hobby, To complicate matters, B fills a vital role in the content his guild plays and is worried that taking a break — or perhaps leaving the game entirely — will mean his friends have to stop playing too.

Read below for B’s full submission and my response to his situation below, and don’t forget to leave him your personal advice in the comments section.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Wrapping up Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire story ahead of season 4

The launch of Guild Wars 2‘s Living World Season 4 will be upon us today, so it’s all the more pressing that I wrap up my Path of Fire story analysis so we can jump into some new impressions as we delve into new story content. I haven’t had hands-on time with the new season prior to launch this time, so we’ll be going straight into a deep dive of the new content next time, but until then I can’t wait to share my closing thoughts on PoF‘s story with you.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll wrap up my PoF story impressions and will conclude with some hopes for today’s season launch. This will be a lengthy one, fair reader, so get comfortable for a bumper read! As ever, there will be significant spoilers throughout for anyone who has been living under a rock not finished the PoF story and has missed the new season hype.

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MMO Mechanics: What can be learned from Guild Wars 2 Mountgate?

Most often, MMO Mechanics articles focus on the gameplay mechanics that both make the MMO genre unique and those that diversify MMOs from one another, but this time I’m focusing on the mechanics that drive profit for the modern development studio and will discuss the lootbox phenomenon. Although the lootbox is by no means a new topic in the world of online gaming, the purchasing method has been under fire more than ever recently and has seldom faced the same scrutiny from the playerbase and wider media before now.

Recently it has been ArenaNet under fire for the particular way randomisation factors into purchasing Guild Wars 2 mount adoption licence skins. A unique combination of a highly requested and anticipated extension of a likewise highly requested and successful new game feature and the employment of lootbox mechanics has caused quite a stir in the game community, despite the fact that Guild Wars 2’s Black Lion Chests already employ RNG lootbox mechanics. In this article, I’m going to discuss why the skins were such an issue in the first place, evaluate ArenaNet’s response to the player outrage the skins caused, and ponder on the reasons why studios rely on lootbox mechanics in the first place.

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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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