Copper Ice

Blogger, Gamer, Nerd

Saturday Morning Magic

Saturday Morning Magic

It’s Saturday morning and I am sick. I have woken up at 6am as if it were a work day and can’t get back to sleep. I decided that the best thing would be for me to make myself a cup of tea and play a few rounds of Magic: The Gathering Arena (MTGA).

I played 15 games in total winning 8 games and losing the remaining 7. I am really pleased to have won more than half of my games, I also got 2450 gold for my trouble, of which I spent 1000 on a ‘Guilds of Ravnica’ booster pack. I was however disappointed with the content of the booster, the rare was ‘Bounty of Might’ which I don’t really like that much.

This also gave me an opportunity to record more video footage of a game which I have uploaded to youtube. I really hope to spend more time creating and possibly editing these sorts of videos for my blog. They will certainly be a requirement for if and when I produce gaming guides.

In other Magic: The Gathering news I have also bought a ‘Guilds of Ravnica Bundle’ from Magic Madhouse. Perhaps this shows just how successful MTGA has been on me. Not only has it been incredibly fun to play, it has persuaded me to start collecting the cards again, earning the creators ‘Wizards of the Coast’ a well earned paying customer.

Black Girl Gamers

Misogynoir

Several days ago I read an article on the BBC website about ‘Black Girl Gamers’ and had a look at their website. I am really impressed with these women but at the same time, really sad that it has come to this.

Black Girl Gamers promote diversity and change within the gaming industry and gaming communities. Specifically to get rid of sexism and racism known as misogynoir. It seems to have become a place for all things gaming from the perspective of black women and perhaps women in general, regardless of their skin colour. I would like to encourage any reader of this post to visit their website to learn more. If you have the means and feel so inclined, you may wish to consider financially supporting them through Patreon or buying something from their merchandise store. (which seems empty at the moment)

Black Gamer Girls website
Patreon

Black Girl Gamers

Misogyny and racism (misogynoir) of any kind is completely unacceptable. For it to be rife in the gaming industry and within gaming communities breaks my heart. I have been an avid gamer for as long as I can remember, long before esports and the internet were a thing. When I was a teenager it was almost taboo to admit that you were a gamer, there was a kind of stigma attached to it as being a complete waste of time and that only kids or losers would play video games. Thankfully times have changed and gaming is more widely accepted but back then misogyny and racism in the gaming community was not really a thing. Having said that, according to Black Girl Gamers, there have only been 14 playable black female characters in all of gaming history. I can only think of one right now, Purna in dead island.

I have very little experience with misogyny and racism in games directly, after starting a job where I work however, I found out that one of my female colleagues is a gamer. One of the first things she said to me about gaming is that she tends to only play offline games or if she does play games online it is only with choice friends. This is because she is a woman and that being a woman on the internet, specifically playing video games, opens her up to abuse. That conversation really opened my eyes to how bad things have got over the years and, truth be told, it hurt. Knowing that my fellow gamer, someone who I also respect and consider my friend actually feels this way is shocking to me. When I think about it, I too tend to go out of my way to have as little contact as possible with people in games (and in general really). This is mostly because I simply can not tolerate how people treat each other in online games. Things need to change, the gaming industry needs to change and we need more people like those at Black Girl Gamers.

Magic: The Gathering Arena

Magic: The Gathering Arena

Recently I have been playing Magic: The Gathering Arena. Magic: The Gathering is an old collectable card game released in the early 90’s and has been continually developed and added to by the company Wizards of the Coast.

In simple terms, in Magic: The Gathering (MTG) you collect cards by buying starter decks and booster packs or by trading with fellow players. A player would then build a deck of cards (typically 60 cards) which they think will be powerful and fun to play with.

I started to collect MTG in the late 90’s and have a small collection. To my sadness I have never met anyone who enjoys MTG enough to play games with me, nor had I sought out other players who do. I stopped collecting because it is ultimately an expensive hobby with new sets released regularly. If however I had a group of friends who I could share this hobby with, things would be different.

This brings me to MTG Arena which is now in open BETA and is a free to play game. The game reminds me of Hearthstone which was developed by Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of some of my favourite games such as World of Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft. The format is the same in that by simply playing you obtain rewards and free online booster packets. It is therefore possible for a player to spend no money at all and enjoy everything the game has to offer, just like Hearthstone.

For the first time I managed to capture some game play using the software FRAPS and uploaded to youtube. It’s a very quick game which I hope will give readers a very brief idea of what the game is all about. You see me play ‘land’ cards which gave me ‘mana’ in which I could cast spells. I used this ‘mana’ to cast two creature spells and another spell which enhanced one of my creatures. I used these creatures to attack my opponent to ultimately win the game.

There are 5 colours of magic. In the video above you will see that I used the green magic which is known to have powerful creatures and spells which improve the creatures power further. My opponent was using red colour magic which is known for powerful sorcery spells and instant spells which directly deal damage to a creature or the opponent. I felt bad for my opponent, I do not think I could have had a better start to the game and I do not blame them for conceding then they did.

As far as I can tell MTG Arena offers full deck customisation and is as if you were playing in real life with your card collection. I have to say, for me, this is probably the best new game I have played in a long while. For the first time I am able to actually play MTG with people and with the cards I have collected, albeit collected within the game by playing and winning prizes and with people I do not know. The game is not particularly balanced in that a player who spends their money on the game will have the best and most powerful cards, whereas a player who just wants to play for free and use the cards the game gives will be at a disadvantage. There is a ranking system however which will mean players who do well either by collecting all of the best cards or those who are experienced player will more than likely play each other in the higher brackets where as new players or those with a modest collection will more than likely play each other.

I myself may spend some money on this game, I shall certainly be interested in playing it from time to time to win the free rewards but do not feel the need to go all the way at this point.

You can learn more and download the game here. There is also a really cool trailer on youtube which features Day[9] who is a hero of mine from the original Starcraft days. He has played a lot of Hearthstone and it seems like he is branching into MTG Arena. I would encourage anyone considering MTG Arena to watch the video which I have included below and try the game, you really have nothing to lose.

Magic: The Gathering Arena – Open Beta Announce Trailer (Official)

If anyone who reads this post plays MTG or would like to play MTG either online or in person I would really like to hear from you, especially if you know me. I find the prospect of playing MTG in person with a friend or going to events with them so as not to be alone really exciting. Until then I shall just have to make the best of this hobby as a lone wolf.

Snooker Nation Week 7

Snooker Nation

Once again my friend Jason and I played a best of 7 of Snooker Nation which, once again, he won 4 frames to 3. Considering at one stage I was leading 3 frames to 1, I am a little disappointed that I did not win this week.

I don’t think either of us played all that well. I didn’t feel well and Jason had just completed a long drive home after being away. We both missed some very easy shots and neither of us produced a century break. Jason did get close at one point with a break of 91 I believe.

Snooker Nation really does offer a level precision which allows us to perform shots that would otherwise be incredibly difficult and unlikely in the real world. Snooker professionals wouldn’t even bother with half of the shots we play. Not because they’re impossible, but because the chance of success is very low.

One amusing thing Jason does is when it is his turn to start the frame and ‘break’ he actually does not move any of the reds. He somehow manages to glance off of the right hand red at the bottom of the pack ever so slightly. What follows is the white hits the cushion at the end of the table and finds its way back up the table in the baulk end, often hitting the yellow. I don’t know why, but when he takes a shot intended to ‘break’ the reds but actually moves no reds and moves the yellow, I get a little bit tilted. I felt a little better when Jason played this shot but actually managed to pot the yellow, I was given 4 points and had a free ball. I potted the brown with the intention to be on the blue at an angle I could hit the reds, after potting the blue I missed everything and even managed to pot the white giving Jason 5 points. At this point we both had 5 points, the yellow, brown, blue and white had been potted but not a single red had moved.

Snooker Nation Week 6

Snooker Nation

This week my friend Jason and I decided to go back to playing Snooker Nation. After one of our deep and random conversations, it was decided we will play a best of 7 which Jason won 4:3.

There were two century breaks this week. I scored 119 points in the 4th frame and Jason scored 109 in the 7th and final frame. For the most part, we both played very well. For some reason we both decided this was the week we would try some crazy and unlikely shots which didn’t really pay off for either of us.

Because Snooker Nation handles so differently to Pool Nation, I found at first it was a little difficult to get used to the different sensitivity and had to remind myself that I really should pay more attention to the positioning as well as the actual pot.

We may alternate between Snooker and Pool Nation, I guess it depends on how we feel on the day.

WoW: Arathi Warfront Part 2

Arathi Warfront

I previously wrote about my experiences with the first part of the new Arathi Highlands warfront here. Last week was the alliances turn to take part in the second part of this warfront, with the Horde in control. It started as expected with being able to hand in farmed materials and crafted items in exchange for reputation and power for the expansions ‘Heart of Azeroth’ amulet.

Following this there was a 20 player scenario which I completed 4 or 5 times between my druid and paladin. It involved gathering resources, capturing horde controlled nodes and advancing on the horde base in order to kill the commander and win the battle in a pve (player vs environment) setting. Players would use the resources to upgrade buildings in the Alliance keep which in  turn would allow players to recruit troops and obtain other bonuses which would help obtain victory.

I have to say, this was a lot of fun. The minimum average ilevel (item level) requirement is 320 which my druid had exceeded but it forced me to play my paladin more so she could also take part. On completion of the scenario, each character got an ilevel 370 item followed by an ilevel 340 item. Each time I subsequently completed the scenario I would be rewarded with another ilevel 340 item.

Arathi Warfront

While I did very much enjoy this content, it was very easy and I do not think it was possible to actually lose the scenario. I think a lot of people kept playing it over and over again until most of their items had a minimum ilevel of 340 – for them it must have got really boring.

I managed to get several achievements associated with this warfront. ‘Strike Fast’ gave me 5 and then 10 achievement points for capturing every location in the scenario. ‘Leader of Troops’ gave me 10 points for recruiting the 5 different NPC (non playable character) troops with resources at the alliance base and ‘War is Hell’ gave 10 points for simply completing the scenario the first time.

Arathi Warfront

Not only do I look forward to playing this content again, I very much hope that this sort of pve Alliance vs Horde content is extended and that players can take part in these sorts of battles in other zones over Azeroth.

Pool Nation

Pool Nation Table

This week my friend Jason and I decided to play game of Pool Nation rather than Snooker Nation which made for a good change of pace.

We played 6 best of 7 matches in total, 3 matches were UK 8 ball where Jason won two matches 4:2 and 4:0, I won one match 4:1. There were 2 American 8 ball games, both of which I won 4:3 and 4:2 plus a 9 ball match which I won 4:1.

While Pool Nation is in many respects similar to Snooker Nation, the sensitivity is much higher which took time to get used to. I also forgot that there is a mechanic where you can hit the cue ball off the table. I believe this mechanic extends to being able to strike the cue ball in such a way it will bounce over a ball, although I did not try this. Pool Nation does have some AI players as pictured below, apparently most of them need to wear glasses – they look more like poker players to me but whatever. Just like Snooker Nation however, the AI is terrible and is rather pointless beyond getting used to the controls.

Pool Nation

Pool Nation is also much more buggy than Snooker Nation. In one of the first frames Jason managed to pot a ball on the break, which is not unusual in pool. The game however somehow decided this was a foul and gave me a 2 shot advantage. It is possible that Jason pocketed the cue ball, but for us both to miss this, it is rather unlikely. Occasionally the game also locks up by telling us that it is our opponents turn and neither of us can take a shot – thereby forcing us to restart the game. This actually happens with Snooker Nation too, but less frequently.

I do like the fast pace and the variety Pool Nation brings to the table, but I have to say for me Snooker Nation is a far superior game.

Uldir: Halls of Containment

MOTHER Halls of Containment

Last weekend I made good end game progress with my Druid. In my previous post WoW: Arathi Highlands Warfront I managed to raise my item level to 304, just shy of my goal of 305 which was what I wanted to allow me to do heroic dungeons.

This week I finally managed to hit 305 and did a number of heroic dungeons which got me over 320. This meant I was able to use the LFR (Looking for raid) tool and complete the first wing of the new Uldir raid, Halls of Containment.

Being LFR, the raid was very easy and we managed to 1 shot all three bosses, Taloc, MOTHER and Zek’voz. The loot was good considering how easy this was and I was very lucky by getting item level 365 boots that are ‘titanforged’. The standard item level is 340 for LFR loot in this raid.

Along with other loot from doing world quests, the average item level for my druid is now 327 which is still pretty low but well on the way. Considering I only really have time to play during some of my weekend, to get it from item level 274 to 327 in two weeks, I am more than happy and I am still enjoying the Battle for Azeroth expansion.

One thing I did notice last week is that I think the world quest rewards scale with the characters average item level. My Paladin has an average item level 305 and the rewards for her might be around the 300 – 315 item level mark. For my druid however, they are more likely to be around the 310-330 mark. This makes for interesting world quest reward scaling and will probably always be relevant end game content, at least as far as item upgrades go.

This weekend I hope to increase my average item level further and make a start on completing some of the quest strings. I will also need to continue to build reputation with the new Battle for Azeroth factions. It would be great to do more with my Paladin, just to keep her in the loop as much as possible, I would not like for her to get too far behind but we shall have to see.

Combat site 308m ISK loot haul

Docked Gila

It has been a while since I have played EVE online. I decided to have a quick play before the server reset and had perhaps the biggest combat site loot haul I have ever had.

Two jumps away from where I started I scanned down a ‘Serpentis Narcotic Warehouse‘ combat site which was unoccupied. This combat site is very easy but a little long winded with several pockets of space to clear before getting to the loot. After destroying the stronghold at the end I quickly looted the container and to my surprise there were 5 Coreli A-Type modules with an estimated ISK value of 165m!

Coreli A-Type Adaptive Nano Plating
Coreli A-Type Explosive Plating
Coreli A-Type Kinetic Plating
Coreli A-Type Small Armor Repairer
Coreli A-Type 5MN Microwarpdrive

Usually, if I am lucky I might get 1 or 2 of these items, possibly an armour repairer or afterburner which is still pretty nice. To get all 5 of these came as as huge surprise, especially the very valuable adaptive nano plating which is in high demand. What made this find even sweeter was the fact I had only been playing for 30-40 minutes.

Gila In Warp

Stoked by my find, I decided to log back in after the server reset. After about an hour of searching I scanned down a ‘Sansha Nation Occupied Mining Colony‘. This site is also relatively easy and does not take much time to complete. At the end of the site you are instructed to kill the ‘True Sansha Foreman’ who dropped a Centum C-Type Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane with an estimated value of 143m ISK making my total loot haul 308m.

On a side note I decided to use a Gila instead of my Vexor Navy Issue. While I find the Vexor is better for these combat sites, using the Gila made a nice change.

WoW: Arathi Highlands Warfront

World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth Arathi Highland Warfront

Yesterday I experienced the new World of Warcraft warfonts content for the first time in Arathi Highlands. Alliance controlled the warfront and I was able to complete all of the quests relatively quickly on my Druid and Paladin which earned me some war resources and an ilevel (item level) 340 piece of armour for each character. Next week the Horde should control the warfront which will mean that I will be able to play the other side of the new warfront content where I will be able to farm materials and craft items to hand in for reputation and other rewards.

So far I actually quite like this new pve (player vs environment) alliance vs horde style to the game. I will be especially interested in playing it while the horde control the warfront. I really like the makeover Arathi Highlands has had in general and the Alliance controlled Stormgarde Keep featured above looks amazing.

As well as the quests there are a number of rare bosses which have a chance to drop ilevel 340 armour. Unfortunately for my druid she got one of these which also happened to also be exactly the same as the quest reward at the end. There is also an epic world quest boss ‘Doom’s Howl’ which is a sort of horde tank. It has a chance to drop item level 370 armour although I did not get any.

Arathi Highlands Warfront

I hope to see more warfront content in other areas of the game with more quests and things to do. It is good that I am starting to see some new content to the Battle for Azeroth expansion but because the content took me about 30-45 minutes to complete, I am not that impressed. With that said I can see a lot of potential and have high hopes for what warfronts will bring in the coming months.

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