Copper Ice

Blogger, Gamer, Nerd

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.

Snooker Nation Week 5

This week Jason and I decided to play a best of 9 in Snooker Nation. Thankfully I did better than last week and won 5 frames to 2. I also got the only century of 116 in frame 2.

I would say we both played okay but neither of us played as well as we have been used to recently. There were some very sloppy shots on both sides but at the same time there weren’t any awful frames. The emphasis this week was the amount of safety play. After last week, I was not willing to give Jason in inch and played hard at my safety game. I do not enjoy long tactical games very much, but it did work.

There was one amusing moment where Jason attempted to thinly cut a red into one of the middle pockets. The red looked like it was going to go in but because Jason had to hit the white so hard that the white hit two cushions and came back to knock the red he had just cut off of trajectory. We will never know with absolute certainty whether that red was going in, but for the white to hit it a second time, very unlucky, and funny.

I think we might play Pool Nation next week which could be interesting. Pool Nation is an older game developed by the same company (Cherry Pop Games) who developed Snooker Nation. Neither of us have played this game in a number of years and from what I remember, it handles completely differently. That said, having some fast paced, quick games could be a lot fun.

 

Druid level 110 to 120!

World of Warcraft Moonkin

Over the last week or two I have slowly raised the level of my druid from 110 to 117 with the release of the new World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth. This weekend I decided to get my head down and achieve level 120.

I have really enjoyed playing my druid and I am pleased that I took the time to level her from 100 to 110 in preparation for this expansion which I wrote about here.

During the Cataclysm expansion I had the idea of using my druid to farm what I needed and make gold. At the time there were a number of players who had used balance druids to make a lot of gold and have a lot of fun with what was their insane AoE (Area of effect) abilities. They can also farm herbs while in travel form which made farming herbs really quick. I got her to level 85 (the maximum level at the time) and changed her professions to mining and herbalism for full farming potential. For whatever reason however, after reaching this goal I either got bored or decided to do something else on Warcraft.

Because I changed her professions to mining and herbalism, she has been ideal at providing my paladin with ore to level blacksmithing and at providing my mage with herbs to level alchemy. As such I have gained a lot of experience just by farming the things that I need.

Now my druid is level 120, I might consider investing time in using her for the end game content. Right now, her average item level is 274 which is incredibly poor but understandable considering she has only just hit level 120. Next weekend and perhaps during the week I will try to complete some world quests and dungeons to see if I can get to an average item level of 305 so that I can try some heroic dungeons. There is much to do with only a little time. Any time I spend on her will be taken away from my other characters. I find it frustrating that others who are time rich can get things done while I am forced to prioritize and trail behind.

Snooker Nation Week 4

Snooker Nation Week 4

This week of Snooker Nation has not been good for me. Jason managed to win 4 frames to 0 in a best of 7. As a matter of fact, in the entire match, I only had one opportunity and only managed to pot 1 ball.

Because the match was so one sided, there is very little to write about. Jason played exceptionally well. In the first and second frame Jason won with high breaks but no century, there was however an element of luck, especially in the second frame when he very nearly potted the white and a few shots later nearly potted a red as well as a colour. As for the third and fourth frame, a little luck, but mostly really good, solid play. Jason managed to get a break of 122 in the third frame, eventually missing the final pink which is a shame since he could have ended on 135. In the final frame Jason managed to clear the table with a break of 124.

It is hard to sum up my performance when I did not really have the opportunity to play. I guess you could say I played badly, because I missed my one opportunity and in the final frame I messed up a safety shot. To be honest, being 3-0 down after seeing my friend play so well, I was kind of tilted.

Really looking forward to week 5 where I will try to make amends. Hopefully I get to pot more than 1 ball!

Snooker Nation Week 3

Snooker Nation

Last Friday my friend Jason and I once again found the time to play Snooker Nation. We did not have too much to talk about so decided to play a best of 9 rather than the usual best of 7.

I managed to secure victory 5 frames to 3 and I must say I think I played really well. In the first frame I potted 12 reds and 11 blacks giving me a break of 89 and while the break itself is not very impressive, it was a good run to possibly securing my first 147. I missed the 12th black with great disappointment but I am for the first time thinking that a 147 break is achievable for me.

In the 4th frame I had the only century break of 107 but I let myself down. After potting the black I thought that there were no more reds left on the table and positioned myself to pot the yellow. There was however 1 more red in the baulk end of the table (which I snookered myself on) which left me looking rather stupid. With there being the potential of another 35 points, it is not inconceivable that my break could have ended 142. Even if I potted the red and the blue, that could well have been a break of 140 which would have beaten my current record.

At one point I lead 4 frames to 1 and to his credit, Jason managed to pull it back to 4 frames to 3. In the 8th and final frame Jason even had a healthy lead but missed a pot which gave me the opportunity to play for a re spot. The odds were not in my favour but somehow I managed to score all of the points available. Thankfully it was me who could take the first shot when the black had been re spotted and I managed to pot it without also potting the white (yes this has happened to me).

To be fair on Jason, he played well, especially considering he was clearly very tired. Although being a good sport, he did not use it as an excuse.

Battle for Azeroth First Impressions

Boralus Harbour

Having spent a lot of time both last weekend and this weekend playing the new Battle for Azeroth expansion for World of Warcraft, I feel I can now share my first impressions.

So far I have levelled my Paladin to level 120 and started my Druid getting it to level 114. With the Paladin I have also, as far as I can tell, completed most or all of the quests in two areas and have made a start on the quests in all remaining areas.

My first impression, I have to say, is largely negative. The main reason for this is that I have found very little that is new and unique for the expansion so far.

With The Burning Crusade we first saw flying mounts and the ability to fly in Outland. The Outland zones were also completely different to what vanilla Warcraft had given so far and, for the first time, we shared a city (Shattrath) with the opposite faction. There were two new races, Blood Elf and Draenei plus the alliance could have the shaman class which was exclusively a horde class, while the horde could use the paladin class which was exclusively alliance.

Wrath of the Lich King had a completely new class, the Death Knight. Wintergrasp was the first world zone dedicated to large scale PvP which unlocked a raid for the faction that held/took it. Phasing was also introduced with the Icecrown zone.

Cataclysm revamped much of the Vanilla content and featured the first underwater and subterranean zones (Vashj’ir and Deepholm). Pet battles were introduced along with archaeology and two new races, Goblin and Worgen.

Mists of Pandaria had a new class, Monk and a new race (Pandaren) which for the first time is for both horde and alliance. The overall feel for the zones was also relatively new with an oriental/Asian feel to them all. Using individual player phasing, there was also a farm which each player could see grow and improve over time and effort. There was also the start of a legendary quest string which rewarded more and more as the expansion went on.

Warlords of Draenor is perhaps the worst expansion of all time in World of Warcraft. I know a lot of players did not like it, but there was player housing for the first time in the form of a garrison. You could then recruit followers and send them on missions, choose buildings and upgrade your keep as you played.

After the dreadful Warlords of Draenor expansion, Legion turned things around with probably the most new featured expansion yet. There was a new Demonhunter class, scaling so that the enemies matched your level whichever zone you were in (apart from Suramar until level 110). There was a Artifact weapon for each class and spec, world quests and a chance of getting a legendary item by performing more or less any task.

All of the above are not necessarily new things to gaming or things which I like. They were however new to World of Warcraft at the time and were more or less available from the moment you started playing the expansions.

From what I can tell so far, Battle for Azeroth has given boat rides, (in addition to flight paths) and new playable races for each faction. There is the Azerite neck item which connects to armour items which will give abilities depending how much power you have accrued. This for me is so similar to artifact power, I am not sure it can be considered as new. Even the zones don’t seem new, there is a spooky zone, old farmland zone, brighter hilly zone, troll like zones, desert, all of this I have seen since vanilla Warcraft. This has left me feeling rather underwhelmed, especially after an expansion with so many new features, all of which were available immediately.

Don’t get me wrong. I have for the most part enjoyed the expansion so far, and, at the end of the day, it is still World of Warcraft and many of the above features (some I like, some I don’t like) are still available. I just wish there was something really new and exciting to the game.

These are however first impressions. Going forward, I hope to discover something which is genuinely new and something I can get my gaming teeth into. If not, I am sure I will enjoy the expansion all the same.

Sophie Lancaster

Sophie

Today marks the 11 year anniversary of the death of Sophie Lancaster, who was murdered for daring to be different.

I never met Sophie or Robert Maltby who survived the attack thanks to, quite frankly, the heroic and selfless actions of Sophie. But this particular murder and hate crime has always stricken a nerve with me. I am not sure why, it could be perhaps that I was and still am to some extent a member of the alternative culture. I think also because people really were, at times, quite intolerant towards people of the alternative community where I live. I am told however it was, and may still be, much worse in other parts.

On the 11th August 2007 both Sophie and Robert were attacked as they walked through a park. A group of people knocked Robert to the ground and began stamping on his body and head while Sophie cradled Robert as best she could. Sophie pleaded with the attackers to stop but rather than that they decided they will focus their attention on her. The attackers eventually ran from the scene leaving both of them in a coma. Some time later Robert eventually woke up and while most of his physical injuries healed, he did sustain some permanent brain damage and survivors guilt which I am sure will follow him to the grave. Sophie on the other hand never woke up and died on the 24th August 2007. The attack was so brutal, clumps of her hair were found at the scene and police said both of their faces were so swollen that they could not ascertain whether they were male or female.

The reason this group of people attacked Sophie and Robert was because they dressed like goths.

Shortly after her murder the Sophie Lancaster Foundation was established and I would encourage any reader to visit their website. While you’re there, consider supporting the charity either by donating or buying something from their merchandise store here.

I also know of two songs dedicated to the memory of Sophie Lancaster which I would like to share below.

VNV Nation – Illusion
Delain – We are the others

S.O.P.H.I.E. is an acronym for ‘Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere’ which is something I will be bearing in mind. People who know me will probably say that I am a relatively easy going, happy go lucky person. Over the past year or so however, I have started to become quite intolerant when it comes to any sort of religion. I have shared my feelings about religion and my atheism with only my closest friends and family. While they for the most part agree with me and to some extent share my atheism and critical thinking, they have not shared my intolerance about those who choose to practise a faith and dismiss atheistic views which I hold so dear.

I have come to see the error in my ways, I must be more tolerant of those who practise their faith and do no harm to others. I am just thankful that I have come to this realisation before it is too late, before I say something to someone which would anger them or hurt their feelings unnecessarily. While I shall continue to share my atheism to anyone who chooses to listen, I will be more tolerant of those who disagree.

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