Copper Ice

Blogger, Gamer, Nerd

Sunday Morning Magic

Magic The Gathering

Yesterday morning I could not sleep and decided I would play a little Sunday morning Magic: The Gathering Arena.

It has been a while since I played this game and I was interested to find out what, if any, changes there have been. The first thing I noticed is that there is now an option to play against your friends (not that I have any interested in Magic The Gathering). The second thing I noticed is that there is now an option to play games that are ranked or not ranked and that ranking is more defined under your player profile, showing you both your ‘constructed’ and ‘limited’ rank and what rewards to expect should you reach silver, gold, platinum, diamond or mythic rank by the seasons end which incidentally ends 17 days from now.

Each rank has 4 tiers and everyone starts as bronze tier 4. Happily for me I have managed to increase my rank from bronze tier 4 to bronze tier 1 which should mean the next rank will be silver tier 4 and I will be eligible for the silver rewards.

Bronze Tier 1

The games creator, Wizards of the Coast, have also pledged a $10,000,000 prize pool for 2019 to kickstrat their way into the eSports community which is really exciting and have created the below youtube video.

Furthermore Wizards of the Coast are getting behind streamers to bolster the online presence of the game and their eSports goals. I have been tempted before to stream Magic: The Gathering Arena myself, I think this is probably an excellent game for first time streamers such as myself.

WoW: Last Minute Uldir Progress

Uldir Progress

Before the launch of the new World of Warcraft raid, battle of dazar’alor, Midlife Crisis (the guild I am in) is trying to achieve some last minute progress in Uldir. Over the Christmas and new year celebrations most raiding has been cancelled due to either a lack of interest or the inability for many members to participate. We did however have a fresh run last Sunday and managed to increase our progress from 2/8 heroic to 5/8 heroic. There is another raid scheduled tonight and there might be time to squeeze another two raids in before the launch of battle of dazar’alor on the 22nd January.

Here I am standing over the corpse of Zek’voz herald of n’zoth after killing it on heroic difficulty.

Zek'voz Heroic Kill

After the 22nd I suspect my guild officers will leave Uldir in favour of battle of dazar’alor and go back to super casual normal raiding mode. I have signed up for the raid tonight but I am not sure I will be picked to go and will in all likelihood find myself on standby. I am fine with that, there are players who put more time and effort into getting the most out of their characters and do more damage than my druid. There are also players who are more versatile with what they can bring to the raid, there is one balance druid for example who has learned his or her restoration specialisation and presumably has gear for it. This means they can change specialisations according to what the raid leader thinks will work best on a boss by boss basis. There have also been 2 or 3 new recruits to the guild which seem at first glance to be high quality players, giving me even more competition if I want to take part in progressive raiding in Midlife Crisis.

Regardless of whether or not I am able to raid tonight or any other progressive raid night, I am still thankful that Midlife Crisis has opened a lot of doors for me. I have taken the time to get to know my new guild mates and in return I am invited to take part in the occasional mythic+ dungeon and am more likely, providing I am patient, to get help with my World of Warcraft goals in general. I have since my last World of Warcraft post completed no less than 4 mythic+ dungeons, including a +9 dungeon giving me a bunch of achievements, crafting items and perhaps most importantly, the experience required to do them better next time, perhaps at a higher level.

Now for a general update. The average item level (ilevel) for my druid has increased from 371 to 374 and I have also dropped the mining profession for inscription. My warrior has increased her average ilevel from 359 to 368 and has joined my druid in Midlife Crisis which leaves my paladin average ilevel increasing from 364 to 373 yet remains outside of Midlife Crisis for now.

On a side note, I am really impressed with the new plate skins of the ilevel 385 Darkshore set, I have collected a lot of it but still need to replace my shoulder and chest item.

Darkshore Armour

My account achievement score has increased from 19040 to 19195 which has mostly been down to mythic dungeon achievements but also a few others here and there. Unfortunately I did not level my warlock, Khorium further and remains level 45.

My goals going forward are the same as last time. I hope to level my warlock some more, increase my account achievement score and also enjoy what raiding I can with Midlife Crisis and hope to make some progress in Uldir and/or battle of dazar’alor.

Snooker Nation Week 18

Snooker Nation

Unsurprisingly I have played another game of Snooker Nation with my good friend Jason this week.

We played a best of 9 which I won 5 frames to 1 which is also slightly unsurprising because I do not believe Jason has ever won a best of 9. For an atheist (myself) and an agnostic (Jason) it’s kind of odd how we jokingly have this superstition, it’s also odd that when Jason wins the first frame of a match he usually loses.

There were no century breaks this week unfortunately, actually I think we both played quite a scrappy game, we have both certainly played better. I did however get very tilted in the second frame. I thought, wrongly, that I ran out of position and I could not pot any of the three reds left on the table. Jason said that one of the reds did actually pot and could squeeze past the brown which was tucked in the corner of a pocket. I disagreed to the point that I played a safety leaving that shot on if he wanted to play it, knowing full well he would miss if he tried. He did try it but it did pot. I almost lost my mind and got really tilted.

There were two or three other instances this match where I thought a ball would pass another to a pocket but it didn’t. There was also another shot where I voiced profusely that a red would not pass the pack and cut into a pocket. Jason played it and it did pass and pot. Each time this happened I got more and more tilted.

It seems strange to get tilted by such a game. No other game that I play get’s me tilted like Snooker Nation and I don’t know why. I even resorted to blaming the Unreal Engine physics for getting it wrong, quite stupid really.

Snooker Nation Week 17

Snooker Nation

Jason and I settled down to another game of Snooker Nation and I managed to win 5 frames to 3 in a best of 9. To be fair on Jason, he did say before we started that he had not been sleeping well and was tired. I played pretty well considering I have been fairly sick, I think it must have been the co-codamol I have been taking, I can see why the stuff is addictive.

There were two century breaks this week, 115 in the second frame and 135 in the 3rd frame, both of which I scored. I am really happy with the 135 break, I think my record is 137. I was on track to score a 3rd century in the 8th and final frame but but unfortunately failed to free up two reds which were tight on the black.

It is good to start 2019 with a Snooker Nation victory, the first of many I hope. I would estimate that Jason and I are equal in this game and that he wins about half of the time, including two embarrassing whitewash instances. Hopefully we will find something else to our liking as the year progresses as we certainly have got our monies worth out of Snooker Nation, that’s for sure.

XCOM 2 Goal Complete

XCOM 2 Goal Complete

Almost a week ago I wrote about being inspired by chap named Geoff ‘iNcontroL’ Robinson who recently completed XCOM 2 on commander difficulty with iron man enabled which you can read about here.

I am happy to report, despite being unwell since writing that post, I have completed the goal I set out for myself to complete the game on veteran difficulty with the iron man mode enabled. Not nearly as good as what Geoff recently accomplished but I am really happy with my achievement.

Here are 4 screenshots which show my campaign statistics.

XCOM 2 Stats

XCOM 2 Stats

XCOM 2 Stats

XCOM 2 Stats

I don’t mind admitting that this was the 4th or 5th campaign before I got a good start and started to understand the game mechanics a little better. The first 1 or 2 campaigns were nothing short of a disaster and for a while I did not think I would manage to accomplish my goal before the end of the year.

This has been the perfect way to end my 2018 gaming but there more I could do with XCOM 2. There are a number of relatively easy trophies/achievements which I could do using easier difficulty settings, not to mention the ‘War of the Chosen’ expansion which I have not looked at yet.

In 2019 I hope to set myself more goals like this and beat more games. While I will always be interested in playing games like EVE Online or World of Warcraft, it is good to take a break and beat a single player game like XCOM 2 from time to time.

Snooker Nation Week 16

Snooker Nation

Jason and I did battle once again by playing a game of Snooker Nation. This time we decided to play a best of 9 which I managed to win 5 frames to 3. I am particularly pleased to win this week as this will be our last game of 2018 which I wrote about in my last Snooker Nation post.

Unfortunately I scored the only century break of 115 in the 8th and final frame. I was saddened because the blue, pink and black were left on table which meant I missed the opportunity to get a break of 133. This is rather typical of me, I often tend to choke on the last few balls of a would be high break. The same thing happened earlier this month which I wrote about in my Snooker Nation Week 13 post.

While Jason and I are always on the look out for games that we will enjoy playing together when we have our weekly chats, I look forward to playing more Snooker Nation in the new year and who knows, maybe score a 147 break which I just know is only a matter of time before one of us gets it.

XCOM 2 Inspiration

XCOM 2

I noticed on Twitter recently that Geoff Robinson also known as iNcontroL, managed to complete XCOM 2 on commander difficulty with iron man enabled after nearly 500 attempts and 2000+ hours of game play logged. For those of you who do not know about XCOM 2, this is a pretty big deal, especially with the ‘Long War 2’ mod he was using.

iNcontroL has always been a source of inspiration for me and as such I have followed his career as a professional Starcraft 2 player, caster and gaming personality. If you haven’t already, I suggest you follow him on twitter or take a look at his twitch channel and his youtube channel.

In light of this huge success, I have been inspired and have decided to try and accomplish my own goal in XCOM 2 by beating the game on veteran difficulty with iron man enabled using my Playstation 4 Pro. If I succeed this will not nearly be as good as Geoffs’ accomplishment, but it will do for me.

Using the Unreal engine, XCOM 2 is a turn based strategy RPG (role-playing game). You have fully customisable soldiers which have different skills, abilities and weapons which you use to embark upon missions in order to accrue resources, rescue engineers, scientists and make progress in defeating the alien invaders.

XCOM 2 Copper Ice

XCOM 2 reminds me of one of favourite games, Front Mission 3 for the Playstation 1 developed by Squaresoft who also made the Final Fantasy series. During each mission you take turns moving and attacking with your soldiers using the terrain as cover or to gain vantage points. I have uploaded two short missions I played during the early stages of my campaign to youtube which I hope will give you an idea.

I will be putting in some serious time into this mini project and will be sure to share the results. If I do beat the game I will be shown statistical score sheets which I will share to prove my success.

WoW: Battle for Darkshore Warfront

Battle for Darkshore Warfront

Back in September I wrote about my experiences with the new World of Warcraft battlefront content in Arathi Basin, you can read what I wrote here and here.

I really enjoyed these experiences and hoped that more warfront content will be made available throughout the Battle for Azeroth expansion. In the first major content patch, Tides of Vengeance, my wish came true and a new warfront opened up named Battle for Darkshore, giving the alliance an opportunity to get some much needed payback for the burning of Teldrassil at the beginning of the expansion.

While there are many similarities to the warfront in Arathi Basin, I found it really fun and thought the battle flowed a little better in that the nodes were fairly close and more streamlined. Players also passively accrue both wood and iron resources which means you do not need to actively farm resources in order to contribute. On completion players are rewarded with an ilevel (item level) 340 item and once per character an ilevel 385 item. My warrior obtained an ilevel 385 leg item while my paladin obtained boots, both were upgrades but what I like most is the armour skin, I really hope to collect the rest of the set.

When the Alliance capture Darkshore players are able to complete a number of quests and can obtain more ilevel 340 loot, resources and 7th Legion service medals which are a new currency introduced in Tides of Vengeance. What’s more, we also get to fight this guy, Ivus the Decayed.

Ivus the Decayed

Among other things Tides of Vengeance also brought invasions back to Warcraft which are similar to the Burning Legion invasions in the Legion expansion but are horde/alliance invasions. On completion players are rewarded with an item which item level scales depending their characters average item level. These are fun but it is a little frustrating when you miss an invasion, I logged in today with about 20 minutes left on the invasion timer and was not able to get it done.

It would be remiss of me not to give a general update to my World of Warcraft activities. Since my last update my druid ilevel has increased to 371, my paladin trails with 364 and my warrior is currently sitting on 359.

I have managed to increase my account achievement point score to 19040 and have raised Khorium, my new warlock, to level 45. With Khorium I have taken the time to get 4 quest achievements in Wetlands, Loch Modan, Duskwood and Northern Stranglethorn which gets me 4 steps closer to completing the Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms achievement.

Finally, on the 2nd December 2018 the guild I joined over a month ago, Midlife Crisis, managed to kill G’huun in Uldir on normal difficulty for the first time. Although most players and guilds have probably achieved this much earlier, I am proud to have been a part of it.

G'huun Kill

After defeating G’huun we went on to kill two bosses on heroic difficulty but have not since managed to make more progress. I think many of the guild members have more or less stopped raiding because Christmas is almost upon us and people are more interested in raiding the new Battle of Dazar’alor raid when it arrives on the 22nd January 2019.

Going forward I hope to further increase my achievement score, increase the level of my warlock and with any luck either progress further in Uldir or make a good start on Battle of Dazar’alor with Midlife Crisis.

Snooker Nation Week 15

Snooker Nation

Another week of Snooker Nation with my friend Jason. This time however Jason managed to claim victory 4 frames to 1 in a best of 7.

It would have been another whitewash but I somehow manage to salvage victory in the 3rd frame after being behind around 50 points with not much more than that left on the table. Jason then replied with the only century break of the match of 116 in the 4th frame.

Unfortunately I did not make the most of the opportunities that presented themselves to me. Jason even purposefully potted a colour when he was supposed to pot a red in second frame, for a moment I thought was going to say he was ‘playing a future shot’.

As always it was good to play a game with my friend. If all goes well we will have one more game in 2018, let’s hope I can win it!

EVE Online Shenanigans

EVE Online Shenanigans

After my most resent post, EVE Online: Onslaught, I have taken a short break from World of Warcraft and have invested some time in doing some EVE Online shenanigans.

The new activity tracker has particularly piqued my interest and I have increased my score from 1,298 to 1,788. I have done this by exploring several wormholes, completing a number of data and relic sites, completely solo mined out an ‘Average Hemorphite, Hedbergite and Jaspet Deposit’ ore site in high security space, harvested gas and ice in wormhole space and even completed some Abyssal Deadspace sites.

Abyssal Deadspace Site

I tried my hand at a little cat and mouse PvP in two of the wormhole systems I explored but failed as cat, miserably. I have a lot to learn. I have a character in a dying player run corporation and somehow, after a change of leadership, I have been given access to some corporation property which I estimate to have a value of a billion ISK (Interstellar Kredits (The in-game currency)). I will not take it or misuse it, but many in my position would. I am not sure what I am going to do in EVE Online in the future, everything seems to be up in the air at the moment but these shenanigans have been fun. Perhaps I need a fresh start in the game? A new self carved purpose? Time will tell.

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