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Copper Ice, Blogger, Nerd
Returning to Classic World of Warcraft

Returning to Classic World of Warcraft

It has been nearly 7 months since I made a post about quitting Classic World of Warcraft but about 2 weeks ago I started playing again. When I stopped playing, my guild mates and I were working through the Serpentshrine Cavern (SSC) and Tempest Keep (TK) raids. Completing these raids would naturally have attuned players to raid Mount Hyjal and then later on Black Temple. Because I returned just a few days before the release of the last raid for the The Burning Crusade expansion (Sunwell Plateau) I have more or less completely skipped raiding both Mount Hyjal and Black Temple. I didn’t even get attuned, which is thankfully no longer required, but it would have been fun to complete.

Luckily a lot of my former guild mates are still playing. There are, as I expected, some new people in the guild, who all seem nice so far, but a lot (sadly not all) of what I would like to consider as the core members of the guild have remained and I have been welcomed back with open arms. I didn’t know what to expect when I logged in, I wasn’t sure if I would still be in a guild and if I was I wasn’t sure if I would recognise many of the people there. My rank as ‘veteran’ has been reinstated and I have been taken to several Zul’Aman raids, a single Black Temple raid and even a Sunwell Plateau progression raid. I have been given these 5 pieces of loot which I probably don’t deserve, they are:

Slayer’s Shoulderpads
Slayer’s Legguards
Ring of Deceitful Intent
Signet of Primal Wrath
Akil’zon’s Talonblade

Since returning I have spent a lot of time trying to catch up and I am starting to feel like I have made some progress. I am now exalted with Kurenai, Sporeggar and The Consortium, however I am still only revered with Keepers of Time. During my 6 or so months away from Classic World of Warcraft new factions have become available. There is Sha’tari Skyguard and Ogri’la which I could do on my own but I seem to remember Ogri’la being a particularly annoying faction. The Scale of the Sands would have been a very easy faction to get exalted if I was playing when Mount Hyjal was the current raid, as far as I know there is no other way to get reputation with them other than killing things in the raid. And finally while technically Ashtongue Deathsworn is a faction which existed since the start of The Burning Crusade, the vast majority of reputation gains are from killing enemies in the Black Temple raid. Shattered Sun Offensive has just become available and is quite an easy faction to get exalted considering how many daily quests there are for them. I hope to get exalted with Sh’tari Skyguard and Shattered Sun Offensive with a possibility of getting exalted with Keepers of Time and Ashtongue Deathswon if I am lucky, but Ogri’la and The Scale of the Sands seem very unlikely. My fishing skill is still only 339/375 and it would be nice to end the expansion with a nice set of gear, rather than my current mish mash of items which aren’t very good. Perhaps more important than all of these things however is to prepare for the next expansion, Wrath of the Lich King.

I do not know yet if I will return fully to Classic World of Warcraft or whether I will give a monthly update or set goals for myself. I think I would like to play Wrath of the Lich King, it was an expansion I enjoyed and it is when I seriously started to play the Tank role. Perhaps I will create a new character, a warrior, and try to find my tanking shoes again. Whatever I decide, for now at least, it’s nice to be playing this game again and best of all to be part of the Inspired guild community.


StarCraft 2 2022 Season 1 Progress

StarCraft 2 2022 Season 1 Progress

It’s been over a month since my StarCraft 2 2022 Season 1 1v1 post and I owe it to myself to provide an update. So far I have played 30 1v1 matches in total, about 2 of those people left immediately and another 2 I did the same to try and ‘balance the books’. I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that I haven’t played more 1v1 ladder games, but I have however played 53 2v2 ladder games with a new streamer known as DgameGuru who is really friendly and seems to stream StarCraft 2 pretty much every night, sharing and documenting his efforts in trying to become a master Zerg player. He has played over 400 1v1 games this season alone and is a great inspiration for me. Currently my MMR (Matchmaking Rating) for Zerg is 2619 which puts me in gold 2 where as DgameGuru has 3555 which is diamond 3. This means that while DgameGuru has a long way to go to become the master player he wants to be, I still have a lot to learn from him.

On a more positive note, I have increased my StarCraft 2 achievement points from 6820 to 7750. This is because of a combination of finally getting around to completing the Legacy of the Void campaign, playing co-op games with random people and getting started with the 10th StarCraft 2 anniversary achievements. The 10th anniversary was actually in 2020 so it’s about time I got around to getting some of them. So far they have been very easy, but it’s nice to go over old content, especially the Wings of Liberty campaign.

StarCraft 2 Achievements

As well as DgameGuru, I have found a several other StarCraft 2 streamers to draw inspiration. HolyHit44 is a grandmaster Protoss player who consistently plays in open tournaments such as the ESL (Electronic Sports League) open cup. Unless you’re a master StarCraft 2 player it’s difficult to learn anything from him, but he is very entertaining to watch. It’s also nice to see what it’s like for a grand master player to compete against some of the best players in the world. Another player is OnoAkira who is just about a master Terran player. Once again it’s difficult for me to learn from her but she is very entertaining to watch, especially because of her play style and the classic Japanese gaming soundtracks she listens to. She’s also a retro gamer and has introduced me to Hi Score Girl, something I might actually blog about once I have finished watching all of the series. There’s Neuro who is a grandmaster Zerg player who has been streaming StarCraft 2 for a long time now, he’s hilariously funny at times and tries to promote positive thinking and mental wellbeing which desperately I need. Finally there is Sc2Cicada, a Zerg player who, like me, is placed in the lower divisions of the ladder but continuously plays cheeky all-in strategies to try and defeat her opponent as quickly as possible, which is fun to watch. More than this she is adorable and continuously gives positive vibes.

I have found playing co-op games really fun so if anyone reading this would like to play some co-op games with me on the EU server please contact me. I am sure I have mentioned this in previous posts but much of StarCraft 2 is free to play, including co-op and the Wings of Liberty campaign. I don’t mind helping beginner players learn the basics, so don’t worry if it’s your first time playing StarCraft. Anyone who is considering trying StarCraft 2 should also know that it is not a pay to win game, so if you end up trying to compete on the ladder you will find that no player will have an advantage over the other.

Moving forward, I really hope that I will play more ladder matches, even if it’s 2v2 and not 1v1. But I would also like to complete more achievements and play more co-op games, even if it’s with random people. I will continue to support the streamers which I have mentioned above and I will keep an eye out for others which I feel could either use the support and/or motivate me to play more.


Snooker Nation

Snooker Nation April 2022

This has been an altogether disappointing month of Snooker Nation, at least for me. There have been so many missed opportunities for both Jason and I to score century breaks but, for whatever reason, we haven’t been able to secure many of them. For two matches we didn’t score a century at all and none of the matches this month have been close. With the exception of the first match this month, which I lost 6-2, the score has been 6-1 to either me or Jason, which doesn’t make it very exciting.

01/04/2022 – Match 165

A convincing win for Jason who won 6 frames to 2. I managed to score 109 in frame 5 but missed the final brown, denying me a possible break of 131. Jason had a century break of his own of 104 in frame 1 but I thought both of us played quite badly and should have done better. At times we were both either lucky or unlucky but neither of us took full advantage of the situation. The final 2 or 3 frames in particular were really scrappy which is a shame because I know we can do better.

15/04/2022 – Match 166

Although I won this match 6 frames to 1, it’s hard not to be disappointed that neither Jason or I could score a century break. There were numerous opportunities for me in several frames, but either I missed a pot or ran out of position on one of the final reds. Jason nearly scored a century with a break of 99 in frame 5 after I missed a relatively easy blue, but there just wasn’t enough points left on the table. We both weren’t playing particularly well this week, hopefully we will start playing better soon. One thing I should mention is that Jason demonstrated a good sense of fair play. During my break at the table the game crashed and forced us to restart the game. This is incredibly frustrating and off putting but Jason did at least give me the advantage once we restarted. He did this by making sure I had a clear pot rather than playing it safe from the offset. This is something I have done for Jason several times in the past and while this isn’t perfect it’s the best that can be done in that situation.

22/04/2022 – Match 167

Yet again a match without a century. This time however it’s Jason who won the match 6 frames to 1. For almost the whole match I played terribly, bad safety shots, missing pots and taking unnecessary risks. At one point I was down 5 frames to 0 so I should probably be happy that I didn’t lose 6-0. Jason didn’t play too badly, but not well enough to deny me numerous opportunities in most frames. I feel I was generally unlucky as well, but that doesn’t excuse how badly I was playing. I really hope I can end the month on a high note.

29/04/2022 – Match 168

I got my wish by ending the month on a high note and won 6 frames to 1, which seems to be a recurring theme recently. I also scored a century, 122 in frame 3 which could have been 135 if I hadn’t of missed the final pink. I also missed the final green in frame 1, the final red in frame 2 and final red in frame 6 denying me 3 century opportunities. While I don’t feel like I played quite as badly as last week, I am disappointed that I didn’t score higher breaks when I had the opportunity.

Season 6 ( January – June 2022) statistics

Played Won Frames Won Centuries Highest Break
Copper 13 6 60 19 147 x 2
Jason 13 7 54 12 147

 


StarCraft 2 2022 Season 1 Ladder

StarCraft 2 2022 Season 1 1v1 Ladder

It’s been about 3 years since I have played StarCraft 2, which I can partially prove with the below screenshot of my match history. As you can see other than 3 vs AI games 5 or 6 months ago (I must have been really bored that day), there were no games for 3 years until about 2 weeks ago. After watching some StarCraft on the streaming platform Twitch.tv, I decided to give the end of season 1 for 2022 a go, despite having ‘ladder anxiety’.

StarCraft 2 Match History

After winning 2 of my 5 placement matches as a random race player (playing either the Terran, Protoss or Zerg race at random), the game placed me in a low platinum division where I ended up playing a total of 48 games. Actually it’s more like 40 games because 4 times my opponent left the game straight away (I don’t really understand why people do that) and so in an effort to be fair I joined and left a game straight after. I don’t like the idea of my match rating or ladder points being inflated by people doing this, but maybe I am making it worse? I don’t know, the whole thing seems silly to me. Regardless of this I am happy to have played 40 games, of which I won 18 and acquired 588 ladder points.

StarCraft 2 2022 Season 1 1v1 Division

Although I finished the season in a platinum division, after losing more games than than I won, my match rating (2636) was only good enough to be placed in a gold division, which is where I am right now. Honestly, playing 40 games in 2 weeks is a minor miracle for me, even if they all resulted in a loss I would probably still be happy with it, considering my mental health problems. I feel like these results have given me something to aim for in season 2 this year. To try and motivate me I have decided to follow and support 1 or 2 Twitch streamers who play StarCraft 2. Especially as I have noticed that streamers of StarCraft 2 don’t see a lot of support compared with some other games. So far I have found Dannie, who was streaming StarCraft 2 earlier today. She plays a few other games but that’s OK, she seems really nice and has already given me some advise on how to improve.


Space Engineers Progress

Space Engineers Progress

Since my Space Engineers post a few weeks ago, I have made some excellent progress thanks to community YouTube content. When I wrote my previous Space Engineers post I felt defeated by my own inability to learn some of the fundamentals of the game, but after watching some guides on YouTube, I thought I would give it another go and decided to build a simple mining ship from scratch but by completely copying what the content creator did. It kind of felt like I was building a Lego ship using the instructions provided, but it was sort of fun and I got the hang of it. I made 1 or 2 alterations at first and I learned how to ‘dock’ the ship to my base, just so that the batteries can charge from the attached wind turbines. Later I found docking the ship to a refinery was better so that any mined ore would automatically be refined and my ship would charge at the same time. It would be wrong of me not to mention the content creator Pain Studios and their video ‘Space Engineers – Beginner Mining Ship. CHEAP‘.

Space Engineers Mining Ship

With growing confidence and a huge increase in mined materials, the next step for me was to reach space, the game is after all called Space Engineers. I found another video by YouTube content creator Splitsie called ‘Going to Space – Getting Started in Space Engineers #6 (Survival Tutorial Series)‘ which shows Splitsie build a space worthy mining ship followed by a demonstration on how to use it. Getting it into space is easy, as is flying around and mining ores from asteroids. I found the harder part is getting back down to the earth-like planet full of ore, but I sort of managed.

Space Engineers Asteroid Mining

As I have said in my previous Space Engineers post, the possibilities are endless. From here I should create a base in space, possibly near or on an asteroid. There are also other planets and moons to explore which I am sure would have unique characteristics to contend with. I have seen some players produce massive battleships, automated ship yards, huge subterranean structures and more. I have found myself wondering if a Dyson sphere would be possible, but that might be a stretch too far. Space Engineers truly is an epic game, but this time I really do think I will step away from the game with around 63 hours of play time. This time however I will step away feeling more satisfied and not disappointed with myself. It’s remarkable what perseverance can achieve.


Snooker Nation

Snooker Nation March 2022

We are now half way through Snooker Nation season 6 and Jason has a 5-4 lead. March started as a rather bland month of Snooker Nation, that is until the end of the month with not 1 but 2 maximum breaks. What I have enjoyed is that the last two matches have ended in an ace frame. I find that it is more fun to win or in my case lose an evenly played match.

04/03/2022 – Match 162

Even though I have been feeling quite sick lately, it was nice to persevere and play this match and win 6 frames to 3. Other than the final frame, where both Jason and I missed multiple easy shots, we both played really well. There were 4 century breaks in total, I scored 136 in frame 1 after a really bad first shot from Jason and 138 in frame 5. Jason scored 109 in frame 3 but missed the final green, which could have resulted in 134 had he potted it. He also scored 107 in frame 4 but missed a shot on the pink after potting the final red, which is a shame because had he potted it he might have scored 140.

18/03/2022 – Match 163

This was quite a strange match of Snooker Nation, which Jason managed to win 6 frames to 5. There were 4 century breaks between us, I scored 113 in frame 2, 103 in frame 3 and 105 in frame 9 while Jason got 139 in frame 4 which is now his season 6 highest break. You would think that this was a well played match, with 4 century breaks, but in actual fact I think we both played badly. Both of us were missing some of the most fundamental shots, or getting easy safety shots really wrong. Perhaps with the exception of frame 4 when Jason scored 139, I don’t think either of us walked away feeling particularly pleased with how we played.

25/03/2022 – Match 164

What an incredible and unlikely match of Snooker Nation this has been. This blog has documented about 3 years worth of me playing this game with my friend Jason, but we both started playing back in November 2016. Since then we would never have thought we would play a match quite like this. What makes it so special is that not only did I score a maximum break of 147 in frame 7, Jason also scored a maximum break of 147 the following frame. For anyone who does not know, a maximum break in Snooker is the ultimate achievement, they are few and far between. Both Jason and I have scored maximum breaks in the past, but never in the same match, let alone 1 after another. The likelihood of this happing is remote. I don’t think it has ever been done in the professional game either. Altogether it was a good match, Jason won 6 frames to 5 and scored 142 in frame 2. I had a second century of my own of 126 in frame 3 but missed the final black. After our 147 breaks our game degenerated and we both ended up playing the last few frames badly, especially frames 9 and 11. It’s also been noticed that any match where I have scored a maximum break, I never end up winning it.

Season 6 ( January – June 2022) statistics

Played Won Frames Won Centuries Highest Break
Copper 9 4 45 17 147 x 2
Jason 9 5 40 11 147

 


Space Engineers

Space Engineers

After playing and blogging about Minecraft last week, I decided to give Space Engineers a try which has been on my ‘to try’ radar for quite some time. Space Engineers is a sandbox game developed and published by Czech independent company Keen Software House. The reason Space Engineers has been on my radar for a while is because at face value it combines some of my favourite things, mining, and open world space exploration. At almost 23 hours into the game however I have found that I am a really bad engineer, highlighted by a screenshot of my crashed and upside down mining ship.

Space Engineers Crashed Ship

The game has quite a steep learning curve but, to be fair, there are a lot of tutorials and community content to help new players find their feet with Space Engineers. There are also a lot of different ways of playing the game including pre set scenarios, workshops and custom games. I am a bit disappointed at my inability to pick up some of the basics of the game, but I am sure that’s just me being inpatient. In my defence however, I think I built a pretty good little base of operations, including 4 wind turbines providing renewable energy to power 2 ore refineries, a basic ‘assembler’, 02/H2 generator and survival kit.

Space Engineers Base

Much like with Minecraft, the possibilities for Space Engineers are enormous. Players have created amazing things in this open world space simulation. From bases on an earth-like or alien planet, space stations, space ships and more. I deeply regret not having enough time to pour into this game to get what I would want out of it, which is an easy to get into astrogeology mining simulation type game, a bit like what EVE Online offers, but better, single player and modern. If you like mining, exploration, a massive open world and an engineering sandbox game, Space Engineers could be perfect for you. I might someday return to Space Engineers, but for now I will keep looking for my perfect game.


Ukraine

Ukraine

This is probably my first non gaming or blog related post, but I just can’t ignore the war in Ukraine any longer. What has tipped me over the edge is a message I received through my website via the contact form. It’s written in Russian and it is clear that it is someone who is trying to share their experience with people by using some sort of web crawl and spamming as many websites as they can. It reads.

‘вчера вечером добирался на автобусе домой в Екатеринбург. В это время подошли военные и требовали его личные документы. После предъявления документов, ему объявили что он задержан в связи с специальной военной операцией, как гражданин Российской Федерации, который игнорирует повестки. Также поставили в известность что он будет доставлен в районный отдел полиции для для пополнения в армии Российской Федерации. Сообщили об этом 20 минут назад, в военкомате ему дали позвонить родным. Он непригоден для службы в армии, есть документы! Кто посоветует что возможно предпринять в такой неразберихе?Начинают отправлять на специальную военную операцию?!’

I can’t translate Russian but Google translate does a reasonable job and I gather this person is explaining that on the bus home the Russian military ordered a citizen of the Russian Federation to show them his ‘papers’ which I assume is identity documentation. They then told him he was being detained as part of a Russian military operation and that he would be taken to a police station and then to an enlistment office to join the Russian military where he will be allowed to telephone his family (effectively this person is being conscripted). It goes on to say that this person is unsuitable for military service and there is documentation to prove it.

This is spam, but I genuinely believe it isn’t intended to scam me or sell me services but to share their experience. Quite frankly I am disgusted with what the Russian Federation is doing to the Ukraine and to their own citizens. I find it impossible to understand why people are so intent on their own destruction. What could possibly be worth invading the Ukraine? Whatever it is, political ideology, religion, natural resources, power? The Ukraine has never been threat to the people of the Russian Federation. What is it that’s worth the deaths of families fleeing from their homes? What could be worth conscripting men to fight in a war? What could possibly be worth even the risk of a world war? These aren’t rhetorical questions, I really want to know if there is an answer.

The best outcome at this point is for all people of Russia to stop doing whatever they’re doing and say no. Once again they must stand as one and get rid of the few despotic and frankly psychotic people who are at the helm of this nonsense. This is what the sanctions are about, to try and get everyone behind the point that what’s happening is wrong and must stop at the earliest possible moment. The soldiers, the police, tax payers, all ordinary people need to wake up and do something about it, before another family is murdered, before another one of their sons, brothers, husbands are killed. As of right now, the flag of the Russian Federation is drenched with blood, sweat and tears, but it can get a lot worse.

I think the world has shown enormous restraint to not do what the leaders of the Ukraine are asking for and more. The last thing I want is for my country is to go to war, but there must be a line drawn where the United Kingdom, the world, must intervene, at enormous cost, for the sake of worldwide stability and hopefully reduce the threat of the use of weapons of mass destruction.

There always seems to be a war somewhere in the world, often made worse by 3rd party countries who are engaged in a proxy war, a way to do war but without actually being directly involved, only indirectly. They all disgust me, they all result in the murder of families, survivors grow to carry hatred with them and desire revenge. My own country is not without blame. When will it all end? What must it take? If genocide doesn’t stop wars what will? Nuclear war, chemical weapons? Are peoples lives so cheap?


Minecraft

Minecraft

Everyone who plays video games will know about Minecraft, even people who don’t play video games will have heard of it. For those few that don’t know, Minecraft is a sandbox game developed and published by Mojang Studios in 2011. Being almost entirely a sandbox game, Minecraft offers limitless player creativity, players gather materials, craft items to assist in the gathering of more materials and build whatever they want. Many players will build small things such as a house or a farm where as a few impressive people will use their imaginations to create entire cities, landscapes, anything. I wish I could claim credit for the below Minas Tirith creation from The Lord of the Rings which was originally posted by a member of the Reddit community in 2013.

Minecraft Minas Tirith

My story with Minecraft started in early 2011, before it was officially released and in BETA. To be honest, at the time I was working in a boring dead end job and I was looking for something to do to occupy me during periods of down-time where there was nothing to do. I only had a mediocre PC with no dedicated graphics card to work with. At that time however and to a degree even now, Minecraft requires very little system resources and ran fine on whatever my employer supplied me with, along with another game FTL: Faster Than Light. Since leaving that job I think in 2013/14, I haven’t really played any Minecraft but have heard about some of the various updates and additions including new biomes, mineable resources, enemies, items, play modes and ease of access for communities of players.

This time around I started playing the game using the ‘hardcore’ mode where if you die you have to start again from scratch. After dying and needing to re-create my game several times, I decided to play the game on ‘normal survival’ mode where if you die you will at least respawn and be able to continue. Since I started to play Minecraft this way I haven’t died, but at least I know if I do I will not have to start over. Compared to the accomplishments of many builders in Minecraft, what I have built is very simple and humble, I am almost too embarrassed to share it but here is a screenshot of a two story building, a wheat farm and mine shaft that I have created. The building serves as a haven to store items and resources, the wheat farm provides me with a consistent source of food and the mining shaft is what I use to go deep underground to farm materials.

Minecraft Buildings

In my defence, playing in survival mode does mean that all resources and building materials need finding. As such spent a lot of my time in my mine finding underground caverns such as the one below. These are rich with coal, iron, gold, copper, diamonds and other important resources.

Minecraft Cavern

What impresses me most about Minecraft is the community behind it. People of all ages find something fun about this game. Some people have even built careers creating content associated with Minecraft, not just streamers or YouTubers, but also people who have built intricate worlds, texture packs, interactive stories, educational pieces and much more. If I was interested in a career in the gaming industry, I would seriously consider using Minecraft to build my own game within the Minecraft engine to show potential employers my creativity. Perhaps even design my own texture pack to change the look and feel of the game. As it stands, I don’t have the creativity to start a career in the gaming industry, but I will be keeping what I have accomplished so far and maybe even expand upon it someday.


Diablo III non-ladder

Diablo III Non-Ladder

For what I think is the first time I have played Diablo III non-ladder. Usually I always play Diablo III on the ladder for the unique rewards and achievements, not to mention an addition to the record of all previous seasons and the opportunity to do better. I have been feeling quite sick lately while at the same time stressed with work and ongoing home repairs. I needed a game that was relatively fun, easy and didn’t need an investment of my time, I concluded that Diablo III non-ladder was that game.

The first thing I wanted to do was replace my Demon Hunter which I sacrificed at the end of my season 23. This didn’t take much time with the resources available to me and I was even able to craft most of the gear using Kanai’s Cube. Instead of playing and perfecting my new Demon Hunter, I found myself playing my Barbarian which survived season 23. I casually started to replace the resources which I used to create my Demon Hunter by playing through rifts and greater rifts, even completing a few bounties. Eventually I even reached paragon level 1000 which I recorded below after completing a tier 85 greater rift.

Playing Diablo III, even on the hardcore setting, poses no challenge. While I have been taking strong pain relief medicine or simply zoning out, I have been able to play through Diablo III on autopilot. In a way that’s why I still like Diablo III, it’s a great game to play when you don’t want to think too much and would rather listen to music, an audiobook or in my case unwind and have something to do while feeling sick. The screenshot below is of my Barbarian and you can see on the left all my hardcore characters being level 1000. The character at the bottom is my only ‘softcore character’ at level 666.

Diablo III Hardcore Paragon Level 1000

It’s fortunate for me that I have reached a point in Final Fantasy IX, which I wrote about at the beginning of the month, whereby it’s an ideal time to take a break and come back to it later. I really hope I start to feel less stressed and better soon so that I can complete my Final Fantasy IX journey, play more Snooker Nation matches against my friend Jason and generally get back to gaming properly again. But for now, Diablo III non-ladder will have to do.


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