It’s been over 4 weeks of Diablo III Season 23 and I feel like I have made some excellent progress since my initial start. I now have a level 70 (the maximum level) barbarian, demon hunter, crusader and necromancer in addition to my wizard and have reached paragon level 700 which is just 100 away from my season 17 personal best. I also decided to play through and complete Diablo III in story mode which was something I did a long time ago shortly after the game’s release. I wanted to delve back into the story and watch the cinematic cut scenes again but also add Diablo III to my list of completed games since I started blogging.
Perhaps more important than my paragon level or roster of characters is that I have completed a tier 70 greater rift with my barbarian. This is important because completing a tier 70 greater rift solo unlocks the possibility of finding Primal Ancient Legendary items with my season 23 hardcore characters. Primal Ancient items are the rarest and most powerful items in the game, so far I have collected 5 but none of them are particularly helpful to any of my characters right now. The recording below is me completing a tier 70 greater rift for the first time this season.
Since the recording above, I have completed a tier 75 greater rift with my barbarian, a tier 62 greater rift with my wizard and a tier 45 greater rift with my demon hunter. Moving forward I will be wanting to improve all of these and possibly add a record for my necromancer and crusader. Ultimately however, my main goal is to beat my personal best of tier 81 which I set during season 17 with my wizard. I am confident I will accomplish these goals with the time I have left of what could be my last Diablo III season.
This has got to be one of the best months of Snooker Nation for me having won 4 out of 5 matches and scoring a maximum break of 147 after nearly a year since the last one. I enter May behind by just 1 match, with up to 8 more matches for the season, there is everything to play for.
Both Jason and I continue the theme of playing well. There was only 1 ‘scrappy’ frame where I missed a colour twice in the 3rd frame but was still able to win it after Jason missed a relatively straight forward red. Jason kicked off the centuries in the 1st frame with a break of 131 after an excellent pot to the middle pocket. Jason also scored 138 in the 5th frame and 132 in the 8th. I had two centuries of my own, 105 in both the 4th and 11th frame which helped me win the match 6 frames to 5. Although I am happy to have won, I am disappointed with my break of 105 in the 11th frame because I was 1 red away from potentially scoring a maximum break of 147.
This was a match of two halves, Jason and I started playing it well, scoring century breaks, but then it turned pretty scrappy. I felt a bit hard done by in the 1st frame, Jason had missed a red which ended up hovering over the pocket but I just couldn’t hit it, even off a cushion. Eventually I tried an ambitious plant which failed. In the second frame I scored 103 but left a potential break of 145 after missing difficult black, the third frame I scored 120 but couldn’t pot the blue which could have resulted in a break of 138. Jason cleared the table in the 4th frame scoring and impressive 141, the new highest break of the season so far. From then on each frame was really scrappy, both of us missing multiple shots and making a real hash of things. Ultimately however I won 6 frames to 4, giving me a 3 match win streak.
An unlucky match of Snooker Nation for Jason, after potting the first red in frame 1, he ran out of position and snookered himself which I was able to capitalize from and score a decent break of 132. In the 2nd frame I played a very poor safety shot but almost immediately Jason potted the white putting me back on the table. To make things worse, I almost scored a century in the third frame after Jason potted a red and black at the same time. At one stage I was winning 4 frames to 0 and it looked like it might be a white wash. Thankfully Jason was able to dig deep and win 3 frames including a break of 109 in the 7th frame. Eventually however I was able to win 6 frames to 3, giving me a 4 match win streak.
For the most part this was a pretty clean and straight forward match, the second frame was a bit scrappy after I played a ‘lottery shot’ which is where I hit the pack of reds with the cue ball as hard as I can with a lot of top spin to try and pot one by fluke. Other than that I scored 104 in the 3rd frame and 112 in the 4th frame which could have been 139 if I hadn’t missed the final yellow. Jason scored 115 in the 8th frame but I was able to win the match 6 frames to 4. I have for the first time equalized with Jason in matches won this season. Hopefully I can take the lead next week.
This has got to be one of the most crazy Snooker Nation matches this season, perhaps even of all time between Jason and me. In the 1st frame Jason had a break of 134 and only needed to pot the pink and black to secure a maximum break of 147. After potting the blue however, Jason’s position on the pink wasn’t that good and he narrowly missed the pot. In the 2nd frame Jason had another pretty good chance at getting getting a 147 with just a few reds remaining but, in frame 4, I scored the maximum break of 147 which, for readers who are unaware, is the ultimate achievement in the game of Snooker. Between the two of us, this is the 7th maximum break, the last one was almost a year ago in May 2020. Perhaps more surprising than this is how bad the 3rd frame was, after Jason almost scored a maximum break twice and before I actually scored a 147, we played the worst frame of Snooker Nation ever. To say it was a scrappy frame would be an understatement, we both missed multiple easy shots and it was as if we just started playing Snooker Nation and were learning the controls. Other than that the rest of the match was fairly clean, I scored 110 in the 8th frame but Jason ultimately won 6 frames to 3 and ended my win streak.
Season 4 (January – June 2021) statistics
|Played||Won||Frames Won||Centuries||Highest Break|
It has been a slow and somewhat dull month of Classic WoW for me with no progression to speak of. Because of this I have delayed writing the update for this month by a week in a hope to have something more to report. I have been consistently clearing Naxxramas and Blackwing Lair with my guild mates in Inspire, I am however finding these raids, including Naxxramas, too easy. We have cleared Naxxramas quite a few times and have almost cleared it in a single 3 hour raid. I have not been awarded any loot for quite some time now but my priority rating is quite high. This by no means guarantees me loot, but the next time something drops which I really want, it will probably be awarded to me. For now however, my wish list remains the same as last month.
With the exception of a few hours over one weekend, I have done very little else in Classic WoW. I have been considering trying to get into PvP again which is what I was doing last year as highlighted in the video below which I made almost a year ago. But with so little time left of Classic WoW, I think the best thing to do is to prepare for The Burning Crusade by clearing out inventory, making some gold and trying to tie off as many lose ends as possible.
I am still not sure what I will be doing when The Burning Crusade is launched. To me it’s a huge emotional and time investment which could be better spent on playing other games to give my gaming life and blog the greater variety I have always wanted. On the other hand I struggled for years to find a gaming community I could engage with, something I have enjoyed with my guild mates for over a year now.
For the last 3 months, since writing about unlocking the mastery pass for the Zendikar Rising Set, I have been playing Magic: The Gathering Arena on a daily basis with the new card set, Kaldheim. As before, I waited until I reached the maximum level, in this case level 80, before unlocking the pass mastery with 3,400 gems (an in-game currency) to claim all of the rewards at the same time. Part of the reward was 1,200 gems, so the mastery pass only really cost me 2,200 gems which is easily obtained just by playing the game on a daily basis as I have.
For the first time, I have reached Platinum Tier 4 by playing ranked ‘constructed’ games using a custom black and white 60 card deck featuring angels. To be honest, I am quite sure this deck has lost more games than it has won, but because I enjoy playing it so much I kept at it until I ranked up. My two favourite cards in my deck are Firja’s Retribution and Rampage of the Valkyries, both of which are part of the Kaldheim set.
According to Magic: The Gathering Arena stats, since Kaldheim was released I have opened 102 packs of cards, played 539 games of which I have won 238 constructed games and green is my favourite colour of magic. The new set, Strixhaven: School of Mages does not hold much appeal to me so I will more than likely stop playing Magic: The Gathering Arena for a while but will probably return for the Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set due later this year.
Diablo III season 23 started last Friday at 4pm BST and so far everything has gone quite well for me. As with season 22 and season 17, I have decided to play the game in hardcore mode which, as a reminder, is where when a character dies it is lost forever along with all of the items it was using. I decided to start season 23 with a wizard and casually leveled to 70 (the maximum character level in Diablo III). For the remainder of the Easter weekend I spent time running rifts and greater rifts to get my first set of legendary items and gather much needed resources for crafting. I reached paragon level 200 and have so far completed a level 42 greater rift in 7:27.750.
These are by no means impressive achievements, even by my standards, but it’s a pretty good start after less than 16 hours play time and has given me the foundations with which I can build a successful season portfolio. Unlike many players, I approach Diablo III as a marathon run rather than a sprint so as not to burn myself out but to also to enjoy the content at a sensible pace. Others prefer to rush through everything as quickly as possible, probably with the help of friends. As of today some players using a wizard have completed greater rifts over level 120 and have a paragon level of more than 1200. While I am impressed with what these people can accomplish in such a short period of time, this way of playing the game is not for me.
Moving forward my ultimate goal is to beat my personal best of season 17 where I completed a level 81 greater rift and obtained 800 paragon levels. Other secondary goals are to improve or set my personal best greater rift level with other character classes and, for the first time, play the Necromancer in Diablo III. It would also be nice to obtain at least a few more primal legendary items (after I have completed a level 70 greater rift). To help me achieve these goals I will be using the Maxroll website which is a collaborative resource put together by some of the pros. I have found it quite helpful so far and have just scratched the surface.
For a while I thought this was going to be another white wash month of Snooker Nation, with Jason winning every single match as he did in January. This month however I was able to win 1 match, preventing Jason from running away with a huge lead. Overall the quality of our game has been pretty good, there have even been a couple of opportunities to score a maximum break of 147, something Jason and I have been chasing for quite some time now.
This week both Jason and I played very well. There were 4 century breaks in total, I scored 100 in the 1st frame, 102 in the 4th frame and a whopping 136 in the 9th frame. Jason secured one of his own of 128 in the 8th frame and, despite me having more century breaks to my name, won the match 6 frames to 5. There was a memorable moment in frame 4 with Jason on the table potting the black which was on the blue spot. He played it with quite some pace so that the cue ball will go into the pack of reds but in doing so pocketed the pink as well as the black. This foul put me on the table and allowed me to almost clear the table with my break of 102.
The best word I can use to describe this match is ‘flakey’. There were periods where Jason and I played well but then there were some really scrappy frames where we frequently missed easy shots or ran out of position. Overall a pretty disappointing performance but we did manage to bag a century break each. I had 118 in the 4th frame and Jason had 100 in the 10th frame which ultimately won him the match 6 frames to 4.
Overall the standard of this match was much better than the previous one. The first frame is usually pretty scrappy, probably because we both need some time to settle into the match, but this week it was unusually clean. Following this there were 3 century breaks, Jason scored 120 in the second frame while I scored 132 in the 4th frame and 128 in the 5th frame. While there were no more century breaks beyond the 5th frame, the match continued to be reasonably clean and I was able to claim a 6-4 victory.
Season 4 (January – June 2021) statistics
|Played||Won||Frames Won||Centuries||Highest Break|
Ever since the Diablo II Resurrected and Diablo IV rogue class announcements last month, I have had the urge to play all things Diablo, including Diablo III Season 22. When I found out a new Diablo III Season is due to start in April and will feature a somewhat significant content update with a focus on supporting solo players such as myself, I had intended to wait for the start of season 23 and booked some time off of work. But, after a few days, I could not help but take a dive in to Season 22, even with just a few weeks remaining.
At first I only intended to make to level 70 character, just so that I had ‘something to show’ for season 22 on my profile. But, since I was having so much fun, I carried on playing until last Friday, this happened.
As a player who plays Diablo games using the hardcore setting, I am always prepared to lose my character, and the items they’re using. I can honestly say that I am not very disappointed by this, especially considering season 22 is almost over and that I had accomplished quite a lot with just 32 hours and 27 minutes time played, which is very little when considering the last season I played, season 17, I clocked up more than 120 hours of play game across 4 characters.
In season 22 I reached paragon level 403 and my highest greater rift record was level 64 with a wizard, which is a bit of a shame because I really wanted to hit level 70 and obtain at least 1 primal ancient legendary item before the end of the season. Having had a lot of fun playing season 22, I can hardly wait for the start of season 23 where I will have much more time to progress and hopefully beat my season 17 personal bests.
During this month of Classic WoW there has been a huge improvement to raiding with the notable exception of last week when my guild mates and I spent around 2 hours trying to defeat Sapphiron and failed miserably. This week however, it was the complete opposite. We defeated Sapphiron and Kel’Thuzad each on the first attempt, leaving us with more than enough time to clear Blackwing Lair in addition to Naxxramas.
I have been unable to cross anything off from my wish list below, but that’s OK since my loot priority rating has been low after getting a lot of loot in a short space of time. For the time being at least I am next in line to get Bonescythe Ring to complete the Bonescythe Armour set. Hopefully I will see one drop from Kel’Thuzad soon. I do not think it is likely that anything else will come my way anytime soon.
Since my previous WoW update The Burning Crusade Classic has been announced and will be released later in the year. This is of no surprise to anyone and for the most part people are looking forward to it.
The Burning Crusade Classic has filled me with mixed feelings, on one hand it’s an excellent opportunity to continue my Classic WoW adventure with Inspire guild. On the other hand it’s a huge investment of time and I worry that I will not be able to keep up and will fall by the wayside. The end game raid content will go from 40 or 20 player raids to 25 or 10 player raids. This will make it much easier for the guild officers to manage and the guild community will be more tight knit, but the guild currently has enough members to consistently fill 40 player raids, sometimes with a few players sitting on the bench. Those 15 or so extra players will more than likely be the ones who hit level 70 last and are those who are unable to commit as much time to running heroic dungeons for pre-raid gear. One experienced guild member has already briefly shared his concerns with me, telling me it practically broke up the guild he was in. I am going to have to put some real thought and consideration in what I want to do, but one thing is for sure, I would miss playing with a lot like minded people if I decided to call it quits.
This time last year guild members Eremir, Grominx and Gurkis (now retired), helped me get the the Hand of Justice trinket which I still use to this day! This was always what my blog was intended for, to capture and immortalize my gaming memories and achievements, it’s so cool to look back at what I was doing a year ago.
The time has come for me to write about the last Classic WoW raid, Naxxramas. As before with Onyxia’s Lair, Molten Core, Zul’Gurub, Blackwing Lair and Ahn’Qiraj blog posts, I have waited until I feel as though I have fully mastered the raid.
My guild and I have now fully cleared Naxxramas 4 times, defeating all 15 bosses including the final boss, Kel’Thuzad. While we did have some problems, indicated in my previous Classic WoW post, we seem to be back on track and most recently cleared 13 out of 15 bosses in a single 3 hour raid. Considering we have been consistently defeating the 14th boss, Sapphiron, in 1 attempt and have been able to defeat Kel’Thuzad without world buffs, I believe it is very likely we will easily clear the raid in less than an hour next Monday. All that remains now is to farm Naxxramas for the loot and attempt to clear it in a single 3 hour raid.
As with every raid in Classic WoW, I am disappointed at how easy it is, however Naxxramas was at least some challenge and did require a number of progression raids. A sticking point for my guild, Inspire, was Gothik the Harvester and to some degree Thaddius which is baffling to me since these are perhaps the easiest bosses in the raid and we have no difficulty with them now. I have made a video of my guild and I defeating each of the bosses and have uploaded them to my YouTube channel. I know I have shared it before, but I think my favourite is when we defeated Sapphiron for the first time, and the reaction that followed.
What I found most surpising was how similar classic Naxxramas is to Naxxramas in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Not only do many of the items look similar or the same in appearance, but the mechanics of each boss is very similar, if not identical. This really gave me an edge because I was both a raid leader and main tank throughout Wrath of the Lich King and had a lot of experience raiding Naxxramas.
With Naxxramas being ‘on farm’ we as a guild have successfully completed a Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian staff, in this case for guild officer Mexcoo, who really does deserve it. We are now working on the druid version of the staff for guild member Tailsmad, who is also deserving. Becuase it is only a matter of time before we complete a staff, it is my hope that at least 1 or 2 more deserving guild members will be able to get one before the the end of Classic WoW and beginning of The Burning Crusade.
February has been a month of two halves in Snooker Nation. While this is a lot better than the disappointing January results, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. I feel like I should have done better towards the end of the month but not for the first time over confidence got the better of me. Here’s to a better outcome in March.
It feels good to break Jason’s win streak and get my first win this season. We both didn’t play particularly well but I had slightly better luck which was enough for me to win 6 frames to 3 in a best of 11. There were 3 century breaks, I got 133 in the 3rd frame, 107 in the 9th frame and Jason got 103 in the 4 frame. Hopefully I can use this to build some momentum and get a win streak of my own.
I have started a win streak by winning 6 frames to 4. There were a total of 3 century breaks, I scored 100 in the 4th frame while Jason got 101 in the 6th and 127 in the 7th frame. All in all I think we both played OK, but there were some scrappy frames in there. I hope I can continue this win streak and level on matches won and possibly take the lead on frames won, currently sitting at 24 to 25 in Jason’s favour.
Jason ends my win streak early, winning 6 frames to 5. At one stage I was ahead 3 frames but somehow, perhaps with over confidence, I could not seal the victory. There were a total of 4 century breaks, I got 107 in the 2nd frame but Jason dominated the second half of this match, scoring 102 in the 7th 112 in the 9th and 106 in the 11th frame. It was a great come back, but I can’t help but feel disappointed.
Hopefully this is not the beginning of a long win streak for Jason, having won 6 frames to 2. I do not think I played badly, but Jason was certainly the better player this evening. My only consolation is that I got a century of 135 in the 4th frame, beating this season’s personal best by 1. Jason got some centuries of his own, 114 in the 1st, 112 in the 5th and 127 in the 7th frame.
Season 4 (January – June 2021) statistics
|Played||Won||Frames Won||Centuries||Highest Break|