Recently I have started to play EVE Online again. Originally when I started this blog it was my intention for it to heavily feature EVE Online as at the time it was my favourite game which I played daily, even many of the images initially used to create my blog were screenshots taken within the game. Shortly after the creation of my blog however, I got bored of EVE Online and decided to play other games. Because of this, I only made a few EVE Online posts and had to quickly rethink my approach to blogging.
I am not sure what I want to achieve this time around, but so far I have found it helpful to completely liquidate, consolidate and organize my EVE Online assets to a single account and 3 characters. After consolidation I had around 45bn ISK (Interstallar Kredits) of which I spent around 15bn on some capital ship BPO’s (Blueprint Originals) and I am in the process of researching material and time efficiency for them, which will ultimately allow me to construct capital ships faster for less raw materials. This project will take some months to complete and there are still many other Blueprints which I do not have for all the different types of capital ships.
While thinking about what I want to do, I have been completing quite a few level 4 security missions with a Dominix which has a cool ‘sniper’ sentry drone fitting allowing me to destroy enemy ships at long distances. I may share this Dominix fitting on my blog, perhaps accompanied with a YouTube video. My most popular blog post to date is Alpha EVE Online: Vexor, written back in April 2019, where I share a Vexor ship fitting which I find useful.
Whatever I end up doing, I do not want to let myself get too involved with EVE Online and keep everything to a single account and well organized. I also want to try and avoid spending too much time playing a single game, I have tried to reduce this habbit in recent years and am happier for it.
If you play EVE Online, I am interested in knowing about what you do and why, feel free to leave a comment or contact me.
It has been a much better month of Snooker Nation for me, winning 3 out of 4 matches and in doing so I have kept myself in the race for the title. With a maximum of 4 more matches remaining of the season, it has become apparent that if a lose 1 more match my only option will be to try and win by number of frames won, which isn’t so bad because it is the one statistic where I am not behind.
Yet another win for Jason, winning 6 frames to 4 in a best of 11. Jason played exceptionally well and scored 4 century breaks. 135 in the 3rd frame, 129 in the 4th, 124 in the 5th and 101 in the 10th frame. I didn’t play too badly and secured a century of my own of 107 in the 7th frame. I think I just got very unlucky and Jason was able to capitalize on my misfortune.
Jason’s 6 match win streak has finally come to an end with me winning 6 frames to 4 in a best of 11. With only a potential of 6 more matches of our 3rd 6 month Snooker Nation season, I can’t afford to lose much more. Jason secured the only century break of 133 in the 8th frame, which is a shame because I should have done better to get centuries of my own. Although I won, I am not satisfied with my performance and will need to do better in the weeks ahead.
I have started a small win streak of my own by winning this match 6 frames to 1 in a best of 11. There were 3 century breaks, 139 in the 3rd frame and 120 in the 5th frame belong to me while Jason scored 138 in the 6th frame and in so doing narrowly escaped a white wash. It feels good to start catching up not only on matches won but also frames won and centuries.
Another good week of Snooker Nation, winning 6 frames to 2 in a best of 11 and increasing my win streak to 3. As with last week there were 3 century breaks, a massive 143 belonging to Jason in the 2nd frame while I got 141 in the 5th frame (increasing my season highest break) and 127 in the 7th frame.
Season 3 (July – December 2020) statistics
|Played||Won||Frames Won||Centuries||Highest Break|
I wasn’t going to write a Classic WoW update this month, I have achieved so little since my last update, yesterday however marked a real highlight for my Classic WoW journey and is too good not to mention.
After over a year of continuos raiding, my guild mates and I finally obtained Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker for our main tank, Eremir. This iconic legendary item involves obtaining Bindings of the Windseeker (right half) from Garr in Molten Core which we obtained back in May, I recorded the guild’s reaction below.
Fast forward a little more than 6 months and around 24 more clearances of Molten Core, the Bindings of the Windseeker (left half) finally dropped from Baron Geddon yesterday. I was able to once again capture the guild’s reaction which was an amazing moment for everyone. You can also see in an act of superstition and desperation, I jumped in the lava as Baron Geddon was slain to try and increase the liklihood the bindings would drop. Other desperate acts have included having someone other than the raid leader form the raid group and on one occasion a guild member engaged Baron Geddon without any items equipped.
The left half of the binding dropping was extra special because we knew that with the right half we aquired back in May, our main tank, Eremir, would be able to aquire our guild’s first Thunderfury which is exactly what we did when we completed the raid. Defeating Prince Thunderaan, the last part of the quest string to get Thunderfury, was a simple afair and didn’t need as many of us to attend, but it was nice that the guild could share the moment.
Other than this guild achievement, I have quite literally nothing to report other than I have, as always, been consistently been raiding Molten Core and Blackwing Lair with my guild. I have obtained no new items, have been unable to cross anything off of my ‘to-do’ list and I am still not attending The Temple of Ahn’Qiraj (AQ40) raids or any of the many optional raids my guild officers host during the week. Hopefully by this time next month I will have more individual progress to report.
On another note, this blog is really starting to pay off as I am able to read about what I was doing this time last year in Classic World of Warcraft. It seems that I had just reached level 50 with my rogue and I started to think about joining a guild.
As with most of the other raids in Classic WoW, it has taken me a long time to share my thoughts on the Ahn’Qiraj (known as AQ40) raid which was released back in July. Thankfully, Ahn’Qiraj is harder than any of the other raids in Classic WoW so far, it took my guild several weeks and multiple attempts to kill some of the tougher bosses, such as Viscidus and C’Thun. While it is harder, I still find that it is still disappointingly easy, with only Naxxramas left for Classic WoW, I really hope to have a challenge to finish my Classic WoW experience.
Here is a video I made of my guild and I clearing Temple of Ahn’Qiraj in September. My favourite video however is when we killed the final boss, C’Thun, in August, which I shared as part of my WoW: September Update post.
Also, as part of my WoW: September Update post, I featured a screenshot of the guild and I after killing C’Thun for the first time. It really was a momentous and great moment for everyone, and probably the best screenshot I have ever taken in my World of Warcraft ‘career’. Everyone was so happy to have been part of he guild’s first C’Thun kill, and because it was such a joy to have been there, I want to share the screenshot a second time.
There are a number of reasons why I haven’t enjoyed raiding Ahn’Qiraj as much as some of the other raids. Ahn’Qiraj can actually be kind of expensive, after you factor in the usual consumables, players need to bring with them multiple Greater Nature Protection Potions, Greater Shadow Protection Potions and Greater Arcane Protection Potions which altogether can add up to a fair bit of gold (the in-game currency). Inspire guild does what it can to help out and gives out free potions as much as possible, but there is a limited supply. Another reason is that it frustrates and even angers me when players show up and are not properly prepared. I end up having to hold my tongue and find myself bottling up negativity, which I could do without. Also, I actually don’t like most of the items available, most of it is pretty ugly, it’s foolish of me to look at it that way, but I can’t help being a casual care bear.
As part of taking a break from Classic WoW, I have avoided Ahn’Qiraj for a number of weeks now. I do intend on returning there to assist my guild where possible, but for now I am finding it beneficial to just attend 1 raid night per week, where as before I would have raided perhaps 4, possibly even 5 times a week, risking burning myself out and not enjoying the game.
When it comes to Snooker Nation, October 2020 is a month I want to forget having lost every match. With a win at the end of September, this puts Jason on a 5 match win streak and is now 4 matches ahead with a maximum of 8 more matches for the rest of the season. If I want to win our 3rd 6 month Snooker Nation season, I am going to have to start winning soon.
Quite a convincing victory for Jason, winning 6 frames to 1 in a best of 11. I felt like I was pretty unlucky early on this match, this seemed to put me in a bad mindset and I made some terrible mistakes and choices. Jason played really well and is deserving of the victory, he even secured 3 centuries of 102 in the 3rd frame, 136 in the 5th and 137 in the 7th frame, bringing his total centuries this season to 18, while I remain on just 9 centuries scored in 13 matches and 107 frames.
Another win for Jason, but thankfully much less convincing than last week, winning 6 frames to 5 in a best of 11. There were 3 century beaks, I scored 125 in the 3rd frame and 105 in the 6 frame, while Jason scored 100 in the 4th frame. At least I got 1 more century break this week, which could make all the difference.
Jason’s win streak continues winning 6 frames to 4 in a best of 11. There were 4 centuries, I got 132 in the 1st frame and 109 in the 8th frame while Jason secured 121 in the 3rd frame and 132 in the 5 frame. We both played quite well but if I don’t find that extra edge I could end up losing our 3rd season of Snooker Nation long before it ends.
Yet another victory for Jason, winning 6 frames to 5 in a best of 11. Jason also had the only century break of 110 in the 3rd frame. This makes the 5th match in a row that I have lost to Jason, putting me significantly behind. For this match we both actually played pretty bad, both missing some really straight forward shots and we were both pretty unlucky at times. Going into November I am going to have to take a deep breath and end this win streak which is getting out of hand.
Season 3 (July – December 2020) statistics
|Played||Won||Frames Won||Centuries||Highest Break|
Ever since powering on my Playstation 2 for the first time in roughly 14 years, I have been playing Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec. Released in 2001, Gran Turismo 3 was the flagship game for the Playstation 2 and was usually bought with the console as soon as it hit the shelves. I however bought Gran Turismo 3 much later when the game entered the platinum range. For readers who are unaware, many Playstation 1 and 2 games entered the platinum range maybe a year or two after release and was considered to be a ‘budget’ range. To give you an idea, if I remember rightly, a brand new Playstation 2 game at the time of release might have cost £30 – £40. If the game entered the platinum range it would cost about £20, maybe less, and had a platinum coloured case.
While I always enjoyed playing Gran Turismo 3, I could never stick at it and never got remotely close to completing the game. This partly because I am genuinely really terrible at playing racing games, even my friend Jason, who in almost 20 years of friendship, has actively encouraged me, has shown belief in me and doesn’t like it when I put myself down, will most likely on this occasion agree that I really, really suck at playing racing games and that it is something not likely to change. Because I am bad at playing racing games, I am actually proud to have achieved 28.6% completion and for winning 223 out of 267 races with an 83% win rate as shown in the screenshot below.
To be honest, much of what I achieved in Grand Turismo 3 is because I saved up credits (in game currency) to buy and tune a car so that it is so powerful that even if I crash on each corner of the race track, I am still likely to win. What the above screenshot does not show however is that I did actually complete all 20 beginner league challenges and 7 of the amateur league challenges including the Japanese, American and European championships, which is much further than I ever progressed back in the early to mid 2000’s.
What I really like about Gran Turismo 3 is the role-playing and customization aspects of the game. Choosing which cars to buy and how to tune them, which races to compete in, winning cars and deciding whether or not to sell them, watching the statistics grow and the feeling of achievement when you get a car you like or by winning a championship all make this game very attractive even to someone who typically doesn’t like racing games. I have also found Gran Turismo 3 to be ahead of the curve compared to other games of its time, Gran Turismo 3 features a full soundtrack, replays of races, dual shock controls (which is amazingly simple but lets you feel gear changes, collisions and the track through vibrations in your controller), and even features the ability to trade cars with friends. These features are very basic and simple by today’s standards, but at the time the developers (Polyphony Digital) really did do an amazing job at utilizing what the Playstation 2 was capable of.
One side note is that while my cheap RCA to HDMI video converter and cheap external USB video capture card has allowed me to use my Playstation 2 again, the quality of the video output is questionable as you can see from my screenshot. While I do find it tolerable, in that it has not detracted much from me enjoying the game, I do find it difficult to use to produce media at a quality I am comfortable with. With that in mind, I am considering purchasing better equipment, but for now, what I have works fine and I can’t complain for the price I paid.
The first thing I want to mention in this Classic WoW update is that it’s been a year since I published my first Classic WoW update in October 2019. Back then my rogue was level 32 and I had just decided that playing a rogue would be more fun than a druid which was level 36 at the time. My druid had just joined a guild (which later turned out to be the wrong guild for me) and I had just turned a corner in regards to my mental health.
Perhaps for the first time since joining Inspire in December 2019, I have not been raiding consistently. In the past 3 weeks I would estimate that I have attended 3 out of 6 main raids, which award EP (effort points), and around 2-3 out of 5 or 6 optional (extra) raids. One of the reasons for this is that I have been busy, or sick, but another reason is that I have started to feel a little burnt out and need to give myself a break rather than risk losing interest or getting frustrated with the game.
Even though I have not been raiding as much, I have been very lucky this last month and have been awarded quite a lot of loot, including an off hand weapon, Maladath, Runed Blade of the Black Flight. Now that I have this and Ancient Qiraji Ripper, it is no longer necessary to have Warblade of the Hakkari on my wish list. Perhaps the most exciting peice of loot awarded to me this past month is Bloodfang Belt, which means I now have the complete Bloodfang Armour set. Incidentally, I also completed the Nightslayer Armour set the same evening, which is a nice bonus.
With significant help from my guild, I have made a lot of progress with the Bang a Gong! questline which I mentoned in my previous WoW update. As such I now have Recipe: Dirge’s Kickin’ Chimaerok Chops but I am reluctant to ask for more help or invest resources in pursuing the quesline much further. Initially I wanted to see the questline to the end and obtain Ravencrest’s Legacy, but with my recent good fortune, it’s much less important to me now.
Progress in obtaining the Darkmantle Armour set has been slow but I have at least gained exhaulted reputation with Brood of Nozdormu and Cenarion Circle. I have added a few more reputation goals to work on when I can, which should be pretty easy.
Gain exhaulted with Argent Dawn
Gain exhaulted with Darnassus
Gain exhaulted with Gnomeregan Exiles
Gain exhaulted with Stormwind
Gain exhaulted with Brood of Nozdormu
Gain exhaulted with Cenarion Circle
Obtain Darkmantle Cap
Obtain Darkmantle Tunic
Moving forward I intend to continue to raid part-time and rest for a while longer before going back to attending just about any raid Inspire guild are running. I very much doubt that I will be able to obtain the last two items on my wish list, but that’s OK. I have been incredibly lucky to have been given what I have already and will hope to get more loot when the Naxxramas raid arrives.
I am not sure whether or not Inspire guild will survive long term, and if it does, whether or not it will be the same guild that I have come to be proud member of. There have been a number of well established guild members, even officers, who have decided to step down and quit the game. Each have had different and fully understandable reasons, but losing them has been heavily felt. What’s worse, is there has also been some friction, some tension, and even an argument or two recently. The officers are doing all that they can, but I wonder how long it will be before they too snap and can no longer continue leading the guild which, in my opinion, is almost a full time job. Hopefully, in my next WoW update, I will have some better news regarding Inspire. There has at least been quite a few new people join the guild recently, perhaps they will step up and be what the guild needs.
For the first time in years I powered on my Playstation 2, which for the longest time had been relegated to a mere monitor stand. I was very fortunate to have been given my Playstation 2 in the summer of 2001, after returning from a holiday. In my view the best part about the Playstation 2, was that it was backwards compatible, allowing people to play their Playstation 1 games, and even use Playstation 1 controllers and memory cards. Because of this I later gave away my Playstation 1 (and a bunch of games) to someone, but retained a Playstation 1 memory card, and about a dozen of my favourite games.
In order to use my Playstation 2 along side modern equipment, I purchased a variety if different gadgets and learned valuable lessons along the way. Finally I settled on a cheap RCA to HDMI video converter and a cheap external USB video capture card. Combined, these items cost less than £30, and have enabled me to convert the Playstaion 2 RCA output to HDMI, which in turn connects to the video capture card which can be captured in OBS (Open Broadcaster Software).
When I first turned my Playstation 2 on after so many years of inactivity, it really felt like a magical moment. After all these years the Playstation, the peripherals, and games, still seem to be working perfectly. I noticed that the Playstation 2 memory card saves are time stamped, and dated back to 2006. The Playstation 1 saves are sadly not time stamped, but would surely be even older. I loaded up my Gran Turismo save which was last saved on 4th June 2006 and had a play around.
There is something almost magical with this method of retro gaming. It would have been much easier, and cheaper, simply to create images of my games and use one of the many emulators available to emulate the Playstation 2 which is something I did with the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) to play Street Fighter II Turbo, and Super Mario Bros. This however takes away the almost hidden joy of physically using the device, hearing the fans, the whirring of gears as the disk tray opens, and the utter simplicity of how gaming was back then. One major drawback however is that just about everything retro has become very expensive. One of my favourite games, Front Mission 3, is selling in used condition for around £35 – £40, even a replacement case, in poor condition with cracks seems to sell for around the £10 mark. This has given me a new outlook as to how expensive retro gaming can be and how unlikely it will be that I will expand my current collection.
One of the first PC games I ever played is Crusader: No Remorse back in the mid to late 1990’s. I was lucky enough to have access to a family computer. While I can not remember the specifications of the computer, I can remember it ran Windows 95 and had an Intel Pentium processor. As part of a package deal, the PC came with Microsoft Word, Encarta 97 and two games, one of which was Crusader: No Remorse.
Crusader is an MS DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) game which effectively meant that it ran without having Windows or any other program running in the background. This was so it could utilize nearly all of the computers processing power required to run the game.
I acquired Crusader though gog.com and found that MS DOS is easily emulated on my Windows 10 machine and I had no problems starting it. The game is as amazing as I remembered with 15 long an increasingly difficult missions and complex controls, including side stepping, side rolling, using items, aiming and interacting with the environment. Something the consoles of that era couldn’t hope to achieve with a game pad consisting of 3 or 4 buttons.
It was pretty easy to complete the game on the ‘weekend warrior’ difficulty setting which I consider to be ‘normal’. I also completed several missions on ‘loose cannon’ which I consider ‘hard’ and the first mission on ‘no remorse’ which is ‘very hard’ and requires multiple attempts at just about every turn. As well as completing the game, I recorded and uploaded a playthrough of every level to my youtube channel. Altogether this is about 8 hours of game play and is probably my biggest project to date. I have created a playthrough playlist on youtube but if you want to skip ahead, here is me beating the last level.
I have really enjoyed this retro gaming project, so much so that I foresee me playing more old games in future, especially since, with help, I have recently completed a set up which will allow me to play old Playstation 1 and Playstation 2 games while recording the content with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software).
If you have fond memories or retro gaming projects of your own, I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment or contact me via my contact page.
It has been a much better month of Snooker Nation for me having won 3 out of 4 matches. At one point I even took the lead for what I believe is the first time this season. I find it amusing however that after 3 months, at the half way point of our 3rd season having played 12 matches and 100 frames, Jason and I end September with 6 matches and 50 frames won a piece. It really couldn’t be much more equal, but technically Jason is winning with more centuries scored.
It feels good to start September with a little Snooker Nation pay back. This week I win 6 frames to 1 in a best of 11 and got the only century break of 139 in the 7th and final frame. Jason still has a lead, but this result has helped even the scores quite a bit. I feel like I played quite well, not my best but far from my worst. It’s a little disappointing to have scored so few centuries, in 75 frames there have only been 17 centuries between us. Perhaps this will pick up as the season continues.
I have started a win streak by winning 6 frames to 3 in a best of 11. Although I won the match, Jason had the only century break of 136 in the 3rd frame. For some reason the game has been crashing quite a bit, forcing us to restart each time. This has been an intermittent but somewhat uncommon issue since Jason and I started playing Snooker Nation, but lately it has become more and more common. The only consistency is that it always seems to happen when Jason is at the table with the advantage. Of course I always hand back the advantage when we restart, but it is still baffling to the both of us. It must be off putting when you’re in the flow of building a break and planning ahead, only to have to start over.
My win streak continues and, for what I believe is the first time this season, I have taken the lead by winning this match 6 frames to 2 in a best of 11. I also scored the only century break of 112 in the 8th and final frame. Thankfully the game didn’t crash at all which further serves to baffle me. Why some weeks it crashes a lot and others not at all remains a complete mystery.
My win streak has come to and end, losing 6 frames to 3 in a best of 11. This week however there were 5 centuries in total, Jason took the lions share of these by scoring 128 in the 1st frame, 129 in the second, 112 in the 3rd and a whopping 143 in the 4th frame. I managed a century of my own of 110 in the 5 frame.
Season 3 (July – December 2020) statistics
|Played||Won||Frames Won||Centuries||Highest Break|