Copper Ice

Blogger, Gamer, Nerd

Snooker Nation Week 21

Snooker Nation

It has been 3 weeks since my last Snooker Nation post. After a period of being incredibly busy with work, combined with a nasty cold, I am happy to have had a catch up with my good friend Jason and play Snooker Nation for the 21st time since starting this blog.

We played a best of 7 and I managed to win 4 frames to 1. Unfortunately neither Jason or I managed to score a century break which now makes it 4 games in a row since one of us scored a century. Jason thought we might not have yet scored a century this year, he was close, the last time was on the 5th of January.

Because I won the game so quickly we decided to play some Pool Nation, an older game also developed by Cherry Pop Games. We played two best of 7 games of UK 8 ball which I won 4-2 and 4-0 followed by two best of 7 games of US 8 ball which I won 4-0 and 4-3.

It has not a good night for Jason to say the least. In his defence I think he must have been really tired because on two occasions he potted the black/8 ball when he still had something else to pot on the table, giving me the frame.

The Power of Gaming

The Power of Gaming

A few days ago I read a touching article about fellow gamer, Mats ‘Ibelin’ Steen.

Mats was a Norwegian born gamer who had Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a rare disorder that causes muscle degeneration. Instead of allowing this disorder to define who he was and confine him to his wheelchair, he took to gaming and defined himself in his World of Warcraft character Ibelin, where for years he would have a positive impact on his fellow gamers.

Mats eventually died from DMD in 2014, however, as a testament to his good character and Ibelin, many within Azeroth (the name of the world in which World of Warcraft is set) mourned his death and even attended his funeral, in person.

If you have access to the BBC UK website you can read about Mats here, but be warned, it’s a touching read.

Years ago, during towards the end of the World of Warcraft expansion, the Burning Crusade, a highly liked member of the guild I was in died and I must confess it affected me more than I thought it would. Unlike Mats I do not have DMD but I use gaming to escape the world in which we live and re-invent myself in the games that I play. It was hard for me to accept that death still needed to be a part of my escapism and I suppose this is one reason why I usually game alone.

I recently joined a guild called Midlife Crisis within World of Warcraft and I have always held them in high esteem. It has been great, for a change, to get to know people who have a passion for the same game as me and perhaps gaming in general. While at this present time the game does not interest me as much, I really hope my fellow guild members of Midlife Crisis know that I think they’re amazing and I hope in future they’re still around when I have my next stint of World of Warcraft. After reading about Mats I will post on the Midlife Crisis blog, just to let them know my intentions and give them ways to reach out to me. While I am currently bored of World of Warcraft, I am by no means bored of them.

Reading about Mats’ story, I am reminded of just how powerful gaming can be. What shall I tell my colleagues about my weekend when I go back to work tomorrow? Shall I tell them, as usual, that I did not get up to much and just had a chilled weekend? Or shall I tell them I saved the earth from Diablo and his hordes of minions?

When I die, I would have not climbed Everest, I would not have won an Olympic gold medal or scored the goal which won the world cup. I would have however slain dragons, saved he world from alien invasions, commanded space faring civilisations and lived though the greatest stories ever told, that’s enough for me.

Diablo III Season 16 Start

Diablo III Season Start

It has now been a little over two weeks since season 16 for Diablo III started and so far I have enjoyed every moment.

As I mentioned in my first Diablo themed post, I have not played since season 7 which ended in 2016 sometime. This means I have over two years worth of additions to explore and so far, I am impressed.

Each act has an entirely new zone complete with different enemies, terrains, quests and bounties. There are whole bunch of new legendary items available and I don’t necessarily see the same 4 or 5 items constantly like I used to. There have been a number of quality of life changes too, for example crafting materials are now no longer stored in your inventory/stash but act as a sort of currency which saves a lot of time.

While I have been very busy with my work, I have still managed to put in a decent amount of time in playing both last weekend and this weekend. As such I have managed to reach paragon level 463 with a wizard and have hit level 66 in greater rifts with a time of 10:43.883.

Diablo III Season 16 Record

To say I am pleased with my progress would be an understatement. To give you an idea, my total non-ladder paragon level is currently 440. This means in the past 2 weekends I have managed to achieve a higher paragon level than my combined season 1-7 efforts. I am easily farming torment level XIII, which is the highest level to farm, and I am sure I can exceed greater rift level 66 if I wanted to. The main problem for me right now is survival, I do enough damage for now but I need to stay alive longer and not die in just a few hits.

Playing Diablo III at such a high level means it rains legendary and set items all of the time. The sound and sight of these items dropping never gets old for me. Even when killing a greater rift boss where I always, without fail, get at least 5 legendary and/or set items still makes me smile.

Legendary Drops

Unfortunately I am going to be even busier next week and probably won’t have much time to game or blog. I will however try to squeeze in some game time over the weekend and see if I can increase my Diablo III progress. Non-casual Diablo III players seem to hit paragon level 1000 with relative ease, maybe I can do the same? One thing is for certain, if I do, I will try and remember to record the moment.

If any reader would like to share their Diablo III achievements, no matter how small, I would love to hear from you.

MTG Arena Preseason 1

MTGA Preseason 1

Almost two weeks ago I wrote about trying Magic: The Gathering Arena (MTGA) again to see if there had been any changes and since then I have been intermittently playing.

For the first time I tried Momirs’ Madness within MTGA which I found incredibly fun. You don’t need to construct a deck but you see some crazy and unforeseeable creatures come in to play causing unpredictable havoc. Because of this a lot more luck than usual is needed to win but it’s still fun. To give an example of how crazy it can get, take a look at the screenshot below where I have 149 life and my opponent and I both have 12 huge 16/16 impervious greatwurm creatures. Regardless of having so much life I still lost the game.

Momirs Madness

In my last MTGA post I also mentioned the new ranking system and that I had reached bronze tier 1 in the constructed category. Subsequently I have managed to get promoted 5 times and have this morning reached gold tier 4. This is by no means a great achievement in the scale of things, but for me, as a super casual gamer, this is awesome and I could not be more proud of myself.

Gold T4 Constructed

A new Magic: The Gathering set has been released, Ravnica Allegiance, which follows from the previous set, Guilds of Ravnica. The new set was made available immediately within MTGA, if anything it was actually accessible a little early, giving players the opportunity to play with and against the new cards without spending a penny.

As part of the pre-release event a new MTGA code was given for anyone to use to obtain 3 Ravnica Allegiance booster packs within MTGA. If you play MTGA and have not already done so, or if you are thinking of trying the game, I suggest you use the code ‘PlayAllegiance’ to get yours.

While I am not particularly fond of the cards I have seen from Ravnica Allegiance so far, I have still ordered almost £50.00 worth of physical cards to add to my collection, partly because I believe there will be codes I can use within MTGA.

I am absolutely loving the synergy between the online game and the physical cards/events. I get so much more enjoyment in collecting the physical cards. While I might not be able to play with them against someone in person, I can at least relate to them within MTGA.

Snooker Nation Week 20

Snooker Nation

This week in Snooker Nation Jason managed to win 4 frames to 1 in a best of 7, giving him his second victory in a row and his second victory this year.

Like last week, I thought I was in for another whitewash when I found myself down 3 frames to 0. I am thankful therefore that I managed to secure at least 1 frame.

Jason played pretty well but he did get rather lucky in the first 3 frames, managing to pot a half chance plant and narrowly avoided potting the white once or twice. What’s unfortunate is that neither of us managed to get a century break which makes it three weeks in a row since one of us managed to score a century.

I was sad to learn that my favourite snooker player, Ronnie O’Sullivan, lost in the 2019 masters snooker final to Judd Trump 10 frames to 4 in a best of 19 after beating Ding Junhui 6 frames to 3 in a best of 11.

My Diablo Journey

Tyrael

In November last year I wrote about my Starcraft journey and I thought I would do the same for another one of my favourite series of games, Diablo.

My Diablo journey started when I was around 14 years old in the late 90’s in a card shop. Not the kind of shop which sell greeting cards but the kind of shop that sold collectable card games among other nerdy things including video games.

After school most days and some weekends I would spend what little money I had there with friends and play our favourite card games. When bored the shop had a Playstation and Nintendo 64 which we could use providing we paid a few pounds for the privilege. A man called Fred, sketchy I know, brought in the game Diablo and I agreed to play it with him. Before I knew it, the shop was closing and I needed to leave.

I very quickly noticed that the same game developers that produced Starcraft, Blizzard Entertainment, had also produced Diablo which very quickly became a favourite of mine. It didn’t take long for me to get the game for the PC and I can tell you from first hand experience, the PC version is much, much better.

Unfortunately the game was easily abused with item duplicating software along with other hacks which made my online experience of Diablo not particularly fun.

Diablo 1

In 2000 Diablo II was released for the PC but the family PC I was using at the time simply was not up to the job of playing the game and I did without for a number of years to come. A school friend of mine had it when he was given a laptop but once again it did not run very well. It was not until 2002 when I got my own PC that I had the ability to play Diablo II properly, incidentally this was around the same time cable broadband was installed where I lived and I quickly took advantage of it getting myself a 512kb internet connection, no less than 10 times faster than the previous dial up modem my family and I used.

This time the online experience was amazing and I really enjoyed playing the game using the hardcore setting which is where if your hero dies, it’s over and you need to start again. Unfortunately however, in Diablo II I did something I regret to this day. I started to sell in-game items for real money on ebay and directly to contacts who knew me as a seller of items. I also levelled up peoples characters for money and sold accounts with a high level character with items. I don’t know how much money I made doing this but it was not substantial, either way, I regret my actions. Both my Paypal and Ebay account were suspended but I was never penalised within the game. I shouldn’t make excuses but thankfully  in today’s world if people want to monetise their passion for gaming they can do so more easily without breaking the rules like I did.

Diablo 2

For a while I thought Diablo II was as good as it was going to get, especially when using battle.net which allowed my friends and I to communicate across all blizzard games, a unique system for the time which has subsequently been replaced by a new battle.net. After World of Warcraft was released however, Diablo II fell by the wayside.

Around 10 years passed until Diablo III was released. I was so excited that I had acquired a brand new PC before hand, specifically in order to surpass the recommended Diablo III settings so that I may play the game on the highest graphics settings without the fear of latency. While I was disappointed in the end game (what you can do in the game after hitting the highest level), I have always found Diablo III to be a phenomenal game which has had some excellent changes to improve the end game experience, especially with the launch of the Reaper of Souls expansion. I have levelled every hero class (with the exception of the new Necromancer class) and I have logged over 1300 hours game time, mostly playing wizard (909 hours). I have taken part in Season 1-7 but stopped playing the game after that. I am very interested in playing Diablo III again and as luck would have it, season 16 started two days ago, Friday 18th January, and I have already made a start. Let’s see if I can keep my Diablo journey alive and improve on my previous Diablo III accomplishments.

Snooker Nation Week 19

Snooker Nation

Yet another week of Snooker Nation playing against my friend Jason. This time, for the first time this year, Jason won 5 frames to 4 in a best of 9.

For a while it looked like I would suffer a whitewash defeat like I did back in October and August last year. At one point Jason was leading 3-0 and was looking likely to win the 4th frame. Thankfully, somehow, I managed to win 4 of the following 5 frames to equalise 4-4 before Jason claimed his victory.

There were no century breaks this week, which is a shame, especially as it was the same last week which I will remember as the week where I got tilted by a snooker game. I think Jason takes more pleasure in my Snooker Nation rage than actually winning.

A little off topic for a gaming blog but I have been watching the Snooker Masters tournament recently and have admired just how skilled the real players of snooker are. My favourite player, Ronnie O’Sullivan, has made it to the semi finals and is playing against Ding Junhui in around 5 minutes time. Good luck Ronnie!

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.

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