Copper Ice

Blogger, Gamer, Nerd

Snooker Nation March 2020

March has been an exceptionally good month for me in Snooker Nation, winning 3 of the 4 matches played and also scoring my second maximum break of 147. Jason managed to claw a match back at the end of the month making us equal in matches won. I am however technically in the lead on frame difference, which is a much better position than I was at the beginning of February, being down 4 matches to 1.

06/03/2020 – Match 70

This has been one of the best Snooker Nation matches I have ever played. Not only did I win 6 frames to 2 in a best of 11, but I also walked away with 4 centuries, including maximum break of 147 in the 4th frame. It’s the second time I have scored a maximum break, the first time being last September. The other centuries were 119 in the 1st frame, 131 in the 3rd and 110 in the 8th and final frame. Jason also scored a century break of his own of 126 in the 7th frame making it 5 centuries in 8 frames between us.

20/03/2020 – Match 71

My win streak continues winning 6 frames to 5 in a best of 11. There were two century breaks this week, 100 in the 2nd frame and 102 in the 4th frame, both belonging to me. With this win I take the lead on frame difference. I just hope my luck doesn’t run out just as I start to get ahead.

26/03/2020 – Match 72

Another victory sees me take the lead on matches won for the first time this season. This time I won 6 frames to 4 in a best of 11 with another two centuries under my belt. 102 in the 1st frame and 101 in the 10th and final frame. My win streak has been ongoing for a while now, hopefully it will last and I can build up a comfortable lead.

27/03/2020 – Match 73

Jason was able to end my win streak, beating me 6 frames to 5 in a best of 11. At one stage I was winning 5 frames to 3 so it was good show of Jason to win 3 frames in a row to claim victory and put us back level on matches won this season. There were two century breaks, 121 in the 7th frame belonging to me and a massive 141 in the 8th frame belonging to Jason which equals his highest break so far this season.

Season 2 (January – June 2020) statistics

Played Won Frames Won Centuries Highest Break
Copper 12 6 59 16 147
Jason 12 6 57 15 141

 

WoW: Loot Systems

WoW Loot Systems

I have been putting some thought behind the different World of Warcraft loot systems and have been wondering which is best. My guild, Inspire, employ the EP/GP (Effort Points/Gear Points) system for distributing loot with some very light loot council influence. No system is perfect, but I believe the system we use potentially causes the least upset and argument which can only be a good thing.

If a guild were to allow players to roll (a 100 sided dice) for each piece of loot, it could see players who are new to the guild get some high value loot without putting in much effort. It would be upsetting to attend a raid multiple times with your eye on a piece of loot and work with your guild to improve only for a newcomer to get it first time without putting in anything like the same level of effort. It also opens up the possibility of someone who is simply lucky getting a high proportion of loot and vice versa. This however is easily the best system to use when raiding as part of a random group of players rather than as a guild.

Using a loot council system has the potential of being the most fair system, where the officers decide among themselves who should get each piece of loot depending on the needs of the guild and the merit of each player. While I like all of my officers and trust them, this system could open up the possibility of an abuse of power, awarding loot to themselves before anyone else and then their favourites in the guild. It could also swing the other way, where a decent, good set of officers like mine could feel reluctant to award themselves loot, even when they deserve it, for fear the guild would see it as favouritism. Most of the time loot council systems also allow a selection of players to roll on items, especially if the loot is rather common or not BiS (best in slot).

There is also the DKP (Dragon Kill Points) system, which I do not know much about. My understanding of this is players are awarded points for attending raids on time and killing raid bosses. Guild’s might also remove points from players for being late, having a poor attendance, forgetting consumables and making the same mistakes. Players would use their points to bid for loot with each other. This seems like a reasonably fair system but it has a flaw where players could bid very low for loot which other players no longer need but had previously paid a high amount for it. For example, an item would drop which several people want and the person who gets the item ends up paying 50 points for it. Another time that same item would drop but only 1 person needs it that day and they bid just 1 point and would get it. There could be more to this system, I have never actually been part of a guild who has employed it.

The EP/GP system is similar to DKP in that players are awarded EP for attending raids on time and for killing raid bosses. It’s also possible to punish players by removing EP in the same way but I don’t believe Inspire has ever done this. GP however is given when players obtain a piece of loot, each piece is given a different GP value depending on the quality (and therefor demand) of the item. Loot priority (PR) is established by dividing a player’s EP by their GP. A player with 500 EP and 100 GP for example will have a PR of 5. The player with the highest PR will get loot but their PR will reduce, for example, if a piece of loot is 50 GP the player would now have 500 EP and 150 GP if they get it and their PR will lower to 3.33. Each week the officers reduce everyone’s EP and GP value by a percentage (in our case 10%) which doesn’t change anyone’s PR but does prevent players from stockpiling too much EP and will slow down the rate in which players will gain overall PR. It is usually good practice therefor, for players to obtain loot where possible so that their overall PR rating maintains steady growth. This is not always the case though, with players refusing to take loot for GP, even when that loot is better for them. This is because they are holding out for something better and usually BiS. I myself am guilty of this but without thinking I have been stung by taking loot for GP which was better than what I had but was not BiS. I then found myself replacing that item relatively quickly and obtained even more GP for an item which filled the same gear slot. Because of this, potentially a lot of loot will go to waste, especially loot from older raids. Thankfully, some loot is offered for off-spec where players are allowed to roll for loot which doesn’t suit their characters specialization. For example, I play a rogue who has specialized in using swords as weapons, if a dagger, fist weapon or mace were to drop, I would not need it but if nobody else wants it for their main specialization, I might be able to get it without paying the GP cost. I have been rather unfortunate in not getting good swords to use, an officer even commented recently that my gear is starting to look good but my weapons are still poor. Even though I want to use swords, have specialized my character to use swords and play it as though it uses swords, I still use a dagger in my main hand. This is because it is better than what I currently have regardless of my specialization and play-style. I hope this doesn’t annoy or upset my fellow guild mates who also have the the same dagger but paid GP for it. I fully intend to replace it and pay GP for a sword at the earliest opportunity, even if the sword is not BiS.

My experience with Classic WoW so far has been that people aren’t quite so heavily driven by the desire to obtain loot. Yes, of course, people wish to get better items and improve their character, but a lot of people seem equally happy just to play with a bunch of like-minded people and clear end-game content. That wasn’t my experience for Vanilla WoW 15 or so years ago, where everyone seemed to care for nothing and nobody apart from the items they wanted. This could be because of the company I kept back then but I also feel the Classic WoW community is in general a more relaxed and polite set of gamers than the days of Vanilla WoW. Whatever it is, I am grateful for Inspire and the people in it.

WoW: March Update

WoW March Update

I feel as though my progress in Classic World of Warcraft has been better these past 4 weeks. The first thing I should mention is that I finally got the Hand of Justice trinket which I wrote about in my previous update. I would like to thank my guild mates Grominx, Gurkis and Eremir (Petrovich) for helping me get it. I couldn’t be more happy.

WoW Classic Hand of Justice

Now Blackwing Lair (BWL) is available, there are many more opportunities to obtain loot and I have been given Bloodfang Boots and Bloodfang Gloves as part of the tier 2 Bloodfang Armour set. I am very pleased to have these items but I have still been unable to upgrade my weapons, something I have been hoping to achieve for a while now.

My guild, Inspire, have been clearing BWL consistently since it was launched 4 weeks ago. In the first week we were unable to clear it in one evening, mostly because the entrance to the raid was blocked by other players and in part because it was a big learning curve for everyone. It was a great honour to have been there killing the bosses for the first time with my guild mates, but, I am disappointed that I was unable to attend a second raid to kill the final two bosses for the first time. Since then however, we have been able to kill all of the bosses in one evening and have even completed both BWL and Molten Core (MC) in the same evening with time to spare. I am very proud of Inspire and of my participation.

After the first time our guild raided BWL, our raid and guild leader, Baconbits (aka Bacon or Axelbanger) decided to step down as raid leader and take a break from the game. He explained that he wasn’t enjoying the game and had been finding himself making sacrifices, leading raids and the guild when he didn’t really want to and that he had discussed his departure with the other officers before the announcement. I like Bacon and I was sad to see him step down. At the same time I am happy that he has because I would hate to think that Bacon, or anyone else, would do things they didn’t want to do just to keep me and others happy. Hopefully, if and when Bacon is ready, he will make a return to the game. I doubt Bacon reads my blog, but if he does I really want him to know that I am genuinely thankful for the role he played.

The other officers have taken over what Bacon did exceptionally well. I am especially thankful to Nopartentsguy (aka NPG) who is our new raid leader, Dawn, who now looks after the guild bank and Mexcoo, a new officer, who has been loot master. NPG is easily one of the best raid leaders I have ever had the pleasure of raiding with. Dawn, who already does much for the guild, has been great at keeping the guild in the loop of what’s happening with guild property and Mexcoo has done an amazing job at managing the loot and our EP/GP (effort points/gear points) system. I would also like to thank Pallydude who has been a great help during raids and all the officers who do work behind the scenes to make Inspire a fun and successful guild.

Moving forward, I have set myself a new list of personal goals to work on.

Gain Exhaulted with Timbermaw Hold
Gain Exhaulted with Argent Dawn
Gain Exhaulted with Stormpike Guard
Get 300 skill in fishing
Get 300 skill in bow
Get 300 skill in gun

I also have a wish-list of items, some of which I already have.

Bloodfang Hood
Prestor’s Talisman of Connivery
Bloodfang Spaulders
Cloak of Firemaw
Bloodfang Chestpiece
Bloodfang Bracers
Bloodfang Pants
Bloodfang Gloves
Bloodfang Belt
Bloodfang Boots
Band of Accuria
Master Dragonslayer’s Ring
Hand of Justice
Drake Fang Talisman
Chromatically Temepered Sword (Main hand weapon)
OR
Vis’kag the Bloodletter (Optional, 2nd best main hand)
Maladath, Runed Blade of the Black Flight (Offhand hand weapon)
OR
Brutality Blade (Optional, 2nd best offhand weapon)
Striker’s Mark

Other than that, I want to continue to enjoy my Classic WoW journey as I have been but, at the same time, I want to try to find some time to play some other games as well which in all honesty, hasn’t been easy for me.

Snooker Nation February 2020

February’s Snooker Nation has been a month of two halves which, from my point of view, is a much better result than last month where I lost 3 out of 4 matches.

07/02/2020 – Match 66

After winning my first Snooker Nation match of the year last week, I had hoped that I could build a win streak. Jason however had other plans and beat me 6 frames to 2 in a best of 11. There were no century breaks this week, which only serves to add to my disappointment.

14/02/2020 – Match 67

Close, but no cigar, Jason wins again beating me 6 frames to 5 in a best of 11. Unlike last week however, there were a total of 4 century breaks. Jason had 103 in the 3rd frame, 124 in the 10th and 106 in the 11th frame. I just about got one of my own of 101 in the 9th frame.

21/02/2020 – Match 68

Success! I claimed my second win of the season winning 6 frames to 5 in another best of 11. I didn’t get a century break but Jason had a break of 122 in the 7th frame. While it’s always nice getting century breaks, I am just happy that I won for a change.

28/02/2020 – Match 69

Winning 6 frames to 3 has given me a small win streak and has put me just 2 matches behind. I was really lucky this week, the balls just seemed to consistently end up in a good position. There were two century breaks of 127 in the 4th and 6th frame, both belonging to me.

Season 2 (January – June 2020) statistics

Played Won Frames Won Centuries Highest Break
Copper 8 3 36 8 132
Jason 8 5 40 12 141

 

WoW: February Update

WoW February Update

Progress since my last World of Warcraft update has been slow. I have at least acquired a fast, 100% speed increase mount for my rogue who is now attuned to raid Blackwing Lair.

There are a number of item upgrades I have been perusing to help bring out the potential that my character can do. Unfortunately, so far, these items just refuse to present themselves when the relevant boss holding them is killed. Most notably, the Hand of Justice trinket which drops off the boss General Angerforge has not dropped after killing him approximately 25-30 times. To be fair, it’s the same for everyone and I have heard that some players have needed to kill General Angerforge hundreds of times before getting it. I would like to thank my guild mates, Dawn, Skylla, Vennon, Gromix, Kyra and Defirion for trying to help me get this trinket so far. I should also thank Gurkalot, a player outside of my guild, for helping as well.

One evening Defirion (who also needs the Hand of Justice trinket) asked me to accompany him on some stealth runs. Stealth runs are when rogues and/or druids can use their stealth ability to make themselves invisible to enemies in order to skip large parts of a dungeon. On this occasion, we did this to stealth through the Blackrock Spire dungeon so that we can kill General Angerforge relatively quickly without needing to kill all of the enemies leading up to him. It was fun and I made a recording to show how we did it.

I have been consistently raiding Molten Core and Onyxia’s Lair with my guild mates and have been lucky enough to have been given some items. The best of which is Perdition’s Blade which is really nice but very disappointing for me as a rogue who wants to play sword specialization, not daggers. I am still grateful for it though, especially as it is much better than what I had, even if it is a dagger and not a sword. It’s a little frustrating that better weapons haven’t come my way yet, but, to be honest, it’s the same for every player and I just haven’t had as much time to play and get the items I need.

I believe I am getting better as a player. I have been given several tips to improve my game which has helped a great deal. I have recorded another Inspire Team 2 Onyxia Kill which, if you were to compare it to what I was doing before, you will see I am doing better.

Since joining Inspire late last year, I have attended all but 1 raid. To do this, I have made some real life and somewhat costly sacrifices to ensure that I am on time and in the right place. It’s been worth it, but I feel like I may need to reduce my attendance a little moving forward.

With Blackwing Lair due to be released tomorrow, I am hopeful that I will be able to contribute and help my guild kill bosses for the first time. In order to achieve this, my guild has issued everyone with an Onyxia Scaled Cloak (a requirement for this raid) and I have several items to help boost my fire resistance.

With a little luck and determination, the next update will include some news about a new sword or two. Other than that, I shall endeavour to continue improving my character and how I play it.

Snooker Nation January 2020

A new year and a new season of Snooker Nation for my good friend Jason and I. It looked as though Jason would completely dominate this month having won 3 matches in a row. With a little luck however I secured my first win of the season at the end of January. I hope I can turn it around in February but with 5 months to go, there is still a lot to play for.

03/01/2020 – Match 62

To start our new season Jason wins the first match 6 frames to 3 in a best of 11. He played really well and even scored 3 century breaks. 115 in the 3rd frame, 116 in the 7th frame and whopping 135 in the 9th and final frame. Although I lost, I didn’t play too badly and got a century of 109 in the 1st frame.

10/01/2020 – Match 63

For the second match this season Jason wins 6 frames to 3 in a best of 11. This week however there were no century breaks which underlines how scrappy we played. I am going to need to dig deep and start playing better or Jason’s lead will start to snowball.

24/01/2020 – Match 64

Jason continues his Snooker Nation win streak, winning 6 frames to 5 in a best of 11. There were four century breaks in total, Jason had 102 in the 3rd frame, 124 in the 10th frame and 106 in the 11th frame. I got my second century this season in the 9th frame of 101. I have one more opportunity this month to win my first match of the season, if I fail, Jason will have completely dominated this month and will have a substantial lead.

31/01/2020 – Match 65

Finally bagged my first win of the season, winning 6 frames to 2 in a best of 11. I feel like I played pretty well overall and secured 2 century breaks, 131 in the 4th frame and 132 in the 8th frame. Jason didn’t play too badly and got a century of his own of 110 in the 2nd frame.

Season 2 (January – June 2020) statistics

Played Won Frames Won Centuries Highest Break
Copper 4 1 17 4 132
Jason 4 3 20 7 135

 

Street Fighter II Turbo

Street Fighter II Turbo

To take a break from solely playing Classic World of Warcraft, I have been playing an old favourite of mine, Street Fighter II Turbo. This is a very old fighting game released by Capcom in the early to mid 1990’s and was for a long time considered to be the best fighting game on the market. As such Street Fighter was found in every arcade and was simply a must have game for anyone with a games console.

When I was 8 or 9 years old, I was lucky enough to have been given a second hand Sega Mega Drive and a number of games which came with it. One of those games was Street Fighter II Turbo which I played relentlessly. Now, more than 25 years later, I have acquired a SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) emulator in order to play this classic game.

Here is a video of me playing the game on the emulator. I am playing on the default difficulty setting, medium, which is 4 out of 8 stars. I chose Ryu as my fighter who is a bit of an all round character and as such is probably the easiest character to play.

It is very different to how I would have played the game as a child in the 90’s, but I have really enjoyed playing Street Fighter II Turbo again. It has brought back a number of childhood memories, including collecting stickers for a Street Fighter II sticker album produced by Merlin Collections. The sticker album gave background information about each of the fighters and would tell you the combinations for their ‘special moves’. This enhanced the game further for me and made it even more appealing.

Now I have the SNES emulator, I am tempted to play one or two more classic games such as the early Super Mario or Final Fantasy games.

WoW: January Update

WoW January Update

I want to give another update to my Classic World of Warcraft journey. I realize my blog has become rather repetitive, but I have more or less been solely playing Classic World of Warcraft these past few months.

Playing the end game content has been fun and I have made significant progress since my last update in December. I have obtained a number of items from raiding Molten Core with my guild mates and from doing dungeons, often with my guild but sometimes with random people. Most people seem to be obsessed with obtained best in slot (BiS) equipment for their characters. A BiS item is where an item is the best possible item a player can obtain for their character until more content is released. While I understand this important for progression, being the casual player that I am, I have been more interested in how my character looks and for the first time, I think she looks great!

WoW Classic Level 60 Rogue

What you’re seeing in the image above is my rogue wearing a cross between the shadowcraft armour set found in dungeons and the nightslayer armour set found in the Molten Core raid. Although I think my character looks cool, only a few of her items are BiS. The weapons I am currently using are quite poor and I will need to put some effort in finding new ones if I want to progress further with my guild.

I  decided to drop elemental leather working and skinning and now have alchemy and herbalism as my primary professions. While I am finding these professions more fun and profitable, a major draw back is that there is a lot of competition in finding the herbs required to craft the best potions.

After I reached level 60, I drew up a checklist of things I wanted to achieve and have made some progress:

Molten Core Attunement (So I can raid there)
Onyxia Lair Attunement (So I can raid there)
Obtain the key to Scholomance dungeon
Obtain the key to Stratholm dungeon
Obtain the key to Dire Maul dungeon
Obtain the key to Upper Blackrock Spire dungeon
Level my primary profession (Elemental Leatherworking) to 300 (maximum)
Level first aid profession to 300
Level cooking profession to 300
Level Fishing profession to 300
Level rogue specific professions (lockpicking, poisons) to 300
Level weapon professions to 300
Obtain epic mount (to increase mounted speed boost from 60% to 100%)

While I do not have the key to the Dire Maul dungeon, I have found that I do not need it with my rogue lockpicking skill. My weapon professions are coming along nicely, with 1 handed swords, 1 handed maces, daggers and unarmed all being 300. What’s left are my ranged weapon skills, crossbow, bow, gun and thrown which will probably take a long time since rogues use these weapons infrequently. I knew obtaining an epic mount would take time as it requires a lot of gold (in game currency) to purchase one. I am however well over half way to achieving this goal.

I hope to continue obtaining new and exciting items with my guild, specifically new weapons. The next raid (Blackwing Lair) is due for release on the 13th February. For this I will need to acquire raid specific items to give me fire resistance. I will also need to get my character attuned to Blackwing Lair if I have any hope in joining my guild there.

Now that my character is level 60 and I have joined a guild, it may not be necessary for me to spend quite so much time playing Classic World of Warcraft. I hope therefore to play other games and have more variety in my gaming.

Snooker Nation December 2019

At the end of a 6 month Snooker Nation season, having won 13 matches to Jason’s 10, I am able claim victory. For the most part, it’s been a season of two halves, I dominated early on and at one stage had a lead of 7 matches to 1, but Jason made a huge come back and took the lead near the end of the season in November. In the end however, I managed to secure the last 4 matches to re-take the lead and ultimately win.

While I am proud to have scored a maximum break of 147, something I wrote about in my September Snooker Nation post, what I am most proud of is that Jason and I have played 23 matches composing of 168 frames and 38 centuries over the course of a 6 month period. I like to think that this is a good indicator of how much we enjoy each others company and how solid our 18 year old friendship has become.

I am looking forward to starting Snooker Nation season 2 which will run from January for 6 months until the end of June.

13/12/2019 – Match 59

Another victory for me, winning 5 frames to 2 in a best of 9. There were two century breaks this week, 101 in the first frame and 108 in the 5th frame both belonging to Jason. Frustratingly, I had three good opportunities to make a century break, but was not able to make the most of it.

20/12/2019 – Match 60

Unfortunately for Jason, I secured another win which grants me victory of our 6 month Snooker Nation season. This week, I won 5 frames to 1 in a best of 9 and got the only century of 115 in the 1st frame. Even if Jason wins next week, which will be the final match of the season, I will have still won the season overall. I am pleased that I won the season but am a little sad for Jason this week because he was utterly dissatisfied with his performance.

27/12/2019 – Match 61

For the last match of our Snooker Nation season Jason and I decided we would play a best of 13. I managed to win 7 frames to 5 but at one stage Jason was leading 5 frames to 2. This meant that if we were playing our usual best of 9, he would have won there and then. With a little luck and determination however, I won 5 frames in a row giving me the match. It looked like there would be no century breaks this week but in the 12th and final frame I got a break of 137.

Season 1 (July – December 2019) statistics

Played Won Frames Won Centuries Highest Break
Copper 23 13 89 18 147
Jason 23 10 79 20 136

 

WoW: Onyxia

WoW: Onyxia

In my previous post, I mentioned that I wanted to get attuned to the Onyxia raid in World of Warcraft Classic. With the help of some of my guild mates in Inspire, I managed to do this relatively quickly and have since joined them to kill Onyxia on at least 3 occasions now.

Killing Onyxia is really easy and as such the guild is usually split into 2 teams of roughly 20 people which effectively doubles the loot the guild receives. The last time I killed Onyxia was in team 2 earlier in the week, which I recorded.

The fight is split into 3 phases. In phase 1 you can see in the video that the whole raid group went right and followed a path which would avoid tail sweep. We then gave the tank some time to generate threat before unleashing players who do high DPS (damage per second).

In phase 2 Onyxia takes flight and the raid group is effectively split in two, in our case players in odd groups (1 and 3) stay on the right hand side and players in even groups (2 and 4) move to the left hand side. Because I am in group 1, I stayed where I was. During this phase, players who are ranged DPS will do as much damage to Onyxia as possible while the melee DPS will handle whelps which spawn on both sides. At the same time, players will try to spread out to reduce damage from fireballs and avoid deep breath which in our case a raid member calls out in Discord.

At 40% health phase 3 will start, Onyxia will land and all DOT’s (damage over time) spells and abilities are stopped beforehand to make it easier for the tank to pick up threat and position Onyxia facing the back of the raid. During this phase all players try to avoid cracks on the ground which periodically spout fire, while avoiding the tail and head (with the exception of the tank). Periodically, Onyxia casts bellowing roar, fearing every raid member, making it important for priests to fear ward the tank so that Onyxia will not move with the tank which could potentially cause problems with her facing raid members or tail sweeping players who are ordinarily in a good position.

One final thing to mention is that it is really important not to generate too much threat during phase 1 and 3. It sounds simple, and applies to just about any encounter in World of Warcraft, but you will see in the video that somehow Onyxia turned, killing several raid members. At first glance this looks like it could have been because the tank lost threat, although the log of the encounter shows our tank didn’t lose it. The same thing could easily have happened if the tank is feared and Onyxia turns to face other raid members. Regardless of what happened, luckily, I survived, and Onyxia was almost dead anyway. For anyone who has not completed the Onyxia raid, I recommend reading the Onyxia’s Lair raid guide on Wowhead classic which will give a more detailed explanation of the encounter.

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