Copper Ice

Blogger, Gamer, Nerd

EVE Online: Onslaught

EVE Online: Onslaught

In July, before I started this blog I had been playing EVE: Online on a daily basis and I had visions of this blog being full of posts related to my activities within this incredible game. Since then however I have played very little. On the 13th November a new content patch was released, EVE: Online Onslaught. I decided it would be best that I try out some of this content and familiarise myself with it for when I decide to play the game regularly again. Thankfully the games developers (CCP) released this excellent EVE Online: Onslaught video highlighting all of the new features.

For anyone who knows me, you will know that I am predominantly a solo gamer, even in MMOs (short for MMORPGs (Massively multiplayer online role-playing games)). It is unfortunate therefore that this content patch offers very little for me and is largely focused on game play for those who play together which to be honest, is as it should be.

There are two, maybe three things I can take from Onslaught. The jump gates which link solar systems have had a graphic a overhaul and generally look cooler. There is a sort of achievement system called ‘Activity Tracker’ which literally tracks most of my activities within the game and gives me a growing score as I play. So far, having spent 3-4 hours exploring the new feature, I have accrued 1,298 points by entering 70 high security systems, 1 wormhole, 2 unique regions, manufacturing 4 tech 1 ships, destroying 365 NPC (non playable character) ships, completing a level 4 security mission and much more, there is just too much to list. The other possible benefit is that there are new Triglavian ships which someday I might try out.

For my extremely humble existence within the game, this content patch good but nothing for me to get excited about. If I were a large scale fleet commander or were a director of logistics for a large corporation or alliance, perhaps it would be a different story.

Snooker Nation Week 14

Snooker Nation

After some microphone technical issues, Jason and I settled down to yet another game of Snooker Nation.

Jason won the first frame with a break of 132 which completely shattered my confidence for the rest of the match yet somehow, I still managed to win 4 frames to 3 in a best of 7 and I felt a sense of relief when it was over which I don’t think Jason appreciated.

My confidence to one side it was still a good match in that we reached the ace frame but on this occasion I did not score any century breaks which I think sums up my state of mind.

I didn’t remember to ask Jason if he wanted to play a different game this week and next week we are going to be pushed for time. After that however I hope we can have a game of Unreal Tournament, just for old times sake as we used to play it a lot.

World of Warcraft Update 3

World of Warcraft update 3

I feel as though it is time for another update to my activities in World of Warcraft which I am still hooked on since the launch of the ‘Battle for Azeroth’ expansion.

The biggest thing to share since my last update is that I have managed achieve all of my goals and have reached level 120 with my warrior which is currently sitting on a relatively low average ilevel (item level) of 336. I have also improved the professions of my paladin, most notably her blacksmithing which is now maxed out.

As planned My PvP activity has been non existent since my last update and I plan to keep it that way for the time being since I have found it increasingly difficult to get into a regular RBG (Rated battle ground) group. I think even if I did, they would probably not be the kind of people I would enjoy playing with anyway.

My druid ilevel has increased to 366 and my paladin as always so far this expansion is still trailing at 359. I am still enjoying my time in my new guild ‘Midlife Crisis’ and I am slowly getting to know the regular players. Last Thursday we managed to kill 7 out of 8 boss in ‘Uldir’ on normal difficulty, leaving only the last boss ‘G’huun’ to kill on Sunday which I think will be a guild first. If we are successful I believe the plan would then be to start trying heroic. The guild has opened up numerous doors for me with no hassle, drama or bad feelings and I must say, I am loving it. I was invited to do a mythic+5 dungeon in ‘The Underrott’ and we cleared it with ease and within time, I even got an item upgrade at the end. I hope more groups will form to do mythic dungeons, if only so I can get some achievements.

I would like to introduce you to Khorium, my void elf warlock pictured in Wetlands at the starting level of 20 for void elves.

Khorium

I plan to level Khorium to 120 and obtain the void elf heritage armour, mount and ‘Heritage of the Void’ achievement. Along the way I will also try and get various quest achievements to work towards ‘The Loremaster’ achievement. I already have ‘Loremaster of Northrend, Cataclysm, Draenor and Legion’ achievements however the other continents, Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, Outland and Pandaria still need doing. I have never been very good at leveling characters and I think this will be a slow side project, especially since a new content patch is less than two weeks away.

The other thing I want to improve in the coming weeks is my achievement score. I have as I write this 18,910 points (account wide) which is respectable but there is huge potential for improvement. Also, now my warrior is 120, I would like to work on her professions and get them to max level.

Snooker Nation Week 13

Snooker Nation

I have been rather sick recently and have not been up to gaming or writing as much as I would like to. I am however finally on the mend and was well enough to play another game of Snooker Nation with my good friend Jason yesterday evening.

This week I managed to win 4 frames to 2 in a best of 7 and managed to score the only century break of 114 in the 5th frame where I also potted a double to keep the break going. I was gutted to have ran out of position on the final brown leaving 22 points on the table.

It was quite a scrappy match, especially the first frame where both Jason and I repeatedly ran out of position and only managed to pot 2-3 balls at a time. To be honest, I was glad when that frame was over, it dragged on for far too long with repetitive tactical battles. There were also some pretty shocking misses on both sides in most of the other frames but as always we both seemed to have fun.

My Starcraft Journey

My Starcraft Journey

Starcraft is one of my favourite games. I want to give a brief (1193 word) overview of my life of Starcraft. There is much more I could say about specific events, players I used to play with, clans, personalities and professional players I have followed in the game, but for now I will stick to a brief overview of my Starcraft journey.

People who know me used to ask why I play Starcraft so much and what was it about the game which was so compelling to me. No matter how hard I tried, I could never find the right words to describe just how much the game meant to me. A modern Starcraft 2 player known as ‘Winter’ made this short film to describe what the game means to him and I wish I had something like this to share back then.

My Starcraft life started when was 12 during 1998. I was privileged enough to have access to a family owned desktop computer and had enough pocket money to save up and buy the occasional PC magazine which usually featured a CD containing software and game demos. One such CD contained a demo for Starcraft, enabling me to play 3 short single player missions. I instantly liked the game and I literally played the demo over and over again until I was given the full game, possibly for my birthday.

For months I played through the single player Terran campaign, creating new saves and trying to better my scores each time. I even got the ‘Official Prima Strategy Guide’ for the game which I still have to this day. Eventually I would try multiplayer but I must remind readers this was 1998, there was no broadband internet, there was only dial up modems which would engage the telephone line. Mobile telephones were also rather uncommon at that stage which meant there was the occasional family argument over internet and telephone line usage.

After downloading a patch which probably took close to an hour (I am not exaggerating) I started to play games online. The computer I was using was bought around 1996 and was already vastly out of date with probably a 28.8k modem and bare minimal memory. Suffice to say there was a lot of latency which resulted in me disconnecting from the game before it would conclude. Battle.net (version 1) would tell fellow players that I had high latency and would also keep track of my disconnects which meant others were unlikely to want to play games with me. Eventually I gave up and only played against the computer AI (artificial intelligence).

In late 2001 the family computer was replaced. It had much more memory and the modem was at least twice the speed with a new, more reliable ISP (internet service provider). For the first time I could confidently play Starcraft games against people online with no latency. At this point I had also introduced the game to several school friends and was able to arrange games after school. I don’t like to brag too much, but at that age in my circle of friends and associates I very rarely found anyone who was better at playing a video game against me. To suddenly find people, online, playing Starcraft who were not only better at the game than me but can completely outplay me was both refreshing and frustrating. Furthermore when I learned that those people who could consistently outplay me were themselves completely outplayed by others really blew my mind. I learned about WCG (world cyber games) and the Team Liquid website which has been source of Starcraft news, replays, schedules and more for many years now.

Following this was what I can only describe as an explosion in South Korea from which I believe, esports was born. Entire generations in that country fell in love with the game just as I did some 5,500 miles away and pushed the very boundaries of what was possible within the game. Tournaments were formed, followed by sponsored leagues, 24 hour television channels, celebrity players and casters. I honestly felt and to some degree still feel that I was born in the wrong country, that South Korea was where I needed to be. I found a short documentary which really highlights how Starcraft began in South Korea.

By watching replays of superior, often Korean players, I started to get pretty good at the game, no where near the level shown regularly in Korea, but certainly good enough to be able to beat anybody new to the game and maybe half of the European Starcraft community. I spent a lot of time searching for Starcraft resources, translated news, bits of Korean television. Try to remember, back then there was no youtube, there was no such thing as streaming and hardly anybody had broadband internet, gaming online was a completely different experience to what it is now.

In either 2002 or 2003 I was given my own computer and, better yet, cable broadband was installed where I lived which meant for the first time I could use fast speed internet anytime I wanted in the privacy of my bedroom. It was sheer bliss and my Starcraft career took a new turn, but not necessarily for the better. Spending all day and often all night playing and studying the game with a community of online friends took a heavy toll on my life outside of the game. I was an apprentice, working for a local ISP but would often show up to work late, I didn’t complete my course work or take advantage of the opportunities working for an ISP presented. This unhealthy lifestyle took its toll within the game as well and I became quite unhappy, it was one thing to not achieve goals outside of my digital life, but to fail within Starcraft as well was shattering. I became bitter and angry which in turn had an affect on my relationships both inside and outside of the game. Eventually I stopped playing but carried on keeping an eye on the Starcraft scene for years to come.

It would not be until the summer of 2010 when after a long wait, Starcraft II was released followed by two expansions, Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void. I of course bought the game immediately.

For me, this time around was very different. I have played very few, 1369 to date, ladder/PvP (player vs player) games and have to date not even tried to get good at the game. I think it comes down to something known as ladder anxiety, something I only really heard about when I wanted to establish why I had such difficulty in hitting that play button. I have at least continued to follow the esports events and have recently written about the WCS (World Championship Series) 2018 Global Finals.

Because of these anxiety issues, I have a love hate relationship with Starcraft 2 which I hope someday I will overcome. If there are any readers out there who would like to try playing Starcraft 2 with me, even if just trying the co-op mode, please contact me. I would also love to hear from anybody who has a Starcraft journey of their own to tell.

Snooker Nation Week 12

Snooker Nation

Yet another week of Snooker Nation and I am pleased to say I managed to win 4 frames to 1 in a best of 7. Neither Jason or I managed to score a century break but I am still happy with the result. All in all we actually played pretty bad, I think we were more interested in just having a laugh this week.

After all these weeks of playing Snooker Nation, I think it is time I mentioned just how sketchy the silent audience is in this game. Have you ever seen a more spooky set of people? Especially that woman with the white hair on the left, sat on her own, I am sure she is planning to kill the dude sat across from her. Quite off putting to be honest.

Snooker Nation Crowd

Aside from that there really is not much to say about this weeks game other than it was as enjoyable as always to play this most unlikely of games with my friend. Perhaps next week we will play something else, just for a change.

World of Warcraft Update 2

World of Warcraft update 2

This is another update on my recent activity in World of Warcraft which I am still actively playing since the launch of the Battle for Azeroth expansion.

In my last update post I mentioned that I wanted to continue my PvP (player vs player) journey. While I have increased my honour level to 33 and have won an additional 2 rated battlegrounds since I wrote about my first rated battleground experience, I have found PvP less fun and rewarding since hitting honour level 30. As mentioned in my battle for Azeroth PvP post, once hitting honour level 30, the battlegrounds only contain players who are level 30 and above and are far more likely to be elitist, hardcore PvP players. Today some dude was going mad in a battleground because we were losing, it was really cringe worthy and I felt so embarrassed for him. I have also found it really difficult to find groups to increase my RGB rating, group leaders either want a very low rating but with recent PvP experience, or they want a very high rating. When on occasion I have found a group, after just one loss or even one win, the group disbands. I have tried to use the World of Warcraft forums to find a regular PvP group and have added myself to an in-game community, both of which have not yielded any results, probably because of my lack of experience.

I also mentioned that I wanted to complete the ‘Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder, Part One’ achievement by getting the ‘Azerothian Diplomat’ and ‘Kul Tourist’ achievements. I am happy to say I have now got these achievements and can breath easy knowing I am up to date for when flying becomes available in Kul Tiras and Zandalar.

The biggest update to share is that I have joined the guild ‘Midlife Crisis’ on my druid. This is the first guild I have been in since the Wrath of the Lich King expansion (about 8 years ago). To say I am pleasantly surprised by this guild would be an understatement. The guild sell themselves as being a mature, chilled out, casual guild who partake in casual raiding which is exactly what I am looking for. I have been in the guild less than a week, but so far I have seen nothing but mature, easy going, chilled, casual players which has been great. I attended an organised raid of Uldir last Thursday and I honestly think it was the best raiding experience I have ever had. It was not particularly progressive, I didn’t get amazing loot or achievements, I didn’t feel like I accomplished too much within the game but because the group was so chilled, relaxed and there to have a good time with some clean humour, I found it refreshing and relaxing. To top it all off, the raid got stuff done, we killed 5 bosses. It was clear to me that a good portion of the guild are actually skilled players, probably with other characters in progressive guilds who are currently raiding Uldir on heroic difficulty. I think these players try to find the time to play their characters in Midlife Crisis because they enjoy the casual atmosphere and like the people in the guild, which benefits full time casual players like me enormously. I was particularly impressed with the raid leader who on one hand managed to allow a chilled out, fun, casual, enjoyable atmosphere but on the other hand made sure stuff got done and took the time to consider suggested strategies for the one boss we had difficulty killing.

I have somehow managed to get my druids average ilevel (item level) to 360 and my paladin is trailing with 353 average ilevel. I have also raised all of my druids professions to the maximum level for Battle for Azeroth. Oh, and I got this guy from the Blizzard store to support the charity code.

Whomper

Going forward I hope to get my warrior to level 120 and work on the my paladin professions a little more. I will probably stop trying to PvP and try and get to know my new guild mates a little better, I am hoping they will be willing to help me complete mythic dungeons and island expeditions for rewards and achievements.

Snooker Nation Week 11

Snooker Nation

This week Jason managed to redeem himself and win this weeks Snooker Nation game 4 frames to 2 in a best of 7. Actually, he made a good come back winning all 4 of his frames in a row. A far cry better than last weeks whitewash to say the least. That will teach me for resting on my laurels so to speak.

There were also a total of three century breaks, I got the first century of 107 in the second frame while Jason got a massive 132 in the 4th frame and 107 in the 5th frame. My century break could have been 120 but I missed the final pink, I think this highlights the cocky frame of mind I was in at that stage. There are weeks where we have no century breaks at all, so to have three was nice. We are still both chasing a 147, I think we are both capable so perhaps it is just a matter of time.

I am a as always a little disappointed that I lost, but I am happy that it was a close and fun game which could have gone either way. The previous two weeks have been somewhat disappointing in that regard.

WCS 2018 Global Finals

WCS 2018 Global Finals

As part of Blizzcon, the Starcraft 2 WCS (World Championship Series) finals take place. This year was a little special as it marks 20 years of Starcraft. Spoiler alert for those who do not want to know the result of the 2018 finals.

It was a great tournament with many excellent games. The highlight of the tournament of course was the winner, Serral (Joona Sotala). Korean players have dominated Starcraft (and just about every other game) for 20 years. Serral, a young man from Pornainen, Finland is the first player outside of Korea who has been crowned as the best Starcraft 2 player in the world. I have been part of the Starcraft community for all 20 years and to be honest, I feel a little emotional. To see someone outside of Korea perform so well and achieve so much with this beautiful game, is nothing short of amazing. If you would like to learn more about this inspirational young man I suggest you take a look at the Youtube video below.

Serral completely outplayed his opponent, Stats (Dae Yeob) and defeated him 4 games to 2. I am so inspired by Serral after his year of Starcraft that despite my ladder anxiety I will make the time and play some Starcraft games. If there are any readers who would like to play Starcraft with me, even if only to play the co-op commander mode, please contact me.

It was a shame to see that at this years Blizzcon the production seemed to have scaled back just a little. In previous years the stage would be dynamic and change depending on the race each player is playing. Don’t get me wrong, the production was still top quality, I just miss that little extra edge that has spoilt me in previous years. As always the casters were amazing, it is especially good to hear Artosis and Tasteless casting in a more reasonable time zone.

Blizzcon 2018 Announcements

Warcraft III Reforged

After watching the Blizzcon 2018 opening ceremony, I thought I would share a few announcements which I found exciting and one which has left me feeling incredibly disappointed. There were of course other announcements for Blizzard games which I do not play, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone but I will stick to what interested me.

One of the first announcements was to introduce ‘Whomper’ which is a new battle pet for World of Warcraft. Even better is that it is the latest charity pet which will support Code, a charity dedicated to bringing computer science to schools around the world but specifically to girls and other under represented minorities in the coding industry. If you would like to learn more about the charity, I highly recommend you take a look at their website.

Following this there was an announcement that Zeratul will be a new co-op commander in Starcraft 2 to mark the 20th anniversary for Starcraft. While I am not that interested in the co-op feature in Starcraft 2, it is still nice to see Blizzard are making developments to Starcraft and are still interested in making it better.

There was an amazing World of Warcraft cinematic, ‘Lost Honour’ featuring Anduin Wrynn and Saurfang. Even if you’re not into World of Warcraft, you got to admire the cinematic for what it is. Blizzard have always been industry leading when it comes to cinematics and they always get me wanting to play their games. If you haven’t seen it yet, you got take a look at it below, it’s amazing.

For me the most exciting and most surprising announcement was that of ‘Warcraft III Reforged’. Warcraft III is an RTS (Real Time Strategy) game which was set before the beginning of World of Warcraft and was when The Burning Legion first arrived. I never played Warcraft III, during this time I was too busy playing Starcraft: Broodwar and Diablo II. I have always wanted to play through the campaign of Warcraft III and experience the story first hand so this will definitely be something I will be investing my time in.

And now we come to the disappointment. If you read my Blizzcon 2018 Countdown post you will remember that I was excited to learn about a Diablo announcement and that I expected a new expansion to Diablo III or possibly Diablo IV. The announcement was for a new Diablo game, ‘Diablo Immortal’ which is set after Diablo II when Tyrael shattered the worldstone but before Diablo III. It will however be a mobile game and I really am not a mobile gamer. To be honest, from what I have seen so far, it looks like something I will probably never play. I am so disappointed, rather than watching the ‘What’s next for Diablo’ panel, I have gone straight to the Starcraft 2 tournament.

While I am disappointed, I am still in high spirits, I am looking forward to watching a lot of Starcraft 2 games, learning more about Warcraft III Reforged and what to look forward to in Battle for Azeroth, including a new warfront in Teldrassil.

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