Copper Ice

Blogger, Gamer, Nerd

Blizzcon 2019 Countdown

As with last year, for me, the countdown to Blizzcon 2019 has begun. This year however, I am not as excited as I once was and I am not even sure if I will be buying a virtual ticket to watch the event unfold live.

Readers of my blog may remember how how disappointed I was with the main announcement at Blizzcon 2018, but more than that, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Blizzard lately. Most recently, Blizzard has banned a professional Hearthstone player from participating in Blizzard backed Hearthstone tournaments for a year, effectively ending his career. They have also held on to his prize money for the most recent tournament because in a post match interview he openly supported the struggles of the pro democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. I believe they also sacked two of the casters.

For anyone who knows anything about Blizzard, it is obvious why they did this. Blizzard, now largely owned by Activision, has been working hard to tap in to the Chinese video game market. This was first made clear when they announced the hugely unpopular Diablo Immortal mobile game (the source of many disappointed Blizzard fans) last year. I am lead to believe that the Chinese mobile game market is massive and is most likely the reason Blizzard, who traditionally produce PC games, have decided to make a mobile game which 99% of their core fans do not want.

I want my blog to primarily be a space for me to document my passion for gaming and share my experiences with anyone who cares to read about them. But it would be remiss of me not to mention that I fully support the people of Hong Kong in their struggle for democracy, possibly the only good thing to come out of British occupation after the opium war. I also condemn the actions Blizzard have taken in this matter, although I am very proud that some Blizzard employees staged a walk out of the head office in Irvine, California, and stood around a symbolic orc statue which is famously surrounded by plaques with the company core values. One plaque reads ‘Every voice matters’ which they covered up since it did not apply to Blizzard that day.

Ever since Blizzard effectively merged with Activision and since Mike Morhaime (co-founder and former president of Blizzard) stepped down, the magic that once captured my imagination has rapidly diminished.

Thankfully there has been a big push to re-release classic titles. Classic World of Warcraft is a very close if not identical version of the game I literally fell in love with in my late teens. Starcraft Remastered and Warcraft III Reforged are also very interesting, but I worry that I may never see a new title from Blizzard that will offer the same highly polished exciting experience I crave.

I am deeply hurt by how far Blizzard has fallen in my estimation this passed year or so. For years now their games have inspired me and have provided me with much needed escapism. It may sound overly dramatic but I am not sure I would even be here if it weren’t for the games I could use to escape during the darkest and most lonely times in my life. I can only hope Blizzard will go back to trying to change peoples lives for the better and will remember their own quote:

“Never accept the world as it appears to be. Dare to see it for what it could be”

WoW: October Update

For anyone who reads my blog regularly, you might have noticed that I have not been posting much lately. Pretty much all of my gaming time has been dedicated to playing classic World of Warcraft (WoW) and, to be honest, there hasn’t been much to report. I think it’s about time however that I give a quick update as to where I am with my classic WoW journey.

The first thing to mention is that I joined the guild Wild Cards with my druid. My first impressions of this guild has been pretty positive, they seem to be mature for the most part and have seen some success with raiding the games toughest content, clearing most of Molten Core and Onyxia. I have joined the guild as a ‘social’ which means I am not part of their core raiding team, which suits me fine because it means there is no pressure on me to level up, gear up and be available for their raiding schedule. It’s just as well really, in nearly a month my druid has risen just 6 levels to level 36.

There are a number of reasons for how poorly I have progressed with my druid. The main reason is because I have been playing my rogue, Mithril, which has just hit level 32. I started playing my rogue to give myself a break from my druid but I have found playing a rogue so much more fun that I just carried on playing it. Pick pocketing, lock picking, brewing poisons, fighting dirty and not having to worry about mana (a resource which determines whether or not you can cast spells) has been so much more fulfilling than my druid has been to date.

Any readers may remember my personal post about my mental health and playing WoW alone. Apart from joining a guild with my druid I have also been trying to play the game with people and have actually completed 4 or 5 dungeons with 4 other people each time. Each dungeon has so far been a good experience with, for the most part, half decent and well mannered players. I have also been actively trying to be kind to lower leveled players, giving them items and helping them with their quests, leaving me feeling good about myself, knowing that I might have made someones day. I have tried to encourage 2 people I know personally to join me in my adventure, but neither one of them seem particularly interested, which is fine and actually allows me to carry on and do my own thing at my own pace rather than feeling responsible for making sure it is fun for both of us.

Moving forward I hope to continue to make progress with my rogue and join more groups of players to complete more dungeons. I also have grand plans on helping lower level players, especially when I hit level 60 (the maximum level achievable in classic WoW) someday. I will continue to try and make some slow progress with my druid, especially as I am still interested in being a part of the Wild Cards community.

Snooker Nation September 2019

For the first time, after over 240 hours of play time, I scored a maximum break of 147 and I am absolutely delighted. Despite this however, Jason has secured a three week win streak and has started to make an excellent come back.

06/09/2019 – Match 47

Jason bagged his second win of our Snooker Nation season, winning 5 frames to 4 in a best of 9. There were four century breaks this week, Jason scored 118 in the 5th frame to which I responded with 110 in the 6th, 126 in the 7th and 105 in the 8th. After 4 frames with century breaks, the 9th and final frame was almost comical, with both of us making horrible mistakes. On two or three occasions I thought I was going to win but somehow I fumbled enough times to give Jason the frame and match.

15/09/2019 – Match 48

We did it! In the second frame of this weeks Snooker Nation match I scored a break of 147, the highest possible in the game of Snooker. During the break, Jason was supportive and tried to make suggestions after the frame had been won. After potting about 7 or 8 reds with blacks I remember saying to him that things were getting a little scary because I was on such a good roll. Towards the end of the frame I was concentrating so hard that the most simple shots were taking me quite a while. Suffice to say I was elated and so happy to share the experience with my friend. I couldn’t really settle down for the rest of the match and Jason punished me for it, winning 5 frames to 3 in a best of 9. Any century is good so it would be wrong not to give credit to Jason who just about scored a century in the 7th frame.

27/09/2019 – Match 49

White wash! Jason continues his win streak by winning 5-0 in a best of 9. I played very poorly this week and missed a lot of opportunities. Jason played well and even got a new high break of a 136 in the 3rd frame and followed it up with 109 in the 4th frame.

Season 1 (July – December 2019) statistics

Played Won Frames Won Centuries Highest Break
Copper 11 7 39 11 147
Jason 11 4 35 10 136


WoW: Level 30

In my last World of Warcraft post, I was disappointed with my progress and mentioned that I had booked several days off of work to continue my adventure. I used last weekend and the following Monday and Tuesday to knuckle down and level up as much as possible.

Before leaving work for my short break, I told a colleague, who I would like to consider a friend, that I hoped to reach level 30 during my time off. I just about reached it, hitting level 30 late last Tuesday with over 3 days play time. To be honest, I thought I was being a little conservative as to not apply any pressure during what was intended to be a relaxing break from work. I had hoped for a little more, but I am not too disappointed.

Unfortunately towards the end of my 4 day break, I started to feel depressed and alone which I wrote about here. It makes for sad reading, I considered deleting the post, but decided to leave it. I think that this is an important realization that I have made about my gaming and is worth documenting as part of my gaming blog.

It’s nice that gold (the in game currency for World of Warcraft) has value again and is somewhat hard come by. I made the mistake of switching talent tree specs, twice, costing me a total of 6 gold which is huge to a level 30 character. I am going to have to double my efforts in farming gold in order to afford a mount and training when I reach level 40 within the game. I continue to notice other differences that weren’t there during the original launch of World of Warcraft 15 years ago, most notably, the dressing room, allowing you to see what an item would look like on your character before equipping it. This feature simply did not exist 15 years ago.

While playing, I used my Twitch channel for the first time and started streaming my game play and music. I only got a few views but did end up with my first follower. Yes, that follower is the colleague/friend I previously mentioned, but to me, that’s even better than someone I don’t know following me. I doubt I will ever stream regularly, but if I do, I will need to look at ways of making the stream more interactive and better quality.

Moving forward I hope to continue to level and slowly improve my character(s). Also, I hope to introduce my new friend to the game, I don’t know if they will enjoy it like I have all these years, but it would be awesome to play with them if they do.

Playing Alone

Recently I have been playing classic World of Warcraft after taking a few days off of work. I will be writing about the results when this day is over but I wanted to write about playing alone, something I intended to do before the re-release of the game two-weeks ago.

Classic World of Warcraft is much harder than the current/modern state of the game. Literally everything from completing quests, killing enemies, even looting slayed enemies is more difficult. I have seen other players level their characters much faster than me and there are a number of reasons for this. One reason however is that I make it even harder on myself by playing the game alone. It’s strange really, that I choose to play this MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) by myself. While you can play alone and achieve many things, the game is ultimately designed to be played with others. It requires 5 people, or maybe 4 at a pinch, to complete most dungeons which contain the best rewards. At the maximum level, it is required that 40 people or at least 30, combat the toughest enemies in the game.

There is no reason why I should play alone, there are plenty of ways to join a guild (clan) of players and play with them on a regular basis. The guild I am in for the modern game, Midlife Crisis, even set up a classic World of Warcraft guild, albeit on a different realm/server. I think the reason I don’t play with anyone is because I am afraid that I would not be good enough or that they would let me down. It’s quite sad really, and hard for me to say, but this is also how I lead my life outside of games. I have a very low opinion of myself and have been told by professional psychiatrists and therapists that I am overly critical of myself but not of others. I am also easily hurt. Someone might say or do something and mean nothing by it, but I still end up being hurt, occasionally to the point of tears.

I have come to realize that my poor mental health has a profound effect in which the way I play games, highlighted by my experiences playing classic World of Warcraft. First, I do not feel good enough as a person. I feel like I am not a good gamer, not a good friend, colleague, son, lover, partner and that nobody could possibly like me, that nobody could possibly love me. Secondly is people will always hurt me and each other, either by choice or by accident and that it is just easier to avoid people altogether. If I avoid getting to know people, avoid getting close to people, they will not be able to hurt me.

I know that much of what I have said in this post is wrong. People do value me, they tell me so themselves from time to time and when they do, it makes me very happy. Also, while people do come and go and will say or do the wrong thing, the potential reward for finding that one person who will stay with you, encourage you and be your true friend is so high, that getting knocked down by other people time and time again to find that one person, is well worth it.

My heart tells me that I should dream, that I should see the world for what it could be, that I should dare to seek friends, dare to love and be loved. But my head tells me to stop, don’t get hurt, don’t get disappointed, nobody could like you anyway. Which is why I sit here alone, playing a game alone, with thousands of people.

WoW: Slow Start

Last weekend was the first time I had a chance to play Classic World of Warcraft and I have to say, it’s been a slow and disappointing start. With nearly 20 hours total play time, I have reached just level 16. Players are starting to hit level 60 (the maximum character level) and have even killed one of the raid bosses (end game content) getting some of the best items the game has to offer right now.

I kept getting distracted by real life and couldn’t muster the energy to play for long periods of time. When World of Warcraft was released in February 2005, I was 19 years old. Back then I had a lot more energy and could easily play games all night several times a week and still hold down a job. This continued into my 20’s but now, aged 34, I just can’t do it anymore. I feel like an old man.

Aside from being dissatisfied with my progress, it is actually a lot of fun. It’s a lot more challenging than modern World of Warcraft and a far more rewarding experience. Not everything is as I remember from the early days of WoW. Darnassus (the Night Elf city) and I presume other cities have auction houses (the best place to buy and sell items). I remember that it used to be that for the Alliance faction only Iron Forge (the Dwarven city) had an auction house and for the Horde it was the city of Orgrimmar that had one. Also, there are battlemasters (non-playable characters who allow you to queue and join player vs player instances) in Darnassus. These did not exist in early WoW and it was required that you would go to the location of the battleground you wanted to play. Don’t get me wrong, I really like these quality of life additions, but it isn’t what it was the first time around.

Going forward, I have booked several days off of work and will be dedicating a lot of that time to play Classic World of Warcraft. I will be setting myself some realistic goals and will be working hard to achieve them.

Snooker Nation August 2019

Month two of Snooker Nation season 1 has seen me win 3 matches out of 4 putting Jason further behind. It was at least good to see Jason win his first match in over a month, but for some reason, Jason really isn’t playing his best. I have been beaten hands down loads of times in the past and Jason has had some really long win streaks of his own. These stats make me out to be a much better player, which really is not true. It could well be that I am the better Snooker Nation player, but not on this scale. I hope Jason isn’t disheartened and comes back fighting in September.

02/08/2019 – Match 43

My win streak continues and yes, once again, I won 4 frames to 2 in a best of 7. There were two century breaks, Jason scored 115 in the 3rd frame, narrowly increasing his highest break this season and I bagged a huge break of 134. I continue to find it interesting that so far, of the 10 frames Jason has won, 5 of those have ended in a century which could have easily been 8 since no less than 3 of his frame wins so far have had a break in the 90’s with points remaining on the table.

09/08/2019 – Match 44

Jason has finally broken my win streak and got his first win of our Snooker Nation season. What’s more is that Jason traditionally never wins when we play a best of 9 but on this occasion he did, winning 5 frames to 2. While on one hand I am disappointed that I lost, I am happy that Jason won for a change. Unfortunately there were no century breaks this week, but I came close with a break of 98 with plenty of points left on the table.

16/08/2019 – Match 45

This week both Jason and I were not feeling very well yet, somehow, we scored 4 century breaks between us. In the 1st frame I scored 131, in the 6th Jason scored 130, making this his new highest break of the season, in the 7th I scored 112 and in the 9th frame I got a massive 135. It was also a close match with me winning 5 frames to 4 in a best of 9.

30/08/2019 – Match 46

While there were no century breaks this week. It was certainly entertaining, at least for me. This was the most unlucky game of Snooker Nation Jason has had to date. Nothing seemed to go right for him and I won 5 frames to 1 in a best of 9.

Season 1 (July – December 2019) statistics

Played Won Frames Won Centuries Highest Break
Copper 8 7 32 7 139
Jason 8 1 20 6 130


Stellaris: Dyson Sphere

I finally did it, I created a Dyson Sphere in Stellaris. A Dyson Sphere is a hypothetical structure which would completely encompass a star in order to harness all of the energy output. The concept of a Dyson Sphere has captured my imagination for years now and I am thrilled to have been able to construct one within this game.

In theory, if there are civilizations more advanced than our own in the universe, it would be logical for them to attempt to harness the power of entire stars. A Russian astronomer, Nikolai Kardashev devised a hypothetical scale (now known as the Kardashev scale) which  measures the level of technological advancement of a civilization based on the amount of energy they are able to harness. To have built a Dyson Sphere or similar, a civilization would reach level 2 of the Kardashev scale.

Before I could construct a Dyson Sphere, I needed to fully construct another mega structure. I did this by repairing and completing a habitat ring I found while exploring the galaxy. Something I mentioned in my previous Stellaris post.

In Stellaris, the habitat ring is actually more fun than the Dyson Sphere. I have been able to colonize 4 parts of the ring and construct buildings as if it were 4 planets with ideal living conditions.

By focusing on using the game to build these structures, I have largely neglected everything else Stellaris has to offer by way of strategy. There is still so much I could do, from building huge fleets of war ships to conquer my enemies, to using diplomacy to form alliances and federations. Classic World of Warcraft is due to be released soon and I plan on playing StarCraft 2 a little more, but from now on when I play Stellaris, I will be playing to win


Over the past few weeks I have been playing Stellaris, a game I have had my eye on for quite some time. The price tag was almost £60 from Steam which includes a number of expansions, quite a hit if you find yourself not liking the game.

Stellaris is a modern real time 4X grand strategy game. The 4X is an abbreviation for EXplore, EXpand, EXploit and EXterminate and as far as I know, Stellaris is the first game of this genre I have ever played. The basic idea of Stellaris to explore the galaxy with science ships, expand with construction ships, exploit resources from planets, asteroids, stars and more before conquering other space faring civilizations.

I am actually impressed with Stellaris, at the time of writing this I have clocked 86 hours game time and have played several campaigns. Short ones at first, learning the mechanics and what a 4X game is all about, then longer 13-20 hour games, adjusting the settings as I go to try out different things.

What I really enjoy about Stellaris is not so much the 4X aspect of it, but how delightfully nerdy it is to explore and expand into solar systems which sometimes tell you about ancient civilizations who thousands of years ago succumbed to some kind of virus or somehow destroyed themselves. It reminds me of Star Trek, specifically, but not exclusively, The Next Generation series. In numerous episodes the crew of the Enterprise would encounter ancient civilizations, some of which were at the time of their destruction technologically far superior to that of the Federation, yet, even with their superior technologies perished.

If you are lucky, in Stellaris you will find remnants of colossal super structures which are now dormant and in ruin. I believe this one is some kind of a habitat ring, built around a star.

In time, you are given the opportunity to repair and possibly colonize super structures like this, giving me nerd chills.

It stands to reason that if ever the human race, through scientific and engineering brilliance, were to invent some sort of FTL (faster than light) drive and started to explore the galaxy, it is at least possible that there may be remnants of ancient civilizations which existed perhaps before our planet Earth formed. Serving as a reminder that no matter what we accomplish, we will surely never be invulnerable.

Other than the nerd chills I have found it fun to assemble fleets of ships and go to war with civilizations who do not support my ethics. There are even dangerous space faring creatures, which again reminds me of Star Trek.

Stellaris is a game I feel I could quite easily come back to in months or years from now, before I stop playing however, I really want to play through a game where I repair one of these super structures and, better still, create a Dyson Sphere, a hypothetical structure which would encompass a star in order to harness the entire power output.

WoW: Character Creation

My World of Warcraft classic journey started a little earlier than expected. While the game is due to be re-released on the 27th August, players who have an active World of Warcraft subscription are able to reserve character names ahead of the release. Blizzard have said:

“As part of our launch preparations, characters can be created in advance. You will be able to create up to three characters from the 13th of August onwards. Please keep in mind that it will not be possible to customize your character or change faction later, so take your time during creation. On PvP realms, all your characters need to belong to the same faction. It is not possible to start playing before the launch on the 27th of August.”

This is a somewhat unique experience for me, I have never known there to be a ‘reserve your character name’ event weeks before the release of a game. Being an hour behind, I logged on 11pm and after a very short wait was able to create two characters, Copper and Mithril on the Mirage Raceway realm.

Since everyone is able to reserve up to three character names, I thought I would reserve Copper on the other ‘normal’ realm Pyrewood Village. Rather than switching realm however, I accidentally logged out. When logging back in at around 11:03 I found myself in a queue of over 10,000 which took some 10-15 minutes to clear. When I eventually logged back in and switched to Pyrewood Village, the names Copper and Mithril had already been taken. Part of me was annoyed that I had logged out rather than just switching realms, but another part of me was so happy that I bothered to stay up late to log in as soon as possible to reserve Copper and Mithril on Mirage Raceway.

To my surprise, when I logged back in this morning, I found that the normal, RP (Role-Playing) and RPPVP (Role-Playing Player vs Player) realms still have a low population. I imagine that will change when the game is launched later this month, but I somehow expected more.

After seeing the classic log-in screen and hearing the music, I am as excited as ever to re-live vanilla World of Warcraft. The log in screen and music alone has evoked so many memories, both good and bad.


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