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Copper Ice, Blogger, Nerd
Front Mission 3

Front Mission 3

The first Playstation 1 game I wanted to play since turning on my Playstation 2 for the first time in years was Front Mission 3. Front Mission 3 is a turn based strategy JRPG (Japanese role-playing game) released in the EU August 2000 and is easily one of my favoruite Playstation games and perhaps one of my favourite games of all time.

I first learned about Front Mission 3 watching a kid play it while I was staying at an old school friends house, probably sometime in 2001. At first glance I thought the game looked interesting but had bad graphics, later I learned that the Front Mission series was developed by my then favourite video game company, Square. This got my full attention since I was already a big fan of other Square titles, namely the Final Fantasy series.

Front Mission 3 is set around 100 years in the future and feature mechanized vehicles called wanzers which you can buy, sell, upgrade and customize for each of your pilots. You start with two pilots, Kazuki Takemura and Ryogo Kusama and then gradually meet more as the story progresses. The battles use a RNG (Random Number Generator) turn based system in the same way the more modern XCOM series does. You start the game with Kazuki who is a test pilot working for Kirishima Heavy Industries testing a prototype wanzer for the JDP (Japanese Defense Force). After the test you’re asked whether to accompany Ryogo on a delivery, this choice determines which storyline you will play, either the Emir “Emma” Klamsky or Alisa Takemura (Kazuki’s sister) storyline. Each story plays out completely differently with different missions and objectives. You also meet different characters along the way and are given a different ending.

Yesterday and today I have finally completed both storylines. When I first played Front Mission 3 years ago I had completed Emma’s story, but today for the first time I completed Alisa’s. After each successful mission, depending on how well you perform, you are awarded a medal and at the end of the game you are shown the resulting number of medals. This is what I got when completing Emma’s story.

Front Mission 3 Emma Medals

The game is surprisingly replay able. Not only can you try to do better and get a better end result, but you can also experiment with different wanzer pilot combinations and delve into the ‘network’. The network is kind of like the internet in that as you progress through the game you unlock different ‘websites’ and can use passwords to find hidden pages and resources. It’s an entirely optional part of the game but hold many secrets and can unlock items you can use in battles. This is how I did completing Alisa’s story.

Front Mission 3 Alisa Medals

It feels so nice to spend around 60 hours completing this classic game. I am proud to add this title to my embarrassingly short list of completed games since I started blogging. I am a little sad it is over but hopefully this will inspire me to complete more games, perhaps  even another Square title. On a side note I find it incredible how this game which has given me 60 hours of entertainment fits on a single CD. I could be wrong but I believe CD storage is less than 1 gigabyte? Amazing.


Diablo II Resurrected Conclusion

Diablo II Resurrected Conclusion

The time has come for my Diablo II Resurrected journey to conclude, at least for now. Since the launch of Diablo II Resurrected I have had a lot of fun, even when my level 56 hardcore character died. The stability issues for Diablo II have improved considerably with the introduction of a queuing system and as such I have been able to create a level 57 hardcore amazon which has gone further than my deceased sorceress. I am not sure I will be able to get much further without considerable effort grinding levels and finding items, but having a hardcore character somehow makes me feel whole again.

Diablo II Resurrected Destroyer Ice

I enjoyed playing the amazon so much that I also decided to create a ‘softcore’ one for the more casual way to play Diablo II and have reached level 80 having completed the game on both ‘normal’ and ‘nightmare’ difficulties. I have not yet completed the game on ‘hell’ difficulty which I believe will take a lot more time and effort. The increase of difficulty between normal and nightmare is slight but the increase of difficulty between nightmare and hell is huge, especially if you don’t play as part of a team.

Diablo II Resurrected Champion Ice-SC

This is by no means the end of Diablo II Resurrected for me. It’s the kind of game I think I will enjoy in small doses and there is the possibility of participating in ladder seasons when they become available. For now however, I do not think I will be playing Diablo II as much as I have been and will focus on something else for a while. There is of course Diablo IV on the horizon which I hope will be single player friendly and have decent end game content.


Snooker Nation

Snooker Nation October 2021

This month of Snooker Nation started and ended well for me, but the lions share of the matches were won by Jason. At one stage Jason even claimed the lead for the first time in quite a while. While I finish October still technically in the lead by frames won difference, there is still a lot to play for.

01/10/2021 – Match 144

Yet again another good start to the month of Snooker Nation for me, winning 6 frames to 3. While it would be unfair to suggest either Jason or I played poorly in this match, I would say it has been one of the more scrappy matches we have had this season. There were several mistakes made in frame 2 and frame 7, but frame 5 was pretty shocking with both of us missing shots and running out of position numerous times. Other than that however, we played relatively well and secured 4 centuries between us. I scored 112 in frame 1, 131 in frame 8 and 129 in the final frame. Jason scored 115 in frame 4 but sadly missed an opportunity to score 140.

08/10/2021 – Match 145

Once again I am unable to build up a win streak or a comfortable lead. Jason wins this match 6 frames to 4 but I did at least score more centuries and set a new season high score of 144 in frame 2 after Jason scored 133 in frame 1. I also scored 104 in frame 5. All in all we both played quite well. I must admit towards the end of the match I was feeling pretty tired and making some foolish decisions and errors. Twice I played a cannon into the pink and reds off of the blue and both times I accidentally pocketed a red. Playing this shot can be a good way to break up the pack of reds but there is always the risk of potting another ball. Both times I should have played it with a little bit of top spin and a lot less power to reduce the risk of fouling, but for whatever reason I decided to chance it and played it with near enough full power.

15/10/2021 – Match 146

Jason has managed to equalize matches won by winning 6 frames to 4. While altogether it wasn’t a bad match, for me it is highlighted by some pretty bad misses. Also, in frame 8, after I had worked hard to level to score for a black ball re-spot, not only did I miss it I also pocketed the white, handing Jason back the frame. It was pretty funny at the time but at the same time I could not help but be disappointed. There were 4 century breaks in total, I scored 126 in frame 3 and 120 in frame 6 while Jason had 107 in frame 4 and 116 in frame 7. It could have easily been 6 centuries between us but both Jason and I narrowly missed century opportunities.

22/10/2021 – Match 147

For the first time in what seems a long time Jason has taken the lead, winning the match 6 frames to 4. There were a total of 4 century breaks, I scored 136 in frame 4 however Jason scored the other 3, 108 in frame 7, 131 in frame 8 and 100 in frame 10. Jason played really well, there could have easily been 3 more century breaks in frames 2, 3 and 6 making this a well deserved victory for him. I really must do better if I want to win this season.

29/10/2021 – Match 148

After losing 3 weeks in a row and Jason taking the lead, I am relieved to have won this week 6 frames to 3. Technically I finish October in the lead on frame difference, but as Jason reminded me, it doesn’t count for much with another 2 months to the season. All in all this match was a little bit sloppy with both of us missing some relatively easy shots. There was an element of bad fortune on both sides, Jason was particularly annoyed after potting the white off of potting the yellow towards the end of the match. There were 3 century breaks, I scored 122 in frame 5 after fluking a red and Jason scored 138 in frame 2 and 105 in frame 7.

Season 5 (July – December 2021) statistics

Played Won Frames Won Centuries Highest Break
Copper 14 7 72 26 144
Jason 14 7 60 25 142

 


WoW: Quitting

WoW: Quitting

As the title of this blog post suggests, I have decided to quit playing Classic World of Warcraft. Before I go into the reasons why I am quitting, I want to briefly talk about my time in what has been the best gaming community I have ever been a part of. When I created my first two Classic WoW characters back in August 2019 I did not think that more than 2 years later I would still be playing the game. I thought that I might reach level 60, do a few dungeons and generally soak up the nostalgia for a few months. This changed when joining a guild called Inspire, now known as Inspired.

It all started in Tanaris, one of the zones in the Kalimdor region within World of Warcraft. I was sad and lonely so decided to put general chat on to see if anyone was interested in doing the Zul’Farrak dungeon which is situated in Tanaris. At that time I did not remember that I should join the looking for group channel, but regardless of this I did see a paladin was asking for help with an escort quest called ‘Rescue OOX-17/TN!‘. I had already completed the quest but decided to help anyway and found that this person was quite nice and verbally invited me to join their guild. I declined the invitation but the seed had been planted. A couple of weeks later, in December 2019 I decided to ask and join that persons guild (who turned out to be one of the guild rogues, Kathrynn) and messaged Dawn who invited me to the guild as a social member with the understanding that I may not be able to attend many raids.

Even though I never really expected to be invited to take part in any of the raids, I signed up for them thinking that I would be benched in favour of raiders, veterans and officers. I hoped that maybe I could join one now and then, perhaps even get lucky with a piece of loot or two that nobody wanted. As it turns out for whatever reasons I was actually invited to nearly all of the guild raids and quickly accumulated loot. I was given some advise from Dawn on how to be a better player, everything from using a better rotation to hotkey management and targeting all improved with his help. While I have never thought of myself being any good at playing World of Warcraft, he helped me become good enough to hold my own. Everyone was friendly, helpful and I noticed little to no drama, certainly none which involved me.

Since I joined, the leader of the guild has changed from Bacon to Dawn and Noparentsguy to Pallydude and now Bubbel. With their leadership the guild has conquered all of what Vanilla Classic WoW had to offer and the guild seems set to do the same with The Burning Crusade. To them and all of the officers past and present, including Kyra, Tsun, Simpleman, Ealenduil, Mexcoo and more recently Nessia, Lotimar and Bahamute. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do to make Inspired a great community of WoW players, thank you for all of the fun times I have had for close to 2 years. As for everyone else, thank you for being part of the community and remember how lucky you are to have found Inspired on your World of Warcraft journey.

Now for the reasons why I am quitting World of Warcraft, unfortunately for me it’s because I am unable to continue to make the sacrifices that I have making to play the game the way I want to. I really don’t want to go in to specifics, this blog has always been about my gaming rather than my personal life, but suffice to say that I need more time to focus on health issues of my own and of a loved one. There are also other reasons, such as the need to buy and move in to a new, smaller home which is closer to my work place and arrange somewhat large maintenance projects for the home of my loved one. For me to finish work and to immediately spend 3 hours playing World of Warcraft 2, 3 even sometimes 4 times a week just isn’t possible for me anymore, not to mention the necessity of preparing before any given raid. I could simply not raid and become a social member of Inspired and log in as and when I want, but this isn’t how I want to play the game, nor is it how I wish to be seen and remembered by the community.

I am going to miss many people in Inspired, I am not going to try and name everyone because invariably I will miss somebody important. Not only has the Inspired community made me a better gamer, but the people of Inspired have given me memories I will cherish to the end of my gaming days and have helped me discover many things about myself, most importantly, that I do not need to play games alone anymore.

Moving forward, because I am still and always be an avid gamer, I will avoid MMO games in general. Instead I will try to play games which I feel as though I can pick up and put down at anytime, without it potentially infringing on more important real life issues.


WoW October Update

WoW: October Update

Phase 2 of The Burning Crusade which included the release of Serpentshine Cavern and The Eye has been quite challenging. I have attended most of the raids my guild has hosted for these so far but I have been unable to attend them this past week. My personal progression in Serpentshrine Cavern is currently 3 out of 6 bosses defeated which include Hydross the Unstable, The Lurker Below and Leotheras the Blind. Last week however my guild successfully managed to defeat Fathom-Lord Karathress and Morogrim Tidewalker to bring the guilds progression to 5 out of 6. We have raided The Eye (Tempest Keep) much less, as such progression there is currently just 1 out of 5 bosses for me, having only defeated Void Reaver. My guild however has also defeated Al’ar. As I mentioned in my previous WoW update, there is now lot more loot available and I now have a new ‘wish-list’ which includes a couple of items I have been awarded already.

Deathmantle Helm
Deathmantle Shoulderpads
Bloodsea Brigand’s Vest
Vambraces of Ending
Deathmantle Handguards
Belt of One-Hundred Deaths
Deathmantle Legguards
Boots of Effortless Striking
Band of the Ranger-General
Ring of Lethality
Tsunami Talisman
Warp-Spring Coil
Arcanite Steam-Pistol
Talon of Azshara

With all of the progress raiding some tempers have been frayed and there has been a loss of focus. When spending pretty much 3 hours of your evening constantly dying, seeing no loot and consuming items which has taken time to acquire between raids is frustrating. But then when someone has perhaps lost focus and does something stupid and you end up dying to some trash it can be easy to lose your temper in the moment. In an effort to try and motive my guild mates and myself I have recorded and uploaded a couple of YouTube videos of the first time we defeated Void Reaver and The Lurker Below. It’s been a while since I have done any of these, I hope it helped.

There has been some progress for my ‘to-do’ list. I somehow reached exalted with Cenarion Expedition when helping out some members of my guild. I have also worked towards getting reputation with Kurenai and The Consortium but it’s a work in progress as they are both still quite far off exalted. Now we are in phase 2 I should also work towards getting attuned for the Hyjal Summit and Black Temple raids so have added these to the list.

Raise fishing to 375
Raise bows skill to 350
Raise guns skill to 350
Raise crossbow skill to 350
Get exalted with Keepers of Time
Get exalted with Cenarion Expedition
Get exalted with The Consortium
Get exalted with Kurenai
Get exalted with Sporeggar
Hyjal Summit attunement
Black Temple attunement

It seems a little crazy to me that this is my 3rd WoW: October update, the first featured a level 32 rogue in 2019, the second, last year, I was preparing for the arrival of Naxxramas. That’s one of the things I really like about my blog, the ability to look back, see how far I have come and remember the achievements and activities I have documented.

Moving forward I hope to progress further with The Burning Crusade phase 2 raids and also to raid phase 1 content with my warlock a little. Now that my guild mate and officer, Tsun, has completed his Atiesh staff quest, I don’t really want to attend any more Naxxramas raids which he continues to host over the weekend. I wanted to help Tsun, but beyond that I think it is important to have ‘rest’ days from WoW so as not to burn out.


Diablo II Resurrected Hardcore Death

Diablo II Resurrected Hardcore Death

Disaster has struck while playing ‘Hardcore’ Diablo II Resurrected. My sorceress which I wrote about in my Diablo II Resurrected Launch post, died level 56 in act 3. This means because I was playing hardcore, the death is permanent. In addition, all of the items she was using are lost. To say I am disappointed would be an understatement, but I think I am taking it quite well. Partly because I am able to use my blog to document what has happened which somehow makes it feel like not a complete waste of time. Below is a screenshot showing her final level.

Diablo II Resurrected Level 56 Hardcore Sorceress Dead

Another reason I am not too devastated is that all of the items I found and stored in the shared ‘stash’ including useful runes remain where they are. This should make it easier to create another hardcore character, perhaps even another Sorceress. I have however decided to focus a little more on a ‘softcore’ character which is where if it dies there is little consequence. This is a far more laid back and casual way to Play Diablo II. While I do not enjoy it as much as hardcore, it is still fun and rewarding. As I write this my necromancer is level 53, has completed the game on ‘normal’ difficulty and is about half way through ‘nightmare’ difficulty. I also found an ‘um‘ rune which is quite uncommon, especially when not playing ‘hell’ difficulty. If I can acquire another one I can produce the ‘Bone‘ rune word which would be ideal.

While it is true the death of my sorceress is my fault, I have found on two occasions this weekend the Diablo II Resurrected servers to be a little unstable. To lose a hardcore character is one thing, but to lose one because of some kind of server glitch would be really upsetting. Because of this I think I will refrain from playing hardcore for at least little while longer!


Diablo II Resurrected Launch

Diablo II Resurrected Launch

It has been a little over a week since the launch of Diablo II Resurrected and to say I am happy with the game would be a bit of an understatement. The launch itself was a bit of a let down, it was difficult to create characters and then impossible to create an online game. After a few hours however Blizzard (the developer of Diablo II Resurrected) fixed the issue. My guess is either they did not expect the launch to attract so many players (although they should have known) or there was some kind of configuration error. What I found worse however were some of the comments of players who, like me, were unable to play the game online. Blizzard are on thin ice with me for a variety of reasons, but for years now I have found people too unreasonable when it comes to some of the mistakes Blizzard make. In this case it really wasn’t the end of the world, after a few hours the game was available for play and hasn’t faltered since.

Yesterday I managed to complete Diablo II Resurrected on ‘normal’ difficulty, using the sorceress. This isn’t difficult and is something I have done many times before in the original game, however I completed the game using the ‘hardcore’ setting which means if my character were to die I would have to start again and lose that character and the items they were using. I am quite proud of this achievement and is something I do not think I did back when I was playing Diablo II back in 2000 – 2003. What’s cool is when you complete the game you’re given a title, for softcore (the setting where your character can die with little consequence) the titles are ‘Slayer’ for normal, ‘Champion’ for ‘nightmare’ difficulty and either ‘Matriarch’ or ‘Patriarch’ for ‘hell’ difficulty. They’re different for hardcore, for completing the game on the normal difficulty setting the title given is ‘destroyer’.

Diablo II Resurrected Destroyer Mithril

It feels right to add Diablo II Resurrected to my list of completed games since I started this blog but this is by no means the end of Diablo II for me. There is still a lot that can be done and I predict I will be playing the game consistently for at least a few months, but we shall have to wait and see. For now I will try and complete the game on nightmare difficulty and perhaps try another character or softcore for a more casual approach. The updated graphics and visuals are amazing, Blizzard really did an excellent job in modernizing the game without forfeiting much (if any) of the classic experience. While I have remembered a surprisingly large amount of stuff about the game, I have seen that there is a lot of new YouTube and website content available which will help remember the best places to farm specific items or character experience depending on my character level. This content will be especially helpful to any new Diablo II players.

Before I finish this post I feel the need to correct something I wrote in the Aliens: Fireteam Elite post I made last month. I said that the last time I bought and played a game on the day of release was for Perfect Dark, I have since remembered that I did this for Diablo III back in 2012 and World of Warcraft Classic in 2019. Now of course I have done the same for Diablo II Resurrected.


Snooker Nation

Snooker Nation September 2021

It’s been a rather short month of Snooker Nation. I have not been feeling well this month and because Jason and I currently live in different continents with different time zones, I have been forced to cancel some of our weekly games. Both of us have been playing well and are making few mistakes, we are however both still chasing a maximum break of 147 for season 5 and we seem to be just falling short of century breaks quite often.

03/09/2021 – Match 142

Once again it has been a good start to the month for me in terms of Snooker Nation, winning 6 frames to 2. Jason and I have noticed that for this season when I win it always seems to be 6-2 but when Jason wins it always seems to be 6-5. It’s a bit of a strange coincidence but it does mean my frames won difference is quite high and naturally therefore my centuries difference is high. Ultimately of course these statistics do not matter unless we tie the season in matches won. There were 5 century breaks in total this match, I scored 4 in a row, 117 in frame 1 followed by 101, 112 and a 142 which levels me with Jason’s high break the season so far. Jason scored 107 in the 6th frame so he can at least walk away holding his head high.

24/09/2021 – Match 143

I am disappointed to have lost this match 6 frames to 3, I have been leading in matches won this season for some time now but Jason refuses to let me run up a significant lead. There were 3 century breaks, Jason scored 138 in the 4th frame and 113 in the 8th frame. Coincidentally I also scored 138 in the 5th frame. Each frame was smooth, neither of us played badly, the exception might be in the final frame where Jason was able the pinch the frame after I missed a relatively easy shot. While I am disappointed to have lost, I am happy the mantra of winning 6-2 or losing 6-5 has ended.

Season 5 (July – December 2021) statistics

Played Won Frames Won Centuries Highest Break
Copper 9 5 48 17 142
Jason 9 4 36 12 142

 


WoW September Update

WoW: September Update

Since my August WoW update I have taken a bit of a step back from World of Warcraft and decided to play a few other games, most notably XCOM 2, Kerbal Space Program and Aliens: Fireteam Elite. I declined a few raid invitations but made sure to log in daily to check my mail and open lockboxes for my guild mates. Overall however I have attended most guild raids in the last month and have even found time to finish leveling up a new character, a warlock, which is something I did not think I would do.

What’s unfortunate is that I have received no loot from raiding, with the exception of a Pit Lord’s Satchel which is kind of handy. This bad fortune could change in the coming weeks and months with the launch of phase 2 which opened Serpentshine Cavern and The Eye raids. This means there is a lot more loot available and will mean a completely new wish list in next month’s update.

Netherblade Chestpiece
Nightfall Wristguards
Girdle of the Deathdealer
Skulker’s Greaves
Edgewalker Longboots
Ring of a Thousand Marks

My ‘to-do’ list has once again not seen much progress. All of these things require me to log in between raids and engage in some of the more boring and grindy content Classic World of Warcraft has to offer. By taking a step back and by raising a new level 70 character, virtually all of the things listed below have seen no progress. I can say however that I have completed ‘The Eye’ attunement, which is very important.

Raise fishing to 375
Raise bows skill to 350
Raise guns skill to 350
Raise crossbow skill to 350
Get exalted with Keepers of Time
Get exalted with Cenarion Expedition
Get exalted with The Consortium
Get exalted with Kurenai
Get exalted with Sporeggar
Complete The Eye Attunement

My guild (Inspired) recruited 2 new officers to help organize the guild, they are Nessia and Lotimar. Both of these guys are nice and I have found Nessia a more than capable raid leader. I do not know if Lotimar will be raid leading but he seems to be doing things behind the scenes and is approachable. I thought about ‘applying’ for an officer role but kept thinking how sometimes I get overly angry and/or annoyed with certain guild members. Right now I can ignore them and I even mute one person on Discord during raids, something I couldn’t do if I were an officer.

Over the next 4 weeks I hope to help my guild clear some (or maybe all) of the new raids, but would also like to play my new warlock character from time to time. Recently there have been some extra raids organized for people to bring alternative characters which could be a fun opportunity for my warlock. I also want to go back to Naxxramas to help a fellow guild mate and officer Tsun complete his Atiesh staff quest. Diablo II Resurrected is due to be released soon so I will probably take even more time away from WoW between raids, but do still plan on achieving everything on my ‘to do’ list eventually.


Aliens: Fireteam Elite

Aliens: Fireteam Elite

For the first time in I don’t know how long I have actually purchased and played a modern game, Aliens: Fireteam Elite. Not only Did I purchase and play the game the same year it was released but also the same month and day of release. The last time I did this was probably when Perfect Dark was released for the Nintendo 64 back in June 2000. Unlike with Perfect Dark however I did not anticipate the arrival of Aliens: Fireteam Elite but noticed it had just been released when browsing for a new game to play as part of my ‘break’ from classic World of Warcraft after feeling heartbroken by Blizzard Entertainment’s actions in recent years.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite is primarily a survival co-operative game for 2 or 3 people who take on wave upon wave of aliens. There is a campaign with 4 missions broken down into 3 checkpoints (giving us 12 levels) which get progressively harder. I am happy to say I have completed the campaign on the standard (normal) difficulty setting so have found it fit to add Aliens: Fireteam Elite to my list of completed games from when I started blogging. It wasn’t at all easy though, something I think I have demonstrated in the recorded game play below.

There is some ‘end game’ content available in that players unlock more difficulty settings and a ‘horde’ game mode once they have completed the game. Horde mode is where players face endless waves of enemies and try to survive as long as possible. Players are also encouraged to level up each of the playable classes, Gunner, Demolisher, Technician and Doc while unlocking a variety of items.

I don’t think I will be playing any more Aliens: Fireteam Elite, but it feels good to have picked up a new game and completed it from start to finish and blog about it. It’s as I mentioned in my last blog review, that I would like to play a wider variety of games. I think this is a step in the right direction.


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