Mikael Hultgren  —   I'm a coder, baker and climber, by day I code for a living and by night I develop apps for the  landscape of devices. You can find me as “blomma” on Twitter and Github.

ADS

No matter how you feel about adblockers, good or bad, the fact is that ads turn every article, every piece of word written, every lovingly crafted webpage into a immersion breaking piece of utter shit. And no amount of playing nice will ever convince even one of these ad publishers to find a more sustainable business model.

So yeah, adblockers might be the nuclear option in this war against ads, but enough is enough, I would rather have a future web with far less content that have to put up with this bullshit anymore.

GUILD WARS 2S PERSONAL STORY

Guild Wars 2 is a odd duck, I’ve been trying to get into it for a long time, plodding along with my engineer but never finding it sticking to me. The personal story has always felt disconnected from me, both the character and me as a person playing the game.

A couple of days ago I dinged 80 and with that the last chapters of the personal story opened up. And this time in an effort of immersing myself I decided to go thru it all in quick succession in an attempt to make it less hacked up. On I went, and for the first time enjoying the story and understanding what was happening.

Until I hit the last part where the designers had decided that forcing me to team up was a solid decision. Going from a story where I had soloed it up to this point it felt incredibly frustrating to have to stop and endure the complete shitstorm that is grouping. Yes i said shitstorm, because if by a stroke of luck I manage to find a group during my limited window of gaming I still have to complete it with a group of strangers, all with different motivation on why they are there. And I can guarantee you that not many of them are there to enjoy the story laid out, which for me was the whole point of running it.

Spring

REVIEW OF VAGRANT VMWARE FUSION PLUGIN

Initially I used VirtualBox to test out Vagrant, but it soon became clear that VirtualBox wouldn’t cut it on my iMac Retina, it was okay in windowed mode, but fullscreen just killed performance, dragging a window was a exercise in futility. But I had a copy of VMware Fusion 7 installed I knew would work wonders.

But to make VMware Fusion work with Vagrant you need a plugin which you can buy from https://www.vagrantup.com/vmware. As a side note, I like this kind of add-on purchase, especially in this case where it comes with a “30-day, no questions asked, 100% money-back guarantee” as per the F.A.Q.

Right, so once the plugin is installed you will notice that everything will work pretty much as it did with VirtualBox. I say pretty much, but there are a few caveats.

  • The Virtual Machine Library will start to fill with instances of the boxes you use. But vagrant won’t remove instances from this view when you destroy a box, so at some point you will need to clean up the dead instances. This is purely cosmetic.
  • If you have a multi machine setup where one box has the .gui = false set you have to start that box last, otherwise, once you start the box with the gui visible it will also show the other boxes no matter what the setting for .gui = false was. This has been reported as issue#5373.

But these are minor niggles that in no way detracts from the functionality and with the performance gain I see by using VMware Fusion instead of Virtual Box I can recommend that you plonk down the cash for this plugin.

FLYING MOUNTS IN WORLD OF WARCRAFT

By large I think flying mounts has taken away most of the wonder of exploration in World of Warcraft. I recently reacquainted myself with the world of Azeroth, or to be more precise my adventure started in Pandaria and it started on foot with only my trusted sabretooth to keep me company on my journey. As every expansion to date, after flying was introduced, you have to get certified for flying in that area and that also requires max level for the expansion.

So as far as levelling is concerned you are forced to schlepp around on the ground like some commoner. But that was hardly a problem, max level was never a hard goal to reach and by the time you hit the level requirement you had enough gold to buy that oh so alluring licence. And that was probably the last time you saw any great part of the landmass from the ground, travel from that point on became a linear path from point A to point B and all you saw was blue sky and treetops.

Now when flying was first introduced you quickly realised that the world of Azeroth was never built to be experienced flying, what looked like a beautiful evocative tree from the ground was nothing more than a blur of lines and pixels from the air. Which is not surprising, why spend pixels on something that few would ever see. So flying never felt especially immersive or interesting, it was mainly a way to travel fast.

Pandaria was no exception to this, the landscape was beautiful, the music evocative and the time spent traveling added, not subtracted, to the experience of exploration and questing. But all along I could see the end goal, the licence at the end of the road that would make all these beautifully crafted pixels obsolete. If I was a designer working on World of Warcraft I would curse the day flying was implemented.

So it was with a sense of joy that I discovered that Warlords did not come with flying out of the box, yes the devs have said that it will be implemented in a later patch, but out of the gate the only way to get somewhere is by flightpath or ground travel.

And I think this is a calculated design idea, that by not including flying they are keeping the sense of immersion and wonder fresh, slowing people down to smell the roses and enjoy the game. Because here is the rub, in most MMOG and life for that matter, it is seldom the goal that is all that interesting it is the journey to it and what happens along the way. And altho this might seem like a stretch to compare, I would say that a World of Warcraft without flying is a far more interesting place than a World of Warcraft with it.