Mount Up

As I settle into the routine of daily play, I just wanted to take a moment and express how amazing the mounts are in GW2.

GW2_Mounts

Fantastic animations too.

To be clear, I have only unlocked the Raptor mount at this time. My understanding is that the other mounts behave quite differently, and all have different abilities that they bring to the table. For example, the raptor can leap long distances, whereas some other mounts float above water, others leap vertically up, and there is even one that can fly/swoop around.

Looking just at the Raptor though, GW2 demonstrates a refreshing sense of design that works especially well in its gamespace. The Raptor has momentum and a turning radius. At first, this makes it seem unwieldy and difficult to maneuver. But then I started to ponder why it “feels” like anything at all. The answer is because in other MMOs like WoW, mounts are just reskinned players models. If you have ever flown around in WoW when the mount model fails to render, you can see your character in a swimming animation in open air. That is basically what mounts, flying or otherwise, are in WoW. They aren’t anything.

GW2_MountLeap

Sometimes ill-advised, but leaping is always fun.

The Raptor’s primary movement ability is the Leap, and here again the subtle genius of GW2’s design shines through. The length of the leap is a function of how long you press Spacebar, and the amount of times you can leap is tied to the “Endurance Bar” aka the Dodge bar. In text form, those are merely details. Running along the strikingly three-dimension space GW2 constructs, the mere act of riding the Raptor is great fun. Intermittent leaps, large leaps, traversing canyons simply to see if you can… all of them provide stimulation in a way simply going from Point A to Point B never do. Presumably there are entire maps in Path of Fire constructed to take advantage of these movement capabilities, but the default maps are just as fun.

And did I mention that mounting up is instant? For those that experienced it, the Halloween holiday in WoW (and Druids, I suppose) are the closest we have gotten to instant mounting, and the devs seem ever resistant to changing that, as if the 1.5 second delay is some integral part of the questing experience. Well… given the radical difference in feel between zero and any other number, perhaps they are right. But instant is fun. Now that the last vestiges of non-consensual PvP are gone, perhaps the WoW devs can take a page out of GW2’s playbook on the matter.

In any case, the mount system in GW2 is the best I have played in any MMO. I think Aion might have came close, if you consider wings to be “mounts,” but this definitely takes the cake.

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Posted on January 17, 2018, in Guild Wars 2 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Reminds me of the LotRO steeds, which, if I’m not mistaken, ended up in complete failure.

    I also sense a contradiction in a mount which “feels” like a mount, but can then be 0-seconds-insta-summoned. I also don’t remember you loving Black Desert mounts, which feel like a mounts a lot more than LotRO’s.

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    • I don’t care if a mount feels “real,” I care if it feels fun. WoW mounts don’t feel like anything, because they are just your character model floating around. GW2 mounts feel quite different than you just running around, which makes them more interesting to play around with. They are an entertaining mode of transportation, in other words, which noticeably improves the gameplay.

      I had effectively zero fun in Black Desert Online, up to and including the mount system there. It might have been “realistic” in that your mount persisted after dismounting, etc, but that does not make it fun.

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      • For me it was the opposite. I agree that WoW mounts are not mounts at all (even more because I’ve always played a druid….), but I really liked the persistence of BDO mounts. The mount becomes something you must plan for, and not just a speed power-up available whenever you want.
        I’ll have to get PoF and go back to GW2 to see how they work.

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  2. Three words. Raptor idle animations.

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