Mounts Done RIGHT – The Amazing Mount System in Guild Wars 2

I have always been a huge sucker for pets and mounts in video games. If I get to own, raise, ride, or play with animals of any kind, chances are I’ll love whatever game it is. When I used to play World of Warcraft I would spend ages running old raid content for the 2% chance of rare mount loot drops. As in “Sorry I can’t go out to dinner, gotta run Icecrown Citadel on my 10th alt before weekly raid reset.” (It was a sickness, really.)

When a mount system was finally added to Guild Wars 2 last year in the Path of Fire expansion, I was ecstatic! In developer interviews on the subject, ArenaNet calls their design philosophy the “Joy of Movement”, and it is indeed an absolutely joy to collect and ride these incredibly well designed mounts. Each type of mount has a specific mechanical purpose and handles very differently, rather than being a series of model re-skins as is seen inmost MMOs. Mounts in Guild Wars 2 are essentially a case study is how to do mounts right. Giddy-up!

Raptor

The Raptor is the first mount you’ll acquire in the Path of Fire story when you save some in their pens from a fire engulfing the surrounding village. Raptors are incredibly good at covering long distances quickly with their agile leap. This leap is fantastic for vaulting across gaps in terrain, such as canyon crevasses or broken bridges. Raptors can be trained via the Mount Mastery system to jump even farther, resulting in the quickest ground mount for sprinting short to middling distances with haste, especially when you need to jump over or past terrain obstacles as you go.

Springer

The Springer is essentially a cross between a rabbit and a kangaroo. Found on a Springer farm in the second Path of Fire region, these mounts are a little slow on the ground, still faster than unmounted speed, but the Springer’s specialty is pure, vertical mobility. Able to scale tall cliff sides in a single bound, the Springer can get you on top of the tallest towers and mountains in the game with a few well placed, sky high hops.

Skimmer

The Skimmer is kind of niche in it’s use, but pretty cool. Residing in the third Path of Fire zone, these massive, floating manta rays will carry you over water, sinking sand, and even boiling lava without touching the ground. Skimmers can also glide off of very high places and land without taking fall damage.

Jackal

The Jackal is my favorite ground mount by far. You must prove yourself to the wise Djinn of the desert to obtain one of these highly maneuverable mounts. Jackals are magical sand spirits that have been formed into the shape of a canine by the Djinn, harnessed and bound by stylish runic armor.

Jackals can teleport! These handsome, highly versatile canids can teleport instantly up to three times in quick succession across small distances in any direction, which makes it easy to pass through areas full of enemies without getting pulled into combat. They can also cross gaps, but not ones as wide as the Raptor mounts can, and they can use their teleport to travel through sand portals scattered across the land. They can even teleport mid fall, allowing you to negate fall damage by blinking as the last moment before impact.

Griffon

The Griffon is particularly interesting because it’s existence was actually not advertised prior to the release of Path of Fire. Players were left to discover the quest line to obtain the Griffon on their own. Earning access to the Griffon mount is much more involved than any of the others, requiring quite a lot of gold, the completion of several collection quest lines including gathering Griffon eggs from cliffs in each Path of Fire zone, and ending in a unique boss fight.

Surprisingly, Griffons cannot take off into the sky directly from the ground. They can fly for a few good flaps from a ground takeoff, but they do best when launching from a high place. Griffons can glide almost endlessly. They can pull off incredibly enjoyable falcon dives and pull back up into the sky, and can glide extremely quickly over long distances. Griffons have beautiful animations both in flight and on the ground, and adorable birdlike sound effects.

This video featuring Griffon races found all over the Path of Fire regions does a great job of showing how the Griffon mount handles. It’s hard to describe how enjoyable and freeing it feels to pilot a Griffon compared to the mounts in other RPGs and MMOs.

Roller Beetle

The Roller Beetle was the first new mount players could obtain post-launch of Path of Fire during the first chapter of the Living Story season four. It is what it sounds like: a beetle that rolls. These critters are basically giant, happy doodle bugs (“roly polies” or “pill bugs” depending on your local jargon) that curl into a ball and are ridden kind of like a motorcycle. Players are able to obtain one after raising it to adulthood and then crafting a saddle for it.

Roller Beetles start off slow and pick up momentum until they are going as fast as a max speed Griffon. They turn clumsily, so they are best used where there is a lot of open ground with with nothing in the way. However, they can both drift around turns and launch from hills and ramps into the sky where the player can actually do tricks to gain a speed boost upon landing. You can also break through rock walls with the Roller Beetle’s booster ability.

Thanks to the high skill cap available for optimal Roller Beetle piloting, Guilds of players immediately formed after the Roller Beetle’s release to chart the best race tracks across Tyria and race together during planned events. Here’s a great video from Tyria DRIFT featuring the best of high speed Roller Beetle racing.

Warclaw

The Warclaw was added post expansion launch in an update to player versus player content. This armored feline is the only mount that can be used in the World versus World cross-server PvP battlegrounds. It is not uncommon to see entire 40-man Guild raids traveling together swiftly in a giant pack of Warclaws to do battle across the map.

Warclaws allow the player to initiate combat with an aggressive pounce from range or from a ledge above. They also allow the player to finish off downed enemies without dismounting. There is little more concerning as a solo roamer or small squad in World versus World mode than noticing a Warclaw mounted raid ground charging at you!

Skyscale

Finally, a dragon! Skyscales were introduced in the most recent Living Story chapter about a month ago. The Skyscale mount must be raised by hand from an egg, which can take four days or more in game. You’ll feed it, train it, make it toys and riding gear, and earn its trust. Your reward is an extremely useful and entertaining flying steed!

The Skyscale sacrifices the Griffon’s speed in exchange for freer maneuverability. Scyscales can take off vertically directly from the ground, hover at length in mid air, and even scale up or cling to walls indefinitely. They will also drop you directly on targeted enemies and assist briefly with fire breath. It’s awesome! I have no idea what the developers could release that would top the Skyscale.

Sense of Ownership and Player Immersion

What makes mounts in Guild Wars 2 interesting is not simply their movement, but the player’s shared progression with them. A Mastery system was introduced with Path of Fire in lieu of increasing the level cap with a new expansion as other MMORPGs usually do. Mount Mastery upgrades, earned by completing collections and achievements in Path of Fire, allow each of your mounts access to new abilities or enhanced versions of their existing abilities.

For instance, Griffon Mastery teaches the player to summon and mount their Griffon mid-air while falling, and also glide much faster. Raptors and Springers can increase their jump distance significantly! You get the idea.

Truly mastering one’s stable of steeds gives players a deep sense of investment and ownership over their mounts. Combined with the ability to customize the color palette of mounts to your specific tastes, mounts end up feeling like an extension of the player rather than a movement tool. Each mount has a specific role to fill and each player has a favorite mount in their collection. I cannot imagine going back to playing Guild Wars 2 on foot!

Thanks for reading!

Note: Many of these images are from the Guild Wars 2 website and forums. Some are my own screen shots.

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8 thoughts on “Mounts Done RIGHT – The Amazing Mount System in Guild Wars 2

  1. I probably have a really unpopular opinion here, but I think the mounts ruined Guild Wars 2.

    Back in HoT days, I used to play the game every day – I loved it! Now however, as life has passed by, I can’t put in the hours I used to and I’m still currently without the Griffon Mount due to how much it costs. I don’t have time for all that farming anymore. For this reason, I struggle to follow and keep up with squads when I do play as I can’t get to places that others can unless I do a massive a detour. It’s frustrating. I appreciate having different mounts for different purposes, but they should be easier to obtain.

    I also feel like the mounts only reward those players who put endless hours into the game or those who are quite happy to sink their weekly wage into the Gem Store. As for the skins, 2000 Gems for one skin is ridiculous, and the random chance loot boxes aren’t much better for the vast amount skins contained in them – most of which no one actually wants anyway. I know Anet have to make money, but did they really have to go that far?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed it is your mother dearest. We sure had some fun riding together when you where young. Suzie and later Moon we terrific horses for you.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I too think that you have a rather unpopular opinion going on here. Don’t get me wrong, I know exactly where you’re coming from, but I’d like to add my perspective nevertheless and give a different perspective for potentional readers.
      I am a full-time student and work a part-time job on the side. I’m out of house for ~ 10-12 hours Mon-Fri, and busy with work & doing stuff for uni + grocery shopping, cleaning the flat etc. additionally 1-6hrs a day, each day (even Sat & Sun). I play super casually, maybe every other week or so, seldom more than 1-2 hours a week (except during vacation ofc) & I only play Open World PvE and occasionally WvW, so I’m pretty poor ingame haha. Still, I felt like getting the Griffon or Warclaw or Skyscale wasn’t that hard or grindy – you just gotta be patient tbh. To me, mounts improved my general GW2 experience – and it felt good acquiring them and leveling them and yeah, I also like some of the flashy gemstore skins & the multitude of fashion wars options they provide^^.
      Soooo to put it in a nutshell: I’m sorry it ruined your experience; to me, it was and still is a huge improvement to the game 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I feel like it’s uninformed rather an unpopular. I don’t quite understand that angle you’re coming from.

      The Griffon mount isn’t required at all to keep up with other mounts, unless you’re doing HoT stuff in which case the glider works almost as well. If you have at least the Raptor you should have no issue keeping up with friends. If they are purposefully taking to the air to leave you behind then they are jerks and that’s a them issue, not a mount issue.

      All the mounts except the Griffon are easy to get and do not require grinding. They simply require playing through the Path of Fire story naturally. The Roller Beetle is easy and just asks for a few quests and a small collection as part of the living story chapter. Warclaw took me all of two days of collecting achievement items casually in WvW to do. The Skyscale is the next hardest one to the Griffon to get and it’s still doable in 4 days to a week of simply doing the neat events there. Heck, if you want the Griffon I’d be happy to give you whatever gold you’re missing.

      The gem store skins aren’t a reward and do nothing special. They are purely cosmetic. The people buying those skins are the people funding the game so that the rest of us can continue to get content and not pay a sub fee, you know? Anet’s gotta pay salaries somehow. I wouldn’t really say adding optional cosmetics as “going that far”. Options cosmetics for literally everything in the game is nothing new.

      Like

      1. I’m not against the mounts – I just preferred the game back in the day. I’ve never personally warmed to PoF after HoT left a strong impression on me.

        I know the Griffon isn’t required, but the issue I have is that squads use Griffons all the time when doing runs e.g. bounty runs and I can’t always follow their direct route as the glider descends over time. This sometimes leads to me missing the objective as I have to detour. Since you’ve got your Griffon, you probably wouldn’t notice the struggle.

        I know skins are only cosmetic, and I applaud GW2 in that aspect as they don’t have a ‘pay to win’ mechanic, only ‘pay to look pretty’, but the loot box Adoption Licences with 30 skins contained went too far. These boxes should have been smaller or contained skins that were mount specific. It was a pretty big deal at that time – but that was over a year ago now.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Okay I gotcha. I completely agree with the “loot box” lower cost skin options. Those make me crazy. I took a break during vanilla and started again after PoF was released and I didn’t even have the glider while trying to keep up with people on mounts until I got the Raptor. So I totally get it. But still the Raptor should do the job in most cases I believe. The Jackal too if your guild is jumping off cliffs with birbs. Cause at least you can keep up without dismounting and just teleport as you fall to keep up and break the fall.

        Liked by 1 person

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