Friday, June 12, 2009

Mounts Ho!

A couple of days ago, Blizzard has announced some major changes to the mount system. If you're reading about this for the first time on my blog, what's wrong with you??? This is big news. Although I'm late with posting about it, I feel like I have to comment on these changes because they are simply too exciting. Here we go...
Apprentice Riding (Skill 75)
  • 60% land mount speed
  • Requires level 20
  • Cost: 4 gold
  • Mount cost: 1 gold
  • Mail will be sent to players at level 20 guiding them to the riding trainer
Journeyman Riding (Skill 150)
  • 100% land mount speed
  • Requires level 40
  • Cost: 50 gold
  • Mount cost: 10 gold
  • Mail will be sent to players at level 40 guiding them back to the riding trainer

Expert Riding (Skill 225)
  • 150% flying mount speed; 60% land mount speed
  • Requires level 60
  • Cost: 600 gold (faction discounts now apply)
  • Mount Cost: 50 gold
  • Can now be learned in Honor Hold (Alliance) or Thrallmar (Horde)

Artisan Riding (Skill 300)
  • 280% flying mount speed; 100% land mount speed
  • Requires level 70
  • Cost: 5,000 gold (faction discounts now apply)
  • Mount Cost: 100 gold
Despite some people decrying the so-called "decline" of WoW due to the fact that it's become more tailored to casuals and a lot easier and quicker to level, I believe that only the most selfish, thoughtless and self-absorbed individuals would think that making the leveling process easier is a bad thing. Because let's face it, these mount changes will make the whole 1-70 leveling process A LOT easier. Why not 1-80? Because I'm assuming at 70 you will be hitting Northrend and you will continue to be restricted from flying until 77. Um... yeah... our old-time favorite Cold Weather Flying is still going strong. That's to be expected though. Northrend is still part of the current expansion and I'm confident that Cold Weather Flying will be eliminated or at least its required level reduced in a future expansion. In addition, I'm sure that they'll speed up experience gain from 70-80 just like they did for 20-60 and then 60-70.

The change that I'm most excited about and the most important one in my opinion is that we can now fly in Outland from level 60! Not only that but the "slow" flying mounts are now faster than the epic ground mount, at 150% speed! How awesome is that? I'm guessing that leveling times will fall by up to 20-30% thanks to this change.

Getting to 60 and Outland is now even quicker due to being able to use the 100% epic mount at level 40 (woot!) and the regular 60% mount at level 20. There doesn't seem to be such a great distance between 20 and 30 but the truth is, I'm really tired of walking the vast distances within and between zones at that level. Quests in classic WoW aren't that well spaced out and many of them require you to move between several zones, sometimes even between continents, in order to complete them.

Of course, these aren't the only changes. Druid flight forms as well as other classes' specific travel abilities have had their levels lowered accordingly.
  • Travel Form: Requires level 16
  • Flight Form: Requires level 60 (150% flight speed)
  • Swift Flight Form: Requires level 70

  • Aspect of the Cheetah: Requires level 16

  • Ghost Wolf: Requires level 16
In addition, it is now easier than ever to afford that first mount at level 20 and the epic one at 40. The flying mounts still bear the same prices but I don't think now's the time to lower them. Even though the 5000G mount is a bit expensive, if you read this blog and others like it you will realize that it's definitely not impossible to own one. Besides there's a real sense of accomplishment once you've raised all that gold.

I can really see that Blizzard is listening to players and they are trying to make the game less boring and focused more on the fun things than on irritating mechanics that don't have much purpose save for the fact that they were inherited from Classic WoW. I'm not saying that travel should disappear completely, to be replaced perhaps by instant teleports. However, there are many things that can make the whole process of traveling less onerous.

One other thing that I like is the new portals from Stormwind and Orgrimmar to the Dark Portal. Not only that but it seems there will be a new flight path taking players from the Dark Portal to Shattrath.
Also, brought to you by Azeroth's greatest users of magic, are all new portals coming to Stormwind and Orgrimmar. These portals will transport players directly to the Stair of Destiny at the Dark Portal. Travel is just so much more convenient when it's instantaneous! Players will then find that a new connecting flight path exists at the Stair of Destiny allowing players new to Outland easy and direct access to the city of Shattrath.
That's a very nice touch and I think more such portals to important areas should exist. Some of them could become active after a long chain quest or other such activity. I don't think anyone wants instant gratification either. There should definitely exist a bit of difficulty in getting to the point where your travels are more convenient.

In all, I'm looking forward to these changes with great anticipation. They will certainly allow my alts to level much quicker and less painfully. Barrens anyone? The new mount changes are a continuation of Blizzard's recent policy of polishing the game such that it becomes more attractive to both new players and existing players and their alts. I am certain this trend will continue in future patches and expansions. Will the game become so easy to the point that it feels trivial? Don't count on it. The World of Warcraft is continuing to expand and is now much bigger than it used to be a few years ago. Travel through the world is definitely not something that needs to be arduous and painful.

To those who still think these new changes will trivialize gameplay, I suggest you don your vinyl suit and decline riding a mount until you feel gratified, whether it be level 30-40 or even 80. For the rest of us, having choices is a wonderful thing.


Joe said...

Thank god for the new portals, and thank god i didnt spend my 5000g a week to early to have it nerfed! I'd have been a little annoyed if i'd saved it up, buying it, then have it change the following week.

I'm happy!

Darth Solo said...

I'm sure they'll nerf that 5000G some time in the future.

Shawn said...

I'm just happy that buying my regular flying mount hasn't turned into something I'm really regretting, now that it'll be able to go up to 150%. It'll make doing dailies in Outland all the more easier when I need to get some cash raised. Wish you could use the flying mounts on Quel'Danas though!

bloodshrike said...

I've been delaying going into Outland for my highest toon (lvl 62 hunter) for a while, and now I'll be able to fly to all the quests!

Also, my 3rd server has a bunch of level 20 alts that I've been lagging on playing, and having a mount will make it a lot more appealing to play them.

Darth Solo said...

The more you delay going to Outland/Northrend, the easiest it will be to tackle those quests, although even the starting quest rewards are way better than the ones in the previous expansion.

The way I see it, this move will be especially beneficial for the vast hordes of alts that people are leveling.

Joe said...

I've not been a fan of outland for quite a long time, other than flying mounts i didnt see any reason to go there, yes there are good quests, and gold to be made, but imo northend is the place to be, you can net thousands of gold jsut running around there, alts, mains, galore!

Darth Solo said...

As a rule I never take a toon to Northrend unless he is 70 and I won't take one to Outland unless he's 60. I took one to Outland when he was 58 and he had a hard time.

The advantage of staying in Outland until you gain a few more levels over 70 would be that you can move much faster with a flying mount, thus completing more quests and gaining experience quicker.