Content Type: Gaming News
Date: February 3, 2021
What mount moves slow, yet fast?
The snorse, of course.
(Credit u/bongscoper and u/lolgubstep).
Thank you for spotting this little treasure, Reddit community. Its actual title is Wisp Whelk and it was a cosmetic mount skin in a Boons of the Waveborn pre-order pack. They are supposed to be, like, these mysterious desert phantoms or something, but I just think this snailboi is a cutie.
Speaking of which… mount skins?
It’s time we discussed the speedy, unique, majestic, and fearsome: mounts in the Ashes of Creation!
Mounted Combat? No, but Yes to Mount Combat!
Let’s start by addressing the question that came up often in the Ashes of Creation community. Combat atop a mount?
Sadly, no, you can’t use your class skills when mounted, so don’t expect your ranger to shower arrows upon a pack of aggressive mobs while making circles on a horse.
Instead, expect some mounts to have combat abilities themselves, along with some energy to execute them. To counter that, mounts can be targeted separately from players and thus killed (unable to be re-summoned for some time).
Now, to counter that counter, mounts can have armor in the form of multi-component saddles, as long as you pick parts that give your mount bonus hit points.
So, while we know that players can’t fight while on top of their mounts, there is still some hope for mounts fighting. Depending on where developers take these features, mounts can make great initiation and defense vehicles.
Or, at least make soloing a caravan trade run a bit more plausible for those more introverted players. (Hey, I like help. I just feel awkward asking for it sometimes, okay?)
There is also something special related to ultra-rare dragon mounts and node raids which we will discuss at the end of the article, so stay tuned!
Mount Tiers and Mount Skins: Abilities vs. Appearance
With how important mounts will be in the Ashes of Creation (since fast travel in the game is going to be limited), it’s important to discuss their variety and abilities. Which, by the way, will cover multiple terrains, verticalities, and (as we covered above) even some abilities unrelated to travel.
Early in the game your character will be able to obtain a mount associated with your race to help you in your travels around Verra, which you can expect to be a typical ground mount.
However, AoC mounts also come with a different assembly of core abilities, utility skills, and stats. Some will also have combat abilities, varied speeds and speed-related abilities, or a variety of other traversal and combat-initiating skills.
Now, whatever mount you have, you will be able to change its appearance via a library of cosmetic skins you can find in the game (and, likely buy in the store). This won’t affect the mount’s speed or its abilities, but it will allow you to get your mount to look as cool and gorgeous as you would want it to be. (Intrepid is trying to keep their AoC store strictly to cosmetics, which is an applaudable effort to combat pay-to-win or pay-to-convenience in MMOs.)
However, you can get a lot of variety as is by trading with players with husbandry, or by taming animals in the wild. Both lead to mounts with unique abilities and stats.
Here’s the thing, though: you can’t just grab a horse and put a dragon mount skin on it: there are different tiers of mounts that denote their… let’s just call it, verticality.
Followed by the common tier ground mounts are the swimming tier mounts, which — you guessed it! — move faster in water and slower on land. You can take a land animal for a swim, but they pretty much function the opposite way, feeling quite out of their element trying to navigate through water.
(Above.) One of the aquatic mounts you might see in the game is the Tidesnapper with its water-gliding ability.
Next tier up, tier 2, are the gliding and jumping mounts. These mounts are winged, but are not capable of proper flight. They typically jump, glide, or just hover close to the ground. However, with how rare the top-tier or “royal” mounts are, you are likely to see a lot of cool dragon skins applied to this tier — they just will be smaller and incapable of freeform flight.
But, who gets the royal mounts then? Well, royals!
Or, to be more exact, tier 3 mounts will be available to mayors of metropolis-level settlement nodes, or kings and queens of guild castles. While they can be a drop from legendary world bosses, expect them to be ultra-rare (they might get a limited livespan attached to them).
When dragon and other badass tier-3-compatible cosmetic skins are applied to these, they will be massive (er… their intended massive size, so to say). However, many tier-2 skins can also be upgraded for tier-3 mounts, as long as they are compatible.
(Above.) One of the iconic royal mounts seen in a lot of pre-Alpha footage is the majestic Nighthunter Gryphon. Of course, you will see far, far less of them when the game releases compared to the developer livestreams.
One of the really cool things tier-3 dragons also have going for them are special PvP abilities for castle and node sieges: AoE breath attacks, flyby attacks, and others. Again, of course, reserved to leaders of a node.
Which — to come a full circle — is a great opportunity for participating in combat atop a mount!
In fact, breathing fire upon an enemy castle from atop a massive dragon might be a great way to take it to the next level. Just try visualizing it! What an iconic, epic fantasy scene! There is hoping developers don’t cut this feature.
Let us know, what has been your experience with mounts in MMORPGs? Are they an underused element?
I personally think so. If Ashes of Creation does manage to pull most of these promises off, it will be nice to see mounts that are more than just ground and air transportation, being a major part of terrain navigation (in a game that wants to severely limit fast travel) and even used as a part of combat strategy.
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!