Here’s a random topic for you today: I hate mounts in MMOs. I was watching a video of Camelot Unchained where Mark Jacobs was fielding questions and two of them dealt with speed: (1) How quickly can players get into RvR, and (2) Will there be classes with speed buffs. For some reason I thought of mounts; My mind stopped listening to the video and went back into the depths of my memory where I recall how wonderful it was when MMOs were mount free.
I can remember how long it took to run places in EverQuest. Grouping with a Bard brought this feeling of pure ecstasy as the speed song kicked in and I felt so fast and free. I remember trying to get back to the RvR fight in DAoC and how crucial it was to group with a Bard, Skald, or Minstrel to have that run buff. Without it you were so much slower, and without it you wouldn’t get back to the fight quickly — or you’d be left behind and ganked.
Not having speed or access to speed made having it better. Again I find myself going back to that feeling of opposition and deprivation adding so much value to the experience. Classes with speed had something to offer and filled a key role. That role existed because there weren’t prolific speed increases.
Mounts make everyone fast, shrink the world, and remove a huge dynamic layer from many systems. Mounts have become zany and an out-of-control arcade element. Mounts are something sold in cash shops, earned with achievements, and akin to the prize you get with your tickets at the arcade. They are an accessory yet can influence so much of a game’s design.
If the decision were mine to make in the future… I wouldn’t include mounts in my game.