MMO Mounts

MMO mounts
Many players in the WildStar community want mounts limited to ground only.

I can remember when mounts were only something we dreamed about in MMOs. I think I was playing Dark Age of Camelot one night, probably in a group without a bard, and I had the thought that it would be awesome to see an army of mounted players riding into battle on the backs of mighty steeds. The visual is awe-inspiring, but I’ve learned over the years that I might prefer everyone on foot.

Like my post about MMO alts yesterday, I’m conflicted about mounts.  I think they’ve become status symbols like luxury vehicles. Heck, some of them, even in medieval fantasy games, ARE vehicles. Runspeed buffs in games without mounts are coveted — highly sought after — and not 100% available all the time.  MMO Mounts are common, mandatory, and everyone has one.  When everyone had a mount, the dream was the go faster.  Epic mounts were introduced.  Then we thought… wouldn’t it be awesome if we could FLY?!  Then flying mounts, epic flying mounts, rare mounts, cash shop mounts, and somewhere in the middle mounts became so worthless that we just teleport everywhere.  It’s now inconvenient to even leave a town to go to a dungeon.  Players are spoiled, and games are dumbed down.

Now there’s a growing trend to get rid of flying mounts.  Heck, I’d be in favor of getting rid of mounts entirely.  Bring back traveling by foot and having to rely on the players who play classes who are designed to provide speed boosts.  Make the worlds feel bigger again, and give people a reason to leave town.  If MMOs have to have mounts, perhaps someone can be innovative and come up with a new way of implementing them.  Maybe give them abilities or tie them into your class.  Require them to be stored at a stable or garage. I want them to be more than these tokens in my bag that instantly appear out of thin air and simply make me go way too fast for the world to support.

MMO mounts are a perfect example of a really cool idea taken way too far, but still a really cool idea if someone can manage to rein them in and do something new.

  • I’d also like to see mounts go and have classes with speed buffs. I played a druid in EQ and loved tossing out SoW to people. I played a skald in DAoC largely because of the run speed. Call me crazy but I liked having to make connections with wizards for transportation or having an epic voyage through Kithicor Forest at night.

  • You’re not crazy at all. I’m right there with you. I love epic journeys through dangerous lands, having to rely on other people, and creating a world that needs to be truly traversed instead of just flown over.

  • I do enjoy the speed buffs that you can get from certain classes…it makes them so valuable in the absence of mounts. As I dabbled a little bit on Uthgard again I remembered how slow you actually moved in DAOC…I could see mounts in a game where it actually matters like if there were foot soldiers, cavalry, spear guys in a rock paper scissor fashion but mounts just for speed increase… thank you.

  • Ahh dont get me going on this one. I always chose classes that had a speed buff, speed spell or natural group speed ability. (ie daoc skald) I dont like mounts for this reason alone.

    However I understand why this path has been taken for the casual player. It is kind of ridiculous to expect people to run a map for 30 mins to hour or something. Flying mounts ridiculous, talk about spacing out your population even more and making the world feel emptier.

    In Wow the thing i remember most when i first started playing that I was in awe of was the set flight paths. The first flight I took from undead city to xxx it was so cool. The way it swept in and guided you like on a roller coaster through the city and you could see real players below or out in the field fighting etc was great.

    In my ideal world, player class would have a group buff or spell that should be greater than any mount speed. Flying mounts should not exist but the set route ones should be there for long travel. 1 class should have a teleport ability as well to supersede those set flying routes.

    I guess I am describing vanilla Wow pre lvl 40. I thought that is how it should be especially in a game world that is not instanced.

  • I don’t know if you keep up with the leaks, but sadly it seems like Wildstar is going to have flying mounts.

    Unfortunately i don’t know what can be done, people are going to want flying mounts if the game doesn’t have it, and if the game has it then people are going to want it to get rid of them. It’s a lose-lose situation and not many things have been done to deal with it.

  • Flying mounts were the worst idea ever thought up. It ruined any form of open world pvp and made it feel lifeless most of the time.

    I’m fine with ground mounts, just remove the automated travel systems (Gryphons in WoW, Horses in DAoC). Make the people actually have to travel around the world, just give them a speed boost at later levels through mounts and perhaps a few teleportation spells.

  • I have to say I totally agree with your last idea for mounts. The lazy, magic “horse whistle” mechanic is something that’s been bugging me in all games. I would love it if your horse was a persistent NPC that was always in the world. You would have to stable it to keep it relatively safe and there’s always the risk of mounts being stolen or killed.

    One thing I hope TESO holds true to is the Elder Scrolls mount system. Any horse is potentially ride-able but guards will chase you for attempting to steal a mount.

    Extras that would be cool is a horse’s speed being determined by its training and breeding. Elder Scrolls games usually have something like that but it’s usually just randomized.

    And some cool ideas/questions. How cool would it be if your horse became faster the more you rode him around? What if your horse became so loyal to you that he would attempt to shake off any other riders?

  • I do remember with nostalgia the drooling of lowbies like myself in old LOTRO over the super cool mounts of high levels. Sometimes a high level character would come galloping through Archet and I would always stop to marvel at it. Now you just buy one in the cash shop at level 10 I imagine 🙁

  • I remember when I got my first mount in vanilla wow at level 40..I was so happy, 2 days I only ride my mount through the zones and do nothing else. I still remember that epic feeling. But I agree that fly mounts was a big mistake..even the “mount collection” attitude. Back then, I was only could have a horse in my human warrior and I remember I must have grinded thousands of runecloth to increase my reputation with Darnasus to get that awesome tiger! Mounts was valuable and you could not just have 100 mounts with a click of a button.

    I don’t believe ground mounts are a problem. The problem is teleports and fly mounts. In Vanilla wow you could travel by mount and still need hours to reach your destination..I remember when I first gone to tanaris. My friend told me about that place and a dungeon it was there..I had to go to menethil, take the ship and then have a long journey, even with my Horse, until tanaris. I never managed to reach tanaris that day cause I was camped by higher level hordes in Stonetalon mountains. I logged the next day and finally I reached tanaris!

    My point is that the world can be big and epic even with ground mounts. I felt vanilla wow world big and epic..I feel lotro world big and epic. Remove LFG tools, teleports and fly mounts and the virtual worlds will be fine. And of course remove all the silly vehicles from the medieval fantasy worlds.

  • I’m more against the crazy proliferation of mounts than against the actual mounts themselves. Even flying mounts wouldn’t be a problem if the game was designed with them in mind the whole time, in other words have flying creatures that will hunt you if you are trying to fly near them. Also combat from mounts should be a thing. I remember in EQ you could fight and cast from the back of a mount, but it wasn’t always very effective especially because movement was rather different on a mount. I also like the idea of your mounts being persistent and killable, no summoning them from thin air.

  • Do we need mounts? I think a great thing about MMOs is exploration. No mounts, limit warp travel. That was always fun to me and it helps make more of a community when you have a class that can help you travel.

  • I love mounts of all kinds, flying included, because they’re fun!

    But they could sure use some new mechanics:
    -What if your mounts required fuel/food that had to be harvested? Flying mount fuel could be very rare, making flying a treat.
    -What if mounts had a life span? If you had to take care/maintain them in some way?
    -What if mounts couldn’t be summoned? You had one stable somewhere in the world and when you got off your mount it stayed right there until you came back to it. And careful, because a wandering monster might find it and destroy/kill it!

    Mounts should be special…they should have equity. Cash shops have devalued mounts but bringing some game mechanics to them beyond +run speed, -dismount chance would give something tired a new coat of paint.

  • I enjoyed pre SWG mount system. Your mount could get destroyed and you could get stranded. Many times I remember wandering on Lok, or Tatooine, my mount was busted and irreparable. Only the really rich could have a spare mount back in the day.

  • Mounted combat in lotro is pretty cool. You have your own like abilities and talent trees just for mounted combat.

  • I agree that mounts are meaningless today.

    I like the way UO handled the mounts.
    You had to feed them to keep them happy or they run off.
    They are vurnarable to attacks and can get killed.
    You had to put them in stables at a town and collect them again from the stables to ride.

    I think wow started the instant appear and dissapear mount that is an invinsible speed upgrade.
    basicly they reduced the mount of a pair of running shoes that go out of style as quickly as the new batch that arrives.

  • @Zyler: Thanks for the UO info, never played it but that’s the kind of stuff that work today…

    The running shoe analogy is spot on!

  • Fallen Earth has a mount system that ranges from horses to cars, and they are persistent in the world, killable, and you can fight from them (at least with a gun).

  • I don’t overly enjoy exploration. I just want to get around the map faster. Why should I be punished so you can stroll about?

  • There really is talk about getting rid of mounts?….I think I’m getting old!

  • @Solarbear: That can be flipped right around. Why should we be punished so you can be lazy or not care about a world?

  • +1 for UO-style mounts. I think the way they were implemented there was balanced and realistic.

    Regarding flying mounts: I’m not opposed to having them, but I am opposed to them being handed out like Halloween candy. Flying mounts should be reserved for those that seriously earn them — you must either work your ass off in order to purchase one, or you must go to extreme (dangerous) lengths to find and tame one. I.e. there should be a serious investment, much like an actual airplane.

    Also, regarding mounts in general: They shouldn’t live in your back pocket, popping out into thin air on a whim, and they should actually participate in the world; i.e. they should be vulnerable to damage and loss.

    @Solarbear: What Keen said. Or to use an (overused) analogy: Some of us actually want some good sit-down restaurant food, not the mediocre fare from the likes of McDonald’s.

  • I have an idea that might make mounts more interesting. You can buy mounts from a breeder in main cities, the mounts are spooky and nervous and can get scared, buck you off, and run away. You’d have to return to the city to retrieve it from the stable. Over time they become more tractable or you can speed this up by taking them to a trainer which costs money. You can also buy a tamed, reliable mount from a trainer but it will be old and therefore a bit slower and maybe not as pretty. Certain species are more tractable than others, just like in real life and the really cool looking ones will take a long time or a lot of training to be reliable. You would have to drop your mount off at the stable when you reach a city where they can look after it. This can go further- boarding your mount is free in cities you are exalted with and you have to pay everywhere else. In real life animals need care like grooming, farrier work, etc and I think this should be translated at least somewhat in the game. It’s the cost of getting a speed increase. 🙂 Also, mounts can get fatigued and don’t disappear on dismount- maybe they walk around and graze or lay in the shade. I think there is so much potential here!

  • I liked Whorhay’s comment- can you imagine an MMO where you can battle in the sky on a flying mount? That would be awesome!