Of mounts and imagination

Well, I got my hunter class mount last night. It is definitely cool, and I say this as someone who normally does not give a hoot about mounts — mostly I just think of them as transportation. Until last night, my main mount has been the Headless Horseman mount, which I got years ago the first time I ran the world event instance and have used ever since. I have always liked the HH mount because the movement mechanics flow gracefully whether it is in the air or on the ground — unlike most of the other flying mounts that may look impressive in the air but ridiculous waddling along on the ground.

I usually keep 3-4 mounts hot-keyed. HH is the main one, but at the start of an expansion (when we are ground bound), I switch it out for the Mekgineer Chopper, which I like mostly because I am amused at how certain alts look on it, especially my worgen, my panda, and my gnome. I also keep the Azure water strider from Mists on my action bar, because it is just so handy to have quickly available.

The third action bar mount is my Grand Expedition Yak. I actually just bought this about a month ago, because I am a real miser with my gold and it seemed like an unnecessary luxury. Prior to the yak, I had the much cheaper Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth, which does pretty much the same thing except transmogging. I found this mount to be invaluable while solo questing or leveling, because of the repair and vendoring functions. And its utility has only gotten more important with our dwindling bag space. I must admit, though, the upgrade to the GEY is very nice, because, well, it means I can always be well dressed in the field, no need to run around looking like a rummage sale until I can make it back to a city with transmog NPCs. 😉 (The one improvement I would most like to see on the GEY would be a mailbox.)

I usually reserve a fourth action bar space for a “mount du jour” — something just for variety. Maybe it is a new mount I have gotten, or an old one I haven’t used in a long time. Most often it is some kind of fiery mount, because even though I am not a big collector, I do like the ones with fire themes. If I know I will be doing a lot of underwater work, I will put my sea turtle in this fourth slot.

All this is by way of saying I usually do not go out of my way to collect mounts. But I liked the hunter class mount from the moment I saw the first pictures and videos of it. It combines the two animals I like most in the game — wolves and birds of prey. And the movement mechanics are nice. On the ground it moves like a wolf, but in the air it soars with the grace and ease of a hawk on a high thermal. Actually, in that aspect it is even better than my trusty HH steed, which rather awkwardly continues to move its legs and feet in the air. The wolfhawk looks at home in either medium.

The main thing I dislike about my new hunter mount is, once again, Blizz has felt the need to give a terrible sound to the summoning action. Instead of a whistle or even just silence, they have reused the same obnoxious sound they use for Bestial Wrath —  something that sounds to me like you are having a very hard poop.

This is a constant annoying thing Blizz does: they come up with some of the most creative, elegant designs, then it’s like they lose interest or get tired of the idea and finish up the details in an amazingly slipshod manner, anything to get it done and move on. It drives me crazy.

I was thinking about this a couple of days ago while flying to Broken Shore. The flying mechanism has some terrific details. For example, if the zone you are in is sunny, you can see a very realistic-looking shadow of yourself and mount far down on the ground keeping perfect pace with your progress. It is a small artistic detail that most of us would not miss if it were not there, but which raises the level of the whole experience when you notice it. But on the other end of the spectrum, if you look closely at many of the riding postures in the game, frequently there are no reins — the rider has their hands in a rein-holding position, but in fact there is nothing there. Why go to such incredible detail to put in a tiny ground shadow, then neglect something as basic as rendering the artwork for reins?

Which in a roundabout way brings me to the hunter quest line for the class mount. It, too, was an example of incredible creativity combined with incredible laziness and lack of imagination.

Let’s start with the latter. The first thing I was confronted with when I got to Broken Shore to finish the Breaching the Tomb achievement and unlock the class mount quest line was — wait for it — “Kill 100 demons on Broken Shore”. No, I am not making that up. My first thought was, this must be a glitch because we just had a kill-100-demons quest a couple of weeks ago. Nope. No glitch, just a breathtaking lack of originality or indeed of any thought process whatsoever. The previous demon-killing quest got a lot of well deserved ridicule at the time, so I really don’t know what more can be said of the most recent one. It did not take long to do if you found a group doing Sentinax portals — less than 5 minutes in my case. Which begs the question, why even have it?

Blizz, in response to a lot of criticism of the whole BS weekly quest line, actually admitted that yes the quests were “fillers”, but hey they needed a breather so they could work on the next patch and stuff. Okay, I get it, they have somewhat overextended themselves with their commitment to “content” in Legion, and they needed to throw in some time wasting stuff so they could catch up. But sheesh, two “Kill 100 demons” quests almost back to back in the same quest line? That is either a staggering lack of imagination or a staggering refusal to give a shit. And it is yet another example of Blizz’s recent too-frequent tendency to abandon its commitment to excellence in favor of a commitment to good enough.

But once the hunter class mount quest line was unlocked, I had great fun. I will not spoil it for those of you who have not yet done it, but suffice it to say I found the final scenario to be imaginative, perfectly in line with the hunter class, and a whole lot of fun to do. It was neither too long nor too short, and the artwork and animation were just stupendous. The story line hung together, and it made perfect sense to get the mount at the end. I was almost sad when I realized that I would not get to do it again on my alt hunter — it turns out that the class mounts are account bound, assuming you have two of the same class and spec. (I do not know how it works out if you have two of the same class but different specs, but I assume your second character only has to advance their spec artifact to Concordance to be able to buy that spec’s class mount.)

I have not done any of the other class mount scenarios, so I don’t know if they are as engaging as the hunter one. I have heard some grumbling from some of my guildies — mainly priests and druids — that the class mounts are barely worth the effort, but beyond that I cannot say. I do know that the hunter wolfhawk was totally worth it for me.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

8 Responses to Of mounts and imagination

  1. Marathal says:

    Fortunately for me, many in guild said, just go kill spiders and the little ones for the eggs. I had 100 demons in about 5 minutes. As for the Priest Hall quest. It always comes to pass, I can go months with no whispers or messages, but start a scenario that I can’t pause? Two people asking for invites to guild for Alts. The rest of the scenario I could have tabbed out on. I don’t think I learned anything, and it seemed like subtle digs at old dungeon dialogs. I still have no clue why Priests got an Owl Cat Bird. And the visual effect streaming behind it had me landing after 20 seconds and taking it off the action bar. All in all, just another mount for me.

    • Fiannor says:

      That is pretty much what I was hearing from my guildies who have priest alts — the whole quest line was pretty “meh”, and they can’t figure out what the final mount has to do with the priest class.

  2. Grumsta says:

    Good news: you can run the quest to get your mount on multiple characters of the same class.

    My Alliance Mage main already had the mount, and it was amusing to see my Horde alt Mage hovering on the mount collecting the quest to go and get it 🙂

    I have to agree with you on the “kill 100 demons, again” quest. I just sighed and had it done in a couple of minutes. Safe bet they’ll come back and parody themselves about this at some point, but it really is a stinker.

    • Fiannor says:

      That must have been an interesting sight. I may in fact do the scenario again on my alt hunter, then, although I am sure much of my engagement with it was due to it being something completely new. Still, I was so taken with the scenario artwork that it may be worth it to get the final quest and never complete it just so I can visit there whenever my brain needs a “happy” boost.

  3. gnomecore says:

    4 mounts yet: mage, demon hunter, monk, paladin. And I will get the rest during this week.

    All questlines are very fun and engaging. Some quests require mats, crafting or even completing an invasion, some are just plain talk to NPC and start a scenario. Lore is awesome, and all the quest chains are quite inventive.

    The sound of hunter’s mount could be nothing compared to the fact that monk’s mount TALKS to you. All the time. It tells jokes or pandaren wisdom (it’s a tiger, son of Xu’en), it behaves like a radio DJ. It just won’t shut up, and even says “Bye” when you dismount. I’m not gonna ride him for long 🙂

    • Fiannor says:

      Yeah, I am thinking it will not be long until there is a mount update to the “annoying sounds suppression” type addons. (Could probably just remove that sound file from the sounds folder if you could identify it – ?)

  4. Grats on your mount. Surely a timely milestone and a satisfying completion.