Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Triumph of the Leaping Lizards

In principle, I don't spend all my time earning raptor-related mounts, but that happens to be how things worked out this week.  There were two time-sensitive things going on in EQ2 at the moment - the always clever annual Halloween event, and the second part of an expansion prelude event that seeks to concoct a lore explanation for why we're suddenly getting Beast Lords. I'm not currently paying for an EQ2 subscription, but this is precisely the scenario where an EQ2X account comes in handy.  So, I dusted off my Inquisitor and got to work.

The Saliraptor, which comes in black for crafters and white for adventurers.
The events I came for were basically what I expected, but the visit reminded me that I had yet to obtain the game's new "leaping" mounts.  SOE promised that flight would remain an exclusive perk for high level Velious expansion owners, but they did also just spend a fair chunk of time redecorating most zones in the game to allow flying mounts.  The compromise was a new set of leapers for characters in their 30's, and "gliders" for characters in their 60's.  I never bothered to do these quests because Lyriana can already fly under her own power.  My mid-30's Inquisitor, on the other hand, was in the right level range, and promptly completed the questlines for both the adventuring and crafting forms of the leaper.

On the ground, including in areas that are not yet flight-enabled, leapers are slower than regular ground mounts.  The difference, in flight-enabled areas, is that they can jump.  Really high.  Like on top of buildings and up sheer cliffsides high.  The leapers also come with immunity to falling damage, which means that you won't kill yourself by leaping off a cliff or jumping towards a bridge and missing. 

It's an interesting mechanic - the jump is high and long enough that you can basically avoid combat almost as well as if you were on a flying mount, but this method takes a bit more attention to ensure that you don't fall off narrow landing spots, get stuck under terrain, etc.  Touching down on the ground also helps spot quest items, some of which aren't visible from too high above the terrain.

(The level 60 version supposedly adds a slow-gliding option that increases your travel distance and control.  I can see some value in this - when the leaper hits the end of its forward momentum, it basically drops straight down like a rock, in a way where a slow-falling mount would manage to coast across.) 

I've never been that fond of player-controlled flying mounts - I think that what we give up in terms of avoiding/trivializing content is not worth what we get from the experience of flying over the world, and I think that 99% of the benefits can be achieved with either NPC-controlled flight or player-controlled flight in specific constrained areas where being able to steer actually contributes to gameplay (e.g. airborne bombing runs).  As far as compromises go, the leaping lizard is not bad.   

1 comment:

Bronte said...

There are times when I wish WoW had more variety to add to mount capabilities. We have five types of mounts:

1. Slow speed ground.
2. Fast speed ground.
3. Slow speed air.
4. Fast speed air.
5. Water.

So really that is 3 types of mounts, and regardless of the skin, one particular type (say fast round mounts) all behave the same. I really wish we had more variety in what mounts could do. Like a rare mount that never got dazed. Or one that could jump really high at the cost of a minor speed decrease. Or an air mount that could dive bomb you to the ground without hurting you when you needed to dismount at a location.