One of the best aspects of the Path of Fire expansion was the introduction of mounts and how they have just completely changed the way players traverse through Tyria. Of course, the great thing about mounts isn’t just the mounts themselves but also all the cool mount races we got as well. Until recently these races have either been seasonal or are in one of the new zones introduced in the PoF expansion. However, this past week ArenaNet introduced five new races which all take place in core Tyria zones.
For anyone who hasn’t participated in these they are essentially exactly what they sound like. There is a sign-up phase before the race and players who sign-up can wander off while waiting but must be back at the start before the star of the race. During the race itself there are various gates which must be passed through sequentially for your lap to count. The winner is the first one who hits all the gates in order and is the first back at the starting line. First, second, and third place are also announced to everyone in the nearby area which is also nice for the people who win but also is cool as a spectator as well. Speaking from a spectator perspective I wish there was a spot at each race where I could get a bird’s eye view of the race.
One thing which is a bit different in the beetle races from the other mount races, if you pass over the gates it does not count as passing through the gate. In these races the gate is a dome you have to pass through to get credit. This might seem as if it’s an arbitrary aspect of it, but it makes a ton of sense if you think about it. The races in general are all about showing mastery of a mount and using its abilities in the best way to get the best time. The Roller beetle more than any other mount has a huge potential for losing control and going off track. With the roller beetle, launching yourself off into the air is easy to do accidentally. So, making a requirement to not do that (or only be airborn when it really makes sense) really does demonstrate mastery of the mount… it also demonstrates course knowledge. Knowing where the areas which might cause you issues are is an important aspect as well. Afterall, all races are a balance between how fast you can go and the point at which you lose control.
As with all the other mount races mount rental is available so even players who do not have the roller beetle (or the PoF expansion) at all can still participate. Of course, there’s a slight advantage for people who have been using their roller beetle a lot, but it’s for the most part it’s intuitive. Well aside from drifting, I’m not sure if there is any indication anywhere you have to press shift to drift. There are some tight turns which you either have to go slow to make (but this is a race!) or you have to properly drift. Additionally, players to can take part in time trials to practice both the course and using the roller beetle.
One of the best parts about these new races is there’s actual prizes! Well not of the sort where if you win you get some fancy bling bling, but you do get racing medallions for participating in the races and time trials. These medallions can be used to purchase a wide variety of goods including six new endless mystery tonics, guild hall decorations (which can be used to make a racetrack in your guild hall), a few new skins, food, and a mini roller beetle. Personally I’m most excited for the Endless Mystery Dog Tonic, though I did notice there doesn’t appear to be a corgi in there. I’m holding out hope there just isn’t an image of it yet.
Talking about prizes brings us around to talking about the sweepstakes ArenaNet is currently running in relation to these races. Over the next four weeks (November 27th – December 25th) they are going to be awarding a variety of prizes including an actual Guild wars 2 Roller Beetle themed VW Bug. Honestly, most of the time when specially themed cars are prizes, I wouldn’t be caught dead driving the vehicle, but this one looks nice. It’s not overly in your face about what it is but it is also very clearly branded. There’s also a Razer accessories, an Alienware computer and monitor, a 55” TV, and a Sand Dunes Desert Tour for two in San Diego to be won. Oh yes, also mousepads!
All anyone needs to do to enter in the sweepstakes is participate in any of the new races over the next few weeks. Even free to play accounts can participate. Of course there’s the usual list of countries which can’t participate, but honestly the list is much shorter than some of the restrictions there have been in the recent past.
Overall, this is a great addition to the game and really adds something fun to do when I just want to goof off. I’m not even the sort of person who cares about winning the races, I just like running around in them and seeing so many people just having a blast in game.