The return of the Mad King on 16 October brought a whole host of old and new content with it. After Robin took us through why we should love this Pawala pretender, I decided it was time to get back into the seasonal spirit. Dropping into the Mad King’s labyrinth and preparing for the perpetual grind is pretty much the expectations I now have for this holiday favorite. My skeleton bashing was interrupted, this time, by the addition of a mount race in the Mad King’s domain. A relatively small slither of new content for this seasonal update, this is one of two new mount races in a marathon of content that is intended to give players value from their time.
Today, my intention was to take a look at a few of my favorite mounts. However, a chance occurrence made me ask a few hard questions about these added extras and how they best fit within the game. So without any further delay let me drag you aspiring jockeys and anybody new to the mount system into a few of my favorite rides around the world.
Amnoom and a Race Around the Desert
This is where mount racing begins for most of us in Guild Wars 2. After loading up Path of Fire for the first time, stumbling through the flames of the forged, and rescuing a host of villagers you’re deposited into the free city of Amnoon. A haven for commerce and enterprise it also hosts a fair few alternative financial endeavors. The Casino towers over much of central Amnoon and I’m sure the locals have placed a few gold on the newcomers racing off into the horizon with only a few minutes on a raptor to guide them.
This is the earliest, and probably easiest mount race to begin with. It’s found right beside Amnoon Waypoint in the center of the city and rotates in pretty swiftly. If you’ve not tried a mount race before, you won’t have long to wait around before it pops up. Just mount your raptor, or any mount really for this, and wait for your time to shine. This is a great place to start racing, its simple, teaches you the basics, and is always busy. Its easy access and who doesn’t want to take the easy road, right?
Inquest Facility Race
A little less easy to access is another of my own personal favorite mount races. This is one of two mount races that are locked behind a Living Story quest and, as such, you’ll need to complete a story mission called A Kindness Repaid from Living World Season 4. Once you do, you’ll find two very distinct mount races in the northern area of the Sandswept Isles. This particular mount race can be completed with a number of mounts but really you’ll be best to use a skimmer to get through this.
You’ll find this race just south of Atholma Waypoint, across the water. Mount a skimmer and hang around outside the entrance to the Inquest facility and it’s bound to pop up sooner or later. While this event doesn’t cycle around as quickly as others it is a nip around one of the coolest structures in recent updates. You’ll glide through serene outdoor vistas and dodge sharks that should really have lasers on their head. It’s the Inquest after all.
So here’s the thing. My next mount race wasn’t going to be on this list until I popped out a Roller Beetle. This run around the docks by Atholma Waypoint in intended to show you around the outskirts of the Olmakhan village. In reality, it’s a pretty straightforward run that, given a skimmer isn’t particularly testing. However, for any of you that have a Roller Beetle available, the change in mount turns the whole thing into a high-risk speed bowl. A series of rickety docks wind around the nearby shoreline. Chasing across the wooden track as it stretches out into the water, with the depths beneath it, requires the accurate use of air brakes and guarantees some testing moments as you cling to the unguarded edge of this track. Just try not to go veering off into a high-speed plunge into the wet stuff, Roller Beetles don't swim so well..
Training the Cadets
This isn’t strictly a mount race, but I had to add it in here. Like the Guild Missions that toss players into a dash around Southsun this mount race is more an event than a distinct event. Situated just off the depths of the Kaluun Ravine lies a school for the betterment of the great Palawa Joko’s younger subjects.
While we don’t want to indoctrinate too many of you to the cause of this menace, it’s worth taking a wander around this establishment. If you’re timing is right you’ll get the chance to help the cadets’ train Junundu wurms. The associated event puts you in control of a brightly colored cousin of the more mundane jungle wurms and sets you to work racing it around the Kaluun Ravine. Ok, it’s not strictly a mount race but it’s the most fun you’ll have with wurms.
The Mad King’s Labyrinth
The race that kicked this week’s column into gear and, of course, it is only with us for a limited time. This recent addition to the Halloween festival in Guild Wars 2 is notable because of two things. It’s easy to access and it’s spooky. Take any mount into the middle of the Mad King’s maze and you can get started there. In fact, if you’ve never tried to race a mount before today this is a great way to get a flavor of it.
If you’ve not had an opportunity to acquire a mount you can even lease a raptor from the Mad King’s minions in the center of the map, alongside other useful services. Dodging candy corn manifestations and cranky skeletons is not particularly trying affair, and you can complete this course with any available mount. It is, however, fun, and isn’t going to wear thin soon. In fact, you’ve only got until Haloween disappears to try out this race.
Mad King’s Raceway
Situated within the triumphant return of Reaper’s Rumble, this is another mount run that won’t be here for long. Also part of the Halloween activity, this racetrack is accessed by talking to the Lunatic Boatmaster, an NPC located in most of the Mad King’s instances. Not only is this a festive flavor that adds more than a little pumpkin spice to your mount but it is most fun when tackled with the aforementioned Roller Beetle. Speeding across the undulating land, you’ll find tight corners and guaranteed air as you traverse the rumble more than once. it’s not anything more than a mount race but finding a map that suits the insane speed of the roller beetle, and is full of competitors, is always a hoot.
After going through just a few of the mount races available in Guild Wars 2, it became obvious that certain segments of this article were easier to embark on than others. While seasonal content and starter zones are always full, the interest in the more remote races seems to have already waned. It’s a pity for a piece of content that has a great deal more value than Heart of Thorns ill-fated Adventures. While you shouldn’t have any trouble finding any of the suggested mount events in this article, plenty of others sit in maps that are part of the Living World updates, gated away or ignored far too often, and only time will tell whether these are subject to the same attrition that Living World Season 3 ’s maps have seen. In the end, it feels like seasonal content might very well be the best place for future mount races to sit. This would ensure they stay busy and everyone gets a chance to embark on them.
What’s your favorite mount race and why? Do you think they’re going to go the same way as the grappling hook or are mount races substantially more enticing to you than a map locked mechanic?