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Wizard101 (W101)
KingsIsle Entertainment | Play Now
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 09/02/08)  | Pub:KingsIsle Entertainment
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download | Retail Price:n/a | Pay Type:Free | Monthly Fee:$09.95
System Req: PC Mac | ESRB:E10+Out of date info? Let us know!

Mounting Pressure

By Vanessa Mythdust on April 20, 2016 | Columns | Comments

Mounting Pressure

Winnie the Pooh fans might think the new mount that was introduced with Mount-A-Palooza looks and sounds a bit familiar. Wizard101's newest mount, the Wuffalump, is an adorable baby elephant that you can customize in the dye shop by changing the colors of its saddle and toenails. In Winnie the Pooh, there is a giant purple elephant that goes by the name of Heffalump. As someone who grew up with Winnie the Pooh, I definitely approve of this cute nod.

The Wuffalump mount gives the normal 40% speed boost and nothing else. To some, this is a relief. Ever since the addition of mount stats beyond the normal speed increase, the community has been a little unsure of what to think.

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Where It Started

Mounts were introduced in October of 2009 to supply players with a faster way of getting from point A to point B. As the game grew older, mounts were a constant in a universe that kept changing. While new mechanics and worlds were being added, mounts stayed a stylish, creative, and speedy alternative to walking long distances across vast terrains. That would all change in 2015. The Jewel Crafter's Bundle (which surprisingly was also released in October) gave players a shock when they took a harder look at its brand new shiny mount. The Crystal Unicorn mount not only granted the traditional 40% speed boost, but it also provided a 2% accuracy increase.

Chaos Ensues

A 2% accuracy boost isn't huge, but most of the community quickly realized that it could turn into a game changer. It was generally accepted that the Crystal Unicorn mount was KingsIsle's attempt at testing the mount stat waters. The question was where those waves would lead.

The Worry

From what I've seen, there were five major complaints/concerns about adding additional stats to mounts.

There wasn't a need. Many people argued that there was absolutely no reason to be messing with mounts. Like mentioned earlier, mounts had always been used purely as a transportation method. Stats can always be added to gear pieces, so why did mounts have to be included?

Creativity and uniqueness will diminish. One of the best things about travelling around the spiral is seeing all the different outfits and mount choices. I for one get really excited when I see a rare mount or one not frequently used. With mount stats in play, there was a growing fear that everyone would put aside their favorite mounts in favor of the new stats.

It would soon spiral into something bigger. To many, the 2% accuracy boost was just the beginning. After all, changes are best done gradually so players can get used to them. A big worry was that a 2% boost could quickly turn into 5% or even 10%. Either of the latter percentages would present a massive game change.

It might turn into pet hatching. Another concern was the possibility of eventually having to "hatch" mounts. In order to get the stats you desired on a mount you wanted, you would have to work for it like the pet system currently in place.

Why don't they drop? The Crystal Unicorn mount can only be acquired by purchasing the Jewel Crafter's Bundle so it was quickly assumed that KingsIsle was only going to put these types of mounts in very expensive places. Currently, there is only one stat-boosting mount that is able to be obtained from a boss. Let's take a quick look:

Battle Narwhal: Gives 2% damage boost and can be gotten from the Polarian Explorer's Bundle ($39) and fishing chests in the Polarian Shipwreck house.

Crystal Unicorn: Gives 2% accuracy increase and can be obtained from the Jewel Crafter's Bundle ($29).

Mammoth Mini: Gives 2% outgoing heal boost and is available from the crown shop (9,000 Crowns) and as a drop from Warlord Minak.

Waddling Witch Hut: Gives +2% power pip chance and is a possible reward from the Witch's Hoard Pack (399 crowns each).

Overall, 2 of the stat-boosting mounts are on the costly side (Crystal Unicorn and Waddling Witch Hut if you're unlucky with packs). The Mammoth Mini is a potential drop and although you need to have access to a Polarian Shipwreck house in order to fish there, someone could easily teleport to a friend for free to try and snag a Battle Narwhal.

My Take on the Future

As long as the stat-boosts remain relatively small, I don't think we'll necessarily see a complete decay of player originality.  I know plenty of people who are still attached to their non stat-boosting mounts.

I do think that the 2% stat boosts could eventually be raised, but I really hope not. As it stands now, the extra percentage points are a nice bonus to the people who want to use the mounts, but it's ultimately not a deal breaker for those who are unable/ don't want to use them.

I don't think KingsIsle will repeat pet hatching mechanics. Pet hatching is already a lot of work and my hope is that KingsIsle is aware of that.

The Mammoth Mini was a nice step in the right direction. If KingsIsle is going to include more mounts that supply stats, it would go a long way to try to make at least some of them available to everyone as a drop.

Even though the mount change received a fairly large negative reaction, not everyone was unhappy with it. Numerous people were thrilled at the idea of adding more stats to other areas of the game. Whether you loved it or hated it, I think we can all agree that it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. What are your thoughts on stat-boosting mounts and where do you think they'll go in the future? Post what you're thinking in the comments!

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