Developer Diary: Joy of Movement on Mounts

by Roy Cronacher on August 29, 2017

Hey! I’m Roy Cronacher, and along with the mounts team, I’m here to tell you more about one of the new features in Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire™. Watch the developer diary video above and read on for more in-depth information.

The spark that led us to create mounts came from a deep analysis of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ to find out what worked well. Gliding stood out as a huge hit that gave players incredible freedom to move in new ways and explore. We wanted to create even more ways to explore Tyria, and mounts were the perfect vessel for this.

We weren’t satisfied with making mounts a simple cosmetic speed boost that’d be tacked on to your character, so we set out to build a visceral, organic experience that feels like you’re riding a real animal. You’ll train them through the Mastery system to push their amazing abilities to new heights.

Joy of Movement


You’ve probably heard this term before when we’ve mentioned other features or mechanics in Guild Wars 2. We took the concept to heart, made it a core pillar of mounts, and went wild bringing that feeling to life.

Developing the mounts’ movement physics and animation sets early in the process helped us ensure that they move naturally. We created different movement physics for each mount to emphasize their anatomy and make them move realistically in the world. For example, the skimmer never touches the ground, so it has lower friction and slides a bit, much like a drift car. We also created custom cameras to support the feeling of fast, unique movements for each mount.

Perform Incredible Feats


We wanted mounts to feel like toys that are enjoyable to use, and tools to explore the world in new, fantastic ways. Just as gliding filled a role that didn’t exist before, mounts are capable of impressive moves that your character can’t perform on their own. Each movement ability shines when tackling a different type of terrain or obstacle.

Here’s a high-level overview of each mount’s movement ability:

  • The vicious raptor leaps swiftly across great distances, making them useful for crossing large canyons. By holding down the hotkey, a leap will continue to its maximum distance. You can also release the hotkey early to drop out of the leap, which consumes less endurance.
  • The cute springer has an unrivaled ability to jump straight up into the sky. You can use it to jump over cliffs, walls, and other hard-to-reach locations. Hold down the hotkey to charge the jump; the longer you charge, the farther up you’ll go.
  • The floating skimmer hovers over water, terrain, and small obstacles. Its movement ability lifts it significantly higher, so it can cross dangerous areas, reach ledges, and avoid attacks. You can hold down the hotkey to remain in the lifted state as long as you have sufficient endurance.
  • The mysterious jackal is made of sand and can store up to three charges of a quick movement-speed blink, which dissipates its body and allows it to reappear a short distance ahead. It can also use special sand portals throughout the desert. You’ll maintain your momentum as you blink through the portals, creating interesting combinations for puzzles in the Crystal Desert.

It’s All about the Mounts


During testing, we found that manually dismounting to attack foes felt clunky and bad. We developed engage skills—offensive skills that allow your mounts to engage in battle—for an awesome, smooth transition between riding and combat. You can ride straight up to enemies and use these skills to damage them, setting you up for battle, or you can aid allies as you dismount.

Your mounts each have their own stats and health bar, which allows us to play up their different strengths and to balance engage skills without the need to take character stats or gear into account. If your mount’s health reaches zero, you’ll be forcibly dismounted, but your character will be at full health.

Upgrading Your Mounts


We felt that gliding Masteries were a good example of meaningful upgrades that progressed alongside you as you played—you unlocked something awesome and then made it even more awesome. In Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire, you’ll gain access to a Mastery line for each mount you unlock. These lines are filled with improvements to the engage skills and movement abilities, along with some other goodies. When you unlock the final Mastery tier for a single mount, the first Mastery unlock is then shared across all mounts. That way, you’re earning progress for your favorite mount as you max out the other mount lines.

Like all Masteries, the mount system is account wide and will carry over to your other characters. You can use them in most areas of the Crystal Desert. This opens up a completely new experience for leveling new characters, since you’ll have access to your mounts from the get-go as you explore Tyria.

We’re really excited for you to collect all the mounts, try them out, and master their movement abilities. Happy exploring!