Tuesday, October 12, 2021

GW2 Halloween Mount Rental Can F Itself

Once in a while I'll find myself wanting to write about something for no better reason than it's been on my mind or because I like it and want to talk about it. Which is fine if I have something to say about whatever it is, but not so fine if I sit down, look at the screen and realize I have no real clue what I'm doing.

When that happens, the sensible thing would be to put that topic to one side, at least for a while. Write about something else instead. I tend not to do that. 

I tend more towards this, what I appear to be doing right now, namely typing and hoping. Hoping something will begin to fall into place. Hoping I'll somehow spontaneously generate some sort of insight or inspiration, frame a thesis or an argument or at least come up with a wisecrack or two.

The source of my troubles today isn't a video game. I have a few posts I could throw together about those. Mostly about New World, no surprise to anyone, since I seem to be spending almost all my gaming time there right now. As I mentioned last time or the time before that, I'm not short of ideas for things to write about when it comes to Amazon's mmorpg/survival crossover hit (Currently basking in the warm glow of a "Mostly Positive" rating on Steam.)

Even though it's my blog and I have no obligation to keep anyone entertained and amused other than myself, I do tend to get a little self-conscious if I find myself focusing exclusively on a single title day after day. God knows why. It's not like I haven't done it before - and often.

In recent years it's happened with WoW Classic, Valheim and to a lesser extent with many others. Bless Unleashed, anyone? And it's not as if, with New World, it wouldn't be justified. It's not every year we get a major AAA mmorpg from a Western publisher, let alone a pretty good one.

Still, I'd like to break things up a little. Get some light and shade going. Variety, spice, all that stuff.

And there are other things I could be posting about. Something mildly annoying happened to me in Guild Wars 2 today, for example, that I might have used as a peg for a minor rant although really it's so trivial it would barely merit a tweet on that Twitter account I don't use.

Oh, maybe I'll give it a couple of paragraphs, anyway. It's mount-related, which I'm sure won't shock any longtime readers. My antipathy to mounts in GW2 isn't any kind of news around here.

Mrs. Bhagpuss is doing all of the Halloween content on three accounts this year, as she usually does. That wouldn't directly affect me, only there's a mount race. Ever since mounts were added to the game there's always a mount race.

I actually like mount races, believe it or not. It's content specifically designed for mounts that doesn't de facto screw over the rest of the game. And while I'm not very good at them (I never win or place until late in the day, when most people who actually know what they're doing have gotten all the rewards they wanted and moved on to other things.) I'm not terrible, either. I can get round in the timers required to get the achievements, handily enough.

So could Mrs. Bhagpuss, if she didn't get motion sickness just from looking at a mount. I am not exaggerating for effect there. Today she actually got motion sick just from talking to me about them.

What always happens is that I do the mount races for her. As I said, I like mount races. It's a pleasure for me to run a few extra. Or it is anywhere other than in the Mad King's Labyrinth.

At this point, anyone who plays GW2 is probably imagining I'm going to complain about the endless stuns, snares, and knockbacks, the insane mob density and the extreme hazards of Steve and his frightnight friends jumping out in front of you at any second. Nope, that's all just par for the course, to mix a sporting metaphor.

Here's the problem: to do the race in the two minutes allowed to get the annual Halloween holiday achievement you need a mount. Obviously. It's a mount race. Duh! And to have a mount you need Path of Fire, which is fair enough in content released during and after that expansion but which might be considered unreasonable in content that was around before. 

ArenaNet think so. They'd really, really like for every GW2 player to buy PoF but they hate to leave money on the table and they don't want to look like big meanies so as soon as they started to introduce mount races to holiday events they also added the option for anyone to rent a temporary mount for a few silver.

That means we can do the full smorgasbord on all our accounts, should we so choose, not just the PoF ones. Only there are strings. Of course there are. If the rented mounts were as good as the real ones, what would that say about the game? (That GW2's a generous and open-hearted kind of game? Nah. That everyone who'd paid for the expansion had been ripped off, of course!)

The mount you get is always a raptor and with no masteries it waddles along like an eggbound duck. It's slow and awkward but it is fast enough, just, to get you round in time if you really go at it. Well, in all the other races it is.

In the Lab there are a couple of extra hurdles to jump. Not literally. That would actually be easier. The first is the mount rental vendor. It's not a permanent fixture. In thematic keeping with every other utility vendor on the map, someone has to pay the Mad King's Herald to get the mount guy to spawn. 

Hiring the vendor costs the outrageous price of one gold, which is a lot of money when you realize the vendor only hangs around for about ten minutes. Meta, isn't it? You literally have to rent the guy who rents you the mount. 

What's more, unlike every other holiday event, where you can use the rented mount over and over again even if you lose it, in the Lab you get one go and that's it. If your raptor gets clawed to death by griffons or torn apart by skeletons as he almost certainly will, he's gone for good.

Wait, it gets worse. When you pay the Herald, the vendor spawns at the foot of the central ramp, close to where the race begins and also near to the NPC who allows you to take a time trial when the race isn't up, a trial that also counts towards the achievement.

Sounds fine, doesn't it? Unfortunately "close " isn't the same as "close enough". You can't talk to either of the NPCs from the vendor. They're too far apart. 

Never mind! It wouldn't make any difference if you could. You have to register for the race or the time trial, whichever you want to do, but if you rent your raptor first, when you speak to the NPC the raptor despawns. You can't re-summon it so you have to go back to the rental guy for a refresh.

For the race proper that's not so bad. There's a couple of minutes wait before it begins so you have plenty of time to get set. The race, though, only happens once every fifteen minutes or so and you need to do it successfully, within the two minutes, three times for the achievement. If you did it perfectly you'd need to be there for 45 minutes and you'd have to pay three gold for the rental (well, someone would - if you're lucky it might not come out of your pocket every time.)

You'd be very lucky to succeed three times out of three on that clapped-out lizard. Chances are you'll need more goes than that. And that, too, would be fine if you could just pop the time trial and keep going over and over until you got the three Silver finishes it takes.

Except the time trial begins the moment you accept, at which point you do not have a mount because, even if you did, speaking to the time trial guy made it despawn. You have to leg it up the ramp, click on the vendor and accept the dialog option to make the mount spawn. That takes several seconds and you're still a second or two from the starting gate.

The timing on the rented mount is so tight those few seconds are more than enough to make you fail almost every time. I say "almost" because I know for a fact it is possible to get silver on the rented mount since I did it today. Once. With just under two seconds to spare. 

If anything, knowing it's possible makes it even more annoying. It means you can't just write it off as a total waste of time. It can be done so it's got to be done. It's just not going to be done with any pleasure or enjoyment or good grace, more like with a lot of cussing and in a temper.

It also means ANet would be perfectly within their rights to shrug like Mad King Thorn and walk away. Not everything has to be fun and anyway you should have bought the expansion if you wanted a mount. The race is easy enough with a real one.

Halloween in Tyria goes on for a very, very long time. Over a month. I have until 9th November to get that race done, successfully, five more times. It will happen. I don't like a challenge but I will accept one, once in a while. 

I think someone could organize the whole thing better, all the same. How about stopping the mount from despawning every time you speak to an NPC? Oh, wait, all mounts do that. Terrible design but I guss we're stuck with it. 

Okay, how about allowing the player to resummon the mount from a hot key instead of having to go back to the vendor? That shouldn't be beyond the abilities of someone to code in, surely?

Or maybe you already can and I just don't know how to do it. Maybe there's a keyboard shortcut. Y'know, I just bet there is. I probably should have looked into that before I started ranting.

I would have, too, if I'd known this was what I was going to write about today. Turned out to be more than a couple of paragraphs, too, didn't it? And I never even got around to mentioning that original topic, the thing I said I'd been wanting to write about but didn't know what I was going to say about it.

It was Kevin Can F Himself, the metafictional postmodernist sitdram starring Annie Murphy from Schitt's Creek currently showing on Amazon Prime, by the way, just in case you were wondering. I guess you got that?

It's a shame, because something did start to come to me as I was hammering out those opening paragraphs, just like I hoped it would. Something that would have tied in with yesterday's post, too.

Oh well. Too late now.

1 comment:

  1. What you're saying here regarding mount rental is at odds with both what I expected, and what I've seen in videos of other people trying it out. In the video, once you rent a mount in the Raceway your skill bar changes to have a 'summon mount' skill for the mount you rented (and you can rent several different ones). Is that not what you see? Maybe it works differently in the Labyrinth.


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