Riding on the Wild Side: A Closer Look at the New Worgen Mounts

WoW Patch 4.3 seems set to bundle a fair amount of interesting new gameplay components in the mix. Among them is a new racial mount for the worgen, although one that lacks a bit in the originality department.

Shortly before World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Blizzard dropped the bombshell that worgen wouldn’t be getting faction mounts, instead they would be going the way of the tauren’s removed Plainsrunning ability with Running Wild.

The reaction was mixed but there were a lot of unhappy folk. Yes the Alliance were finally getting an awesome furry species which could also transform into puny humans, but the faction was also going to lose several mounts that could contribute to Achievements. That drew an outcry. Even worse, if you race-changed from, say, night elf to worgen, you also lost your Nightsabers.

Blizzard has now revealed the latest new feature to be added in 4.3: horses for Worgen. You remember those swift steeds that ferried you from A to B during the Gilnean starter quests? Yes, those are going to be the racial mounts but, no, this isn’t the end of Running Wild. Blizzard was quick to clarify this point and explain that it was more to do with adding in more mounts than taking away an ability which fits in with the whole worgen mythos. Plus it did look kind of awesome.

worgen horses

What is wrong with this picture?

However, rather than making worgen feel special by giving them a more unique mount (like giant foxes), Blizzard chose to use those lovely horses which roam the countryside. The thing is, humans already ride very similar looking stallions. I’m not a roleplayer but my worgen hunter spends all her time in wolf form on principle. If I wanted to play as a human, I would have rolled one.

Yes, Running Wild works better for worgen; it fits in beautifully with the lore but it would have been nice if Blizzard had at least made the Gilnean mount something a bit more unique. Being a Worgen is all about not being human. It’s about playing a character with a wild side, not about one that is human with a wolfy exterior.

The addition of the worgen as a playable race was one of the most awesome parts of Cataclysm, the one thing which made the expansion worth playing for some gamers. Yet after the initial awesome starting experience, the worgen storyline took a bit of a nosedive and you actually had to roll Horde to get to the conclusion. Gilneas was left very much a ghost land and the lack of NPCs or skirmishes (outside of PvP) was disappointing.

Historically, the vocal minority in WoW hasn't taken very kindly to any form of factional imbalance and that certainly extends to the racial mounts. And, truth be told, mounts are essentially a bonus for the worgen at this point. At the same time, Blizzard didn’t necessarily expend any originality or make use of the opportunity to add something as unique as the worgen themselves for their racial mount. We could chalk this one up to missed opportunities, but at the end of the day there are certainly more pressing matters for the development team to contend with, and at least worgen players will finally have a new mount to call their own.

What are your thoughts on the new worgen mounts? Do you think it makes sense for them to be horses given the worgen's human side, or should they have been something wholly unique and more beastly? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

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