GW2: Plenty of Problems, But This Ain’t One of ‘Em

MassivelyOP has successfully trolled me into another blog post. This time, it’s regarding the GW2 Skyscale flying mount, wherein it’s patently obvious that no actual firsthand experience was involved at the time of writing.

Yes, I understand that articles are written way in advance. But could you kindly resist from making statements with no basis in reality, then?

Pet peeve: Verifiably wrong things, stated as facts.

“The only way you can actually spend more than a few seconds in the air is if you jump off of something really tall and glide down.”

“Also, there are no flying mounts in GW2. At best they glide. Literally any mount in any MMORPG that flies (i.e. stays in the air indefinitely by design) is superior.”

You know who you are.


I’ve been up here for half an hour, sorting through my inventory bags, and then alt-tabbed out to write this blog post.

I dunno about you, but in my book, that certainly seems longer than a few seconds in the air, pretty indefinitely, by design.

Granted, any horizontal X-axis movement is going to lower me steadily, and incrementing the vertical Y-axis without a friendly wall to cling to involves waiting for a minute for Bond of Vigor to cooldown and recharge half of the green flight bar.

At a certain height exceeding the point you took off from, there is also some sort of ceiling where the flight meter is drained very quickly, so that you lower back to maximum hover height, possibly in an attempt to keep you from ascending forever into the skybox to insta-die.

For horizontal gliding and SPEED, once you get the hang of downward diving for acceleration and then climbing back up with mount ability key 2, the griffon is superior. 

For vertical takeoff and landing, fine-grained control in a small area and indefinite HOVERing (40 mins and counting), that’s where you look towards the skyscale.

Honestly, given its specialities, I’m more or less convinced that its main role is to cover one of WoW’s flying mounts’ features – lording it over the hoi polloi by hovering on a gigantic dragon, mount and rider doing their best to block the trading post from view.

And yeah, you can use it as a hybrid springer with finer-scale control, crossed with a slower gliding griffon, just with added infinite hover potential.


There have been some criticisms over the whole process of attaining one.

For someone who had been previously all psyched up to finish legendary medium armor, the collections did not really raise massive alarm bells, which might be more an indication of how mentally unbalanced the Achiever portion of my brain can get.

There were some identical go-here, go-there un-clued collections which were of poorer quality. Resorting to a third-party guide to get through those quickly is probably what 95% of players do, me included.

There were some nicer legendary-style collections, themed, with better clues and directions, including visible waypoint markers! which sent players back to old maps to revisit content. I liked those.

There was massive dismay at timegates, of which I personally did not find too onerous. They are pre-set stopping points. Being content to be a couple days behind meant that I made a nice killing selling timegated components for the first two days – grow lamps for 70 and 60 gold on the TP. After the 15% tax, that’s 110g contributed to my legendary medium collection from players who need it now. Sweet.

Anyway, ArenaNet tweaked some of the timegates after reading the feedback, so that’s even better. They’re actually listening and demonstrating it! And communicating! What is this, I don’t even-…

There was a huge histrionic fainting uproar at the revelation that 250 of each LS4 map currency would be needed in a later collection.

My only criticism is that it would have been really nice to know all the requirements before, and not reliant on the first few players to unlock the next collection, just so that each player could plan ahead and make more efficient use of their time.

I get that there’s some drama and excitement and even prestige for the spades/explorers/first-to-gets by keeping some of these secret, but it was a little irritating to know that the previous days could have been better spent.

I’d been somewhat laggard catching up with the LS4 maps, having not been actively playing for much of the time they were released, so I had only about half the currencies needed. That meant a furious altholic hearts-grind for 2-3 days, pulling out some 11+ characters and cycling them through easy hearts to buy 5 currency each for karma.

It’s not something I do on a regular basis for sure, but I found it mildly interesting for the three days to go into super-efficient achiever grind mode. The benefits of having a secondary Achiever function. Fortunately, I was already in the mood for grinding.

If not, well, there’s always tomorrow.

Oh yes, since it’s been two weeks, I assume that most people who cared have at least logged in to check out the first episode.

If not, too bad, you can take this like a teaser image instead. You’ll see this at the very beginning episode anyway.


I love this. The scale is awesome.

A few more landscape shots of the new map.



P.S. 50 minutes and counting. I guess it’s time to come down now.


5 thoughts on “GW2: Plenty of Problems, But This Ain’t One of ‘Em

  1. While I do like Massively OP overall – and I very much appreciate that they’ve hired a couple new writers lately – I unfortunately have to agree with you that information stated as facts on that site quite regularly happens to be half-right at best, guesswork or personal bias at worst.

    I can’t help but cringe everytime I see Justin Olivetti’s name below a headline about EVE Online, for example. He very clearly dislikes the game albeit knowing pretty much nothing about it from his own experience, and it shows almost every time he has to write something about it.
    That aside he’s a great author in my opinion, and I have no problem with his personal bias influencing his posts on his personal blog, but I think when writing for a site like Massively that shouldn’t happen (as often).

  2. Okay, it hovers in place, I’ll give you that. Hovering, though, is NOT “flying”. That’s why it’s called “hovering”. Not “flying”. Ideed, to call “hovering” “flying” would be the exact equivalent of calling “standing” “walking”. I can fly to Spain and if I had enough time I could walk to Spain but I can’t stand or hover to Spain. Unless I stand on something that can fly, of course.

    A flying mount is one that takes off, unaided, from the ground, preferably without any pre-amble or build-up or special abilities. It then moves fluidly through the air in any direction including up and down, indefinitely. It’s nice if it also hovers, as my favorite flying mounts do, but I would accept a mount that needed continual forward movement to stay airborn as a true “flying” mount. I suppose a mount that had some kind of endurance statistic that limited the duration of its airtime could also count as a true flying mount but I’d only accept that if the game imposed similar restrictions on walking, running, swimming etc. In a game where you can run at full speed forever and swim underwater forever a flying mount would need to fly forever.

    No GW2 mount flies under any of those criteria. The Griffon doesn’t fly. It hops about like a chicken, able to generate small amounts of lift for seconds at a time before crashing back to earth. If you have all the masteries and understand the mechanics you can operate the griffin somewhat like a power-assisted glider. You still have to ” jump off of something really tall and glide down” to get started though, which is why I said you did. Without that, how would you build the resource to spend for the climb?

    The Skyscale I’ve only used in rental form with no masteries. It’s possible the full version with all the bells and whistles might fly but I’ll believe it when I see it. My experience with the rental was about as you describe and again I don’t call that “flying”.

    In the end, I just don’t think we agree on a definition of what a “flying mount” is. I define it as a mount that allows my character equivalent freedom of movement to what the game in question allows on foot. If al I need to do to run is hold down “W” and steer with the mouse then that’s all I should need to do to fly my mount. It’s also why I don’t think of the ground mounts as genuine mounts either. They are all movement-related gimmicks.

    Alternatively, you could argue that GW2’s mounts are attempts to model the experience of mounted movement more meaningfully and “realistically” than MMORPGs usually do, in which case I’d say thanks but I’ll pass. Perhaps they should add some realism to wearing plate armor or being set on fire while they’re at it.

    1. I think the main issue is speed at the moment. It’s a bit slow, like the old skimmer, and weighed down with too much inertia. I’ll agree with you that it’s not full on flight, but come on, “staying indefinitely in the air” is the definition of hovering. 😉

      It can climb up to a height, bob a bit higher with patience and bond of vigor, horizontal travel while descending slowly (aka gliding, like the griffon), halt and hover in mid-air, bond of vigor to boost the flight bar by half, providing a bit more vertical lift and rise again a tide. Combined with dodges for a bit more speed, it’s not too bad an aerial acrobat, but a mite slow, especially when waiting for bond of vigor to recharge.

      It’s certainly not a flier for long distance travel, so in that sense it is not a flying mount. But it carries a player, rises up in the air, stays there, moves around in the air in a limited area, so flight? Dunno. But hover though, yes.

      1. Yes, I phrased it badly in the original comment at MOP. I hammered that out in an irritated 30 seconds before work and didn’t read it back before posting. What I meant was moving indefinitely through the air – ie flying from one place to another – but what I said certainly means hovering as well.

        The real problem with GW2 mounts is the way all new content is now being designed not just to accomodate them but to require them. There’s really no option to opt out of using them any more other than to stop playing altogether, which is what I’m doing. I’m hoping that eventually, perhaps when they get to the third expansion, if ever, they’ll move on to some new gimmick that I find more palatable, but until and unless that happens I think I’m done.

  3. You’re right and the person who made those comments is out of touch and too hooked on semantics. Sure the griffon needs a jump off point but it definitely flies and maintains its altitude when handled correctly. Not to mention that it’s flying is waaaaaay more fun than any “proper” flying mount in other MMOs. The Skyscale sacrifices speed for high mobility. Finally being able to take off vertically is a dream. Love it. Im actually working on a post about the genius of the mount design in GW2. I’ve never seen anything like it in another MMO or even RPG.

    You have some great posts here and I’d love to see you get more followers. I’ve found it’s super helpful and motivating to get involved in the gaming bloggers community. Geek Blogs United on Facebook is a great place to start. 🙂

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