One of the new features touted at BlizzCon last year was the addition of Diablo 4 mounts. A first for a game in the Diablo franchise. Following the game’s reveal and presentation, it was apparent Blizzard was taking a new approach to the world of Sanctuary but how will mounts fit in the world?
In Diablo IV we have what is effectively an open world to adventure in once the main story has been completed. This means bumping into other players and taking part in events. Since Diablo 2 waypoints have been the method used to travel vast distances and although waypoints will still be available mounts will offer faster travel for journeys were a waypoint isn’t available and running would be a little drawn out.
As any gamer knows, the fastest way to travel around any game is usually the method used the most no matter what genre.
It’s no coincidence that the fastest way to travel around a game is usually the method most used, no matter what genre. MMOs popularised the use of mounts as it was necessary to get around their vast worlds and it was an authentic addition to your character’s development. Can you imagine traveling around in WoW without one? However, despite some pretty expansive worlds, ARPGs have shied away from mounts with perhaps the exception of Sacred 2 likely because they were just not that necessary.
It goes without saying that Diablo IV mounts will likely be called into action more often than not when outside dungeon areas. Even more so when players start to get the lay of the land and the key locations.
The fact that they have been added bodes well for the future too. We know the initial release will only include an area of Sanctuary stretching from Scosglen down to Kehjistan. This is about one third of the overall Sanctuary landmass as we know it. Of course, it’s hard to gauge how large that actually is in travel time at the moment as we’ve only seen a snapshot of Scosglen in the BlizzCon 2019 demo which appeared quite small when mapped.
Mounts are an interesting addition in that it does flesh out the world with creatures other than demons and deadly beasts. It also gives Blizzard a new toy to play with as far as customisation is concerned. Customisation has proved popular in Diablo 3 with the addition of cosmetics such as wings but that’s all they are, cosmetics. Diablo IV’s mount customisation promises something a little more interesting with the ability to augment and improve mounts. Not only cosmetically but also ability.
We know that cosmetics will be available for mounts such as saddles, armour and other trinkets. These customisations are said to improve the performance of a mount. For example, armour could decrease damage and other additions could make them a little faster by X%. Blizzard said these augmentations could be useful in PvP but sadly we don’t know too much about PvP at this stage. Mount additions give players something else to strive for when it comes to showing off in the game to other players. A flaming mount, an undead mount, an angelic mount, there are a lot of possibilities.
Blizzard appears to be wanting players to able to charge directly into battle from a mount. Abilities activated on dismount bring that effect to life. It’s not known at this stage whether that will be an effective tactic. There is only so much screen space to play with and you will be moving quicker on a mount. Firing off a single ability will automatically dismount you and you will execute that skill as you land as you can see in the video below.
Another thing that has not been touched on is storage. Could a mount give you access to some mobile stash space outside of your normal inventory, such as saddle bags? Think of it as a limited extra stash while out in the wilds. Another idea could be to take a leaf out of Torchlight’s book with pets where they are able to be sent back to town to deposit items collect. Perhaps you mount could do the same. That may make things a little too easy but it’s an idea to chew on. We always need more stash space right?
With Diablo IV likely some way off, we’ll hear more about mounts in the future. I for one am really looking forward to seeing how they evolve. I hope this is not one of the features that ends up on the cutting room floor because they will fit perfectly into the world of Sanctuary. Once Blizzard expands the playable areas of Sanctuary well beyond what we see at initial release, mounts could become invaluable.