The latest Living World episode for Guild Wars 2 introduces the game's sixth mount: the Roller Beetle. The mount is the latest addition to the existing mount line-up: the Raptor, the Jumper, the Skimmer, the Jackal and the Griffon.
Guild Wars 2's Living World Season 4 Episode 3 introduces players to the mount when Gorrik mentions to the commander that his beetle Petey is growing that there is a possibility he might be useful on the front line.
After this conversation, the player gains access to a collection that will unlock the mount.
The collection itself focuses on Petey’s health and has you collect food to make him feel better. As you progress through the collection, you build a relationship with him and ultimately unlock him as a mount.
Although we were not able to progress through the collection in our session, it is said to be less time-consuming than the ”secret” Griffon mount collection featured in Path of Fire. However, it will still depend on the methods used to collect the specific items required for the collection.
Riding the mount will start slow but as you go on your way, your endurance meter will fill up. Once filled, the mount special ability will allow you to accelerate rapidly.
With this ability, you are able to travel at high speeds not possible before on the ground. That being said, the Roller Beetle is still slightly slower than the Griffon, according to our own tests.
The big difference between the Griffon and the Roller Beetle mount, of course, is that one is in the air and the other is, mostly, on the ground, meaning that riding the Roller Beetle will have you worry more about the path you take in order to not crash into objects.
Technically speaking, the new episode brings three new mastery lines, which is not something that has been done before in Living World episodes.
These three mastery lines are the Wrecking Ball, Barrier Smash and Big Air and they will cost you 12 Mastery points to unlock.
The Barrier Smash mastery not only allows you to break through marked walls, it also allows you to break crystals scattered across the map. Breaking these crystals will reward you with experience, volatile magic, and endurance used to perform abilities.
Perhaps most interesting is the Big Air mastery. This mastery allows you to perform stylish tricks in mid-air. As you perform the trick, you will gain endurance, which in turn allows you to boost again. Mastering these mid-air tricks will be the difference between maintaining speed and slowing down, as not landing tricks properly will actually cause you to lose endurance.
When you do travel at high speeds and you need to turn quickly the second mount ability, drifting, will help you out. Drifting allows you to make tight maneuvers but at the cost of losing speed. In addition, hand breaking is also possible by pressing the backward key.
Using the drift mechanic will take some time to master and Roller Beetle Training is an excellent way to get started.
History and development
The Guild Wars Nightfall expansion pack introduced the Roller Beetle to the Guild Wars franchise in 2006.
Back then, the beetle was only available as an enemy NPC: the Rock Beetle. In the expansion pack, these beetles were particularly dangerous in groups because of their Elementalist Earth Magic skills.
Eventually, the beetle appeared in special events when Roller Beetle Racing was added to the game with the Canthan New Year update in 2007. This minigame transformed players into Roller Beetles to allow them to race against each other. In order to make things more interesting, the racing track featured power-ups used to either overtake or hinder opponents. The 100 fastest accounts would receive a Roller Beetle mini: the Miniature Greased Lightning.
The Roller Beetles featured in Guild Wars 2 are not identical to those from the original game. Instead, they can be seen as close cousin species.
According to developers, the Roller Beetle pushed the game to its limits in terms of what is possible within the physics engine. The mount presented a huge challenge in development because of its unique physics and its fast speeds. The team has spent a significant amount of time making sure that it has the right balance between looks and abilities.
A large part of this is are math calculations the game makes to determine how fast you are going and what type of objects you try to roll over. This in turn ensures the mount is not performing maneuvers it should not be able to do, such as rolling up walls or steep mountains.
The Roller Beetle mount has been in development alongside the development of latest expansion pack Path of Fire. It had to go through numerous iterations before it found its niche in the roster of mounts.
In fact, one of the iterations was a version where the beetle held his arms over his head to support a saddle for the player to sit on, somewhat resembling a unicycle.
The team ultimately landed on the current iteration: the Asuran hover saddle technology allows the player to hover on the back of the beetle. According to developers, riding Petey with this saddle should not be seen as mind control, but rather as an act of friendship: Petey simply takes you to where you need to go.
Although expected, the fact that the mount even works in older maps provides additional value. The team recognizes that masteries that work across all maps are more valuable to the player than those that do not.
However, creating masteries that work everywhere brings extra work along with it because the team needs to make sure that these work without breaking existing content. Containing masteries to certain maps simply makes it easier to develop and test so regional masteries will continue to exist.
The team is also aware that a portion of the community would like to see a redesigned mount selection interface to make it easier to select specific mounts instead of fiddling with six hotkeys, one for each mount, or clicking on a mount in the skill bar mount list. It is currently looking into that player feedback.
The new Living World episode that was released earlier today takes players to the Domain of Kourna. The new area is located in the southern regions of Elona.
In the new map, players are able to explore Gandara, the Moon Fortress, and its surrounding regions.
Domain of Kourna not only features the sixth new mount, but it is also the location of the continuation of the Living World story. In addition, the map features a new meta event that takes place in and around the Moon Fortress, several Renown Hearts quests and Dynamic Events that are designed around the idea of helping out the region, and new Griffon challenges.
Be sure to check out our separate Guild Wars 2 Living World Season 4 Episode 3 feature article to catch up on all new content.
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