The Tattered Notebook: A 'Top Gear' look at mounts

EQII fire spirit mount
Previously, I've been writing about the weighty topic of free-to-play vs. live subscription servers in EverQuest II. This week, I'd like to switch gears, both figuratively and literally, to talk about speed. I've recently become a fan of the show Top Gear, a British program(me) that is completely devoted to the love of cars. I don't know why -- I'm not really into cars, and my Volkswagon Passat Wagon hardly qualifies as a car with a soul. But I was watching a recent episode, the one in which Jeremy was driving an Aston Martin across country, and I thought about how far EQII's mount selection has grown. Gone are the days when your choices ranged from a horse with brown spots to a horse with white spots to the really impressive horse with brown and white spots. The only unique mounts back then were the Paladin and Shadow Knight "fun" mounts.

Today, there are dozens of different types of mounts that run, leap, glide, and fly. And they're not all just marketplace quick hits; several are easily attained from simple quests or live events. In this week's Tattered Notebook, I'll look at a few of my favorite mounts with an ode to Top Gear.

EQII maj dul carpet
Carpet of El'khazi

This isn't the fastest mount, for sure. And it's not the fanciest-looking, either. But the Maj Dul Carpet will always hold a place in my heart because I must have run that quest about a thousand times to help guildmates take on that Djinn master at the end. In an era when mounts had four feet and were planted firmly on earth, the Maj Dul carpet was the first to leave the ground, although it would be years before we saw true flying mounts in game. At the time, it had a 40% run speed boost, but although it's usable at level one, players need to be in the high 40s in order to take on the quest. Some players despise the carpet because of the bent-knee animation that your character takes on while riding, but when I see that carpet, I think of all those battles with the Djinn and his two Jeenie helpers, and I smile.

EQII horse of a different color
Horse of a different color

On the surface, this just seems like a simple horse mount, smartly decorated and possessed of a 130% run-speed. But just as in the movie of his eponym, this horse changes color each time you zone. That's right, in Antonica, he might be blue, but when you enter Qeynos, suddenly he's orange! The only thing missing is Frank Morgan and lots of singing. This mount came from the Bristlebane Day event, so you won't have a chance to get it until next March.

Fire Spirit Steed

If I had to pick a personal favorite, it would be the Fire Spirit mount, which is a Legends of Norrath reward. At the time it first came out, it boasted not only a 50% run speed boost but also a 5 point increase in ranged, slashing, crushing, piercing, and aggression. But this mount was more about looks than stats, and of all the various mounts I've owned, this one always generated the most tells from other players asking where it came from. It was and continues to be a real attention-getter, and even though it's no longer the fastest mount out there, I love to break it out now and then just to turn some heads.

EQII leaf blown carpet
Leaf-blown carpet

Now, this carpet blows away the drab, tassle-adorned look of the Maj Dul carpet. It comes from the Enchanted Dryad Grotto during the Moonlight Enchantment monthly event, and it only costs one token to purchase a 20-charge carpet (each charge lasts one day). What I love about this carpet is that it's followed by a trail of autumn leaves, perfect for this time of year. It's also much more colorful than most other mounts, and all that's required to get it is a sense of timing, since you can only access the grottoes once a month.

EQII flying mount
Tundra griffon

As far as looks go, the quested griffon mount is hardly a thing of beauty. But it makes up for that by what it does to travel in Norrath. Being able to fly has really changed the game experience for EQII players. Not only is it an easier method for navigating some of the headache-inducing, maze-like zones in game, but it also shows Norrath in a whole new light. The sunsets look even more impressive from the air, and the floating islands in the Kingdom of Sky take on an entirely different feel. This mount, which is quested at level 85, brings a run-speed increase of 75% and an air-speed of 150%. I have to admit that when I had to wander the snow of the Great Divide to find my missing baby griffon, I considered giving up on the quest and leaving him to fend for himself. But I'm glad I followed through because the ability to fly makes EQII an entirely different, and much more enjoyable, game.

EQII squirrel mount
The Brown Treeglider

This is one of the newer mounts available on the Marketplace, and riding it is a real dream -- if your dream is about paranoid, gigantic squirrels who spend every waking minute stuffing equally gigantic acorns under their arms. This is a glider mount, and isn't rideable until level 60. It gives a ground-speed increase of 60% and air-speed of 200% when gliding. My guildmate Vadel reports that it handles extremely well, except when it's gliding. He also wanted to make it clear that he was not at Busch Stadium the other night.

I could easily add to this list, but of all the mounts I've owned, these are my top favorites, partially because of how they changed travel in the game and partially because of the memories attached to their acquisition. What are your favorite EQII mounts? Share yours below!

From the snow-capped mountains of New Halas to the mysterious waters of the Vasty Deep, Karen Bryan explores the lands of Norrath to share her tales of adventure. Armed with just a scimitar, a quill, and a dented iron stein, she reports on all the latest news from EverQuest II in her weekly column, The Tattered Notebook. You can send feedback or elven spirits to karen@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.