Something I guess I didn’t expect has happened a lot since the announcement of the 8.2 content and the particular inclusion of mount equipment.
I guess some of it was predictable along the lines of similar changes (“I paid a lot of gold for a water strider after a long grind!” matches feedback of the reduction in cost for several types of mount training over the game’s lifespan, as the best example), but a lot of it has been targeted at the possibility of badness to come.
Namely, that mount equipment is a backdoor to eventually disable water walking during expansion launches alongside flying, making its use the new Pathfinder gating.
To begin, I want to say I am of two minds on this change – you’ll notice in my 8.2 posts thus far, I have spoken relatively positively of the mount equipment idea, and I stand by that. I do think these are a net improvement to the game, and I think it balances the desire to pay off those who earned the water walking early with the primary issue of making water walking more accessible and more exciting than a thing constrained to a single mount. On the other hand, I won’t pretend that the possibility of a future where Pathfinder Part 1 achievements unlock Mount Equipment in new zones is an impossibility.
For right now, my personal opinion is that Blizzard has my benefit of the doubt. I think that, as presented, this is a good change, that we can equip water walking or other interesting effects to mounts, although 3 options hardly makes for an exciting new system. As it stands, for me, Water Walking wins, 100% of the time. Now, if Engineers could make a Sky Golem-esque harvest on the go option, or there could be other things added prior to the 8.2 launch, that would make for a more complete and interesting system.
At the same time, however, it must be acknowledged that the curious behavior here is the removal of Water Walking from the strider mounts specifically, even as other mounts simply retain their effects as is (the Sky Golem example being the most applicable again). If I were trying to build a future in which I could turn off water walking and tie it to an achievement, it does seem easier to do by constraining it to the mount equipment slot and removing it from mounts that currently have it.
This is tricky, because I find myself thinking that the idea that Blizzard is backdooring their way into removing water walking from the beginning of an expansion is conspiratorial in a way, and yet, it would not be the first time such a thing was tried (Legion’s testing phase included a brief window in which water striders had their water walking disabled in the Broken Isles, which definitely merits being recalled in this context).
For the moment, I don’t know, but I guess that while I am fairly pessimistic on the current state of the game, I find myself feeling like mount equipment is a net good still. Of course, should this exact prediction of disabled water walking come true, I will be quite irritated, but for now, I find myself wanting more to be irritated by things that are currently implemented in a way I dislike in the game, rather than being irritated over a possible future state.
Maybe that makes me a fool, but I’m willing to save my energy to be mad about it if it should happen in the future.