Vitae Aeternum: Rise of the Angry Earth mounts and flail are the lift New World needed


New World’s first expansion is here, although if I’m being honest it feels more like the second expansion, considering the scale of the Brimstone Sands update. Still, Rise of the Angry Earth is the first time Amazon charged a box price for an update, so that raised an obvious question: Is it worth the money?

I think the answer is yes. While there have been the expected hiccups with server queues and bugs, those things will pass soon enough, and the actual content and features of the expansion appear to be wins across the board. Today, I’ll focus on mounts and the new flail weapon.

The flail

As a longtime focus main, I’ve been making do with essentially just one weapon, the void gauntlet, for most of my NW career. The life staff isn’t worth much outside of group healing. Mind you, the gauntlet is plenty powerful and plenty fun, so it hasn’t been the most horrible thing, but I’m glad to finally have some variety.

The flail is our long-requested strength/focus paladin weapon. I can remember asking for something like that via the in-game feedback forum all the way back in alpha, and many others have requested it in various venues in the time since then.

With all that expectation, it’s hard for anything to live up, but I’m pretty happy with how the flail turned out. The choice to center it around arcane damage feels a bit random (I’d have picked fire or lightning to better capture the divine feel), but the purple effects mesh well with the void gauntlet abilities and my character’s overall aesthetic. On a purely selfish note, I wish it scaled off intelligence and focus just to synergize with my void gauntlet better, but there’s lots of good reasons for it to be strength.

It’s another weapon that feels very heavily slanted toward group content — both of its skill trees’ capstone passives do literally nothing when you’re solo — but unlike the life staff, it still feels usable on its own.

The flail is a weapon mostly focused (hah) on buffs and debuffs, even moreso than the void gauntlet. These shine most in a group setting, but are still plenty helpful when solo. If you’ve missed the pure buff/debuff classes of the MMOs of yesteryear, well… this isn’t exactly the same thing, but it’s probably as close as you’re going to get in a modern MMO.

One other thing I really appreciate as a solo player is how many of the flail’s abilities have Grit, preventing you from being staggered by enemy attacks. The void gauntlet is entirely Grit-less, so I feel absolutely spoiled by how freely the flail doles it out.

The flail is also another area where New World‘s sound design shines, with all of the abilities having a really good sense of weight and power behind them.

So it’s not quite perfect, but most of my complaints are subjective, and the flail remains a weapon I plan to use extensively going forward.


After two years of hoofing it, we finally have the opportunity to travel in speed and style atop our very own mounts.

Amazon did a very good job on the feel of riding. The mounts have a bit more inertia than in most MMOs, but less than in Guild Wars 2. They feel weighty without being overly difficult to control; it’s a good balance.

And they’re fast, especially once you get a few speed upgrades in. It doesn’t feel that fast when you’re riding, until you realize that you just crossed three zones in as many minutes. The difference between riding and just walking as we used to is like night and day.

I recommend equipping a chest skin with a cape if you haven’t already. While New World‘s cloth physics have a spotty record to put it mildly, capes are animated very well while mounted, flowing in the wind behind you as you race down the road. It looks great.

Mounts also once again show NW‘s mastery of sound design (a recurring theme throughout the expansion, as you’ll see). The clip-clop of the horses is great, but even the other animals have similarly impressive sound effects. The dire wolves’ paws don’t hit the ground with as much volume as the horses’ hooves, but there’s still an audible sense of weight behind them that gives you a sense of the size and power of the beast you’re riding.

Something else that I really appreciate is that you can summon your mount while moving. It feels so much better than having to pause during the casting animation.

A unique quirk of New World‘s mounts is that their speed changes drastically depending on whether you’re riding on-road or off-road. On the road, they run like the wind, but off-road, they’re much slower (though still faster than walking).

I’m a little mixed on this; it makes logical sense, and I like that the devs made roads actually matter so there’s some choices to make when planning your route, but it undeniably feels bad to slow down so much the moment you go off-road.

Another place of criticism is the mount dye system. You can dye your mount’s armour (not the mount itself as I erroneously believed based on early previews — sorry, Chris, no pink wolves), but regular dyes won’t work. You can only use special mount dyes bought from the cash shop, which are both temporary content that will rotate out of the shop and consumables rather than permanent unlocks. I don’t mind seeing Amazon trying to monetize mount dyes somehow, but the studio did make it about as annoying as it possibly could.

The only other hiccup with mounts I’ve encountered is that the camera often jerks forward awkwardly when coming out of a dash, but that’s a minor annoyance.

As previewed, mounts come with an associated riding trade skill to level. Increasing your skill level will award the aforementioned speed boosts alongside a selection of mount gear, both cosmetic and functional.

I was a little worried about the grind, but it’s been pretty painless so far. I got to level 140 (of 250) in the first day. It’s slowing down a bit now, but I’ve already got most of the upgrades I want.

The are two ways to level your riding. You can feed your mount crafted “mount vittles” (complete with an adorable animation where they eat out of your hand and then snuggle a bit), or you can run races. Races are further divided into rallies, which send you through a set route of checkpoints on a strict time limit, and tours, which give you a distant destination and a generous time limit and charge you to find your own route.

I’ve never been very good at time trials like this in games (as my battered Javelin suit in Anthem can attest), but thankfully they seem to be pretty easy. Most tours amount to a nice leisurely ride through the countryside. Rallies stress me out a bit, but I’ve yet to fail one, so I can’t complain too much.

I had hoped to level my riding mostly through crafting vittles, but there’s a limit to how many of those you can feed your mounts per day, so I’m very glad the races turned out to be low stress, especially since they’re also the main source of the vitamins you need to craft vittles.

So far all of the races have been non-repeatable. I do wonder if that will continue to be the case, as completing a race is an activity for the current season, and I can definitely see there being a demand for repeatable races just for the fun of them.

My complaints with dyes notwithstanding, mounts are a big win for the game. They look, sound, and feel great, and leveling riding is a great source of low stress content.

More to come

Of course Rise of the Angry Earth delivered much more than mounts and flails. Once I get past the queues to play a bit more, I’ll have impressions on other parts of the expansion, including the new Elysian Wilds zone.

New World’s Aeternum is a land of many secrets. In MassivelyOP’s Vitae Aeternum, our writers delve those secrets to provide you with in-depth coverage of all things New World through launch and beyond.
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