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Okay, the worgen mount skill, Running Wild, isn't all that bad. It's just not the pinnacle of coolness so many had hoped for. We're going to look at what Running Wild isn't (it ain't Plainsrunning, that's for sure), how it works and why, and talk about how Running Wild looks on the worgen and what the running animation looks like.
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It's Not Plainsrunning, and Quit Listening to People Who Say It Is
Back in the olden days (the Beta version of World of Warcraft), Tauren couldn't have mounts, for roleplay reasons — they were too "big" to fit on them. Instead, Tauren were their own mount. After 10 seconds of running forward, the "mount" speed would kick in and they'd be running as fast as if they were mounted.
Plainsrunning was a unique idea, but it was also a very broken one. The buff went away the moment a player stopped moving (normal mounts don't dismount you when you stop), and it caused players to run into mobs accidentally as well as made PVP a head-scratcher.
The worgen's mount skill may have some roots in Plainsrunning, but it has greater roots simply in today's plain old mount/riding skills, as we'll see in the next section.
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The Worgen Racial Mount: It's You
Running Wild is the spell worgen obtain at level 20 (and that worgen death knights start with, obviously) for their racial mount ability. Rather than summoning a mount, Running Wild puts the worgen player on all fours, allowing them to run as fast as with a mount all by themselves.
This has clear roleplay support, given that wolves in the real world are capable of sustained running at speeds up to 38 mph for more than 20 minutes at a time. The Running Wild spell also solves all the problems Plainsrunning had by being entirely different from it: even though the worgen is their own mount, the spell behaves just like other racial mount summons.
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Whatever You Do, Try Not to Look at the Running Wild Animation
The Running Wild look and animation are…problematic, to say the least. The all-fours pose exaggerates the worgen's hunchbacked look. It also looks ungainly on robed classes like priests, or female death knights. Ever wanted to see a wolf in a skirt, loping along on all fours? Yeah, me neither.
In a top hat, though, Running Wild looks dapper. As always. Top hats class up everything.
There's also the unfortunate consequence of the pose. Look at it this way: your worgen is on all fours, and as a predator, your worgen has strong, high haunches. (Translation: its butt is kind of in the air.) At the same time, the default view of your worgen is from behind. You're looking at a wolf butt, poised in the air.
I'm going to just let you finish that thought for yourself…you furry.
Then there's the running animation itself, a disjointed, graceless loping. It's jerky and just plain wince-inducing to watch. It certainly has potential, but I think Blizzard can make some improvements to make this skill look much better on the screen
In conclusion, the worgen mount, for the new Alliance race in Cataclysm, is the worgen itself. It's a very cool idea that's fitting with the werewolf-like worgen concept, and the Running Wild spell was thoughtfully designed to work just like any other summon mount spell. Just try not to make any snide remarks about the Running Wild pose and deal with the running animation until the folks at World of Warcraft get around to smoothing things out.