In amongst the excitement at Blizzcon 2011 this year, one announcement hasn’t gotten as much attention as we might have expected – there’s a new flying mount available to buy for World of Warcraft. Tyrael’s Charger is an angelic, winged horse, and it can be yours for –
Yep, that’s right. The only way to get the Horse With Wings currently is to buy an annual subscription to World of Warcraft.
(from MMO Champion)
The Charger is, fairly obviously, a successor to the Celestial Steed, aka the Sparklepony. So far, all we have of it is this one image, from which the most distinctive aspect are its angel wings. We don’t know yet, but I’d guess that they will ripple rather than flap, as Tyrael’s wings do in Diablo.
Less obviously, you can see the horse also has a glowing angelic mane (for art nerds, both the wings and the mane are produced with an additive texture – the same trick WoW uses in many other places to create glowing swords and ghosts, and the Sparklepony itself). Unless there have been some artistic liberties taken with the picture, it’s also pretty damn big – the night elf on its back looks about the same size as she would on a dragon mount, not a normal horse.
Beyond that, we’ve got the standard Blizzard “Holy” gold armour, unsprisingly given its presumed angelic origins. The horse itself is pretty heavy-set – we’re looking at a warhorse here, not something nimble and light.
Personally, I’m not nearly convinced by it as a mount – the wings are attractive, but the rest of it feels too much like a Paladin steed with some fancy dress wings tacked on. However, that may all change when we see more of it – if handled right, it could have an unstoppable feel, and be a great mount for any character in the priest/paladin line.
I can’t see it ever fitting a Rogue, though!
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How to get the flying horse
Currently, there’s only one way to get Tyrael’s Charger – by buying an annual subscription to WoW, which will also get you a free copy of Diablo III and access to the Mists of Pandaria beta.
When do you get the Charger? As soon as Patch 4.3 drops, it’ll turn up in your mail. You’ll get it for all characters at the same time.
It’s expensive, but is it a good deal? Well, that very much depends on how sure you are that you’re going to be playing WoW in the next year (and, of course, if you’re interested in Diablo). This seems like a pretty impressive offer for Blizzard to make, and is leading to some speculation that there might be a reason they expect a lot of people to unsubscribe in the next year, beyond the looming shadow of Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Will Sparklepony 2.0 ever be available another way? Probably, but likely not for a while. Blizzard are pushing the Annual Offer hard, and are likely to keep it up for a while. I’d expect Tyrael’s Charger to become available in the Blizzard store after Diablo III’s launch, but not before.
So what’s the backstory to Tyrael’s Charger?
Oddly, this mount has nothing to do with WoW at all. Instead, it’s a reference to the Archangel Tyrael in the Diablo lore – presumably to tie in with the Diablo III ramp-up that’s happening now.
In the Diablo universe, Tyrael essentially represents the side of good opposed to the evil of Diablo. He’s an Archangel who leads the Heavenly Host, and appears to you as the player character in the final act of Diablo II, giving you the quest to defeat Diablo himself. You can see him in action at 0:35 in this video – it’s pretty easy to see where the Steed got its wings.
Tyrael in Diablo II
This isn’t Tyrael’s first appearance in WoW – rather undignifiedly for an Archangel, he also made an appearance as a minipet a couple of years ago, Mini Tyrael.
His role in Diablo III is unknown at the moment, but it’s speculated that he’ll play a major role, possibly as a fallen angel opposing the rest of the Angelic Council.
All of this leaves just one piece of missing information about Tyrael’s steed – why would someone who can fly need a horse?
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