The Wandering Ancient is an ancient mount. It was the winning candidate of the Choose the Next Shadowlands Mount community poll and was made available for free to all World of Warcraft: Shadowlands owners with the release of patch 9.0.5.
Starting with the release of patch 9.0.5, the Wandering Ancient is automatically added to the mount collection of all accounts with the Shadowlands expansion activated, as well as those who purchase Shadowlands at a later date. On March 9, Blizzard announced that they were expecting a delay with the delivery of the mount but that all eligible accounts should receive it over the days following the release of 9.0.5.
Not all ancients are interested in war or lore, some just want to travel the world! This arboreal nomad has traveled to many places and with each passing season embraces change, both in scenery and in the foliage atop its branches.
When it became clear that the Wandering Ancient had won the Choose the Next Shadowlands Mount poll, artist Jon McConnell was tasked with bringing the mount to life. The first step was to collect a reference board with concept art, images of past iterations of ancients, and fan art by the community. McConnell figured that if the team were to introduce a new type of rideable ancient, it should line up with the pantheon of past ancients, all of whom have looks that aesthetically fit their purpose. McConnell wanted the Wandering Ancient to feel like a natural growth or root system that a player might have come across and sat down on, only to then suddenly find themselves atop an uprooted creature.
Once the concept was finished and McConnell began modelling the mount, he ended up keeping a lot of the foliage from World of Warcraft's original ancient protector model. Some other major parts of the mount had to be created from scratch, namely the main torso and head. The mount's animation rig was built by Waleed Boghosian, after which it was passed over to the animators, who used the animations of the the original ancient models as a foundation to build upon. A lot of animation work is based on the movement of animals in the real world, but in the case of fictional creatures that only exist in WoW, the animators like to film themselves for reference, which helps them get a feel for the mindset and personality of the creature. In the case of the Wandering Ancient's animations, animator Corin McCrate acted as the stand-in.
The mount's vocalizations were provided by longtime Warcraft composer Glenn Stafford, who has previously contributed his voice to previous iterations of ancients. The Wandering Ancient's voice was intended to match the fact that it's a little smaller, friendlier, and more inquisitive than others of its kind.
The mount features an easter egg in the form of a small caterpillar sticking out of the tree on the ancient's back, as a nod to the Curious Caterpillar, one of the mount concepts that did not win the poll. This idea was suggested by Kelvin Tan and added by Jon McConnell.
- The mount changes color with each season, much like the pet.
- The ancient's
/mountspecialanimation depicts it reaching up to scratch one of its branches, before shaking its body to remove loose leaves and pinecones. The animation has a small chance of including alternate objects among those that get shaken off, differing based on the season:
- The Wandering Forest Walker and/or Wandering Protector may have inspired the name.
- Patch 9.0.5 (2021-03-09): Added.
- ^ Get a First Look at the Wandering Ancient Mount During BlizzConline. Blizzard Entertainment (2021-02-19).
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2021-03-10. Now Available: Wandering Ancient Mount. Retrieved on 2021-03-10.
- ^ Missing Wandering Ancient - Blizzard Support. Archived from the original on 2021-03-10.
- ^ Breaking News - Wandering Ancient Delivery Delay - Blizzard Support (2021-03-09). Archived from the original on 2021-03-09.
- ^ a b World of Warcraft 2021-02-20. BlizzConline 2021 - World of Warcraft: Making of the Wandering Ancient Mount. YouTube. Retrieved on 2021-02-20.