There have been some discussion about this in threads about other stuff so I decided to write a little about it in it's own thread.
Mounts: The game have 4 mounts
Raptor: Jumps far. You unlock it by doing the first mission.
Bunny (I refuse calling it something else): Jumps high. Unlocked by doing a heart and paying 50 trade contracts and some silver.
Skimmer: A floating Manta, can be used like a glider for a short bit. Unlocked same way as the bunny.
Jackal: Teleports in jumps. You need 3 mastery points in bunny or skimmer to get it (or a teleport to friend), unlock a heart and pay 200 trade contracts and 20 gold.
Each mount have 4 mastery skills. The first is a boost to the attack you can make while unmounting. The second is a kind of boost. It is the third that matters (makes the bunny & rampors jumps more powerful, makes the skimmer hoover higher and gives the jackal access to the sand teleporters). The 4th give the mounts bonus to all mounts.
The first 3 mounts have a few areas it can reach by having the third skill (some by 2 mounts and a bit inventiveness). The jackal is different, when you reach Vabbi you more or less need that third mastery.
My recommendation is that if you want the mounts go for the skimmer directly as you get into the crystal desert (searching sandpiles and do some DEs on the way to get the 50 trade contracts, it is pretty fast and simple. Then get the bunny and while doing that level up the skimmer mastery to 3. grind contracts so you have 200 and when you have 3 in skimmer get the jackal.
There are areas you need those masteries to reach, nowhere near what you need in Hot (besides possibly in Vabbi, havn't been in the zone much yet) and while Hot basically had 3 zones you could solo or do in small groups and one for zergs all 5 PoF zones are for groups but soloers can do a lot as well, You can enter all zones without a single mastery in anything but as I said above, you want 3 points in Jackal to do much in Vabbi.
Also, gaining the third mastery ability is relatively fast, I have 2 already and I have mainly been focusing on exploration. Just getting the glider to a useful level took me far longer in HoT.