The donkey is a basic mount. Although rather slow, the donkey is your first introduction to the training life skill and will help you level to Beginner: 5 so you can unlock the capture rope to tame your first horse. If you buy a horse from the Marketplace you can of course ride a horse from the start.
Don't underestimate donkeys though: they can be trained the same as other mounts to level and then become faster and can carry more weight. The maximum level seems to be level 15 at 54.000 XP. Additionally donkeys are very useful for commerce and trading to move heavy Trade Packs until you own a vehicle.
Obtaining a Donkey
Upon reaching level 10 there is a quest (Big Fish in a Small Pond) from the Black Spirit. Talk to the town chief in Velia. He will give you a donkey (you can choose one of three different colors: grey, black or brown). After receiving your Donkey Token you must take it to a stable to register it (name it).
You can always buy another donkey from Stable Keepers as long as they have a Shop option:
- Normal Donkey - standard donkey with 3 colors to choose from - 10k silvers
- Healthy Donkey - A Healthy Grey Donkey can carry more items than normal Donkeys. - 30k silvers
- Strong Black Donkey - A Strong Black Donkey can carry more items than Healthy Donkeys. - 50k silvers
Donkey vs. Horse vs. Vehicles
Donkeys have at least 4 slots of inventory compared to the 2 slots of a horse. They can carry much heavier weights without slowing down. They are quite nimble in cluttered areas when trying to avoid Bandits and they need much less carrots fed for stamina than a horse you ride. Normal donkeys, if trained, can easily compete with tier 1 horses for weight, stamina and speed. And they can be faster than horse pulled wagons - but the latter don't need carrots and can carry more items. Same as horses they can be equipped with Mount Equipment.
Last but not least donkeys train easily and are rather cheap so they present an option to level your training skill. They can not be used to pull carts or such, will not acquire any skills and they can not be bred.