LOTRO – Mounted combat and warbands

So the Riders of Rohan expansion for LOTRO has been out for there weeks now. I haven’t had a chance to play all that much – I am currently still in The Wold and at level 78, but it feels about right to write a little about my initial experience with two of the features of the expansion – mounted combat and warbands.

Mounted combat of course was and is the biggest feature of the expansion. Warsteeds behave very differently to the mounts we have become used to thus far. The most immediate difference is that instead of holding the ‘W’ key all the time to move forward, now you press the same key to start the horse moving into one of four particular gaits: walk, trot, cantor and gallop. Sounds simple, and out in the open it is. The next thing is that, unlike the regular mounts, warsteeds have inertia. This can mean moving around a town at gallop is more than a little tricky. Practice makes perfect, and in general it is easier just to trot around town.

When you mount your warsteed you get a set of different skills to only use from the warsteed, and some the quickslot bars blank (which can be refilled). As an archer most of my skills are ranged attacks, with just one melee attack. The basics of what I do is very simple – circle the enemy keeping out of melee range whilst turning them into a pincushion. For single enemies it is probably easier just to dismount, but for groups the warsteed gives the vital ability to control distance.

In The Wold there are four warbands once can reliably fight (there is actually a fifth, but that is a far rarer spawn). Warbands are essentially daily quest targets that wander around the landscape. The one I have found most difficult so far is Urush – an Easterling horse-warrior with two sidekicks. What makes him tricky is that he is mounted – unlike the other three. This means basically the movement advantage is negated, and I haven’t really worked out the best way of approaching this particular fight solo – though it has been a couple of times since I died at least so perhaps I am improving.

The mount interface to advance your mount’s abilities is not very difficult to navigate. I doubt I am creating a particularly good build, but it seems to be working thus far. Like many others I find the price of the cosmetic options more than a little steep, and I will not be partaking of them at this price anytime soon.

My overall impression of both mounted combat and of warbands is a positive one. It is something new that has to be learned, and so far that has been enjoyable despite the occasional mishap. I’ll probably return to this theme however when I have a few more levels and wider experience however.

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