The Lord of the Rings Online: Riders of Rohan Preview

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Warner Bros.
Release Date:2012-10-15
  • Massively Multiplayer,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
While mounted, each class will have its own set of unique "Mounted Skills" that will replace your normal selection of available skills. These skills will use up a combination of power from you and your mount, as well as a new source called Fury. Fury will build up over time as you move around on your mount and will build relative to how fast you are moving. The amount of Fury you have will give you a passive bonus to certain skills, like increased damage or more healing.

When first jumping on my mount, I found it somewhat difficult to maneuver. The new warsteeds use momentum-based movement that keeps you moving in the direction you are traveling and makes turning much more difficult. There are mitigations for this to make turning easier, like putting a bridle on your horse or using one with a higher agility, but expect to have a learning curve for this new mode of movement. To help with this learning curve, we will get a new toggle skill to use while mounted called "Spur On". This skill will help auto-steer our mount towards our selected target at the cost of extra power when activating our skills.

Even after using it for an hour, I still found it frustrating at times to position myself to best attack the swift-footed warbands we were attacking. For me, it was similar to a jet-on-jet dogfight as my opponent and I raced over the hills trying to get at a good angle to make an attack run. Again, just be aware that a learning curve is coming.

While mounted combat can be used against lone enemies or groups of targets, the main opponent for this new style of combat will be the deadly warbands. This new classification of mob will be varied across a broad range of player skill and group size, from the solo-friendly to ones that will require multiple fellowships working in unison to bring down, and each will have its own daily quest that will automatically be picked up when you ride near them. To see these new nasties coming, you will also get an indicator on your mini-map letting you now there is one nearby, allowing you to prep yourself for the impending encounter.

Mounted combat will certainly be an interesting addition to the game, and it will provide a whole new way of playing the game. Some may dislike it, others may learn to love it, but we will all likely need to gain proficiency in it as one of the developers added in that "mounted combat could be used for instance play in the future". For those that find the movement disorientating or not to their play style, I can only hope that there will be no combat quests in our future that require it.

Riders of Rohan launches tomorrow after a month-long delay, and with all of the new content and features packed within, it certainly looks to be worth the wait. Many thanks to the fine folks at Turbine for taking the time to show me some of the sights I will get to visit in the near future, even if they did make me play a Hunter during my tour :).