Lord Of The Rings Online has always been one of my favorite MMOS. The game is visually stunning and has so much depth and detail it is impossible to ever run out of things to do and enemies to conquer. Now the fine folks at Turbine have raised the level of enjoyment to a new height, with the introduction of War-Steeds and mounted combat for the Riders of Rohan expansion. Welcome to a high speed thrill ride with LOTRO War-Steeds.
When last we met, I told you about my initial highly positive experiences during the first few days of the expansion and I promised to come back after I completed Book 8 of the epic quest and earned my own War-Steed. I do apologize for being slightly delayed by the dubious distinction of spending a considerable amount of time covering the 2012 elections and its aftermath, but I came back, leveled up my character and I now am the proud owner of Calista, my medium War-Steed.
War-Steeds come in three different versions that relate to the different player classes and their style of combat. As a burglar who wears medium armor and engages in melee combat, I prefer the medium War-Steed for a balance between speed, agility and survival.
Ranged players might use a light War-Steed with the best maneuverability and plate wearers may prefer the Heavy War-Steed for more armor and health. It should be mentioned that while you can use your War-Steed anywhere in the game for transportation, you can only use it for mounted combat in the new Riders of Rohan expansion zones.
Since Turbine is famous for the incredible detail they put into every aspect of Lord Of The Rings Online, it should come as no surprise that War-Steeds offer an amazing variety of options. Every combat mount uses its very own legendary bridle that you can fine tune just like any other legendary in the game. Players will earn points to add to the bridle’s legacies and legacies can be tweaked when you reforge your bridle.
For those players willing to invest a bit extra in the game, the item shop offers a great selection of high quality runes to add to your legendary bridle. You can also purchase a stunning assortment of decorative gear from the item shop that won’t add any benefits in combat but they will allow you to look incredibly dashing when you ride into town.
Once you acquire your War-Steed, you will have to complete the training quests to learn how to fight from horse back. At first, you may be slightly confused since you will now have a new set of tool bars with a whole new range of combat traits to use in mounted battles. Be patient, do the quests and before long you will be ready to venture out into the wide world to completely crush your enemies and listen to the lamentation of their women. (sorry, wrong game. I got carried away.)
Just like a player character, the War-Steed comes with a list of traits and its own trait tree. As they level up, steeds earn a total of 77 trait points that are spent on new mounted traits. Most of the points are gained in mounted combat but Turbine decided to be ultra generous and players even earn trait points for their mount when they kill enemies and complete quests on foot.
The trait tree has three branches; one for health and defense, one for damage and one for speed and maneuverability. The tree comes with two unlocked specs and five more you can unlock through the item shop. You can refund points and respec for a reasonable fee payable with game currency and you can choose a light, medium, or heavy mount for each unlocked spec. The depth and variety offered for your War-Steed is simply unbelievable.
Of course, the actual mounted combat is what we are all interested in and I will tell you that it is unique and exciting. Fighting on a War-Steed takes the player far beyond the typical keyboard face roll style of battle found in many online games. Once you master mounted combat, you will be able to kill mobs that would destroy you on foot, fight multiple enemies and even hold your own against mini bosses. The combat is high speed warfare from the back of an agile, armored mount and it offers a thrill a minute mad dash through the plains of Rohan.
Turbine has done the impossible and actually managed to introduce an exciting new method of play to online gaming. Join up with a few friends on their War-Steeds and you will will soon become an almost unstoppable force. Turbine deserves great praise for bringing War-Steeds to Lord Of The Rings Online. Bravo and a job well done!