I’ve had some more time to play around with mounted combat in LotRO. I like it. I like riding along in the new zones and not have to dismount when I’m suddenly attacked – I can smush stuff from horse-back if I choose.
At first, I found the mount difficult to get used to. Like I mentioned in my Rohan expansion post, the “w” key acts like an accelerator, not just a “forward” button. So the longer you hold it down, the faster you’ll go up to your mount’s top speed. Also, the faster you’re going, the wider your turn radius will be. I found that a good speed for me is around 8. (My mount’s top speed is around 14.) At 8, I have enough “red” in the red bar to do some nice damage while still being able to go slow enough that I won’t take a whole zone to turn in.
I also found the horse trait bars so I can make some modifications to help me out. Per the screenshots, below the fold, just click on your menu bar and then open the mounted combat section. You’ll see a window with three tabs. You have stats, appearance options and traits. The traits system is a lot like the character traits in WoW. As your horse levels, you’ll be able to get deeper into each tree. Right now, my horse has added speed traits which will lead to a better turn radius trait later on. In other words, my horse will go faster and I’ll turn sharper which means I’ll be able to fight faster too. Since damage is based partially off speed, I’ll be able to do more damage as well.
Some random tips:
When I’m planning on doing some horse fighting, I avoid using the auto-turn ability. I would rather stay in control of my path so I can change it and avoid packs of roaming mobs.
I have been dismounted in horse combat before – I suspect it was the amount of damage I was taking. I have not been dismounted just taking occasional hits, however, and can race through an area without worrying about getting knocked off my horse. On a regular horse, you can still be dismounted easily.
Familiarize yourself with the Mounted Disciplines (about half-way down the page). These are essentially different stances you can take and each stance will augment the class skill set. I will switch them around, including during combat, to get the most out of what I’m doing. For example, on most single melee targets, I’ll use Red Dawn (damage-dealing) and burn them down quick. Melee mobs tend to just chase me and, since they can’t run as fast as the horse, they only get a couple hits in before I’m out of range. For ranged mobs, however, I’ll stick with Rohirrim Discipline (defensive). A ranged mob can hit me a lot more often and the increase in defense helps a lot. Also, be aware that when you dismount and re-mount, your discipline switches back to whatever your default is. If you have a favorite stance besides the default, you’ll need to switch back to it.
Unfortunately, the new areas are still really laggy to me. I will typically plan on spending some time just riding around to reduce the amount of lag during combat (I suspect the textures are still loading behind the scenes which can add a lot to lag).
Mind the zones and towns. You can’t fight in a town and the abilities grey out and you can’t use them if you ride too close while fighting.
Keep an eye out for war bands. I haven’t tried to take one on yet but from what I’ve seen they are comprised of several normal mobs protecting a signature mob. They also have a tendency to charge through areas which means, if you’re not paying attention, they can jump on you.
Don’t be afraid to alternate speeds as you fight but avoid coming to a complete stop (at least if you’re a melee class).