Horse Amore: Next Skyrim Update Adds Mounted Combat

By Nathan Grayson on May 25th, 2012 at 9:00 am.

Horse Ro Dah.
I have ridden horses before. They’re swift, terrifying creatures, and while I attempted to maintain a dignified posture befitting of my stature as Someone Who’s Technically From Texas, it was pretty obvious that I was mostly hanging on for dear life. Apparently, though, in addition to the ability to fell dragons with the gentlest of whispers, the Dragonborn will soon be capable of fighting from the back of a horse. Like, without careening off its back in a blur of blood, bones, and white hot terror. That, I believe, is the mark of a true hero.

Bethesda announced the upcoming update in a blog post. There’s also a host of tweaks and bug fixes (no more, er, crashing when you try to load your game – hooray!), but horses are – as ever – the main event of this particular rodeo. Both melee and ranged combat will be possible from atop your prancing pony (not the inn, unfortunately), and it’ll all be completely free.

You can even try it out a Steam Beta Update right now if you’d like. Alternatively, you can check out the results of Bethesda’ Skyrim game jam to get a brief glimpse of what your’e in for. Sadly, however, dragon mounts still aren’t on the docket. Also, where’s my skeletal butler complete with adorable chef hat? And what about giant mudcrabs? I mean, Bethesda has all the ingredients for mounted monocle-wearing mudcrab jousting right in front of it. Why haven’t Todd Howard and co tossed them in a bowl, stirred, and created the new Sport of Kings? Truly, it boggles the mind.

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82 Comments »

  1. Narzhul says:

    Sweet.

    ..When are we gonna be able to fight from the back of a dragon?

  2. apocraphyn says:

    Well, that’s enough to rejuvenate my interest in the game. Good on you, Bethesda!

  3. kukouri says:

    My dreams of riding down villagers can now come true.

  4. Stephen Roberts says:

    And I just started playing Mount and Blade.

  5. FCA says:

    Great news. I still have to finish the game (too many games, too much work to do…), but this I certainly have to try. Dismounting for combat was one of my main annoyances in the game.

    • AlexClockwork says:

      There’s so much truth in here. I was dissapointed not having this feature since the beggining… >.<

      • sinister agent says:

        Seriously. I couldn’t believe that they’d even bothered to include horses again when the first time I saw one, I had to watch some idiot climb down off it again in order to fight. It rendered them completely pointless.

        • Grygus says:

          I know, right? Strolling around at encumbered speed is the absolute best time. Having a way to get around that isn’t worth dismounting for combat in the slightest!

          • sinister agent says:

            You can already run, and there’s fast travel for getting around quickly, which has the benefit of not making the world seem so weirdly scaled. It’s not worth having a horse when you spend every encounter having to trap anything that chases you behind a rock so you can get down and fight it before it kills your horse.

          • Grygus says:

            @phantoon: Except that none of that actually works in the Skyrim that I played. Did you mod it, or did one of the patches make a major change to travel? Because when I played it at launch, you could neither run nor use fast travel when encumbered. You could, however, ride a horse.

  6. Enikuo says:

    I have mixed emotions about this. On one hand, yipee! On the other hand….I really hope all my horse mods get updated/not broken.

  7. HexagonalBolts says:

    Awwwwww, what, no horse armour?

  8. Mr_Day says:

    Mount And Blade: With Fire and Fuus.

    No? I’ll get me coat.

  9. Davie says:

    Yes! It makes me incredibly happy that Bethesda is putting out free content like this; and that it’s actually new gameplay features rather than just an extra dungeon or hat. I’m very excited for the changes that will come with whatever the hell Dawnguard is, and all this happy is enough to make the quietly burning rage at TES Online simmer down a bit.

  10. razgon says:

    I want the damn spears from the jam week video as well! But this is a nice start.

    • Jerricho says:

      This. Also, those nice flow dependent water shaders please.

      I often stab things in the eye from a very great distance, I’d like an arrow kill-cam more akin to the sniper rifle kill cam from Max Payne 2.

    • thaspius says:

      Spears + mounted combat would lead to me making yet another new character. Really hope this happens. Mounted spear wielding (or any weapon for that matter) NPCs would also be fantastic!

  11. Iskariot says:

    I poured 150 hours into the game, I do not remember seriously using a horse once. I only tried a horse for testing purposes. I see very little use for them. They do not have saddlebags to store my loot and they feel very cumbersome and slow. And I do not need them to give me an advantage in battle either.

    • rb2610 says:

      Not even for travelling quickly? o_0

    • Narzhul says:

      So don’t use it, move along.

      People have been asking for this since Oblivion.

    • AmateurScience says:

      Both the saddlebags and the cumbersome and slow bits can be fixed with a couple (maybe even one) mod, check out the nexus or workshop. It’s definitely worth it.

      Mind you I still won’t use a horse in Skyrim after my faithful steed Pooky was mammothed to death from under me.

      • Grygus says:

        Okay, but claiming that something is flawed and useless because you modded the game with the explicit aim of replacing it is pretty disingenuous.

        • Phantoon says:

          Wait, what? Are you arguing against the entire point of Elder Scrolls games on the PC? That modding is somehow bad? You’re extrapolating that because he mentioned a mod, he was using it, or something. I don’t know. So I’m doing the same. I think.

          Seriously, I don’t get it.

    • Riztro says:

      I poured 150 hours into the game, I do not remember seriously using a sword once. I only tried a sword for testing purposes. I see very little use for them. They do not have serrated edges to cut my bread and they feel very cumbersome and slow. And I do not need them to give me an advantage in battle either.

      • Kektain says:

        If your point is “people play the game in different ways”, you could have expressed it in a way that didn’t make me roll my eyes so hard.

    • vexis58 says:

      I said the same thing for a long time (I played Oblivion the same way, only using a horse when the dark brotherhood gave me one for free), but it’s really crazy how much faster you travel on a horse. Especially when running. Stick to the roads on a horse and you can get to new towns/dungeons in no time. I’m definitely a convert. The only downside is that I have to walk past all of those delicious alchemy ingredients I see by the side of the road, because mounting and dismounting takes so long.

      I’m pretty excited about being able to kill the things that attack me on the road without having to get off of my horse first, and I hope they also add in some way to grab nearby alchemy ingredients from horseback too.

  12. MajorManiac says:

    This is great news. Both for the fun we’ll all have Mount ‘n’ Blading our way across Skyrim, but also because its a great sign of goodwill from Bethesda. I look forward to what lies in store for the future.

    If you could choose a mod for Bethesda to make an official version of, which would it be?

    For me personally I’d really be happy if they could make all the cities part of the world-map. So you can enter them with no load screens. If this was done by the people that made the game. I presume they would know all the scripted events that would need updating to accommodate this without causing further bugs….well at least not too many. :)

  13. The Tupper says:

    If a franchise develops a reputation for quality updates like this, it makes me far more likely to buy the game at full price rather than waiting a year for a heavily discounted GOTY package.

    • eks says:

      Skyrim is the only game in recent history which I haven’t regretted paying full retail price for.

    • Walter Heisenberg says:

      If you waited awhile for the GOTY edition you would end having all these new features and enchantments from the start and would most likely have a much better experience than someone that bought it at launch.

      • The Tupper says:

        I’m aware of that, but there are also a diminishing number of titles that I don’t want to wait a year to play. Batman AC, for example, – so much paid-for content obviously in the pipeline from before the game’s release there’s very little incentive to splash the cash at launch.

      • Hidden_7 says:

        Except that you’d be waiting awhile.

        Games depreciate in cost, always do, always have. For any given game you get a better deal if you wait, even ignoring that most games undergo some sort of patching during their lifespan.

        The trade-off is that you don’t get to play them when they are released, and that you don’t get to be part of the cultural experience of the game, should it have one.

        Depending on the game and the person, these trade-offs are more or less important, but it’s not like simply waiting is always the slam dunk decision. You do lose out on something.

  14. Syra says:

    when they say mounted combat they clearly just mean you can finally swing a bloody weapon from horseback in a sandbox game like assassins creed offered us 3 years ago. This should have been in when it shipped.

  15. piphil says:

    Not had a chance to play the game since the game updated to the 1.6 beta last night. Does this just allow you to fight on horseback, or do NPCs also gain the ability?

    Even more importantly, can you use a bow on horseback, and can you put your horse into sneak mode whilst doing so…? :-P

    • Urthman says:

      Yeah, mounted archery and spellcasting is what I’ve been missing since Oblivion.

      I think putting your horse into sneak mode requires the Equine Stealth Armor DLC.

  16. Maldomel says:

    So, they decided to pour some M&B into Skyrim. Nice. Maybe it will give a bit more usefulness to horses.

  17. Cryptoshrimp says:

    I think it’s really classly that this isn’t paid DLC. If we call out shitty corporate decisions, we should also applaud the good ones, or else they’ll never learn.

    • BobsLawnService says:

      I would like to agree with you.

      Lately it has become painfully obvious that you don’t need to treat your customers well to shift a huge number of units.

      Seeing a Big Three publisher go out of their way to make their customers happy expecting little to no return on their investment makes me feel a tiny bit squishy inside.

      Could Bethesda actually car about keeping their customers happy?

  18. etkar says:

    Wait, there are horses in the game?!

  19. sky_in_flames says:

    So when will be able to ride giant monocled mud crabs and fight from their backs?

  20. catmorbid says:

    Man, I want the spears! And giant mudcrabs! And werebears! This is a nice start, but dunno if I’ll be bothered to touch Skyrim again with this little incentive. The 150 hours poured into it is quite enough for quite some time. Ruined quite a bit of my life that time…

  21. Shadram says:

    Spell combos and those nifty water shaders next, please! (surface flow and underwater)
    I’m assuming the moving platforms in dungeons will be in for the DLC. Would be silly not to. Also the water currents. I can just see the zelda-style water temple now…

  22. terry says:

    This could be very interesting, but knowing the engine I’m afraid that mounted warfare will come down to who gets stuck on the world geometry first. Mount and Blade is stellar when you have open fields but fighting in a wood or on a cliffside is an exercise in frustration.

    Still, Bethsoft should be applauded for their support of the game and I can’t sniff at a freebie, however it turns out in the end.

  23. desolateshroud says:

    This may stirrup my interest in revisiting Skyrim.

  24. diamondmx says:

    Ah, so this is what they’re doing when they could be making the PS3 version playable.

    I want a bloody refund.

  25. Jezebeau says:

    Must forge dragonlances…

  26. MistyMike says:

    I remember always wanting games to have horseback combat. Then I played Mountain Blade (or whatever it was called) and I found that it consist mostly of riding in circles hoping to score a hit at the next pass. Thus disillusioned, I never blamed Skyrim for not including mounted combat.

    Still it’s nice to see it implemented.

  27. bongosabbath says:

    Skyrim needs skeletal butlers. Period.

  28. TsunamiWombat says:

    Damn, now I gotta reinstall.

  29. Ministry says:

    I would like this better if there was a first person view on horses. But either way i’m happy.

  30. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    Um, I actually, literally do want the mudcrab upgrade. Or the Mudcrab armour advertised previously.

    I know, I know. But the fact still remains.

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