Business horses! With suits and briefcases and stuff! That’s completely not what I’m talking about. And as much as I wish it was, an in-depth look at Lord of the Rings Online: Riders of Rohan‘s mounted combat’s not a bad consolation. Now, obviously, any game could put you in a saddle, hand you some variety of pointy stick, and send you haphazardly swinging on your way, but LOTRO’s basing an entire expansion around hard-charging equine-fu. Classes will have unique skills, playstyles, and – hopefully – /dance options. Ride past the break to watch some nice people explain the real horsepower behind your newfound horse powers.
This really does sound like it changes the dynamics of traditional MMO combat, and I’m definitely digging that. While many MMOs have attempted to add an element of movement to their hotkey-mashing hacking and slashing, few have really made it crucial to success. Here, it sounds like even basic things like tanking and maximizing DPS require you to constantly stay on your toes. Hooves. Whatever.
The horses definitely move like they’re big, heavy hitting creatures, too – a far cry from something like WoW, where you may as well be riding a parade float. Granted, combat still has the same underlying systems as always, so sword swings and whatnot look a bit flimsy by comparison. But honestly, I doubt there’s a whole lot Turbine can do about that without gutting its entire game and starting over.
The expansion’s dropping on September 5th, but the landmass of Rohan, many of its quests, and access to mounted combat are all free to everyone. So great job on that, Turbine. You have my sword. And maybe also my wallet, but we’ll see.