With the release of the Riders of Rohan expansion, we were given mounted combat. The expansion focuses heavily on it, so whether you like it or not, you will be doing a great deal of it. I didn’t think I would like it, and it definitely took some getting used to, but now I find I fight on my War-steed whenever possible.

On a cosmetic note, I love the fact that you can customize how your War-steed looks, but I wish you could steal pieces from ALL your standard mounts, not just your store-bought ones. I also wish Turbine gave us just a few more color options for free.

Getting used to the War-steed controls after playing for years with standard mount controls was probably the biggest hardship with mounted combat. Unlike a standard mount, which is controlled just like your character on foot, the War-steed speeds up, slows down, and turns based on momentum. I’ve found that while that isn’t really a problem on the open fields of Rohan, I still prefer to use a standard mount within towns.

As your War-steed levels up, you are able to increase its speed, agility, and turn speed, which makes it a lot easier to control. Due to these upgrades, your War-steed will almost definitely end up being faster than your standard mount, and therefore is much more useful for hauling long distances from town to town.

As for combat, I’ve played on both a captain and a hunter so far. My mounted combat tactics usually involve running around in a circle and firing back at enemies (arrows with a hunter and shouts with the captain). The damage I can do on a War-steed is well above what I can do on foot, and you also take less damage because as long as you keep moving, the foes usually can’t catch you to deliver more than a single blow here and there.

When I first started playing around with mounted combat, I would simply run up to an enemy, stand in place, and hack at it. I would strongly recommend against this. The biggest strength of your War-steed is its ability to stay on the move constantly; it turns you into the ultimate kiting machine. Staying on the move will allow you to bring down enemies you couldn’t possibly bring down on foot.

Mounted combat isn’t perfect, however. I wish that some of my buffs on toggle skills (such as IDOME on my captain) would carry over, as long as I had it activated before mounting up. Also, unless you zoom the camera way out, it becomes very difficult to see what you’re doing, and I’ve found that while running around I tend to accidentally pull other enemies on a regular basis (maybe I just suck, though).

What are your thoughts on mounted combat and War-steeds? Good or bad?

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