Riders of Rohan pre-order available; further details of mounted combat released

The pre-order Web site for LOTRO’s next major expansion, Riders of Rohan, is now open. In addition to the immediate and on-launch benefits of pre-ordering, Turbine answers some frequently asked questions about the mounted combat and War-steed mechanics in a set of FAQ located at the bottom of each page on the pre-order site.

First, mounted combat will be free to all players regardless of pre-purchasing the expansion. The reason for this comes a bit further in the FAQ: “Mounted combat is likely to be incorporated into parts of the epic quest line.” This is good news that Turbine will uphold their commitment to keeping the epic quest line free. I’m still holding my thumbs, though, that we won’t see any sort of bait-and-switch like with the soldiers on landscape fiasco in which access was limited based on purchases in the LOTRO Store or at the skirmish camp.

The FAQ also state that characters will be able to start the quest to earn their War-steed at level 75. Regular steeds will continue to be useful up to that point. However, it seems as though there are several quests already available out of Combe to those who pre-order. There’s no word yet whether this quest line will open up at some point to those who choose not to pre-order. The folks at LOTRO-wiki are busy at work adding the details to their database.

If you’ve seen that War-steed in Combe, you’ve likely noticed these steeds are much bigger than the normal ones. Turbine says they modeled the War-steeds “after horses like the Friesian, Andalusian or Lusitano” which are larger horses that various militaries have used in combat historically. Hobbits and Dwarves will receive pony-sized War-steeds.

Players can use their War-steed outside of Rohan although mounted combat will not be available. On the flipside, not all combat in Rohan will be Rohan. According to the FAQ:

Some areas (dense enemy war-camps, Fangorn, Amon Hen) and many quests will function just like they do now.

Contrary to Legendary Items, players will only have access to one War-steed that will gain experience and level up as you use it. It seems, according to another statement in the FAQ, that you can purchase cosmetic variants (think cosmetic outfits) for your War-steed in the LOTRO Store in the form of the various class mounts (e.g., Steed of the Guardian) and the Steed of Night. I suspect we’ll see others with time; Turbine won’t want to miss monetizing something this enticing.

In terms of leveling, your War-steed will “earn trait points that you can spend to advance the skills and traits that best suit your play style in mounted combat.” You’ll get skills unique to mounted combat as well as mounted variants of some of your skills. These skills seem to be class-based as in the Community Q&A released on June 1, 2012, Design Director “LLena” writes this:

“…the new mounted combat system coming with the Riders of Rohan Expansion pack will allow you to do just that [shoot from horseback] (that’s assuming you play a class that can use a bow)!”

The FAQ closes with this note hinting that Turbine may introduce mounted combat experiences to lower levels at some point in the future possibly as part of a skirmish or instance:

“At some future date, it’s possible that we may have some alternatives to give non-capped characters the ability to experience a limited skirmish-like mounted combat experience.”

Reproduced below the jump is the entirety of the FAQ found here.

Riders of Rohan FAQ

  1. Will I be able to access the Rohan Region if I don’t purchase the Rohan expansion.
  2. Yes! As with all regions in LOTRO, you can explore the region, fight monsters, and take part in the epic story for free. If you want to experience Rohan to its fullest, however, you will need to purchase Rohan to unlock all content and quests.

  3. Is the Epic Story in Rohan still free?
  4. Absolutely. All players will be able to experience the newest chapters in the epic story for free when Rohan is launched.

  5. Do I have to buy the expansion to get a War-steed?
  6. No. All players will be able to participate in mounted combat. Free players, however, do not have access to all of the War-steeds abilities (two of the three trait trees are locked) but will be able to purchase access and unlock s through the LOTRO store. Players who have purchased the Expansion will have all aspects of mounted combat unlocked immediately.

  7. How do I get a War-steed?
  8. Players are introduced to mounted combat and obtain their War-steed via a quest line that is available for free to all players.

  9. Can I fight from my existing in-game horse?
  10. No, you will get a new steed, called a War-steed specifically built for combat. It’s larger than the current in-game mounts and better able to handle the demands of combat. (It’s modeled after horses like the Friesian, Andalusian or Lusitano, breeds commonly used in war).

  11. What about all those mounts I bought? Are they obsolete?
  12. Your other mounts can still be used as travel mounts anywhere in Middle-earth, including in Rohan, but you will not be able to fight from horseback using these mounts. Also any character that is not at cap level will still need travel mounts for accelerated travel just as they do now. If you have purchased certain mounts via the LOTRO Store, you will receive a War-steed cosmetic variant that will allow you to further customize your War-steed. This includes the various class mounts and the Steed of Night.

  13. Can I have more than one War-steed?
  14. No. Players get one War-steed that they advance and customize through the course of the mounted combat experience.

  15. I’m a Dwarf or a Hobbit. I’m tiny! What do I ride?
  16. Your War-steed comes in pony size! Its build is still somewhat heftier than the in-game ponies so it’s also more capable in battle. (This one is modeled after the Fell Pony which is a scaled down version of the Friesian).

  17. Can I use my War-steed at all outside of Rohan?
  18. Yes, you can ride your War-steed anywhere you can currently ride horses in LOTRO but remember that fighting from horseback is only possible in the open plains of Rohan.

  19. Can I fight from horseback anywhere in Middle-earth?
  20. No. Fighting opponents from horseback is possible only in the open plains of Rohan.

  21. Do I have to fight from horseback?
  22. To a limited extent, yes. Many of the opponents you encounter in the plains of Rohan will be mounted and an unmounted combatant will find combat more difficult against mounted opponents. Mounted combat is likely to be incorporated into parts of the epic quest line so in the course of completing that content, you will spend a moderate amount of time fighting from horseback. There may also be some optional quests that can only be completed with the extra speed and agility you will have when riding your War-steed.

  23. Is all my combat in this expansion done from horseback?
  24. No. Some areas (dense enemy war-camps, Fangorn, Amon Hen) and many quests will function just like they do now. While you can choose to fight opponents from an un-mounted position you will be at a disadvantage when fighting mounted opponents.

  25. Do I get new skills unique to mounted combat?
  26. Yes, definitely! Not only will you have new and unique skills to use when fighting from combat, you’ll also have horse skills that you will be able to use so that your horse can be directly involved in the fight.

  27. My War-steed can fight?
  28. Yes! Horses can do quite a lot of damage with bites & kicks as well as other unique abilities. If you’ve ever seen someone get double-barrel kicked in the chest by a horse you’ll fully appreciate just how much damage can be done by a War-steed!

  29. Does my War-steed level up?
  30. Yes. Your War-steed gains steed experience in a variety of ways and as you level you earn trait points that you can spend to advance the skills and traits that best suit your play style in mounted combat.

  31. Can I use all my existing class skills during mounted combat?
  32. Not exactly. Some of your class skills will have a mounted combat counterpart so that things that are class defining remain part of your repertoire of things you can do in combat but the skills you use when mounted are all new.

  33. Can I group in mounted combat?
  34. Sure. Nothing stops you from grouping and it may be a very wise move to coordinate an attack on a Warband with other players.

  35. Is there a level requirement?
  36. Yes. You must be at least level 75 in order to pick up the quest that will earn you your War-steed.

  37. I’m not at level cap. How can I participate?
  38. At the current time, you must be level 75 in order to begin the mounted combat experience. At some future date, it’s possible that we may have some alternatives to give non-capped characters the ability to experience a limited skirmish-like mounted combat experience.

  39. How much will Riders of Rohan be in the LOTRO Store? Can I buy parts of the expansion pack separately?
  40. Yes, you can purchase portions of the expansion separately with your Turbine Points in the LOTRO Store. These items will be released in the LOTRO Store on the same day as the expansion, September 5th. The prices are as follows:

      Rohan Expansion Content: 4295 TP
        Expansion Content includes the quests in the Rohan region.
      Rohirrim Skinned Soldier on Landscape: 295 TP
      6th Inventory Bag (Account-wide): 995 TP
      Crystal of Remembrance: 995 TP
      The Outriders Token: 495 TP

  41. I’m having an issue with pre-purchasing Riders of Rohan through the LOTRO Market (http://rohan.lotro.com or http://store.turbine.com/lotro). Who can I contact?
  42. If you’ve tried to purchase the expansion and are encountering errors, you can contact our Account Support team at http://support.turbine.com. Submit a ticket to them, explain which error you are encountering as clearly as possible, and they will assist you.

  43. It’s asking me to create an account when I attempt to purchase Riders of Rohan, what is this?
  44. The store is asking you to create an account with our sales partner, Digital River. This account is not your LOTRO Account and is in no way associated with your LOTRO account. This is a separate account that you will create for this purchase. Simply fill out the required information, and keep it in a safe place.

  45. When are we going to see some new instances?
  46. We will be introducing a new instance cluster by the end of the year. More information will be released later this summer.

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