A large number of dedicated Lord of the Rings Online players are big player vs player fans, getting their freep on regularly. Others are lovers of the creep culture that comes with PvP and the ability to warg out or orc it all on the freeps in the zone. The Ettenmoors is one of LOTRO’s most populated map areas.
With the upcoming release of the Riders of Rohan expansion, players look forward to their first taste of mounted combat in Middle Earth. While Turbine has made it clear that this will be limited to the Eastern Rohan region when Riders releases, but over time, that could (and likely will) change to include some other areas. Could the Moors be included in that?
It’s a fair question, but one not easily answered as it would introduce a huge amount of game balance issues for PvP in a realm where LOTRO is already considered one of the least balanced player-on-player games in the MMO universe. Turbine continually struggles with keeping monsters from being too weak for freeps, usually by buffing them each time level caps are increased and by tipping the scales towards larger hordes of monster players in Moors combat.
These are a sort of stop-gap way of doing things, but given the overall focus of LOTRO is on the storyline in player vs. environment (PvE) play, it’s obvious that having player characters balanced for that paradigm is more important. Which kind of screws over monster players, but it’s is what it is.
So if mounted combat were added to PvP in LOTRO, how would it work?
Most likely, it would mean doing a lot of creative thinking around the lore of Lord of the Rings, since almost no monster races went into combat mounted. The popular Westerners from the movies (mounted on elephant-type creatures who’s Tolkien name I forget) were pretty much it.
There are some options. Orcs are too big to ride wargs and only the largest of spiders could come even close to being mount-able. But.. there are other creatures suitable to the task. It could add a really cool dimension, never-before-seen in an MMO, too. Which, frankly, is another reason LOTRO probably wouldn’t do it (honestly.. how creative are they.. really?).
Anyway, the idea is to introduce playable monsters that can be mounted like trolls, giant and dragon kind, or even undead horse skeletons for orcs to ride upon. There’s a ton of options here, it would only be a matter of implementing them.
Personally, I think the idea of two players working together as rider and mount would be awesome, with the mount player doing the steering and movement while the rider does the attacks, damage and defense. It would allow one or the other to succumb to wounds, so the other could dismount or throw their rider and keep on fighting.
While this is a really fun-sounding idea, it would obviously not be without its quirks to implement. Not the least of which would be server load. Still, it would be something that’s never really been done in a popular MMO and would make for killer game play scenarios.
What do you think?