Lotro Mounts 2 0

Lotro Mounts 2.0

Developer Diary: Lotro Mounts 2.0

You Can Lead a Horse to Waterâ¦
â¦But you cannot make it drink. Until Volume II Book 9: Siege of Mirkwood, that old proverb applied very well to the mounts of Middle-earth. Every rider knew it was all fun and games until you wanted to interact with your environment; every door in Middle-earth was closed to you, every NPC uninterested in your business, and every skill you learned completely blocked while riding. It didnât take long after buying your first mount to feel just how unforgiving and restrictive the system could be.

To understand why the system was so restrictive, you have to look at the technology behind it; the channeling system. Itâs the same system originally developed to deliver pies across the Shire and pour buckets of water on fiery blazes, and it was later leveraged to saddle players onto mounts. The channeling system was an adequate solution during a time when developing a new system was out of the question, as development was coming to a close for the launch of Shadows of Angmar.

No More Horsing Around
Following the launch of Mines of Moria, we started discussing the prospect of giving mounts their own system and embarked on some basic investigation to understand the scope of what it might take. There was really no safe method of tacking on more features or special conditions to the channeling system to get everything we wanted from mounts. In fact, doing so would likely contradict the original intent of the channeling system and still not guarantee a satisfactory outcome. The decision we made was to give mounts a system of their own with two main goals to guide its development:

Restrictive, then Flexible
One of the first things we decided to do when developing the system was to maintain all of the restrictions of the original system. The day we flipped the switch there was literally no difference between the two. Little by little, we eased the restrictions to test usability, file bugs, and polish the experience. This worked out fairly well as we were able to separate the design into components and concentrate work on one feature at a time. If we ran out of time then we could simply keep some restrictions in place and polish the features we had completed in time to ship.

Lastly, to save development time, we wanted to re-use as many of the previous assets and scripts as possible without having to reinvent the wheel. We were able to re-use items, icons, animations, sounds, content, and underlying scripts, again allowing us to focus almost entirely on usability. In the end we were able to provide a system that allows you to live life fairly comfortably while saddled to your favorite mount.

One never knows what the future will bring, so the system should support incremental changes without risking stability or the original design intent (as we undoubtedly risked if we augmented the channeling system further).

A Horse of a Different Colour
Getting down to the brass tacks, here is the list of new features and improvements thanks to the new mount system:

  • Mounts as Skills
    Mounts are now toggle skills! They can be quick-slotted like other skills or executed directly from the new Mount panel (Character Journal -> Skills -> Mount). A new keyboard shortcut can be set to promptly access your mounts panel (using Key Mapping Options). Since mounts are now skills, you can feel free to collect all of the available varieties without having your packs fill up â no more having to choose between festival horses or exchanging them at a vendor!

  • One Less Item
    Even though we still rely on a mount-item in your pack, itâs a temporary item used to grant the appropriate mount skill to you. Once used, the item will grant a skill to you and be deleted. If the item is quick-slotted, it will be replaced by the new skill. Regardless of what mount item you purchase you will receive the correct mount type for your race. Gone are the days of mistakenly purchasing the wrong mount for your race (âBut I wanted a pony!).

  • Item Usage
    Some items can be used while riding, such as food, potions, and other miscellaneous items. Even your Map Home item can be used while mounted and you will appear at your destination still riding your mount.
  • NPC Interaction
    Almost every NPC can be interacted with while you are mounted. There are two exceptions to this:

    • Stable-masters will still require you to dismount before purchasing a ride. You can still talk to stable-masters while mounted to view the list of destinations.
    • Bards will automatically dismount you when managing your traits.
  • Door Usage
    Every door can be opened and passed through while mounted. If the door leads to a place that does not allow riding, you will appear inside dismounted from your horse. Some special types of âdoorsâ may not be usable while mounted, such as ladders.

  • Skill Usage
    Depending on your class and level, you may have skills that can be used while riding. Hunters and other classes that enjoy swift travelling can use these skills while mounted. In fact, almost every class has at least one skill that can be used on a mount. No combat skills can be executed while mounted, as that would constitute mounted combat and thatâs a horse of a different colour!

    Crafters will be particularly happy to hear that tracking skills can be toggled on/off while riding (although gathering resources while riding is not allowed).

    As a side-note, some skills may become unusable while mounted in the Ettenmoors to help preserve a level playing field. Currently, only the Hunterâs tracking skills have this restriction. Hunters can still enjoy tracking on horseback while riding outside of the Ettenmoors.

  • Player Emotes
    Several popular emotes will now animate you while mounted, and even more, while not animated, are now allowed while mounted. The following emotes have animations for when you are mounted*: Bother, Bye, Calm, Cheer, Drink, Eat, Munch, Fidget, Followme, Hail, Look, Lookaround, Salute, Think, Wave, Cry, Roar, laugh (lol), SwordSalute, Shakefist
    *Some of the animations are reused with the hope that unique animations can be made over time.

    A majority of the other emotes do not animate, but are allowed while mounted. In these cases the player does not animate but the emoted text is broadcast to those nearby.

  • Horse Emotes
    While sitting idle you can make your horse/pony/goat randomly play one of three different animations. Simply hit the spacebar.

  • Mount Health
    Your mountâs health will now regenerate over time. Just as in the old system, getting hit will reduce your mountâs health and critical hits will knock you off your mount. Unlike the old system, you can stay mounted as long as you donât get knocked off, or fall into a deep body of water.

  • Mount Display Panel
    A new mount display panel will now appear after summoning your mount. The panel displays the mountâs name and health.

  • Renaming Your Mount
    Every mount arrives with a personal name that can be changed by right-clicking the Mount Display Panel and selecting the âRenameâ option. Unlike pets, your mountâs name is not visible to those around you.

  • Mount Discount
    Along with your first level 35 mount comes a new trait granting you a discount on all other common mounts. The trait is granted to you even if your first mount happens to be a reputation mount or pre-existing festival mount (new festival mounts will not grant this trait). The discount itself only applies to the common mounts sold by Eogar, Son of Hadorgar.

  • My Little Pony (or horse)
    Players can now gain access to their first horse or pony at level 20. This is a slower version of a normal mount and has less health, but gets you saddled up sooner in the game. The cost of this mount is 220 silver and looks the same as the Founderâs Bree-horse. As a result of this change, Founders can start riding their mounts at level 15!

  • Grey Horse/Pony
    If you deleted your Grey Horse/Pony to make space in your pack you can purchase a replacement from Eogar.

  • Mustering & Summoning While Mounted
    Tired of telling your fellowship to dismount before mustering them? Never fear, they can now accept your request without dismounting.

If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride
This update focused on making mounts more enjoyable to use rather than adding all new functionality. Before you ask if you can lop off orc heads from atop your favorite ride, remember that was never a goal of this update. File this one under âQuality of Lifeâ improvements.

Enjoy the new mount system!