Sunday, 31 January 2016

Level 75 Beorning and Mounted Combat

Level 75 Beorning in the Wold, East Rohan

My Beorning, Tyravorth, has reached Level 75 at last and got her war-steed and learned the basics of mounted combat. Mounted Combat in LOTRO: some people love it, some people hate it, some people just put up with it. I'd say I put up with it. It's annoying but I can do it if I have to. Fortunately, it looks like it won't be too bad on Beornings as we have a couple of ranged abilities to use.

Back to levelling for a moment. So Tyravorth got to kindred with the Galadhrim in Lothlórien then headed off to Dunland at 65. She followed the epic quest and did the required number of quests in each area for the quest deed then moved on and reached kindred with the Men of Dunland while she was in the Dunbog. Unfortunately, not long after, the people of Tâl Methedras betrayed her to Saruman and she was taken prisoner in Isengard.

Isengard prison garb
She escaped and returned to Tâl Methedras to help rescue the rest of the Rangers and get revenge on her betrayers, but was ultimately outnumbered and had to retreat. Nevertheless, the Rangers were very grateful to her and gave her gifts of cosmetic Ranger armour before sending her off to help their new ally, Prince Théodred, in the Gap of Rohan. She had just finished destroying the Dunlending supplies and defeating White Hand orcs in Cuvnerth when she reached level 74 and was summoned to Rohan. She didn't need to be asked twice!

In East Rohan, she helped the people of Langhold and received Thane Usted's war-steed after he fell in battle. At level 74, the war-steed had only one ability: Slash, a basic short-ranged attack, with a few additional effects depending on which Discipline you choose.

The war-steed disciplines for Beornings match the trait trees - Rohirrim (blue) is tanking, Red Dawn (red) is DPS, and Riddermark (yellow) is healing.

When you get to level 75, your war-steed gets more class-specific abilities (plus general abilities available to all classes):
  • Ferocious Roar - a long-ranged attack.
  • Bee Swarm - a long ranged attack with a DoT that can apply to 3 targets.
  • Execute - a hard-hitting short-ranged attack.
  • Recuperate - a heal.
Personally, my experience of mounted combat in LOTRO is less like linear jousting and more like going round and round the roundabout - I find the easiest method is riding rings around my target from a distance and shooting them with a ranged ability until dead. Usually circles (generally easier but boring and sometimes causes motion-sickness or dizziness if the circles are too small), but sometimes figure eights so we can get some straight runs and meet in the middle to use those melee abilities. Note that you do more damage if you can hit them while travelling in a straight line (maximum fury; moving in circles you lose fury and thus damage because you're constantly changing direction). When riding across fields, I tend to steer with my mouse and control speed with W (faster) and S (slower, double-tap to stop suddenly). In combat, when riding in circles I often switch to using A and D or the arrow-keys to turn (but use the mouse for doing figure eights) and the number keys for my abilities. I try not to fight standing still while mounted because you take so much more damage.

Ranged abilities are king for mounted combat, so with the Beorning I will be mainly alternating between Ferocious Roar and Bee Swarm and using Slash or Execute if the target gets close and Recuperate if I'm badly injured.

At Harwick in the Wold, there is a tutorial for mounted combat. I nearly skipped it, but checked the rewards and realised that's where you get your first Legendary War-steed Bridle, so I did it. It can be a bit annoying manouevering around the track, but I found it was easiest at a horse speed of roughly 10 m/s - I could line up for the flags and jumps and had time to realign for the next one. A couple of times I went too fast and missed them and had to go back and do them again slower. For the final part of the tutorial where you have to hit the target at each end of the tilt-yard, tab-target and use the ranged attacks! Makes it a breeze.

For spending my war-horse trait points, I tend to spread my points out - some damage, some defenses, some utility and then  once I've got all the traits I want, I spend the rest in the attributes up the top - mainly Agility for better manouevering, Strength for more damage, and Power to be able to use more abilities.

At level 75, Tyravorth's now got enough class trait points to put some in a second tree. I've been levelling using the blue tree but she's filled out what she wants there and is now putting points in red to do more Thrash damage and Bleed damage and then she'll go for critical strike and melee damage. However, since she's got to East Rohan, she's been trying out the red tree again and putting some points in blue to get extra wrath from Hearten and increase Biting Edge AOE damage and then I'm not sure whether to go for extra Vitality and Slam damage from blue, or maybe increase Vicious Claws damage and get a healing buff when using Slash from the yellow tree. In her blue tree spec, she's doing around 400-600 dps, in her red tree spec, around 800-1200 dps but she still takes a lot of damage when red-specced.

So, my Beorning is finally on the last leg of the levelling journey - her next big milestone will be reaching max level.

I hope to take her through Gondor slowly. Myndariel, my main character, rushed through it and skipped parts because she was already level 100 and just wanted to see the new content quickly then get back to work on her reputation grinds for the World Renowned title. Myndariel also hasn't cared much for getting the best gear, just enough to get through the content. I'd like to get Tyravorth some better gear and get her stats and virtues capped to make her the toughest little bear she can be.

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