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I’ve been playing in the Rohan Beta on and off for the last month.  Gari, my dwarf minstrel, was auto-leveled to 75 via the Eyes and Guard Tavern.  Despite looking forward to mounted combat for years, it took me forever to get my character over to Rohan, and earn my first war-steed.  Part of it had to do with character wipes each round of testing (there have been four rounds so far), and partly because of perpetual crashing, which is the bane of many Beta players.

But my slow progress is mostly due to staring at the scenery instead of completing quests.

Looking out from the Mead Hall in Harwick

Much of my time in Rohan was spent in the Wold (since the game crashed each time I tried going to other regions).

It is best to avoid the patrols of Harwick unless you want to be evicted. Fortunately, there are many prudent villagers who will aid a potential ally by providing food and shelter.

The people of Harwick are free with their mead and meat once you earn their trust.

Getting familiar with how the war-steed functioned took up time (and figuring out how to outfit it cosmetically took even more).

Having played Mount & Blade: Warband years ago, I was curious how mount maneuvering would compare in Rohan.  Starting out, the basic steed is rather awkward compared to the horses in M&B.  I’d say the M&B experience is smoother, but this is only Beta, and my mount was low level (yep, you get to level yet more things in this expansion).

Despite this, I actually like that the steed isn’t perfectly easy to use right out of the gate.  The main trouble I had in combat was making too wide a turn after the first attack, and inviting more mobs than I was prepared for.

The Easterling mobs in Rohan are really well-dressed!

While you can just stand next to the enemy and blast away at it (which I found myself doing far too often), your hits are more potent if you are moving. Unfortunately, I had to be facing the target for skills to work.  Running away doesn’t cut it!

Catch me if you can!

After the first hit, the mobs were usually right on my tail, making it difficult to turn and face them at a gallop.  Investing more trait points in mount agility seemed to help.  The nice thing about mounted minstrel skills is that you can switch between a healing set and a DPS set while in combat.  This means that I really didn’t have to die, unless I was too lazy to switch over (which happened more than I should admit to).

The skies and lighting in Rohan seem more impressive than previous regions

Most dwarves prefer to fight on foot, but when the grass is as tall as you, mounted combat is the only option!

The terrain can be a pain in the ass, especially if you lose your steed and fall into a briar bush!

A quiet corner of Rohan

A tavern in Harwick

Gari’s outfit was basically thrown together from pre-order bonus items which I already had in my inventory, plus a new piece of crafted level 80 heavy armor.  The Eastemnet War Armour looks like it was actually made for dwarves (which is not something I can say for the majority of garb in LOTRO).
Chest: Vigilant Eastemnet War Armour
Gauntlets: Gloves of the Helmingas
Boots: Boots of the Helmingas

The war-steed appearance came together nicely as well, but replicating it on live might cost me more TP than I’m willing to spend, since it borrows from more than one cosmetic class set.
Guardian’s Halter
Champion’s Gear
Marauder Saddle
Marauder Caparison
Battle Mail Leggings