Post by MShen
If I were to imagine how action combat might work in WoW, I would probably expand the jousting vehicle mini-game into a more robust mounted combat system.Mounted Combat
Whenever you get on a mount, I would switch out your action bar, just like changing specializations, changing druid form, or hopping into a vehicle.
The spellbook would have an entirely new class of spells dedicated to mounted battle. Perhaps some of these will depend on the type of mount, or some will depend on the player class (and maybe a questline to learn them!), depending on how much time is available for development and balancing. Because of the fast pace of mounted battle, none of these spells should require the use of the targeting system. You will have AoE spells (circle radius, line, cone, or mortar-style targeting) and self-targeting spells. Melee attacks would just be AoE cone or line spells with a very short range, as implemented in many vehicles already. Further, being inside the AoE doesn't necessarily mean you get hit - distance should be a factor when calculating accuracy, blocking, and crit. Maybe there should be a sweet spot for each spell, where the spell is most accurate, hardest to block, and most likely to crit.Zone Restrictions and Whistles
Ideally this would apply to all mounts, but it might be more prudent to limit the new battle system to select zones and select "battle mounts". One way to limit it is to make players use carefully placed stables NPCs, and a unique whistle item/ability that is attuned to only one mount at a time (attuned at the stables, like hunter pet slots). The whistle can then be restricted to the select zones.
So, how would this actually work? First, riding trainers will offer to teach you mounted combat which gives you access to the whistle ability and at least some basic mounted combat abilities like swing weapon. You might find a "battle mount vendor" next to some of the stable masters. When you buy battle mounts (or use the bought item), you will be notified that the mount has been added to your battle mount collection. Maybe you can view the battle mounts in your Collections menu, but you can only attune your whistle at a Stable Master. When you talk to the stable master, everybody has the dialogue option to re-attune their whistle, which brings up a menu letting you pick your mount.
The tooltip for the whistle ability tells you which battle mount you will summon, and normal info like speed and whether it can fly. It might say 'only usable in XXX expansion content', or something like that. If you try and use the whistle in the wrong place, you might get a raid alert style warning that you can't use that item here.
I would have the whistle stop working if the mount dies. If the mount is dead, the whistle ability changes into Revive Mount. You could then choose to revive the mount in person (within a generous range of its corpse, marked on your map), at a graveyard, or at the zone stables. If you
die and your mount is dead, you will see its spirit at the graveyard. Your spirit can mount its spirit. I think that if you choose to come back to life, you should automatically dismount and leave your spirit mount behind.
The spirit healers might have some dialogue for you if your mount is also dead, to explain the new system.Weaknesses
Mounts should be relatively squishy. If there is development time and balance testing available to spare, I might consider giving mounts different inherent stats, but they could also be based on player stamina before armor bonuses. Some existing target-based spells should have additional effects upon mounted players, for example Harpoon and Hammer of Justice should pull a flying mount down to the ground and dismount on crit. Attacks from above, like Starfire or Meteor, might have a knocking or interrupt effect on mounted players. Rooting effects might be less effective.
Dismounting should take a second, but it should be uninterruptable (the grey progress bar). Dismounting should also leave the mount in the world for a few minutes, so long as the player is in the area. If the player is flagged, it should turn orange (unfriendly and attackable) for enemy PvP.
Players should take a percentage of the damage the mount takes, perhaps even an equal amount for critical hits. Most debuffs should apply to the mount and the player, however.
Three things should happen when a mount is killed:
- dismount the rider, knocking them for a couple seconds then dazing them for a few seconds more; and
- turn into a corpse; and
- fall to the ground.
- Imagine you're Antonidus on his White Stallion Bridle. An orc comes out of nowhere and you want to cast Mounted Fireball. Here's one way to do it: click the Mounted Fireball spell, then you see an arrow indicator going along the ground, from the ground beneath your horse to the ground beneath your now-glowing mouse pointer. You move Antonidus forward a little, and you move the mouse so that the arrow points at the approaching orc. Now you click with the mouse, and the arrow indicator on the ground changes color to show that it is locked in place, and it no longer follows your mouse. Antonidus starts his incantation (with that familiar progress bar). The orc runs towards you, stupidly. Finally Antonidus finishes his ritual and lets the fireball loose.
If you are a pro player, you might save a click with a hover macro for the Mounted Fireball spell.
A Few Additional Remarks
- Imagine now that you are Thalanor riding his Winged Steed of the Ebon Blade. A scarlet crusader approaches, and you want to use Mounted Death Strike. You land Thalanor and command him to sally forth on the grounded mount. You click the Mounted Death Strike spell (instant cast) just as he gets within range of the crusader. Thalanor draws his runeblade and swings, then rides on. The crusader takes the hit and gets off an auto-attack and Crusader Strike on your steed.
Once out of melee range, you have him take to the sky again for a second pass, this time for a Mounted Death Coil (which let's say heals you and your mount). Instead of landing, you swoop down this time so as to stay out of melee range. You click the Mounted Death Coil spell, then your cursor gains that light glow and a small circle indicator appears on the ground beneath your cursor. As you move the cursor over the crusader, her body gains a bright red outline to indicate that she will be affected by the spell. As you click, Thalanor does makes a gesture with his hand, and shadows pop out of the ground, violate the crusader, and run back into Thalanor's hands, which clap down on his mount as it absorbs the stolen HP. The crusader responds with a Hammer of Justice, which stuns Thalanor and smacks his low-flying mount into the ground. Before you can move, the crusader finishes off the mount, which falls over and becomes a corpse. Falling off the mount knocks Thalanor to the ground for a second, immobilizing him, then gives him a short dazed debuff. Then the battle continues on foot.
Mounted combat abilities ought to be quite expensive either in energy, rage, mana, or cooldown. You should not be able to hold a battle spamming mounted combat abilities on the rising edge of the global cooldown.
I do not think mounted combat should allow for auto-attacks or looting. These should be privileges of ground combat.
With mounted combat being AoE, dense formations might seem to be at a disadvantage to a sole rider. But we can limit the number of mobs/players an AoE spell affects the same way that a Warrior's cleave originally did.
I was thinking of giving polearms a boost against mounts, but I think that would be bad for balance.
It might be cool if players could tame their own battle mounts, but I don't think a mount-taming profession would be fair to beastmasters. Neither do I think mount-taming would be fair to everybody else if beastmasters could do it.
I'm thinking druids should get their own mounted abilities that are usable in Travel Form.
I'm not sure whether passengers (on druids or multiple-seater mounts) should be allowed to use mounted combat abilities. I'm thinking it is too difficult to balance.
I would let anyone buy limited use net guns but let engineers craft and use better ones. Accuracy of these nets should be a function of distance. And instead of immediately dismounting flying players, I would have it stun them as they fall and for many seconds after. The target remains mounted, which means no fall damage, but they are still stunned and vulnerable after hitting the ground. I would also let teammates remove the netting by interacting with it for a couple seconds, subject to interruption.
Shaman -> Storm Hammer mounted ability
Heavy gun, bow, crossbow, and wand users will find a hover macro necessary for their mounted shots. So will frequent users of mounted Heroic Throw, shuriken, etc. I don't see a way around that.
If mount-specific abilities are added, they should be based on the player's facing.