I can see how introducing mounted combat was made a priority for LOTRO (as opposed to fixing bugs).
Here is how it will go:
- It's a timesink to develop it like your skirmish solider
- It will have emotes that you can sell in the store, or give out as festival specials
- My understanding is that horses will have "dress-up" functionality so that you can buy armor for it
- It has skills for the horse and you can monetize them. Even if they don't outright sell them, they already monetize skills for horses by making skills a preorder special
- You can make content too frustrating without the horse so that people need to have a reasonably up-to-date horse. The horse requirements will continue until player morale improves.
Myself, there's no way I pre-purchase unless maybe if I can play it on Bullroarer first. I am afraid that mounted combat will be way too bug-infested to be fun. Then there is the problem of developing "things" in LOTRO. From what I read most players consider Legendary Items and Weapons to be badly implemented and not fun, although you are kind of forced to use them because there's too much of a combat power delta between them and crafted weapons.