To some, mounts are just a useful way to get from point A to point B in MMOs. To others, mounts are almost like a status symbol. At this stage of the game, Elder Scrolls Online does not have a large selection of mounts, nor are they very flashy.
What ESO does have, however, is a unique progression system for mounts, which allows the player to level up their mounts and customize them to suit their playstyle & different situations better. Think of it as a levelling system for mounts.
This guide focuses on mounts in ESO, and includes an overview of the available mounts in game. Which mounts are worth aiming for, which ones should you avoid?
ESO Mounts for Dummies
- First of all, mounts have no level restrictions in ESO. You can get a horse at any level.
- You can have multiple mounts in ESO. You have the ability to purchase more stable slots at a stablemaster.
- You can only have one mount active at a time. The default keybind for mounting up and dismounting is ‘H’.
- You can set other mounts active at a stablemaster: just right click on a mount and set it active. From then on, mounting up will summon your newly set active mount, and that mount’s attributes will take effect immediately.
- Renaming your mount also happens at a stablemaster. Just click on the icon next to your mount’s name.
Mount Attributes in ESO
Each mount has three attributes:
- Carrying Capacity
Speed is self-explanatory. The greater the mount’s speed, the faster your horse will move in game. Getting from point A to point B quicker is naturally very useful and saves time. The value of speed increases if you need to travel big distances. An example of such situation would be exploration: hunting for skyshards, world bosses you may have missed and so on.
Speed is also a very valuable attribute in Cyrodiil, where distances are huge and you may be forced to spend lots of time travelling between outposts and keeps.
Mounts in ESO have their own Stamina bar. Sprinting with your mounts increases their run speed and drains the horse’s stamina. Currently there is a bug in game which renders Stamina nearly useless as a mount attribute. As long as you have any stamina left on your mount, holding down sprint allows you to move at the normal sprint speed, even when your mount’s stamina meter seems empty. The moment you release the sprint button, the game will register this and understand that your mount actually has no stamina left, and should not be able to sprint.
Stamina also affects how many hits your horse can take until you are forced to dismount. Currently this is the only good thing Stamina brings to the table, and it can be situationally useful.
So: Holding down sprint button allows you to sprint indefinitely on your mount, regardless of horse stamina. This is why Stamina is a pretty bad stat for mounts right now. Even if Zenimax were to fix this, I don’t really see why you would want to choose Stamina over Speed. Surely it is just better to travel faster overall than be able to sprint for a little bit longer?
For me, Carrying Capacity is the most interesting horse attribute in ESO because it directly affects your character. Your active mount’s carrying capacity is added to your character’s inventory, increasing your max bag space. Anyone who has played the game knows how valuable any extra inventory space is. Levelling your mount’s carrying capacity attribute allows you to get a lot more bag space, making carrying capacity s very appealing mount attribute.
Comparison of Mounts
At this stage of the game, there’s only a couple of mounts available – the list of mounts is pretty short. As far as I know, there are no special mount drops from bosses yet. Most of the mounts in ESO are obtained from the stablemaster for a price of gold. Anyone who owns the Imperial Edition of Elder Scrolls Online has access to the Imperial Horse for a namely gold fee of 1 gold. You can also buy the Palomino Horse from ESO Store for real money.
|1 g (CE only)
|$14.99 / €11.99
The good news is that neither the Imperial horse nor the Palomino Horse give an advantage over the more expensive horses. They will be beneficial in the early game simply for the sake of having a mount over not having one, but I would not waste my gold on feeding either of them. There are better options for Speed, Stamina and Capacity, and as such you can think of the imperial horse as a placeholder for the ‘real’ mounts.
If fed equally, the imperial horse will never be on the same level with the better mounts. There is a trade you have to make. You either settle for the imperial horse which is basically free, starting feeding it and end up with an inferior mount for end game. Or you decide early on that you will not feed your imperial horse, but save for a better horse and feed it instead. It does cost 42k gold on its own, but if you’re aiming for the best mounts, you will spend that 42k anyway. Once you do have your 42k gold mount, you’ll find that your imperial horse no longer has a use. This is why I think holding back on feeding the imperial horse is viable.
Diet – the Mount Levelling System in ESO
When you purchase your first mount, it will be level 1. You can level your horse all the way to level 50. How do you level your horse, you might ask? This is done with horse Diet: visiting any stablemaster will give you the option to feed your mounts.
- You can only feed your horse every 20 hours, and feeding your horse costs 250 gold each time.
- Feeding your horse immediately grants it a level, and increases the chosen attribute.
- You have 49 attribute points to spend on your mount, meaning the total cost to get your mount to level 50 is 12,250 gold.
- To get your horse to level 50 or max out its speed, carrying capacity or stamina, you’ll need to wait a minimum of 980 hours, which is a little less than 41 days. In reality it will probably take more than that.
Hay: Feeding your mount Hay will increase its stamina, allowing it to sprint longer and take more hits before becoming dismounted.
Apples: Feeding your mount Apples will increase its speed.
Oats: Feeding your mount Oats will increase its carrying capacity.
Diet affects Mount Appearance
Another cool feature of ESO’s mount system is that diet affects the appearance of your mounts. Whilst there’s no Horse Armor in game, feeding your horse different types of food will change how your horse looks.
Once you have fed your mount 20 times of the same feed type, its appearance will change depending on what it has been fed.
For example, feeding your mount Hay 20 times will give your mount horse armor, whilst feeding it enough Oats 20 times will give the horse saddlebags to further highlight it’s sturdiness and increased carrying capacity. 20 Apples makes your horse become thinner yet more muscular.
If the visuals are important to you, you can feed your mount just enough Oats and Hay to get both the saddlebags and horse armor.
What should you feed your mount, then?
This depends entirely on what you want but there are some general guidelines. To get the most out of your mounts, you should be aware of the differences between the mounts in ESO. The differences aren’t big by default, but they do mean that choosing a specific mount will always suit you better for some purposes.
As an example, the Draft Horse is your mount of choice if you want to increase your inventory size as much as possible because the Draft Horse starts out with 10 Carrying Capacity, which is more than any other mount in ESO right now. If you feed your Draft Horse nothing but Oats, it will always end up having at least 10 more Carrying Capacity than the other horses, meaning you can have the most bag slots available in game. You would never be able to have as many inventory slots with other horses.
A friendly word of warning: Mount Attribute choices are permanent. There is currently no way to reset your mount’s attributes. Choose wisely.
Many Mounts for Many Purposes
I don’t recommend you to buy the Common Horse for 17,200 gold, even if you don’t have the Imperial Edition and have no intention to use real money to buy the Palomino Horse. The Common Horse is simply bad, and in my opinion a waste of gold. You are better off saving for the 42,7k gold horses. Why would you want to waste 17,200 gold on a horse that will only be temporary? There’s not much point feeding it anything, because it will be inferior to all of the 42,700 gold mounts.
I’ve recently bought the Draft Horse, which starts out with +10 Carrying Capacity, and am feeding it Oats to maximize its carrying capacity and my inventory space. I’m using the Draft Horse for levelling, because bag space is pretty scarce right now and any extra inventory slots I can get is a big quality of life improvement.
Perhaps an equally good option would be the Light Horse for its +10% Speed comparing to the other mounts. Right now I don’t value Speed that highly because I’m spending most of my time in combat rather than travelling around. If I focused on Cyrodiil & PvP, this could be different. The distances in Cyrodiil are gigantic, and the extra +10% Speed is a pretty big deal.
In the end I’ll buy both of these mounts and only feed them one type of food. The Light Horse better like Apples, because that’s all she is going to get. Likewise the Draft Horse will only be getting Oats. This way I can have two great options for playing: the Draft Horse for general activity and questing, and the Light Horse for exploring & Cyrodiil.