Patch 3.1 brings the Argent Tournament, a new world event featuring mounted combat, new daily quests, new mounts, pets, tabards, and new and interesting ways to get reputation. Read on for a guide to the Argent Tournament!
I’ll present this guide in three posts:
- Part I: explains the scenario and the location, the side quests and the Aspirant stage of mounted combat.
- Part II: covers the Valiant stage of the mounted combat event and questing.
- Part III: covers the Champion stage of the questing, and where to go from there.
Caveat: This guide is based on the quest chains in build 9658 (current as of March 13th 2009); the devs have been actively adjusting this event, so some details may be different when it goes live. I will keep it as up to date as I can, however!
I’ve edited some details in of the Argent Tournament on the live servers; some details may still be old, but the bulk is current.
The Argent Tournament is located in Icecrown, in the north-east of the zone, north of Sindragosa’s Fall. The site is home to inns, mailboxes, a flightmaster, profession trainers for every tradeskill, and a host of questgivers.
The whole area is marked as a Sanctuary – like Dalaran or Shattrath. (Currently the opposite faction’s pavilion guards are attackable, but that should change before it goes live. If it’s not fixed, be careful – if you attack them, they’ll flag you, net you, and own you in the face.) (Edit: This is now fixed.)
There are storyline quests in the area, and dailies with pure cash rewards, but what sets the Argent Tournament apart is the new system of mounted combat with a quasi-feudal rank structure associated with it.
When you begin working on the mounted combat quests, you’re called an Aspirant of your race’s faction – a Stormwind Aspirant, Orgrimmar Aspirant, et cetera. You earn Aspirant’s Seals from the quests you’re offered at this level. Once you’ve completed enough tasks as an Aspirant (i.e. accrued 15 Aspirant’s Seals), you can pass a test to become a Valiant of your race, and further, more complex tasks open up. These earn Valiant’s Seals. Once you’ve completed Valiant training (i.e. accrued 25 Valiant’s Seals), you can take the challenge to become a Champion of your race; if you’re as fast as possible you can go from Aspirant to Champion in ten days.
At this point you can earn Champion’s Seals to buy rewards like tabards, pets and mounts (as well as epic weapons and rare-quality armor). Champions can also work on becoming Valiants for other races of their faction – a troll Champion could then become a Valiant of, say, Silvermoon, and work up to Champion status with Silvermoon as well. (However, you can only be a Champion of one city at a time.) You can buy a mount, pet, tabard and banner from whichever race you’re currently Championing, so if you want all the rewards you’ll need to work your way through all your faction’s races. (Edit: Note that you don’t lose Champion status once you’ve got it, so once you’ve earned Champion with one city, you can always access their vendor and purchase rewards from them, regardless of who you’re working on Championing.)
(A note on banners: no-one seems to know what they do yet. Carry on.) (Edit: Still no idea!)
- The Black Knight questline gives Argent Crusade reputation.
- The mounted combat quests give Silver Covenant reputation for Alliance and Sunreaver reputation for Horde.
There are a number of new achievements introduced for the Argent Tournament.
- Tilted!: Defeat another player in a mounted duel at the Argent Tournament.
- It’s Just a Flesh Wound: Unmask and defeat the Black Knight at the Argent Tournament.
- Argent Aspiration: Train to compete in the Argent Tournament by becoming an Aspirant for your race’s faction.
- Argent Valor: Train to compete in the Argent Tournament by becoming a Valiant for your race’s faction.
- Champion of Darnassus: Earn the right to represent Darnassus in the Argent Tournament.
- Exalted Champion of Darnassus: Earn Exalted status with and the right to represent Darnassus in the Argent Tournament.
- Champion of Exodar: Earn the right to represent Exodar in the Argent Tournament.
- Exalted Champion of Exodar : Earn Exalted status with and the right to represent Exodar in the Argent Tournament.
- Champion of Gnomeregan: Earn the right to represent Gnomeregan in the Argent Tournament.
- Exalted Champion of Gnomeregan: Earn Exalted status with and the right to represent Gnomeregan in the Argent Tournament.
- Champion of Darnassus: Earn the right to represent Darnassus in the Argent Tournament.
- Exalted Champion of Ironforge: Earn Exalted status with and the right to represent Ironforge in the Argent Tournament.
- Champion of Ironforge : Earn the right to represent Ironforge in the Argent Tournament.
- Exalted Champion of Stormwind: Earn Exalted status with and the right to represent Stormwind in the Argent Tournament.
- Champion of the Alliance: Earn the right to represent every Alliance race’s faction in the Argent Tournament.
- Exalted Champion of the Alliance: Earn Exalted status with and the right to represent every Alliance race’s faction in the Argent Tournament.
There are, of course, equivalent Horde achievements.
And, of course, there are five new mini-pets available (for Alliance: the Teldrassil Sproutling Ammen Vale Lashling, Mechanopeep, Dun Morogh Cub, and Elwynn Lamb) which will make Lil’ Game Hunter (collect 75 mini-pets) much easier. Similarly, there are six new mounts (for Alliance: Swift Darnassian Mistsaber, Great Azuremyst Elekk, Turbostrider, Swift Ironforge Ram, and Swift Elwynn Steed; plus the Argent Hippogryph for all factions) which will make Mountain o’ Mounts slightly less impossible. The mounts and the pets are all purchased with Champion’s Seals. (Edit: Of course, there are also equivalent Horde mounts and pets too.)
Phase 1: Introduction
The layout below shows the location of important places and NPCs.
When you enter, you want to head to the Argent Pavilion first, where you’ll speak to Justicar Mariel Trueheart. She’ll give you a link quest to speak to an NPC in the Silver Covenant Pavilion (if you’re Alliance) or Sunreaver Pavilion (if you’re Horde). She also gives you a link quest to talk to the Blastbolt brothers, goblins who give daily quests.
So, head to your faction’s pavilion and talk to the main questgiver. For Alliance, it’s Arcanist Taelis; for Horde it’s … well, I can’t tell you, because you get teleported out of the opposing-faction’s pavilion if you try and enter. So I’ll be looking at the Alliance-side quests, but the Horde side should be equivalent.
The Blastbolt brothers (who are at location 1 on the map above) offer you two dailies: A Chip Off the Ulduar Block and Jack Me Some Lumber. The former sends you to the Storm Peaks and the latter sends you to Crystalsong Forest; both ask you to gather resources to help build the new coliseum. These are straightforward dailies with a simple cash reward. (Edit: Despite their wording, they’re not required to ‘open up’ the coliseum, a la the Isle of Quel’Danas. They’re flavour only.)
Once you’ve seen your faction’s questgivers for the first time, a new quest opens up back at the Argent Pavilion. Crusader Rhydalla gives you The Black Knight of Westfall? which sends you to Moonbrook (the Horde version is The Black Knight of Silverpine?; I bet you can guess where that sends you). There’s a quest chain following it up, investigating the mystery of the Black Knight and culminating in a showdown. (Edit: Note that you can’t do the last stages of this showdown until you’re a Champion.)
Phase 2: The Aspirant
In the Silver Covenant Pavilion, Arcanist Taelis gives you the Mastery of Melee quest. Near Arcanist Taelis there’s Avareth Swiftstrike and Scout Shalyndria, who give you Mastery of the Charge and Mastery of the Shield-Bearer respectively.
Each of these three quests require you to equip a lance, mount a steed outside the pavilion, talk to an NPC near the Aspirants’ Ring (see ‘B’ on the map above) and go attack one of the melee targets using one of your special mounted abilities – Thrust, Charge and Shield-Breaker respectively. These quests will show you how to use the mounts and their abilities.
Once you’ve completed these three quests, Arcanist Taelis offers you one of three dailies: A Blade Fit For A Champion, A Worthy Weapon, or The Edge of Winter; Avareth Swiftstrike offers you Training in the Field (a daily), and Scout Shalyndria offers you Learning the Reins (also a daily). Between them they offer 5 Aspirant’s Seals.
Taelis also offers Up to the Challenge; once you’ve acquired 15 Aspirant’s Seals from the other quests, you can turn them in for this quest to take the Aspirant’s Challenge, which tests your mounted combat prowess. Success means you’re promoted to join your race’s city delegation as a Valiant. (Note that at the moment, Aspirant’s Seals take up an inventory slot rather than being added to your Currency window.)
Note that completing Learning the Reins (and in fact mounting up on a combat mount at any time) requires you to equip a lance; you can pick one up from the lance rack near the exit of your faction’s pavilion if you don’t have one in your bags. The lance uses your weapon slot and can be wielded one-handed; unlike WotLK fishing poles, it does not make a good substitute weapon. ;)
Your mount bar has six abilities on it:
- Thrust – a melee attack (6 yard range, 2 sec cooldown) that inflicts 3250 damage.
- Shield-Breaker – a ranged attack (5-30 yard range, 2 sec cooldown) that inflicts 2000 and reduces the opponent’s defenses.
- Charge – a charge (8-25 yard range, 6 sec cooldown) that inflicts 8500 damage and reduces the opponent’s defense.
- Defend – a defensive ability (self-cast, 4 sec cooldown) that reduces damage taken by 30%, and can be stacked up to three times. One charge of Defend is removed by an opponent’s Shield-Breaker or Charge.
- Refresh Mount – heals your mount to full health (self-cast, 1 min cooldown), can only be used out of combat.
- Duel – challenges another combatant to a duel.
The green “bottle” on the left of the mount bar is your mount’s health meter. The black bottle on the right is … apparently nothing, perhaps decorative (or not yet implemented).
(Unfortunately, the Aspirant-level mount is not what you’d call speedy.)
The mounted combat is fun and well-implemented; I haven’t encountered any bugs yet. The Aspirant quests are excellent when it comes to explaining new abilities and teaching you how to use them.
If anything, at this stage of play the Tournament’s biggest flaw is a lack of content. There are only a few repeatable quests, and it takes four days to reach Valiant status. I’m finding the experience and environment fun enough that I wish there were more quests to do – not necessarily to get to Valiant faster, but just so that I don’t have to run out of fun things to do.