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Mar 16

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!

Approaching the Argent Tournament

Phase 3: Becoming a Valiant

So! You’ve acquired your 15 Aspirant’s Seals and you’re keen to qualify as a Valiant of your faction? Read on!

Hand those 15 seals in to your faction’s leader – Arcanist Taelis for the Silver Covenant, Magister Edien Sunhollow for the Sunreavers – to complete Up to the Challenge. The leader will give you a new quest, The Aspirant’s Challenge. This quest asks you to equip your lance, mount up and ride to the Aspirant’s Ring (location B on the map below).

Map of the Argent Tournament Grounds

When you’re there, speak to Squire David; he summons a Valiant for you to fight. (Tip: he also offers a dialogue option – ‘How do the Argent Crusade riders fight?’. It’s worth a read for fight strategy.)

Be warned: this fight is not easy. You need a good grasp of your mount’s abilities and decent decision-making on the fly about what to use when. In a way, it’s like very slow-paced PvP (only with a character whose abilities you’re barely familiar with).

That said, it’s not necessarily hard, either: it’s just not a straightforward ‘easy win’ like most PvE quests. If you fail, you can keep calling for an opponent until you win, so you don’t have to spend another three days getting more seals to try again.

Tips for fighting the Valiant:

  • Have your Defend at three stacks before you start the fight, and keep it up during the fight as he Charges or Shield-Breakers you.
  • Rather than messing about with manoeuvering, let the Valiant be the one to get range – periodically he’ll back off; be ready to Charge him as soon as he’s at range. This is essential, else he’ll Charge you instead. Make sure if he’s backing off you keep your GCD clear; don’t try and be clever and throw a Shield-Breaker, you won’t have time.
  • Once you’ve charged him, wheel around for some melee Thrusts, and while you’re wheeling throw a Shield-Breaker or two to keep his Defend stacks down.
  • Repeat until win!
  • At present, you can be assisted on this challenge by a friend who attacks the Valiant once you’ve engaged. This may be disabled once it goes live, if Blizzard want this to be a truly solo affair. If it remains an option, it’s best if your friend keeps at range and uses Shield-Breaker and Charge repeatedly to keep the Valiant’s Defend stacks at nil. The Valiant will consistently attack you, so your assistant will have a much better chance to keep at range than you will.

Note: apparently this fight has yet to be tuned, and may change in difficulty.

(Edit: Note that this quest has been tuned, downwards in difficulty. It’s still not a walk in the park, until you get the knack of fighting the Valiants, but it’s easier than I described. You can have a friend assist you, but only on foot; they can’t co-joust, but they can attack with special attacks and spells, although threat will be an issue.)

Once you’ve beaten the Valiant, return to your faction’s leader and hand in the quest. You’ll be offered the quest A Valiant of [City], depending on your character’s racial home. This quest sends you to talk to the leader of your city’s delegation, who’ll enter you into the tournament on your city’s behalf.

Go and talk to your city delegation, who are based in the same pavilion. Congratulations! You’re a Valiant!

Phase 4: The Valiant

Each city has four NPCs in its delegation: a Grand Champion, a Master of Arms, and a Master of Horses (or Rams, Nightsabers, Chocobos, et cetera), who all give quests, and a Quartermaster who sells items purchasable with Champion’s Seals.

The Grand Champion gives you The Valiant’s Charge, which is the quest to acquire 25 Valiant’s Seals and pass the test for Champion rank. He or she also gives you one of A Blade Fit For A Champion, A Worthy Weapon, or The Edge of Winter; these are the same dailies you did as an Aspirant, although they now reward 2 Valiant’s Seals instead of 2 Aspirant’s Seals.

The Master of Arms offers you the daily A Valiant’s Field Training to kill Scourge in Icecrown, which rewards 1 Valiant’s Seal. The Master of Horses/Rams/Whatever offers two dailies: At the Enemy’s Gates (worth 1 Valiant’s Seal) and The Grand Melee (worth 1 Valiant’s Seal).

At the Enemy’s Gates

This quest sends you to the Argent Crusade forward camp at Corp’rethar, where there’s a Stabled Campaign Warhorse for you to mount. This mount has the same four basic abilities as the Tournament mounts; it lacks a heal of any type, and a duel ability.

Approaching the Argent Tournament

My thanks to Quirell of Gnomeregan, who was a very friendly and informative questing buddy when I was learning about this area.

Near the camp, there are formations of Scourge Boneguard forces; these are elite undead mobs that interact with your mount’s abilities in various ways. This area is also the focus of a similar, harder daily at the Champion level.

  • Boneguard Scouts

    These are flying gargoyle mobs; their spell attacks strip away Defend stacks. Kill them with ranged Shield-Breaker attacks; it should take two hits to kill one.
  • Boneguard Footmen

    These are skeletal soldiers; they’re grist for the mill. Run over them on your mount and they die, literally.
  • Boneguard Lieutenants

    These are mounted fighters. They’re vulnerable to melee attacks; they do use Defend, but they don’t reapply it. Just use your Thrust to beat them down.
  • Boneguard Plague Wagons

    These are vulnerable to Charges; a single Charge will take off half its health. Use Shield-Breaker to get the wagon down to half health or below – it won’t retaliate or attack you – and then Charge it to finish it off. (Wheel very sharply after your charge or you’ll probably wind up in the middle of a lot of nasty mobs, and then it’s off to the glue factory for you and your horse.) (Edit: Note that these are no longer reqired for the quest.)
  • Boneguard Commanders

    These are the nastiest of the lot. They’re needed for the Champion daily, but not the Valiant version – but there’s a Commander in each formation, so you’ll have to avoid him where possible. (He’s way too much of a pain to kill if you don’t have to, so don’t aggro him.)

The Grand Melee

This is the other significantly new daily, compared with the Aspirant’s dailies, and requires you to mount up and challenge and defeat three Valiants. You need to do this in your faction’s Valiants’ Ring – C or D on the map above.

You can challenge Valiants from each city, and they use different strategies depending on their race.

  • Draenei: run slowly. Don’t melee them; kite with Shield-Breaker with occasional Charges.
  • Dwarves: try and burn their defense down as quick as possible, then get in a Thrust before they reapply Defend. Slow and tedious.
  • Gnomes: are fairly balanced, much like the Valiant you fight to be promoted from Aspirant. Keep Defend up, stay in melee range, use occasional range to throw Shield-Breaker.
  • Humans: have an anti-Charge ability, but are ‘unbalanced’ by Shield-Breaker. Throw a Shield-Breaker to unbalance them, then Charge before they get back to normal. Otherwise, stay close.
  • Night Elves: stay in melee to stop them using their superpowered Shield-Breaker. Keep Defenses up and Thrust them down.

Note that Horde has equivalents of each of these, but I’m not sure on the pairings yet. Also, for Alliance, there’s a good write-up of the differences at this WoWwiki page.

Edit: Note that none of the above applies any longer; all the NPC valiants have the same racial abilities. The simplest strategy is to stay in melee and Thrust the enemies to death; when they move away to get range, throw a Shield-Breaker to knock off a Defend charge and then run up to them so they can’t Shield-Breaker or Charge you. If you feel daring, Charge them instead of Shield-Breaker, then throw a Shield-Breaker when you’re wheeling around and closing again after the Charge. This is faster, but riskier.)

Each faction only has 2 Valiants; if both are on the field, it seems that you have to wait for them to win or loseWeight Exercise before you can challenge them. I foresee a lot of people helping each other to get the matches over faster, to free up the popular Valiant types faster.

It may be the case that you can only beat one of each type of Valiant each day, to stop you finding a single strategy and working it to death; however, this behaves inconsistently at the moment on the PTR, so it’s hard to tell. (Edit: It’s one an hour; you get an hour-long city-specific debuff after defeating each Valiant.)

My Impressions

This stuff is hard. Veteran PvPers and kiters will be fine, but for the average player used to zapping their way through quests with ease, it’ll be a nasty shock – and I can see a lot of people giving up because it’s too hard to be fun. (Let’s face it, it’s not often – in standard WoW gameplay – that you fail a quest if you’re not doing things like pulling an entire camp at once.)

That said, I’ve heard that this content has yet to be tuned, and right now the Valiants might just be harder than Blizzard wants. If not, though, you can expect co-operation to be the order of the day, because most people just won’t want to spend hours failing on solo content.

My feelings are mixed. On the one hand, I like the mechanics, the level of detail, the setting, the concept. On the other hand, this is the kind of content I’m not particularly good at – twitchy, highly-mobile, PvP-like stuff reliant on positional advantage and excellent skill use. On a personal level, I’ll doubtless play the Argent Tournament content, but if it takes as long as I expect to get decent at the combat, I’m honestly not sure how much I’ll enjoy it.

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20 Comments

Comment by HP

Made Monday, 16 of March , 2009 at 7:40 am

I am bad at twitchy stuff =( I’m definitely going to do this part with boyfriend then. I likely wouldn’t have fun solo-ing these quests

Comment by Phyllixia

Made Monday, 16 of March , 2009 at 12:19 pm

It’s not actually the first “hard” solo PvE content. There are at least 2 others – Skyshatter of Netherwing fame, and the optional Arena-style fight using demons in Ogri’la. The former I had to try numerous times for (even with 10% boost from a Riding Crop), the latter I’ve never completed (mainly because I’m too lazy to farm the items that allow you to do it). I’ve always meant to go back and kill that demon at least once, though – can’t let a challenge like that remain unbeaten! :)

Comment by Siha

Made Monday, 16 of March , 2009 at 12:24 pm

Very good point! I think the difference is – the hard content previously was the culmination of a chain, or a separate stand-alone event. This, however, is the gateway to much more content, and to a lot of rewards that are typically associated with more ‘casual’ players – tabards, pets, mounts, et cetera. Which isn’t to say that casual players are bad, but I do foresee a lot of disappointed people if it’s not tuned down at all.

Comment by Zalajin

Made Monday, 16 of March , 2009 at 11:06 pm

I’ve been trying it and I’m stuck and the Valiant’s Challenge quest where you try to advance to champion. Admittedly I did all of the Valiant stuff before they made it more difficult. You are right though it seems too difficult now. Hopefully they will adjust that a little before it goes live.

Comment by candy

Made Sunday, 22 of March , 2009 at 4:46 am

I was wondering how this would all sort itself out. Thanks so much for the great guide and the screenies.

Comment by Drrum

Made Wednesday, 15 of April , 2009 at 7:49 am

Thank you for creating this guide. I’m looking forward to strapping my spurs on at the patch!

Comment by Moodir

Made Thursday, 16 of April , 2009 at 10:36 pm

Hey so i am a valiant and i dueled 6 valiants for marks got the marks killed them ect and i go to take on a 7th and it says are yu sure you are ready like its glitching out like im not a valiant anymore anyone know why?

Comment by Draeld,

Made Friday, 17 of April , 2009 at 10:49 pm

Great guide, Thank you.. Only one thing : Do you Have to be a Champion of your OWN faction , To be able to try for another Faction one?

Comment by Siha

Made Saturday, 18 of April , 2009 at 6:04 am

Yeah, you do. Your own faction is automatically the first one you progress as; that’s not optional.

Comment by shorty

Made Sunday, 19 of April , 2009 at 1:48 am

This stuff is not hard at all, i just hit valiant yesterday (one day behind schedule because i couldn’t finish dailies on patch day) and i can now successfully take down valiants for the “grand melee” quest and end w/ over 80% of my horses health left. If you want a good strategy for fighting them, basically don’t ever use shield breaker unless the npc gets two stacks of defend on them. At certain points the npc will disengage from melee from you and run away to cast shield-breaker and put up a shield, at that point just charge them. As long as you keep charging and stacking your own shields along with using the melee joust it should be easy.

Comment by kinni

Made Monday, 20 of April , 2009 at 3:52 am

interestingly enough Ive seen orcs on hawkstriders as aspiriants, tauren on wolves etc. i dont see how this applys.

Comment by lamb

Made Friday, 24 of April , 2009 at 7:07 pm

so disappointed – its not fun to NOT get a the npc val’s down. its rubbish and forget it blizzard. not worth it.

Comment by Holydivinity

Made Sunday, 26 of April , 2009 at 4:56 pm

Nice job on the guides, I had already reached champion when I saw this guide I found through google, hit my email if you need more help, I’m working other factions I started with UC now on to Silvermoon I am trying to figure out if the champion dailies still pop up after selecting a different faction, I gotta wait another hour heh I believe.

Comment by netherman

Made Saturday, 2 of May , 2009 at 1:51 am

I had a lot of trouble with the grand melee until a guildie shared a slow, but low risk method to beating it. First, make sure you start with the full three stacks of defend before you talk to the npc. After you challenge, let them get in shield breaker range and chuck your spear. Immediately close and use thrust until they walk away, use shield breaker and close immediately, rinse and repeat. Make sure you keep your defend up at all times and you should always be damaging them more than they are damaging you. It feels a little cheap, but I still sleep at night ;)

Comment by lollk

Made Saturday, 30 of May , 2009 at 1:32 am

How do I fix this?

I died after killing the valiants, and the debuff is gone but i still cant challenge them, help?

Comment by Korbain

Made Sunday, 5 of July , 2009 at 8:53 am

At first I tried to fight the valiants and I lost over and over and was about to give up because I am intimidated by this concept. I felt like this tournament wasn’t tailored for my type of game style so I started looking up strategies and found a slow and safe way to get them down every time. It is similar to many other post I just don’t take any real risks because I hate losing. It takes a bit longer but at least I can do it. Now after becoming a champion I feel like there isn’t anything I can’t do in this tournament. Once you get the hang of it you out smart all of the npc’s. Good luck and try to have fun!

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