Tag Archives: factions

Avast, Ye Scurvy Dogs!

Bloodsail Admiral Sailan

Almost exactly a year ago I swore I was never going to do it, but in the end, I just couldn’t help myself. How could I pass up that sweet, sweet hat and title?

(Of course, it’s entirely out of character for a servant of the light to slaughter thousands of innocent businessmen for the sake of ingratiating herself with a bunch of pirates, so let’s just call this a psychotic break and move along, yes?)

I’d actually been thinking about the Bloodsail grind for months. The biggest delay in getting started was my dithering over Insane in the Membrane, the Feat of Strength for the truly obsessive, because that affected how far I’d be going with Bloodsail rep and how I chose to repair my goblin reps afterwards. Naturally, in the end, I chose the crazier option, and I’ve been killing goblins and pirates ever since.

So, my to-do list! This is entirely unrelated to any kind of progression, but this kind of thing is the reason I have a ridiculous number of days /played on my main. :)

The Insane/The Exalted

  • Exalted with the Steamwheedle Cartel factions. Currently Hostile with Ratchet and halfway through Hated with the other three factions. About 30-36 hours’ worth to go. Halfway through I’ll also pick up the Exalted as a title.
  • Exalted with Darkmoon Faire. Lots of herb farming, milling, carding, and turning in. This will probably take me a couple of months on and off.
  • Exalted with Ravenholdt. This means I’m going to have to dust off my actually-not-very-much-loved rogue, or bribe someone else to do the pickpocketing for me.
  • Exalted with Shen’dralar. This just makes me want to cover my face and cry, to be honest. Requires lots of farming of Dire Maul for librams, and lots of camping the AH for Pristine Black Diamonds, plus some Scholo and Strat Dead runs for the libram mats. Still, once I get this and the above three finished, I’ll officially be Sailan the Insane – possibly in RL too.

Mountain o’ Mounts

  • Baron Rivendare’s stinking mount. I’m up to forty-something runs now – one of my guildies got it on his first run, another took 106 runs to do it, and knowing my luck I fully expect to still be at it in 500 runs’ time.
  • Finish off Wintersaber Trainers rep – currently about 48 rounds of quests away, which … isn’t as bad as I thought, actually.
  • Keep farming ZG, Anzu and Attumen for mounts as often as possible.
  • Keep at the AT dailies, which I tend to slack off on; I still need seven of their mounts and the upgraded squire – and then I get to start on tabards!
  • PvP more, since there’s a lot of PvP achievements I still need, and I need AB and WSG tokens for the Black War mounts I don’t yet have. Plus I want Exalted with AB and WSG for the Justicar title and the tabards.

Other factions because I’m a completionist:

  • Keep doing the two dailies that reward Frostborn and Explorer’s League rep respectively, since it irks me to see non-Exalted factions on my reputation list. 120 days left for Explorer’s League, and 134 days for Frostborn. Oogh.
  • Another Black Temple run or two should see me at Exalted there.
  • Brood of Nozdormu. I’m a smidgen off Revered, so I need at least a few more runs through AQ40, which are scarcer than hen’s teeth on my server.


  • I’m 180 quests away in Kalimdor, and 89 quests away in Eastern Kingdoms. Probably can’t finish this one before I do The Insane, as I’ll probably have to do some goblin quests (which would screw my Bloodsail rep).

I’m not sure whether this to-do list looks better or worse, now that it’s in black and white. Help?

The Argent Tournament in Patch 3.2

With my “Tourist Guide” series I attempted to present a comprehensive guide to the Argent Tournament and their goings-on in Northrend, so let’s look at the new content coming in Patch 3.2.

This post is Part IV in the series, a guide to all the new content introduced in Patch 3.2. This includes a new quest hub, new rewards, and changes to existing quests.

  • 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.
  • Part IV – The Argent Tournament in Patch 3.2: covers changes to the Argent Tournament, and delicious new content and rewards.

Caveat: Due to the PTR login problem, this guide has been developed with the aid of notes and screenshots I took earlier in the PTR testing process. I’ll update the guide with the most recent information as soon as I’m able to access the PTR again, but for now I felt an approximate guide was better than no guide at all. (Note that I’ve only included information where I’m reasonably confident it’s correct.)

Approaching the Argent Tournament

New Rewards

There are a range of new rewards available. (You can see existing rewards in Part III of my Argent Tournament guides here.)

  • Mini pets:
    • Silver Covenant/Sunreavers: Shimmering Wyrmling – this is BoE, but requires Exalted with the Silver Covenant or Sunreavers to use. 40 Champion’s Seals.
    • Argent Crusade: Argent Pony Bridle – BoP, 150 Champion’s Seals. This upgrades the Argent Squire or Argent Gruntling you receive in the first stages of becoming a Champion; once you’ve done this upgrade, your Argent minion can give you access to your mail, your bank or a vendor, once every eight hours.
  • Tabards, all 50 Seals each:
    • Silver Covenant (Alliance only) – requires Exalted
    • Sunreavers (Horde only) – requires Exalted
    • Argent Crusader’s Tabard (looks like a fancier version of the Argent Crusade tabard, see right) – requires Exalted
  • Ground Mounts, 100 Seals each:
    • Silver Covenant: Quel’dorei Steed – requires Exalted
    • Sunreavers: Sunreaver Hawkstrider – requires Exalted
    • Argent Crusade: Argent Warhorse, Argent Charger (the latter is paladin-only). These both require the Crusader title.
  • Flying Mounts, 150 Seals each:
    • Silver Covenant: Silver Covenant Hippogryph – requires Exalted
    • Sunreavers: Sunreaver Dragonhawk – requires Exalted
  • 1 new banner for the Argent Crusade, costing 15 Seals.
  • Bind-on-account chests with a 10% XP bonus (which stacks with the heirloom shoulders), costing 60 Seals each. (Other heirloom items will now be purchasable with Seals as well as Emblems of Heroism.)

New Achievements

There are, of course, a number of achievements relating to deeds in the new 5-man dungeon (Trial of the Champion) and the new raid zone (Trial of the Crusader). In addition, there are two new achievements relating to the Argent Tournament world event:

  • A Silver Confidant, for the Alliance, requires you to have reached Exalted with the Silver Covenant and Champion status with at least one city.
  • The Sunreavers is the Horde equivalent, requiring you to reach Exalted with the Sunreavers and Champion status with at least one city.

New Quests

The new quests generally focus around two plot points in 3.2: either keeping the tournament competitors happy (and, usually, well-fed), or helping save the Tuskarr of Hrothgar’s Landing (an island to the north of the grounds) from the aggressive invading Kvaldir.

The following new dailies can be found in your faction’s tent. They both require Exalted with Sunreavers/Silver Covenant, and reward one Champion’s Seal each.

The following new dailies require you to be a Crusader, and are given by new NPCs in the Argent Crusade tent near Crusader Rhydalla. They give one Champion’s Seal each unless otherwise stated.

Changed Quests

There are a number of changes to existing quests. As a general rule, the dailies will now send you further afield, and you will no longer be able to “double up” and complete the Valiant and Champion versions of a daily by killing a single set of mobs.

  • A Valiant’s Field Training used to require you to kill 10 Scourge in Icecrown. Now it specifies 10 Converted Heroes, north of Corp’rethar.
  • Taking Battle to the Enemy used to require you to kill 15 Scourge in Icecrown. Now it specifies 15 Cult of the Damned members anywhere in Icecrown.
  • Battle Before the Citadel used to require you to kill 1 Boneguard Commander, 3 Boneguard Lieutenants, and 10 Boneguard Scouts (which overlapped nicely with the Valiant version of the quest, At the Enemy’s Gates). This now requires you to kill 3 Boneguard Commanders; the Valiant quest remains unchanged.

Remember – more details to follow, as soon as the PTR is accessible again!

The Argent Tournament Tourist Guide, Part III

Patch 3.1 brought 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!

Note that this is a couple of months late, by now! However, I know there are some folks out there who still haven’t started the Argent Tournament and have found the previous parts of my guide handy, plus I’m about to write the fourth part with a guide to the changes in Patch 3.2.

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.

Approaching the Argent Tournament

Phase 5: Becoming a Champion

So! You’ve acquired your 25 Valiant’s Seals and you’re keen to qualify as a Champion of your faction? Read on!

Hand those 15 seals in to your faction’s Grand Champion, who will give you a new quest, The Valiant’s Challenge. This quest asks you to equip your lance, mount up and ride to the Argent Valiant’s Ring (location A on the map below).

Map of the Argent Tournament Grounds

When you’re there, speak to Squire Danny; he summons a Champion for you to fight.

This is basically a harder version of the trial to become a Valiant that you successfully completed 25 seals ago. The Champion you’re fighting will use all the same abilities the Valiants use, but he’ll be faster to put his Defense stacks up when you knock them off, he’s more likely to Charge and Shield-Breaker you, and it’s generally got less margin for error. However, it’s easily soloable if you can do the Valiant jousting with no problems, and if you do have difficulties you can get a friend to help you on foot. (Ranged DPS is better than melee, because the Champions run around so much.)

Once you’ve beaten the Argent Champion, return to your faction’s pavilion and hand in. Congratulations, you’re now a Champion! If you have Exalted reputation with your home city, you’ll also get the “Exalted Champion of…” achievement at the same time, and a shiny new title.

Phase 6: The Champion

Now that you’re a champion, you’ve got two paths to follow: doing the Champion-only dailies, and beginning to Champion another city.

In your faction’s tent, the other racial faction leaders will have quests; pick the next faction you wish to champion, and accept their quest. That will make you a valiant of that faction, as well as a champion of your first faction – for instance, if my home faction is Stormwind and I go to the Ironforge leader next, I’ll have access to all the Champion dailies, and the Stormwind vendor, and I’ll also be considered an Ironforge valiant and have access to their dailies.

The Champion dailies are given in the Argent Pavilion in the west of the grounds, and are as follows:

  • Taking Battle to the Enemy requires you to kill 15 Scourge in Icecrown, and can be done at the same time as the Valiant daily A Valiant’s Field Training for doubled-up quest credit.
  • Battle Before the Citadel is a mounted quest at Corp’rethar, and can be done at the same time as the Valiant daily At the Enemy’s Gates for doubled-up quest credit.
  • Threat From Above is a group quest to kill a frost wyrm near Aldur’thar; you can only get this quest after completing Crusader Rhydalla’s questline about the Black Knight.
  • Among the Champions is the Champion-level jousting quest.
  • Squire Artie in the Argent Pavilion also gives a daily quest to donate 10 gold in exchange for 100 Argent Crusade reputation; obviously this isn’t available to people with Exalted reputation.

Champion dailies pay gold, plus Champion’s Seals (the currency for Argent Tournament rewards), plus a choice of either a Writ or a Purse. The Writs can be turned in at the factional vendors for tokens that increase your racial city reputations; the Purses contain 10g and very occasionally an extra Champion’s Seal.

Threat From Above

This is a fairly straightforward group quest to kill the frostwyrm Chillmaw, who spawns around 43,32 in Icecrown. Throughout the fight Chillmaw spawns three Cultist Bombadiers, who are also required for quest completion.

This quest can be soloed by some classes, particularly those with self-healing abilities and/or pet tanks. However, on reasonably populous servers there’s a constant stream of “LFG TFA!” in Icecrown General chat, so there’s no reason to go it alone unless you’re trying to prove something to yourself.

The ickiest bit of the fight, other than competing with other groups to nab the spawn (which is mostly handled fairly courteously on my server, but not always), is in handling the bombadiers who spawn. They throw bombs on the ground which explode on a time delay, so if you stand in the one spot for too long and don’t watch your surrounds, you easily can be killed by a couple of explosions.

Among the Champions

This is the Champion-level jousting quest; look for the Ring of Champions at point E on the map above.

The Trial to become a champion is a good indication of the increased difficulty of the NPC champions, compared with the NPC valiants. They’re tuned more finely; they put shields up faster, they’re more aggressive, and they’re harder to shake to get Charge distance on. However, they’re still eminently beatable; if you have problems, just stick to the strategy I described in Part II of this guide series for the valiants, and you’ll come out on top (albeit slowly).


Once you’re a Champion of one or more factions, you can buy rewards with the Champions Seals you receive from the daily quests (which, unlike the Aspirant and Valiant tokens, can be found on your Currency pane rather than in your bags).

At present, the following are available:

  • 5 mini pets, one per faction. 40 Seals each, and unlike all the other rewards, the pets are BoE:
    • Darnassus: Teldrassil Sproutling
    • Exodar: Ammen Vale Lashling
    • Gnomeregan: Mechanopeep
    • Ironforge: Dun Morogh Cub
    • Stormwind: Elwynn Lamb
    • The Horde equivalents are the Sen’jin Fetish, Tirisfal Batling, Enchanted Broom, Durotar Scorpion and Mulgore Hatchling.
  • 5 tabards, one per faction. 50 Seals each.
  • Ground mounts: 5 “cheap” mounts using old skins and 5 regular mounts using the current jousting mount skins. One cheap mount (5 Seals and 400g each) and one regular mount (100 seals each) per faction (listed as Cheap/Regular):
    • Darnassus: Swift Moonsaber/Darnassian Nightsaber
    • Exodar: Great Red Elekk/Exodar Elekk
    • Gnomeregan: Turbostrider/Gnomeregan Mechanostrider
    • Ironforge: Swift Violet Ram/Ironforge Ram
    • Stormwind: Swift Gray Steed/Stormwind Steed
    • The Horde equivalents are the Swift Purple Raptor/Darkspear Raptor, White Skeletal Warhorse/Forsaken Warhorse, Swift Red Hawkstrider/Silvermoon Hawkstrider, Swift Burgundy Wolf/Orgrimmar Wolf and Great Golden Kodo/Thunder Bluff Kodo.
  • 1 flying mount, available to Alliance and Horde: the Argent Hippogryph, for 150 Seals.
  • 5 banners, one per faction. 15 Seals each. Banners have no purpose other than to be placeable decorative items.
  • Epic weapons costing 25 Seals each, and Rare armor pieces costing 15 seals each. (These are all accessible as soon as you reach Champion with your first faction, although they have racial-specific names.)

The Argent Tournament Tourist Guide, Part II

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.

The Argent Tournament Tourist Guide, Part I

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.

Approaching the Argent Tournament

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.)

Approaching the Argent TournamentThere 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 loseWeight Exercise 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!)

Faction Rewards

  • 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.

Approaching the Argent Tournament

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.

Neutral Quests

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. ;)

Mount Abilities

Your mount bar has six abilities on it:

  1. Thrust – a melee attack (6 yard range, 2 sec cooldown) that inflicts 3250 damage.
  2. Shield-Breaker – a ranged attack (5-30 yard range, 2 sec cooldown) that inflicts 2000 and reduces the opponent’s defenses.
  3. Charge – a charge (8-25 yard range, 6 sec cooldown) that inflicts 8500 damage and reduces the opponent’s defense.
  4. 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.
  5. Refresh Mount – heals your mount to full health (self-cast, 1 min cooldown), can only be used out of combat.
  6. 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.)

My Impressions

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.

Argent Tournament: New World Event in 3.1

There’s not much news about it yet, but there will be a new world event during the early days of patch 3.1.

This blue post has the details:

In patch 3.1, a new world event titled “The Argent Tournament” will be coming to Northrend! This tournament will be live on the 3.1 PTR and open for testing, though certain aspects are still in development. Players will find a host of new features here, including:

  • The ability to prove your worth to a capital city of your choosing through our new mounted combat system (still in development)
  • New daily quests to construct the great Argent Crusade coliseum for glorious battles to come
  • All new rewards – new items, titles, banners, tabards, pets, mounts, and more
  • All new achievements
  • Many more festivities, and more to come in future content updates!

Players will find the Argent Tournament in Icecrown. Speaking to any Northrend flight master will get you on track to prove your worth to the Argent Crusade, your faction’s leaders, and all denizens of Azeroth!

I’m not sure, from this, whether they actually mean World Event (a la the Shattered Sun takeover of the Isle of Quel’Danas) or Seasonal Event (a la the Darkmoon Faire). Either way, it does sound like fun, and I’m looking forward to it.

I am, however, a trifle disappointed that it’s focusing around the Argent Crusade; I’d have hoped for a new faction or sub-faction (perhaps the Brotherhood of the Light, who previously acted as the diplomats between the Argent Dawn and the Scarlet Crusade) since increasing reputation in WotLK is so easy.

Update: Having thought about it a bit more, I suspect 3.1 will have the world event introducing the Tournament and building the coliseum, and future patches will actually put the coliseum to greater use.

However I must admit: I think it’s a bit weird for the Argent Crusade to be building arenas and having tournaments; isn’t that something of a distraction from the business of fighting a war? It seems rather out of character for them, I feel.

No Grind Too Great…

Original image from WoWheadI finally met my Waterloo, the grind that even I cannot contemplate.

I have a long and grindy history in Azeroth. I thought nothing of doing Revered with the Aldor and then Exalted with the Scryer (requiring a hefty amount of basilisk-killing in the middle) with my paladin because I wanted all the jewelcrafting recipes. I ground my Night Elf priest to Exalted Stormwind faction pre-60 and pre-easy-rep-gains because I wanted a horse. I have maxed-out fishing, for god’s sake.

I didn’t flinch at the idea of grinding my way to Exalted with the Consortium (before all the solo and 5-man Consortium content in patch 2.2, to boot) or the Kurenai. I have every Burning Crusade faction, bar Scale of the Sands and Ashtongue Deathsworn, at Exalted. I’ve just hit Exalted with Stormwind and Argent Dawn, and I’m a couple of days away with Darnassus, Exodar and Cenarion Circle — then comes Timbermaw and Frostspring Wintersaber factions.

But I have met my match: the rep grind that makes me shudder and think “oh god, no“. This terror: the rep grind to get Exalted with the Bloodsail Buccaneers for a swanky Admiral’s hat and parrot pet. This grind would necessitate killing 1,300 level 67 elite mobs (who drop zero loot – not even coins) just to get to Friendly with the damn Buccaneers… and then I’d have to grind my way back up from Hated with all the Steamwheedle factions just so as not to get ganked the minute I set foot in one of their towns.

No. Just no. I don’t care how cool the hat looks. HONEST.

That’s What Now! or, Things To Do In Azeroth When You’re Bored

Tiny Phoenix HatchlingI recently posted about my difficulty in finding things to amuse me in the pre-Wrath period: everything I could think of to do was either boring, or irrelevant in the face of the upcoming expack.

Well, here’s something that’s been occupying me for the last few days: catching up on Achievements, in advance!

I’m a completionist and an explorer at heart, which means the Achievements system is going to occupy a lot of my time during the lifespan of Wrath. However, there are a bunch of Achievements that I can easily work on before Wrath Day.

First, I logged into the Wrath beta to check out the Achievements panel and found all the pre-WotLK achievements I hadn’t yet completed. (Those of you without access to the beta can do the same thing by checking out the WoWHead Achievement list.) I broke these down into subsets:

  • Achievements I won’t get credit for until Wrath goes live: certain boss kills, a lot of PvP achievements, achievements like ’emote /love to one of every type of critter’, and so on. No point doing these in advance as I’d only have to redo them.
  • Achievements I can’t complete until a certain time of year: these are all the Achievements for seasonal events that I haven’t yet completed, from ‘get all three pets from Azeroth’s Children’s Week’ to ‘discover an Elegant Dress by opening eggs during Noblegarden’.
  • Achievements I can complete, but shouldn’t: yes, I can go and get 15 different non-combat pets right now, but I won’t have bag space for them until Wrath goes live with its new pet-and-mount storage system. I could do it now, but it’d be a lot smarter to wait.
  • Fast and easy achievements I can complete now: mostly finishing off map exploration, chasing down those pesky few unexplored subzones, and making sure Achievement-earning quest chains are finished off (for example, the Nesingwary quests, completing X many quests in a given Outland zone, etc).
  • More time-consuming achievements I can complete now: Can you say ‘rep grinds’? I knew you could! There are Achievements for gaining Exalted with specific factions and groups of factions, as well as getting a certain number of factions to Exalted overall.

And now I’ve been working on them. So far I’ve finished off a few of the individual general Achievements (like buying and equipping the “Gigantique” bag) and finished exploring every single Eastern Kingdoms zone. Now I’m working on factions, and I’ll break that up with some Kalimdor exploration.

None of it has any mechanical advantage, true. But it warms the cockles of my obsessive completionist heart to tick off all these little things I’d always meant to do but never had time to do – now I have time to do them, and a reason to boot.

(Tangentially, in one of my next few posts I’ll talk about some tips and tricks for levelling old-world factions, for those of you stranded in the doldrums of Revered reputation.)

Farming for Shattered Sun Rep

If your server is anything like mine, finding groups for Magister’s Terrace can be … challenging, to say the least, since apparently every single tank has gone on holidays this month and the only ones left are kinda Donald-y. But you want your Shattered Sun faction, don’t you, for those tasty recipes and epics? And the dailies just don’t roll your faction rewards in fast enough…

Lo, paladin, find yourself a friendly mage, preferably one who’s as eager for SSO rep as you are so they don’t bitch and moan about how tedious this is going to be.

Then hie thee to Magister’s Terrace, and kill the first four mobs. Over and over again.

  1. Set it to normal mode. Do not try this on Heroic unless you are uber.
  2. Zone in, pally in tanking gear (with tanking buffs, ie Righteous Fury *ahem*), salv the mage.
  3. Take the first pair, making sure the patrol isn’t pathing anywhere nearby.
    • This pair will be 2x Mage Guards. They’re basically melee mobs, although they have an annoying ranged damage/stun attack called Glaive Throw.
    • Sheep one, tank the other. Tank and spank, and the pally should have little risk of dying unless things go pear-shaped.
    • Of note: when they throw their magic dampening field thingy, pull them out of it and tank them a decent way away from it. The field dampens all spell attacks against them, which makes them slow as hell for your mage to kill, and your threat generation drops to almost nothing.
    • Before breaking the sheep, bandage yourself back up to reasonable health. Then kill the second one.
  4. Eat and drink back to full health. Don’t bother trying to heal yourself up; your mana pool is tiny and your heals won’t do jack. It’s quicker to just eat as well as drinking.
  5. Check out the patrol. There are a number of mobs that can be in the patrol:
    • Warlock: very high dps caster, fire based, with an imp pet. The pet should always be the first thing to die.
    • Magister: frost-based caster, fairly high DPS but manageable.
    • Physician: a melee mob, despite the name, with a poisoned melee attack. Fairly trivial.
    • Mage Guard: same type of mobs as in the first stationary pull. (I think these are potentially in this patrol, although I can’t remember.)
    • Blood Knight: pain in the neck. A paladin mob with a self-heal (or cross-heal if you have another mob up as well) and an aura/dot that does a surprising amount of damage.
  6. Tips for dealing with the patrol:
    • Physician + Magister: the easy pair. Sheep the magister, kill the physician, then kill the magister.
    • Some other combo: relatively easy. If the patrol has the blood knight or the warlock, sheep that mob first. If it has both, then read on.
    • Warlock + Blood Knight: the difficult pair. Sheep the warlock, tank the blood knight, kill the imp, then kill the blood knight. The pally should be ready to interrupt the blood knight’s heal with a stun; the mage should be ready to spellsteal the blood knight’s buff as soon as it appears. Once the blood knight is down, bandage and regen some mana – drink a potion if you’ve got some cheap ones (eg Major Combat Mana Potions) on hand. You don’t want to tackle the warlock when you’re already half-dead and low on mana.
    • The reason I suggest this order is: if the warlock breaks sheep early while you’re killing the blood knight, the warlock will get a spell off and do a bit of damage before being resheeped, no big deal. If the blood knight breaks sheep early while you’re killing the warlock, the knight will get a heal off and you’ll have to kill the warlock all over again, which – given how much damage they do – could well be fatal.
  7. Zone out. Eat, drink, reset the instance.
  8. Perform above steps four more times.

This will net you 240 rep (264 for humans) in about 20-30 minutes, and will use up your five instance resets for the hour. Go make some lunch, do some chores, come back in half an hour, and repeat steps 1-8 again.

I used this to push me over the line to Revered so I could make my healing trinket in time for our first night in Mount Hyjal, since the daily quests were going to reset in the middle of the raid. I used this again today to push me over the line to Exalted so I didn’t have to wait til tonight for a fresh daily reset to get more rep.

Obviously, this is not an awesome way to get to Revered or Exalted SSO by itself. However, a few iterations of this – if it’s in company with a partner you enjoy playing with – can be a fun way to polish some skills and get just that bit of extra rep to reach a particular milestone when you choose, instead of being dependent on being able to get proper Magister’s Terrace groups.

That's one in the kidneys for the Jewelcrafters…

News just in; MMO-Champion reports that the price of all the factional recipes in 2.4 has increased significantly.

In most cases, it’s not a huge issue; it’s a matter of one or two patterns for most people going from, say, 2g to 15g. Huge jump, yeah, but not a big problem.

Jewelcrafters, on the other hand, get the shiv. All those epic patterns we have to load up on, now available from Shaani the Jewelcrafting vendor at various levels of Shattered Sun reputation? From 57g for the lot to 1900 gold. I am something akin to speechless.

As BBB would say, “lolwut?”