Every Thursday, The OverAchiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we either love jousting or we don't.
Due to a slight family emergency I had on Tuesday night, this week we're going to make a quick detour back to our Mountain O' Mounts series in order to cover the Argent Tournament. For a serious achievement hunter, this small, frozen corner of hell is a veritable mecca of pet- and mount-collecting goodness, but you're going to have to work for it.
Here is the full series on Mountain O' Mounts if you're just catching up with us:
A full guide to the many achievements associated with the Argent Tournament is beyond the scope of this article, but I'll reference a few in passing while we're discussing the stuff you're really here for -- which is to say, something else on which to park your ass and ride. First, a few notes for anyone who may not be familiar with the tournament and its oft-contentious history within the game.
The tournament wasn't entirely completed in patch 3.1; the Coliseum was still being constructed, and players did dailies (no longer in the game) in order to contribute wood and stone to the goblin builders. In true goblin fashion, the Coliseum was built with materials sourced from crumbling Titan ruins and Crystalsong lumber because it was cheaper that way.
If you're wondering why the goblins had you clearing Crystalsong, Blizzard initially intended to place the tournament there but came to the conclusion that the zone would become a nightmare for anyone without a high-end computer. As anyone who played through Wrath with a middling-to-low end system could tell you, Dalaran was taxing enough on system resources. Consequently, Tirion Fordring and company relocated to Icecrown.
The patch 3.1 trailer is notable for being one of the very few times that players have said nice things about Rhonin.
Lore-wise, the tournament (and subsequent Crusaders' Coliseum) was designed to produce a relatively small, battle-hardened group of fighters capable of attacking Icecrown with minimal casualties. The Argent Crusade had rejected the idea of amassing an army for this purpose, as anyone who died in Scourge territory was likely to be raised into undeath as yet another threat against the living. If you're part of a raid that kills the Lich King, you're considered part of the Crusade's elite strike forces.
On another lore note, there's a small event outside the Coliseum where major faction leaders -- Thrall, Garrosh, Varian Wrynn, Jaina Proudmoore, and Tirion Fordring -- will reference the events of that trailer and argue about the purpose of the tournament. Not surprisingly, Thrall and Jaina support it, but Varian and Garrosh think it's a big, fat waste of time. In an interesting little political note, Varian hints at being blackmailed into participating; without his presence, the Alliance would not have received any support from the Argent Crusade in Icecrown. I can only assume that the same backroom deal was struck with the Horde.
The tournament is the first (and, as far as I'm aware, only) time that we've seen specialty shirts introduced. "Souvenir" T-shirts are still sold by Broxel Goldgrasp on the southern end of the coliseum.
Blizzard fielded a number of complaints from players about "boring" mounts when the tournament first went live, which is why there are two mounts available from each Alliance/Horde faction.
Assuming you do all of the necessary dailies, it'll take you three days to work from the rank of aspirant to valiant (e.g., Orgrimmar aspirant to valiant), and then five days to work from valiant to champion. Because you can start working toward champion the day you qualify as a valiant, budget a week's worth of dailies for each faction. And yes, if you're interested in the mounts, you'll have to champion all of them; even if you're exalted with, say, Gnomeregan, you can't buy any items from Gnomeregan's quartermaster until you've reached champion status with them.
Currency and mount costs
The currency of the tournament is the Champion's Seal, which is awarded for the dailies you complete once you've won the right to represent a faction. Assuming that you're doing Crusade, faction, and Silver Covenant/Sunreaver dailies, you can get between 10 to 14 seals per day, as you have a shot at extra seals from Champion's Purses awarded by Crusade dailies.
If you work your way through all of the faction-specific and neutral mounts on offer, you'll wind up with 14 toward Mountain O' Mounts at the end (15 if you're a paladin). However, this will cost you 2,000 gold and 1,025 seals (assuming that you purchase each faction mount at exalted, which you should) to buy all of them. Paladins who buy the Argent Charger can expect to pay another 100 seals for that.
How long will it take to get all of the mounts?
If you have the worst luck in the world and never get any extra seals from Crusade purses, plan on doing 103 days' worth of dailies to get every mount. Under the best-case scenario with an extra seal dropping in each purse (just as unlikely), it'd be 73. No matter what, this is a pretty work-intensive means of getting extra mounts.
So -- dailies, dailies, and more dailies. Unfortunately, as of Cataclysm, it's no longer possible to get seals from a source other than Tournament dailies. They were once awarded for heroic Trial of the Champion, but they're no longer dropping there. As an aside, if you're doing dailies with a buddy, you can blow through most vehicle fights by having your friend stay unhorsed in order to attack jousting opponents. That said, jousting isn't too tough once you get the hang of it, but this still speeds it up.