Regardless, if you've been paying attention to recent World of Warcraft news, you know that Blizzard has been announcing a flurry of information on Patch 3.1, including a new world event called "The Argent Tournament". Here's what Blizzard has to say about it:
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!
Now, personally, this event sounds incredibly exciting to me. I've always been a fan of all Paladin-related WarCraft lore, and this event seems like it's really going to bring the Argent Crusade's struggle against the Lich King to the foreground (more so than previous content in Wrath of the Lich King, since a hefty chunk of lore was dedicated to the Nexus War). Hopefully, it will also set the stage (or have its stage set by) Christie Golden's upcoming WarCraft novel, Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, which is due out in April of this year.
So, let's go through the tournament details point by point.
Gaining reputation with capital cities currently requires reputation spillover from quests, holiday events, or repeated turning in of Runecloth. Since Blizzard hasn't seen fit to continue with the ability to turn in high level cloth such as Netherweave Cloth from the Burning Crusade nor Frostweave Cloth from Wrath of the Lich King for reputation, giving some way to increase one's standing with the cities without having to farm ancient content is long overdue.
Mounted combat is something I've been looking forward to since the game first launched—after spending so much time playing the WarCraft real-time strategy games, not being able to participate in mounted combat just feels wrong. Idiosyncrasies such as cavalry units in the Alterac Valley battleground dismounting to attack nearby enemies and remounting when combat had concluded always seemed extremely strange, especially for a game that hailed from the WarCraft lineage. However, now that it's being added to World of Warcraft, I truly hope that Blizzard takes their time to make mounted combat something more than the current vehicle combat, or, at the very least, improve the way the user interface deals with vehicles.
New daily quests are always a good thing. At present, the only decent clustering of daily quests is in Dun Niffelem for gaining reputation with the Sons of Hodir. The rest of the Northrend dailies tend to be spread out across the entire continent, and the only other clustering I can convince myself to do on a daily (or close to) basis are the Frenzyheart/Oracle quests in Sholazar Basin. Also, while phasing is nice and truly does give the impression of your character having a great impact on the world, the truth is that the real notion that drew me towards World of Warcraft when I first heard of it (back when WarCraft 3 launched) was the idea that I would be able to play a regular unit—someone who could certainly have an impact on the Azeroth, but not necessarily someone whom the world would revolve around. Slow progression such as that which occurred on the Isle of Quel'Danas just feels as if you're participating in something much, much greater than yourself, and really helps to keep one's ego in check.
Last of all is the addition of new awards and achievements. Naturally, new items and such are certainly expected, but I'm incredibly glad Blizzard went out of their way to mention the addition of things such as new titles, pets, and tabards. While there may be some people out there who aren't particularly enthused by new items that aren't gear upgrades, I, for one, really do appreciate the little things in life in World of Warcraft. However, I really hope that Blizzard doesn't decide to make the Argent Tournament a real tournament, and thereby limit the rewards available to people. I'm of the opinion that while it's perfectly fine to reserve some things for the elite crowd, such as gear upgrades, the "fun" objects should be available to everyone. After all, they're what add such a rich flavor to the game.
Oh, and by the way, one word in the announcement really caught my eye, and is probably the thing I am most excited about seeing on the Public Test Realms...that word is banners.