Sapphire's Guide to Jousting in the Argent Tournament

27th April 2009 – 10.51 am

With World of Warcraft's 3.1 patch comes the Argent Tournament, a new set of daily quests to gain achievements, titles and pets. Being the recipient of an exclusive invitation to participate in the tournament, no doubt only restricted to everyone at or around 80th level on every server in every continent, I send Sapphire up to the north of Icecrown to see what all the fuss is about.

My first impressions are poor, as I am presented with daily quests that I need to complete to gain enough tokens, over several days, to enable me to advance to more daily quests. I can feel the heavy grind wearing me down already, but as long as the quests are fun and I can take them at my own pace then it should be okay. Sadly, jousting comes across as being quite tedious, and the majority of the daily quests involve picking up a lance for mounted combat.

I take the introductory quests, I even pay attention to the instructors, but what I learn against targets and dummies doesn't seem to match my flailing around against the NPCs in the Valiant's Arena. I try to get some distance so that I can use my shield breaker and follow up with a charge, just as I was instructed, but my steed doesn't turn quickly enough, the NPC knocking down my shield and piercing me with his lance instead. After several failed attempts at jousting I am ready to dismiss the tournament as a frustrating distraction.

But then I realise what I am doing wrong: I am trying to joust. That is, I imagine jousting to be two riders charging one another, each trying to knock the other of his horse using a lance and protecting himself with a shield. The introductory quests even make this seem to be the case, promoting the ideal view of how jousting will be. But this is an MMORPG and I am fighting NPCs, and just as combat in an MMORPG bares only the vaguest resemblance to real combat the same is true for MMORPG jousting.

With the realisation that I am facing MMORPG NPC jousting opponents I head back in to the arena and fight with a PvE mentality. And it works, repeatedly. It's a shame that jousting reduces to just another form of hitting the right combination of buttons, but knowing this information removes all of the frustrations. I soon have the achievement for besting one of every faction's knights and the grind no longer feels onerous but just another way to enjoy spending time in Northrend.

I present Sapphire's Guide to Jousting in the Argent Tournament. The first part is the easier form of jousting that I used initially, getting me through the Valiant's stages smoothly before I got more comfortable and started to use advanced manoeuvres for more effective and quicker jousts.

Jousting the easy way:

  • Raise your shields.
  • Before you even challenge an NPC opponent get your shields up to the maximum level, which is three buffs. Your shields should be green.

  • As soon as the joust starts, thrust at and follow your opponent.
  • Your NPC opponent will ride in to the arena to begin the joust, perhaps expecting an honourable fight. Stab him in the kidneys with your lance as soon as he becomes hostile and move with him to stay within melee range.

  • Keep using thrust as long as your opponent stands next to you.
  • Yes, this isn't jousting but MMORPG combat. Stand nose-to-nose and jab pointy weapons at each other.

  • Your opponent will disengage. Wait until he has retreated sufficiently and use a shield breaker.
  • After using shield breaker, move back to melee range and resume thrusts.
  • Occasionally, your opponent will move away to get enough distance to break your shields and charge, for more damage and some pretence of actual jousting. Use this to your advantage by knocking down his shields when his back is towards you and then moving close enough to stop him doing the same before he turns around.

  • After your first thrust once back in melee with your opponent, refresh your shields.
  • You shouldn't be getting your shields knocked down, but even if you don't the shield buff only lasts a minute. The best time to refresh your shields is after your first thrust once back in melee, as the shield buff and thrust don't share a cool-down, but shields and shield breaker do and you don't want shield breaker to be on cool-down when your opponent disengages.

  • Repeat until victorious.

They key is to knock your opponent's shields down when he moves away but prevent him from doing the same to you. As long as your shields are stronger than your opponent's you will hit him for more damage with each thrust than he hits you, and eventually you will win.

Whilst the above method is effective it is a little slow. I played around with my technique to come up with an alternative. Charging your opponent hits for more damage and breaks your opponent's shields, speeding up each joust, but opens you up to counter-attack so demands more skill.

Jousting for quicker victories:

  • Raise your shields.
  • As soon as the joust starts, charge your opponent.
  • Instead of a puny thrust, wait until your opponent has moved away enough to charge and introduce your lance to his spleen.

  • On the follow-through, turn and use shield breaker.
  • A charge will boost your mount's speed for a short while both before and after you hit your opponent, unavoidably sending you away from him for a distance. Take advantage of the distance to turn and use shield breaker. This attack is optional as the next step is more crucial.

  • Move back to re-engage your opponent quickly
  • The moments after the charge are when you are open for counter-attack. Move back in to melee range quickly so that you don't let yourself be open to a counter-charge or shield-breaker.

  • Thrust.
  • With your opponent's shields nicely broken by the charge and, hopefully, a follow-up shield-breaker each thrust will be doing large amounts of damage.

  • After your first thrust once back in melee with your opponent, refresh your shields.
  • Don't forget to keep your shields refreshed. You will probably need to boost them anyway after getting your shields broken because of the riskier manoeuvres.

  • Your opponent will disengage. Wait until he has retreated sufficiently and charge.
  • To speed the fight up more, and to ensure you get the distance to charge, you can move away yourself when your opponent disengages. I suggest moving backwards or sideways—don't turn your back on your opponent—and charging as soon as possible, repeating the manoeuvre as above.

  • Repeat until victorious.

With the use of charge your opponent's shields will be weaker for more of the time, as well as each charge, shield breaker or thrust hitting for more damage. Mounts have a slow turning circle and the automatic movement after charging can be a little disorientating, but with a bit of practice opponents can be bested in the Valiant's Arena and the Champion's Arena with ease. The Black Knight is also simple to defeat this way.

For the jousting in the Court of Bones, there are a few things to consider:

  • The scouts can be charged when they are near the ground, killing them outright.
  • The ground troop skeletons can be charged and killed quickly en masse.
  • Whilst starting a fight against a lieutenant with red shields by charging does a lot of damage, the charge's follow-through can cause you to pull more than one mounted mob. It might be best to use shield breaker to pull and retreat initially.

Finally, one piece of advice that must not be forgotten:

  • Refresh your mount after every joust.

You really don't want to start a new joust at less than full health.

With a bit of practice and the understanding that this is MMORPG NPC jousting, and so nothing like the real thing, you too can soon have a squire bearing your race's colours. Good luck!

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.