Jousting is a form of combat introduced with the Argent Tournament, using the vehicle game mechanics. It is the vehicle used the most in all of World of Warcraft at the moment, and opinions differ on it between hating it because of the difficulty, to loving it because of the fact that it is a challenging event, and that gear and class do not make a difference; only skill makes a difference in jousting.
All jousting mounts share the requirement that the character have a lance equipped. Argent Lance, Alliance Lance, and Horde Lance all qualify. Additionally, the character must have accomplished particular goals to gain access to jousting mounts.
The jousting mounts introduced to day provide a specific set of abilities:
- Thrust – 6 yards range - A melee attack that inflicts 3250 damage. (1.5 seconds cooldown)
- Shield-Breaker – 5-25 yards range - A ranged attack that inflicts 2000 damage and removes one layer of Defend from the opponent. (1.5 seconds cooldown)
- Charge – 5-25 yards range - A charging attack that inflicts 8500 damage and removes 1 layer of Defend from the opponent. (4.5 seconds cooldown)
- Defend – Reduces damage taken by 30%. Strikes by Shield-Breaker or Charge remove 1 layer of Defend! Up to 3 layers of Defend may be stacked. (3 seconds cooldown)
- Refresh Mount – Heals your mount. Can only be used out of combat. (1 minute cooldown)
- Duel – 10 yards range - Challenge another combatant to a mounted duel!.
All known jousting mounts to date share the first five abilities, although the amount of damage caused can vary. Some jousting mounts do not have the Duel ability, having been provided for specific quests.
The Argent Tournament
Justicar Mariel Trueheart directs players to the pavilion for their respective faction. Once there, they are entered into the Argent Tournament rolls as an Aspirant.
Other tasks assigned aspirants include defeating a number of Scourge forces in the field, and retrieving weapons suitable to knights.
During this time, the aspirant is permitted to ride a Quel'dorei Steed or Sunreaver Hawkstrider. Upon completing a number of quests against inanimate targets, the character is then challenged to defeat an Argent Valiant.
Note that the Quel'dorei Steed and Sunreaver Hawkstrider are only available to Aspirants.
Upon defeating the valiant, the character is promoted to the ranks of the valiants, representing their racial city, and are eligible to complete quests for tokens to advance to the rank of champion. They are eligible to joust with their race's favored mount.
Where Aspirants are tasked to practice upon targets, Valiants face live foes. While valiants are still tasked to retrieve weapons and defeat Scourge, they also practice mounted combat amongst themselves, and face mounted scourge forces in the field.
Upon defeating the Argent Champion, the character is awarded the rank of Champion (of their city), and may thereafter continue to use their race's jousting mount at the Argent Tournament. (This is a 10 point Achievement. If the character is Exalted with their race's faction, they earn the achievement Exalted Champion of (their city), and earn a corresponding title.
Once ranked as a champion, they are offered further quests for Champion's Seals, which are turned in to vendors as currency for tabards, pets, mounts, and a variety of gear.
Champions face most of the same foes as valiants, but more difficult. They continue to train amongst themselves and battle scourge in general. At the Court of Bones, they are expected to challenge and defeat commanders of the Boneguard forces.
Additionally, champions may choose to qualify with other races of their faction, gaining the ability to ride their mounts, and eventually gaining the title of Champion to the other cities and access to the other race's tournament vendors.
There are three varieties of foe to test one's mettle against: valiants, champions, Boneguard forces, and other players.
Valiants and champions
Valiants and champions are NPC foes of the respective level. Each faction has a separate Valiant's Ring near their pavilion. There is a combined Ring of Champions to the southwest of the coliseum, where champion level foes may be found.
In each case, the character initiates combat with the NPC by selecting the dialog option. Valiants will start the fight with a single level of Defense. Champions start with three levels. It is recommended that the character stack their own Defense buff to the limit before starting a match with a valiant or champion, as no additional levels are added at the start of the match.
Aside from the levels of Defense, Champions are able to restore levels of defense faster than Valiants, and are generally quicker to respond.
Once a character has defeated valiant or champion, they are not permitted to challenge that race's representatives for an hour (real time).
The Court of Bones is home to the Boneguard legion, which an Argent Crusade force is countering. The character is sent there to face off against several varieties of forces. The character is given access to a Campaign Warhorse, with significantly greater HP, and much greater damage done, than the tournament mounts have.
The boneguard forces:
- Boneguard Scouts are gargoyles that roam the area. They have 20,000 HP, and fly out of melee range. They are a bane to the jousting player, as they have a "Necrocution" attack that removes stacks of defense buff, even though it does not do great amounts of damage. The primary way means to defeat them is via the Shield-Breaker ability, which does 10,000 HP.
- Boneguard Footmen are unmounted infantry. While they do some damage to a (campaign warhorse) mounted character, they don't generally do a lot. Keeping up stacks of Defense buff will do much to make them simply go "pop" as they attack you.
- Boneguard Lieutenants are about on par with valiants, starting with a single stack of Defense, slow to stack more, and comparatively easy to defeat. Having defense stacked highly helps, but is not an absolute requirement.
- Boneguard Commanders are on par with champions, starting with Defense fully stacked, and having significantly more HP than lieutenants. Even once their defenses are reduced, it can take quite some time to defeat them solo.
The Argent Tournament mounts offer the option to "duel" another player. This places the two characters in the same situation as if they were facing an NPC valiant or champion, but with an actual mind behind the opponent. An excellent way to try out new strategies, or just compare jousting abilities.
Defense is very important. At high levels, you take very little damage, at low levels, quite a bit. A primary objective is to keep your defense buffs stacked to the maximum possible, while lowering your foe's as much as possible.
Against NPCs, the general pattern is that the NPC will alternately close with you and thrust', and retreat to range and both use shield breaker and charge, returning to close range.
An elementary strategy to use against them is to wait for the NPC to open range between you, use Shield-Breaker and close range again before your foe has time to charge you. This works to keep your foe from building up stacks of Defense, or to provide a brief opening of lower defense before he is able to restore it.
A more advanced strategy, once you see your foe opening range, is to do the same, and to charge the moment range is wide enough to permit it. Charge does the same "remove a stack of Defense" effect that Shield Breaker has, but also does more damage. Under the effects of charge, you will continue past your foe for a few seconds. While you cannot stop during this period, you CAN turn. Turning both keeps the range between you and your foe from increasing, and it causes your foe to take more time to orient on you. With practice, you can rein in your mount such that you are too close to your foe for him to charge you back, AND far enough that you can get in a Shield Breaker attack off as well.
NPC valiants and champions will head in a random direction, when they are trying to gain range against you. During time when you are thrusting against each other, you can lead your foe back towards the center of the ring simply by backing up. An incidental advantage to this is that if your opponent decides to open up range again while you are backing up, you are already opening range for your next charge.