Patch 3.2: All Argents, all the time
Random Friday afternoon thoughts as I try to make it through my last hour and a half at work this week, laying low with the Robert Earl Keen turned up to 11…
So this week, the WoWosphere exploded with the release of the first round of release 3.2 PTR patch notes. Now I’m not going to go over them bit by bit by bit here; everybody’s already dissected those notes like a frog in biology class. I don’t get too bent about class changes in preliminary PTR notes like these, because they always get tweaked, at least a little, based on testing on the test realm. I’m not even going to go into the mount changes except to say “woot!”, or the badge changes except to say “boy, the Blizzard general forums are full of tardburgers.”
No, my thoughts today are about everybody’s favorite Scourge-slaying, scrupulously-neutral, joust-loving party animals, the Argent Crusade. More specifically, about the little place that they’ve put up on the ass end of Northrend…yup, the Argent Tournament, or as I call it sometimes, the Icecrown County Fair.
When I read the 3.1 patch description talking about the Argent Tournament, I’ll admit it, my WTFometer pegged. Not because of anything to do with the actual game itself, mind you–even though jousting could, IMO, be done better, and I despise the “before the gate” dailies, especially the Champion version. No, the mechanics were fine. My bogglement at the Argent Tournament was strictly, I assure you, rooted in roleplay and lore.
Think about it. The Argent Crusade, Horde, and Alliance are standing before the seat of the Lich King’s power. Icecrown requires a massive cleansing that will require an immense amount of effort and the blood, sweat, and lives of thousands of heroes. The Crusade’s job is made more complicated by escalating tensions between the Horde and Alliance in the wake of the Wrathgate (thanks ever so much, Putress and Varian), forcing the Crusade to rely more and more on the death knights of the Ebon Blade, their own smaller armies, and free agents–that’d be us, kids–and less on the elite forces of Thrall and Varian. The financial and logistical strain is immense…the personal one, even more so.
So with this incredibly daunting task ahead of them, the leadership of the Argent Crusade decides to take their precious, limited resources…
…and build a fucking jousting tournament. On the wrong end of the glacier from both their own base, and from Arthas’ doorstep. Sweet jumping holy goblin Jesus on a friggin’ pogo stick, are you kidding me?
Excuse me, folks, but exactly how is this going to kick Arthas’ undead ass? “Oh, but we’re seeing who the greatest champions of the Horde and Alliance are!”, you might respond. Riiiiight. Sitting on the back of a wolf or kodo or chicken, beating each other over the head with a blunt lance (that does 0.3 dps, by the way), is going to show you who’s capable of leading the charge against the Lich King. Boy howdy, I know I’d be scared of seeing a line of Argent Jousters, pennants flying, riding their mighty war chickens toward the gates of Icecrown Citadel.
Actually, no. I’d be laughing my ass off right before Scourge Happened and I’d have both new ghoul soldiers for my army and Kentucky Fried Hawkstrider for dinner.
OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, but not much. Do you see why I thought (and think) the concept of the Argent Tournament made no sense? It’s jarring to me to put this thing in Icecrown given everything else that’s going on. It doesn’t fit. You’re engaged in, literally, a life and death struggle for the future of the entire world against Azeroth’s biggest home-grown evil Big Bad and his endless armies, and you’re taking time out to freaking joust? Do you seriously think that Thrall wouldn’t take one look at this and laugh himself silly? Tirion Fordring is really going to buy into this fluff?
(Now this hasn’t stopped me from getting Linedan involved, because hey, excellence in combat–any kind–is what the Panzercow is about, so he’s a Champion of Thunder Bluff and is currently working on Silvermoon. If I ever ratchet up any more interest in the daily grind-a-thon, he’ll eventually be an Exalted Champion or whatever the title is for five Champions and all factions exalted.)
Enter patch 3.2. The Icecrown County Fairgrounds expand with a new big arena, and I somehow think it’s not going to be used to hold L70ETC concerts. All the new content in this patch centers around the Tournament. A new 5-man instance. A new raid instance involving the Colosseum–or as Anna called it, “Onyxia v4.0.” New dailies. A Cult of the Damned camp attacking the Tournament (took ’em long enough). The return of the Black Knight! (Uh…woo.) Other than defensive operations against the Cult of the Damned, I haven’t yet seen anything to indicate that any of this content actually involves…wait for it…a substantive fight against the Scourge.
Please note that as far as we know, the war against the Lich King hasn’t moved forward much at all. Arthas sits inviolate in the Citadel. He’s still holding us off at Corp’rethar. The forges at Malykriss are still producing. The Vrykul still hold Ymirheim and new slaves trickle into the saronite mines, no matter how many we free. The only real success you see as you proceed through Icecrown’s questlines, after the establishment of Crusader’s Pinnacle, are the opening of the Shadow Vault and the destruction of the Fleshwerks…and both of those were courtesy of the Ebon Blade, who seem to be out doing the actual dirty work while the Argent Crusade goes into the fourth month of their little Ren Faire on the north coast.
Maybe it’s me. I dunno. But from a lore standpoint, the whole Argent Tournament concept just doesn’t fit, and dumping all this extra content into it for patch 3.2 makes it even worse. It may well be because I only have one character who, from a roleplay standpoint, gives a damn about the Tournament. Beltar, my dwarf, has not done a single AT quest and may never; he’s old, he’s crotchety, and he would much prefer blowing a jouster’s head off at thirty paces than running the risk of getting unseated from a ram. Illithanis would be offended that they won’t let her use her wasp pet, and Moktor’s never met a fair fight in her entire life and subsequent unlife.
Maybe my sense of lore and roleplay is offended. Or it could be that it’s 4:30 on a Friday afternoon and DAMMIT I WANT HOMETIEMS NAO. I dunno.
Discuss among yourselves. Peace out.