I realize this is all probably going to waste, but the entire Argent Tournament is actually extremely logical in it’s execution.
Imagine you are Tirion Fordring. You’ve drummed up a mighty army of soldiers, are equipped with the best equipment your limited coffers can buy, and have thousands of willing volunteers from both the Horde and the Alliance.
You land on Northrend, and immediately begin the final war against the Scourge. You hear word that the alliance and horde both put together an extremely large and well equipped army, marched on Icecrown, and failed dismally.
You grit your teeth, and make your own push into Icecrown. You establish a base, losing hundreds and hundreds of your loyal warriors to get there.You turn to mercenaries, heroes and adventurers of both the horde and alliance, more than willing to lend aid to your cause for some gold or just the chance to do something right.
You fight and you fight, smashing asunder the defenses of Icecrown Citadel, until finally you draw within sight of Arthas’ throne.
You look onto the fortress of your nemesis, the graves of your friends behind you. You set your teeth, and make the call for the final attack.
But… wait… where the crap did those adventurers you were relying on go? They were here just a minute ago… What in damnation happened here?
Rhonin sends you a message. He seems rather embarrassed, seems there’s some Old God named Frog So Long or something stirring up trouble.
Well, isn’t that just fantastic. Easily half the strength of your army left you to go dick around in Storm Peaks of all places!
You try to get them to come back.
Come save the world! The apocalypse is nigh if you do not act!
Yeah, yeah, they say. Like we haven’t heard that before.
So what do you do?
You bribe them.
You tell your advisers you want to build a tournament. A large tournament to summon all the powerful adventurers worldwide to come to your assistance. You realize you won’t be able to convince most of them to just help out of a sense of duty, so you want to offer shinies, lots of shinies.
Your advisers tell you that Crystalsong Forest is the perfect location. It’s pretty, secluded, heavily protected thanks to the presence of Dalaran, and there are ready supplies of lumber and stone.
No, you say, a cunning plan already formulated.
We’re building it in Icecrown.
Ablublahwuhbluhwhaaaa? Says your adviser.
Tirion Fordring is a smart man. He knows he can’t beat Arthas without all the help he can get. He’s facing an enemy that outnumbers his forces by 18746985651986 to one. He can’t depend on either the alliance or the horde to help him, as both sides are far too busy dorking around in Wintergrasp, fighting for the chance to wear purple pants.
So how does he get these ridiculously powerful adventurers to help him? Simple. If they want purple pants, let them have purple pants!
Sure, he lets his advisers dress it up any way they like, blah blah morale, blah blah a way to unite the horde and alliance, but we all know the real reason. It’s simply a way for Fordring to entice the mightiest soldiers Azeroth has to come fight the bad guys.
Sure, one can preach about serving the light and doing what’s right, but when you want the job done, you need to open your coffers.
One thing you can’t argue with: it’s been successful. I mean, look at Tamarind. At first: “Yeah, I hate this instance”. Now? “Ok yeah I ran it for the epics D:”
You say Blizzard dropped the ball, I say Fordring is smarter than us.
To quote directly:
Something about uniting the Horde and the Alliance blah blah and doing something to, like, blah blah, morale, blah blah, concentrated strike force against the Lich King, blah, blah … oh look an epic.
How many people would do the Argent Tournament stuff to be friendlier to the other faction? How many would do it to be cheered up a little? How many would do it because it’s “the right thing”?
Now how many people would do it for the guarantee of grabbing loot?
The whole “oh look an epic” thing is exactly what Fordring had in mind.
As for jousting… well…
Anyone who thinks jousting would be useful against the Lich King himself is completely bonkers.
But you know what jousting is useful for?
Fighting the armies of the Lich King.
Have you ever tried fighting a Boneguard Commander on foot? It ain’t easy, is it?
Much easier to hit them on horseback for 45k in ONE SHOT, isn’t it?
What about all those infantry skeletons? Tried fighting them on foot? Isn’t it easier to just ride over them, one shotting dozens of them at a time?
That is the purpose of jousting.
Why build the tournament in Icecrown in the first place?
Imagine you’re Arthas. Your hated enemies have set up shop in your own freaking yard. And then they prance about on ponies, holding parties and getting drunk. And to top it off, all of your best efforts to destroy them turn into dailies your hated enemies farm for cash.
Come to think of it, Tirion is kind of a total dick, isn’t he? I mean, really, mocking the Lich King?! You go, Tirion!