Friday, October 17, 2014

A Return to the Argent Tournament

As soon as warlords is released it will become the 4th expansion in which I will be visiting the argent tournament.  That means that content created in the wrath of the lich king has managed to pass the test of time better than anything blizzard has created since.

From the beginning when I did the argent tournament when it first came out because that is what we do as game player, to the second expansion where I went there, which was cataclysm, and did some dailies to get some pets to sell and to collect all the mounts, to the third expansion I went there, mists of pandaria, where I continued going there for pets, and come warlords which will be the 4th expansion I will be going there, again for pets, but with even more reason, should I want to build up some chaimpion seals if I ever want to buy some heirlooms they offer and to get all the banners from there that are now part of the toy box, and as a collector, that means I need to go get that.

Could it be that the argent tournament is quite possibly the absolute best questing hub ever released in the game in terms of lasting content?

Yes, the fact might be I could have got all those things way back in wrath.  I could have gotten the mounts back then, could have gotten the pets back then, could have gotten the toys back then, and I could have purchased all the heirlooms with justice before they were removed.  So basically you could say that it offers nothing more than it did in wrath, and you would be right.  And that is part of what makes it so amazing.  Nothing has been added to it since it was released and there is still, for most people, plenty of reason to still keep going back there many years later.

It is what it offered, and how it offered it, that makes it something that, in a game where content is fleeting, it is a lasting part of the game for so many people.

Nothing at the argent tournament was required when it first came out really and most definitely nothing now.  I doubt a great many needed the gear from there when it first came out and I am sure, unless for transmog reasons, there is no one that needs the gear from there now.  Everything the argent tournament offers was something that might have been desired by a person, but was not required for optional game play.

So with a massive amount of things that could tickle the fancy of nearly every type of player and the limited ability to get champion seals to only a handful per day, even if it is a generous handful, it kept people coming back.

In wrath I picked up my argent squire with my seals and then added the birdie, which I still suggest everyone make the effort to earn, it is cool to have a pet with the utility that the argent squire with the birdie offers.  I purchased some pets back then and I would sell them on the auction house.  They were a great way to make a little extra gold.  I did, of course, buy the silver covenant mount, a hippogryph, because it is a hippogryph, and it looks awesome.  And the pet, I bought the silver covenant pet as well.  I never really bought too much otherwise, just pets to sell after I got what I wanted.

When cataclysm came out and there was a new mount achievement I saw myself looking for some mounts to get so I could reach the next mount achievement.  It seemed that the argent tournament mounts were the only reputation mounts I never purchased.  Most likely because I was busy spending my seals on pets to sell instead of on mounts.  But throughout cataclysm I always went back there when I had some free time to knock out a few quests and build up some seals.  Over the course of the expansion, with no rushing really, I managed to get all the mounts offered from the argent tournament.

With mists and the addition of pet battles, buying those argent pets for resale was something different.  Before I did it because pet collectors wanted it.  Because getting ones from the other faction could prove hard, because people liked pets.  Now I was doing it because people wanted to battle pets.  They were no longer just collectors, they were fighters.  And unlike in the past were people would save up over time and wait to get a pet, when pet battlers need their pet, they want their pet.  Which, for the person selling it, can be a very good way to make money.  So thorough out mists, when I had some time here and there, I would pop by the argent tournament and do a few quests to save up for a pet.

With the addition of 6.0.2 I find myself, once again, looking at doing the tournament dailies.  It will not take long to get the toys from there for my toy box.  They only sell for 15 seals each and you get more than 15 seals a day, so I will be done with it rather quickly and if I do not slack off it will most definitely be before warlords actually launches, but the thought still sits there.  Warlords will be the 4th expansion that the argent tournament is valuable content for.

People will be going back to get mounts, if they hadn't already, pets, if they want to, toys, to fill their toy box, gear, for transmog, and now heirloom gear that they need to save up for and not just grind one day and buy it, like with justice, or open their wallet and purchase it, like with guild heirlooms.

If you want these things from the argent tournament, you will need to spend some time at the argent tournament.  If you want the mounts and banners you will need to not only get that specific base faction to exalted, but you will need to champion them.  At a slow, but still moving nicely, rate of quest progression and seal collection, the argent tournament can take a fair deal of your time up.  You will not open it all up over one day, or one week, but maybe one month.  You will need to get all your factions base members at exalted, which means that the argent tournament might actually send you back to do other content, as well as sending you back, to itself, in the past, where it still remains as relevant as any content released today.

There is something to be said about a quest hub that remains largely unchanged and has been given no new short cuts to play catch up, that still remains active.  Still remains important to so many people that are after something, be it mounts or toys or pets or heirlooms.  And it keeps you coming back over and over and over to continue collecting seals.

As we enter warlords, I am returning to wrath once again.  Say what you want about wrath or the argent tournament, but actions speak louder than words.  Just go see how many people are there on a regular basis as testament to how well the content has lasted.  Now that is how to design content to last.

So what is it that has made the argent tournament remain content that people have actively played in four consecutive expansions?  Could it be because it has so much to offer?  Could it be because it takes some time to progress through it and open it all up?  Could it be that the currency comes in a smaller limited supply that keeps you coming back?  Could it be because some of the items you could turn around and sell on the auction house?  Or could it be because it was the first, and only, time that blizzard ever designed a quest hub just right?  Maybe it is a little bit of all of them.

29 comments:

  1. I agree completely, it's just jousting is annoying. Though when I was diligently running the tournament everyday, my friend got inspired to do the same. We used to group up for the dungeon which drops seals and for the jousting quest. We'd engage on the mount and the other would one shot with a normal ability e.g. judgement.

    It wasn't that I couldn't solo it, after spending so many months there I could practically do it with my eyes closed, it was just a pain, much easier to cheat.

    I too will be returning to the Argent Tournament at some point in Warlords. I have all the Alliance pets and mounts but I don't think I have all the toys. Plus I'm fairly certain I might be missing some Horde side. I'm tempted to use my level 90 boost to boost a new Horde character.

    I have a level 80 Tauren Paladin (as if it would be anything else heh), but my thinking with that was to complete loremaster with it, in some sort of order. I don't really want to just take it to Icecrown straight off and open up the tournament. Plus it's only level 80, and when grinding it's far easier and quicker to have an advantage.

    It's just I'm not a fan of blood elves, though I do love how light and bright their starting area is. Isle of Quel'danas is one of my favourite spots in the game. If I was going to boost another paladin then I'd want to do a different race. I was considering boosting a dwarf paladin on my alt server, though I already have a level 80 draenei paladin on that server. I'd get more use out of another Horde anyway.

    I suppose it doesn't have to be a paladin but I don't see the point in multiples of anything else. I like paladins. I'll think about it. I suppose I could wait and see what the new Blood Elf models are like whenever they decide to drop, but I doubt I'm that patient.

    Anyway that's a little off topic. Basically I agree with you, I think blizz shouldn't just think of new shiny when it creates content, and also think about longevity. Maybe the playerbase wouldn't chew through content so fast if it was deeper and less shallow. Better thought out content would be worth much more than frequent updates. As blizz can't seem to sustain frequent updates then it would be a good option for them.

    So yeah I agree, more Argent Tournament type quest hubs. I mean I returned quite frequently to the Molten Front for the same reason. Just no jousting or vehicle quests please.

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    1. I did the jousting so often that even going back and doing it after many months not visiting I am able to beat all 4 needed for the quest without even taking any real damage. I guess, like anything else, it is a skill. But yeah, I hated it when learning it.

      Well, you are going to need all the faction reputations to do all the argent tournament stuff anyway so might as well knock out loremaster if it is something you want to do. Or you could just buy faction tabards and spam some dungeons, it makes for quick reputation.

      If you are just after the toys, which are banners, no reason to worry. When you learn one on the alliance size you get the cosponsoring horde version as well. For example, when you learn the edodar banner you get the silvermmoon one as well.

      I actually do not think AT was designed to last so long. It just so happened that it did because it was well designed and it had lots of reasons to go back to it later on as stuff was added to the game. Not to mention having pets that could be sold on the AH really was a huge thing for it. It was just designed well, even if was not intended to last as long as it has.

      I went back to MF to buy a toy I needed, but that it is. No real reason to ever go back there unless you want to try and farm that one pet you can get but I got it and I am not really interested in doing it to try and make money. For me there are so many better and more enjoyable ways to make money.

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  2. Icecrown and the Argent grounds were the first place I went to when the patch first hit. Mostly for the mounts. I'm EU so a day later than you, but the place was *rammed* - it really felt like WotLK days again, was awesome. So many people doing the dailies, we even had to group up to kill the undead dragon (the name escapes me) to avoid waiting times and tripping over each other.

    There was even a PUG going for a LK 25 HC I joined and finished in about 45 min. Honestly, hands down the most fun I've has in WoW for abour 2 years.

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    1. It was like that last night for me still even a few days after. It will be during this down time suppose because that is what AT was already great for, something to do when you have nothing else to do.

      There had to be a dozen of bodies for chillmaw, as you mentioned, and even worse were you need to kill his adds but being you one show him only 1 add was there so you needed to kill him multiple times. Groups were the one way to make it work. Sadly the karken quest was completely undoable unless you had hours to waste. There had to be 30 or 40 people flying around and he died in one shot. I ended up just skipping that quest personally.

      Just like you mentioned, it was a real community atmosphere with everything talking about what they were there for, me being the banners, and some people trying to get groups running for ICC.

      Is it sad that you, me, and many like us, consider this the most fun we have had in ages? Perhaps blizzard needs to read a little something into this. hint hint. ;)

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  3. I can't disagree more. I posit that people still have things to do at the Torny because it is one of the most annoying, stupid, and boring quest hubs in the history of wow that people can't be bothered to finish it until they actually really really need something from it.
    Right now I do need mounts from there to get me to 200 but I still wont go back because I hate it so much.

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    1. Oddly enough we are both saying the same thing but looking at it in a different way.

      I am saying it is great because it is something you can always do later and you do not have to do right away and you are saying it sucks and you put it off until later because you don't want to do it now.

      End result, content that is still useful later on. ;)

      You just want things handed to you, that is your prerogative to believe so, where I like to grind things and that is mine. So that is probably were we differ on it. I do not mind going back during down times and grinding things whereas you just want your stuff and to be done with it and never feel like there is a need to return.

      I don't like the jousting either. Never have. But it is one of those necessary evil things. Heck, you do not even need to do it if you do not want to. Everything else there is your basic kill and collect quest, no different than any other quest ever put in the game anywhere.

      What makes the AT so great in my opinion is that is has so much to offer. More than any quest hub ever had or seemingly ever will. That is what keeps drawing massive amounts of people back to it for what will be the 4th expansion in a row.

      But hey, people like and dislike things for different reasons. I loved dread wastes this expansion, many hated it. Doesn't mean they are wrong or I am right, just means we like different things.

      But it does make me wonder, what is it you do not like about it, discounting the jousting part, because I do not see any quest there that is different from any other quest hub ever put in the game. Or do you just hate questing? I know a lot of people like that. They refuse to do it at all because it requires questing.

      On of my guild mates complained that he could not open the farm and when I said, just do the quest line and you will open it, he said, that is too hard, I hate questing. So he lived without the farm the whole expansion. Now that is a level of quest hate going to the extreme.

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    2. I hate jousting so much it makes me want to murder a puppy. One it removes control of my character, I like questing, I like grinding things out I did all the molten front daily's I did all the 5.2 daily's to unlock things, too name a few, but I want to play my mage not some shitty vehicle mechanic that is stupidly boring and tedious. Vehicles work in small doses with few buttons which is what blizz learned from the argent torny.

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    3. Hey hey now, lets be nice to the puppies.

      Skip the jousting part then, just like I skipped the kraken one the other day. So you get 2 less seals per day.

      Or, if you have someone that is willing to go with you get on the mount, talk to the person to joust, hit1, let your friend one shot it. 10 seconds, quest done. I actually do the joust however, don't feel like bugging someone to help me.

      The ones in the instance are annoying. So happy I can solo it now without needing to be on them. I hated trying to do the jousted battle in the 5 man. But now it is just an easy 3 seals.

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    4. I changed mains in wotlk I would have to re faction up with everything to unlock everything again. that's a lot of jousting.

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    5. I can see how starting it at the beginning would suck. I did 4 characters thought the whole thing back then and even if I like it I have not done any more since then.

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  4. :) I was just revisiting the tourney a few months ago to pick-up an heirloom weapon while leveling my (to-boost) druid. I know of the mounts there, but not the patience to run those dailies enough times to get them. Sold out all my seals for a one-handed weapon. Looking back, I should have ground out another 40 seals for the 2-handed one.

    Lore-wise, it's an odd step in the raid progression. (Reminds me of a comic strip on it, can't remember source). Lich King: "Here I am, poised to take over Azeroth, ... heroes pounding their way to my doorstep, ... and they start a tournament :|"

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    1. From a lore perspective the entire tournament was the only weak spot of an otherwise stellar expansion if you ask me. But I can forgive that, for the outside of the raid at least, because of the things it has given me over the years. And the time I have wasted there over the years. Going back and doing things is what keeps me, and many players, going during down times.

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    2. Lore wise, the problem with the tourney was that it was set in Icecrown. So our characters breached the wall of Icecrown, fought our way through some gates, and set up a tournament almost in the heart of the LK's stronghold.

      The original locality for the Tournament Grounds was going to be crystalsong fortress. They changed this because haveing tournament grounds and Dal in the same zone created too much lag.

      If the Tournament had been in Crystalsong it would have made perfect lore sense. We fight break our way into Icecrown, and make some advances, but get bogged down because every soldier we lose joins the enemy. So the Argent Crusade pulls back from the front and holds a tournament to find their strongest warriors to comprise the strike team for the surgical strike on the citadel.

      This is not that dumb an idea. The problem is, that the tournament ended up being set on the front lines. So it made the tone/atmosphere of the event weird.

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    3. It would have made more sense in crystalsong but I can accept it being in incecrown for game reasons. We often have to suspend belief on some things for game play reasons so I am willing to accept things like this personally.

      The way you say it actually does make perfect sense. I always found it weird we are having a "fun" competition during a time of war but when you say it like you do it does make a great deal more sense.

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  5. Sometimes, I find it uncanny that the things I am doing, I find being written about right here on The Grumpy Elf. When 6.0 hit I took one look at my toybox and headed straight to the tournament. I am a bit lazy, I still have a mount or two to get (but I care little for mounts) and I had made a half hearted attempt to get it at some time. And I had been doing tournament on my alliance toon because I wanted to get an argent squire because that counts towards the pet achievement but I lost my steam a month ago. Now it seems to be renewed.

    I find it funny that people hate the jousting. I agree with what Elf said to Tiggi - If you hate it that much take a friend who just stand there on your mount keeping your shield up while your friend kills it the normal way. However, I didn't realise until 2 days ago that I could just kill the Commanders down at the bone front outright instead of jousting them. So now that part of it is so much easier for me. But like TGE, I do the jousting so easily and quickly I can do all 4 without taking much damage and be donw faster than I can fly from Argent Tournament to Dalaran. What I do hate is the far away quests - especially the Winter's Edge one. Makes it soooo long. And the Kraken seems to die in 2 hits these days! I wonder if it will die slower if I take off all my clothes and decrease my ilvl. And since I seem to see a lot of people doing the tournament (no doubt for toybox) the competition for spearing one of those Kraken has become fierce.

    I did have a funny bug though, as I bought my banner toys, I would get credit for alliance ones. When I bought the Blood elf one and I got no credit for it, but I got credit for Draenei. So I bought another one and got credit. Weird. Now I have all of them but spent money on my horde toon.

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    1. Maybe it is because we both have female taurens, some sort of connection. Or perhaps it is just because we are the cool kids and we are doing what the cool kids do. :P

      I used to practice kiting and DPSing on the move on the commanders back in wrath. There was no way I was going to kill them back then, but it did teach me how to avoid, target switch, and DPS on the move. And if you remember, hunters were not the full movement class that they are now back then. But yes, even with wrath numbers, I could kill them. Took a good 20 minutes to do so, but I feel it was worth it and made me a much better hunter. I spent hours on them back in wrath.

      I have been getting credit for the horde ones while doing the alliance ones. Kind of nice, cuts down on 5 days that I need to do it. Have 1 left to get and then the argent one, and then I am done again for a little while until they find some other reason to send me back there.

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  6. Just hijacking this (yes i've started to go back to the tournament too) just to say that a big fat buff has gone live. I'm digging the pet scaaling buff most! I guess we'll habe to reevaluate our rotation and stat priorities anew now?

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    1. I saw that and seeing the 80% buff to crows when crows was already rocking it, even more so when soloing and things die fast, is awesome.

      I did a heroic garrosh kill on one of my hunters after the patch, with survival, to see if it boosted it nicely, and I can tell you it seems to have been a decent boost. Still not near the top like I am used to, but much better. Can't say much for the talent of the group I was in, even if we one shot it, but I beat 2 locks and countless other better geared classes that should be over me. I will not chalk that up to the buff however, but to some less than stellar players.

      I think there might still need to be some tweaking because a basic 15% to everything seems more like a buff of desperation, not a thought out one. At least it proves that there was something really wrong.

      As far as pets, for SV and MM the pet still seems mostly useless. It is there more for masters call and the spirit bond heal than it is for DPS. They need to boost it a little more.

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    2. yeah i didn't expect an AMoC buff, but hey, never say no to a buff. I wonder blink strikes remain viable now.

      sadly i went SoO (mythic) before the hotfix. we were three hunters, usually at the very bottom, but the bosses just died so fast. we breezed through in 2.5 hours. with a random raid, mind you. half the time i didn't even see what was going on because i was so preoccupied with UI problems. i re-did everything lots and lots between wednesday and friday (of course this took me WAY longer than the anticipated 3 hours) but was interrupted by an important RL issue and barely managed to finish it all before raid invite friday night, let alone test it. especially the careful aim WA gave me headaches, spamming LUA errors (like 20 a second).

      maybe they just needed to tweak the numbers. 15% to all seems reasonable for a class that systemmatically underperformed. the double scaling to pets seems logical too since we tend to scale rather badly.

      no matter what we still need some tweaking here and there. MM got a 3-button rotation (4 with KS) with 1 CD to watch. SV i didn't even touch. BM is great tho. imho they should give us back scatter shot and make stampede as well as the l100 ammo talent baseline. scatter just is such a great tool, stampede would give back a burst CD for every spec including SV, and the ammo talent (maybe slightly toned down if necessary) would help us to adapt to different situations. while it seems weak as a talent, it would be a great addition to the general gameplay, letting us focus on single target, aoe or utility.

      maybe the pet still is too weak for the moment for SV and MM but things will be really fun for BMs, thanks to the perks. i anticipate something like 75% of total damage coming from pets. beast cleave will be fun too :)

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    3. Well, being stampede and blink strike were effectively buffed as well, but buffing pet damage, I think that still keeps them in line. Actually as it seems stampede might actually be better than crows in some, or most situation now thanks to the pet damage buff even considering that crows was buffed as well.

      I agree MM and SV still need work and not talking numbers but abilities. But sadly I do not see them changing, adding, or deleting any abilities this late in the developement cycle so we are stuck with 2 partly broken specs for the next 2 years.

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  7. One more hijacking. :-)

    I have to say, Blizzard did a good job fixing the numerous fails with the squish - in leveling zones, in leveling instances, in raids, etc. PVP remain broken, but at least soloing and leveling mostly works - and is easier and faster than before. Credit where credit is due, so I am saying - I am impressed, I thought they'd be much slower, but they really took it head on. Good job.

    All in all, I am not big on the prepatch event, and I really dislike most of the class changes, etc, but I am slowly coming to terms with the patch, and there are several nice things which I like. Outside of PVP, it's coming out better than I expected.

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    1. They have been really quick and active with a lot of the fixes, I will give them that. Seems they have gotten a little better with that and must have assigned a team to handle it seeing as it is being handled so well. Lets just hope the team does not get called away for something else. I put in at least 10 bug reports this weekend while soloing, from mobs that were invisible and could attack me but I could not attack them to mobs that when you skin them disappear but don't give you skins. There are still a butt load of bugs out there that need to be fixed.

      I will never adjust to the make night elf run. It needs to be fixed. Everything else just takes some time to get used to. I keep hitting my (now gone) kill shot on my survival hunter. Sucks.

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  8. That stupid frog quest, where you have to fly across the entire continent and kiss 1000 frogs and fly all the way back. I hated that quest soooo much.

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    1. Yeah, those opening quests did leave a little to be desired. I remember even having to make a macro for kissing the frogs because something you could be there a while.

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  9. Love the Tournament! I never went there at all until end of Mists. I love it for the reason you stated : It is completely optional content: There is no should, no soon, no must about it. While half my guildies were re-running SoO for ...what? a possible bracer upgrade useless in a couple months, I was jousting and pet collecting.
    For those of you who HATE jousting: Just skip it. Or... and here's a heretical idea -- keyboard turn it :). Much easier than mouseturning, since keyboard turning is slower and you won't overshoot so much. I love reading old comments about how "keyboard turners" will never joust lol. Too funny.
    I compare this to Timeless Isle. A place I would never return to willingly. A place I hated on all my alts. Yes, I could mow the mobs down and solo it all on my warlocks, but... ugh.. who cares? Argent Tournament so much better!

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    1. Sadly I will return to TI because I still need 7 things for bigger bag and I would still do the pet battle thing. But that aside, I would be glad to never step foot back there.

      At least if I so felt like it I could always do AT for some pets to sell. I think that was a killer idea. Let the people that want to do it have something they can sell on the AH. Funny part is, even well before pet battles, doing AT for those pets was always good money. At was very well designed.

      So cool to see that even people that never went there can still see how well it was done many years later.

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  10. Im going back for the mount. Its been a long time and I have 70 champions seals that I earned a couple years ago but now but every quest I do rewards valiant seals. Everyone says I get valiant seals first then I get champion seals but if thats the case then how come I have champion seals from a few years ago. I cant find any dailys that award champion seals! Its driving me crazy

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    1. Did you faction change?

      If you faction changed it wipes your progress with the factions and you need to reopen all of them for the new side you are on. That would be why you are getting valiant seals again.

      At least that is the only reason I know of.

      Also, if you were horde, switched to alliance, then switched back to horde again, you would still need to do them all over again. It would have no memory of your previous service to the horde.

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