Thoughts on Garrisons

When thinking about Garrisons the initial thought is one blizz really wouldn’t like – are they going to be accessible today? The game has been plagued with problems since it launched last week and Garrisons continue to be a problem. At peak times, or sometimes just randomly, the instance servers get overloaded. If you try and login to a character parked in their garrison then you are unable to login getting a “world server is down” error message. If you are in game, then you may get stuck mid-air in a flight path, return to the garrison and find a lot of other players are there as phasing fails, get kicked out repeatedly with “transfer aborted: instance not found” messages etc.

However, when they do work they provide a whole new angle for playing the game. When Pet Battles were introduced it was a full feature with pets everywhere to capture, trainers to beat and a whole slew of new achievements. In fact Pet Battles are now so integrated throughout the game that it’s hard to remember what it was like without them. Garrisons are similar, only rather than applying to the whole game like Pet Battles, they just integrate completely in Draenor.

So what about Garrisons?

I found the whole Garrison concept to be rather confusing when I thought about it prior to launch. However I found the Ask Mr Robot infographic, which put the information in simple terms which I needed. I could then look at more indepth posts like The Grumpy Elf had written, and actually understand a little more. One of the things Grumpy said in his post was that he would be swapping buildings. I think I put in my comment that I didn’t understand why he would do that when he could use the other buildings on alts. However, after playing for a week, I now understand exactly why he would do that and why I will be doing the same.

The build I originally picked:
Small: The Forge, The Engineering Works, Salvage Yard
Medium: Inn and Barn
Large: Barracks and Stables

Now the small buildings were pretty much a no brainer. In terms of small buildings available, there’s one for each primary profession, the salvage yard and the storehouse. Obviously having buildings that match your own profession is the most efficient, however tempted I was by the enchanters study. The only tangible benefit to the storehouse aside from convenience is to increase the number of work orders available. The salvage yard which lets you discover gear is a no brainer in comparison.

It’s when you get to medium and large buildings that things change. I had picked out the Inn because it offered daily quests for dungeons and treasures, also recruited a new follower every week. The barn to gather resources including Savage Blood which is needed to make high level crafting materials. The barracks for more followers and follower gear and the Stable for the mounts, the 20% extra mounted speed didn’t hurt either.

However, now I’ve played the game that’s not going to be my initial build. I’ve already put up The Barracks as that’s the first building, you kinda have to build it. I also put up the Inn which I will keep, I won’t tear it down. However, I won’t be putting up a Barn for my second medium building, I’ll be putting up a Lumber Mill.

The constraining factor with Garrisons, is Garrison resources. They are needed to send followers on missions and they are needed to upgrade buildings, change buildings or build new buildings. These can’t be farmed, there are a number of sources for them, a lot of which are one time only, but after that there’s only a finite number per day. I’m going to have to stop sending my followers on missions except ones that offer new garrison resources. I will also have to find every possible resource I can from quests, treasures and rares to supplement the small amount you get daily in the cache, in order to upgrade my garrison to level 3.

The simple fact is right now if you want garrison resources faster then you need to build a Lumber Mill. I should have put one up rather than the Inn but I didn’t, and I’ve actually upgraded my Inn to level two and I don’t want to waste those resources by tearing it down. I will get my 2000 resources to upgrade to level 3, then I will build a Lumber Mill as my second building.

I’ve also had another thought about the large buildings. I dismissed the Dwarven Bunker (Armory) as I thought it just gave a free bonus roll for killing bosses. However, it does transmog gear which I want and which will require a lot of grinding. I can now see Grumpy’s point that these things are easier to do on a main which is played a lot, rather than on an alt. As I have the Barracks by default I will need to delay getting the Stables if I build this first. I don’t want to do that as I want the Stables but that’s the issue with Garrisons, you can’t have everything at once.

Alts in Warlords
I had originally thought that I might not play any alts at all. However, I’m rethinking that, and some of that is because of Garrisons. There are so many achievements, that without alts taking some of the buildings, it would take forever or be impossible. However, it’s best not to make hasty decisions. I will get my main to level 100 and see what the endgame is like. My current thinking though is to level my kitty druid next. It was my favourite alt in Cata, I pretty much benched it during Mists as I was so bitter that they split the feral and guardian trees. I will have to see how I like it now.

I’ve been thinking about the Garrison for my druid. It has Leatherworking and Alchemy as the main professions, so I could build those as the small buildings. Then in terms of Medium Buildings I can’t quite decide. It really rather depends on how much work it is to operate the Lumber Mill, something I will find out on my main. The Lumber Mill would mean I could build the druids Garrison faster but then again it’s an alt, it can be done at whatever speed I feel like.

Ultimately I want the Gladiator’s Sanctum, as I think if I’m ever going to try and get the PvP achievements, then I will probably do it on my druid rather than on my main. It’s always been the character that I’ve thought that I would PvP on given the chance. It’s obviously not the class I know best but then tanks in PvP just don’t work generally, and I know kitty better than ret in many ways.

I also think the Trading Post would be a good idea, if I don’t wind up building that at some point on my main. I don’t think I will put it on my main as it’s not a building I would keep, and given that it has a rep grind and an account wide 20% boost to reputation, it’s worth keeping up.

Thinking about large buildings, as the Gearworks provides a Siege Vehicle for a battleground, if I’m going to PvP then I should take that one. As for the second I could stick with the default of the Barracks or more likely build something different for the achievement. It doesn’t really matter what, perhaps the Mage Tower.

For strict efficiency it would be best to start alts Garrisons as soon as possible, so they can start accumulating Garrison resources passively. However, whether I do that before I level my main to 100 I haven’t decided.

This post is relatively short but Garrisons are so all consuming, it’s sometimes hard to take a step back and think about it logically. As I said, the problem with them is that I want every building and I have to choose. The other problem is that they require resources which are finite and so it requires a solid plan. As much as I want certain buildings, it makes more logical sense to build others first, like the Lumber Mill, so I can then build other things later.

It’s definitely a new mini-game in Warcraft and it’s one that definitely has my attention. People have been asking for a long time whether there will be an app on iPhone/Android for Pet Battles, so they can play them when not logged in. Well, I vote for an app for Garrison missions as well.

They take anywhere between 30 minutes and 90 minutes to complete on average, though there are some longer ones up to 10 hours even. It’s so tempting to login every few hours and see to the Garrison missions,and logging into the game is fatal sometimes as people start talking to you. What should just take a minute, collecting and sending the followers out, takes longer and when you are supposed to be working, it’s just a bad plan.

I know that Garrisons aren’t perhaps what people hoped for, there isn’t the customization options that people dreamed about. However, they are a solid feature, the achievements alone will keep them relevant for a long time if you care about achievements and I certainly do. In terms of achievements a definite thumbs up from me, just a big thumbs down that I can’t have everything. I hate having to choose.