Archive for the “Garrisons” Category

Alternate Title: Suggestions for People Who Haven’t Played Yet That Will Only Be Read By People Who’ve Played.

Off Broadway Title: A Garrison for Algernon

Vaudeville Title: The Amazing Bearwallzini

I love the Warlords of Draenor expansion. It’s holding my interest, keeping me moving, and I’m still so addicted to Followers that I’m logging in morning, noon and night to manage my Garrison missions.

Last time something had me this wrapped up in the game was my obsession to ‘catch ‘em all’ with Non Combat Pets, camping rare spawns and checking at all hours for that rare white elk to appear. “OMG, a Fel Flame, RUN!!! It’s 2 AM and I gotta beat the nine other people here camping it to tame it first!”

Okay, so I might be a bit deranged.

Side note, with our Garrisons and the pet building, I love that our favorited Non Combat Pets wander around on their own. Sometimes one will come on over and follow me for a bit, clearly happy to see me. Seeing my Fel Flame pet, named “Jackpot”, wandering around as I move from building to building brings back all those memories. I really like that.

I’ve leveled my raiding Warlock and my Feral Druid to 100, and my Rogue is just about there. I might have seven other alts with level 2 Garrisons, just for the different profession buildings and daily profession cooldowns/resource generation. I’ve learned a thing or too since launch.

Along the way, I’ve made mistakes with my Garrison. I’ve made a LOT of mistakes with my garrisons across characters. I’ve constructed more pylons, I mean erected buildings only to tear them down because damnit I should have done something else first.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of what is out there, but I’ve learned a lot I wish I’d known the first time around.

Some of the things that I do with alts now I do not for efficient resource management, but simply because it’s fun and different. Can’t beat a new feeling when playing alts, right?

My friend James suggested he was considering coming back for Warlords of Draenor, maybe, possibly, probably not. Since he’s been away for a little bit, I started thinking about what I would have wished I’d known before I’d really started playing the expansion.

It comes down to a lot of little things that are between the lines. Not any of the guide stuff, the wonderful nuts and bolts dataz that sites like Wowhead and Icy Veins have already covered so well. Those sites have in depth guides for the what, the who, and the “where do I find it?”

I can do my own research through the database sites and get a ton out of reading Perculia’s hard work. And Tritox, whoever that is who wrote their Follower guide on Wowhead that is the ultimate to-die-for guide.

But I would have loved to have known, well… the stuff I’m going to write about here.

It’s going to be one hell of a long bearwall. Why? Well, why not? I’m not into clickbait and this isn’t a business for money. Why break it all up into a dozen little pages spread out over two weeks? I want to write it so here it is. If it’s too long to wade through, I understand. I sympathize! But I also don’t care. Wade on in and if it’s too many words for you, stay in the kiddie pool or drown.

Level 2 Garrisons

The VERY first thing I’ve learned is that you can get your level 2 Garrison quicker than you might expect. Once you’ve got your level 1 Garrison and can begin questing in your faction starter zone, there is a specific series of quests that are considered ‘core’ Garrison quests for the zone. If you run through those and only those without side questing, you will quickly reach a point where you get the breadcrumb to go back to your Garrison and unlock level 2.

All zones are like this. There are many side quests, but there will be one core Garrison or Outpost quest chain that you can focus on moving through to reach the reward. In the starting zone, that reward is a level 2 Garrison. In later zones, the reward is usually a new Follower and a book that you can turn in for a free Garrison building blueprint of your choice which you can immediately use to upgrade a building. These are precious rewards, so they are worth pursuing quickly on alts.

A level 2 Garrison gives you more plots to build on, including an extra profession plot, so it’s excellent for all of your alts even if you’re not actively playing them to level.

Side note: Professions. I personally leveled blacksmith and tailor alts just so I could craft weapon and armor upgrades. You do NOT need to have more than level 1 in a profession to use that profession with a small profession building in your Garrison, either. You can’t get any of the rewards associated with that profession except for the Warlords of Draenor stuff, and some things like the Leatherworking wolf mount require max level in a profession to craft it, but for most Warlords gear you can craft it JUST with the profession building, and craft it faster if you have at least skill 1 in the profession for the daily mats cooldown. I know, it sounds crazy. I know! But it’s true. Professions JUST for gear is optional. Professions just speed it up, and unlock cooler stuff if you have them.

So unlocking your Garrison. If you check the quests on Wowhead, you should be able to nail down which ones are core for garrison progression pretty easily. Once you know which to do, you can unlock level 2 long before reaching 92, even with rested XP. I know that for your first playthrough on your main, you’ll want to enjoy everything and have fun exploring. On your alts, you can focus on just the core quests and unlock the upgrades fast. It is NOT gated by level, my Priest is level 91 with a level 2 Garrison.

The bible of guides for everything Garrison buildings is of course on Wowhead.

What Buildings to Choose First? SO MANY CHOICES!

The next thing I’ve learned is some Garrison Buildings are great for early leveling, and others are only truly useful at end game.

The first one that bit me on the butt was the Stables. Who doesn’t want the Stables? It promises the ability to capture, tame and train a wide variety of new mounts native to Draenor, including an awesome looking wolf. I was eager to make one, and since the mounts are all Bind to Account now, it doesn’t matter which character of mine had a Stables or did the quests. Right?

The answer to that, of course, is that it does matter. Because the majority of quests take you into the final leveling zone, Nagrand, and have you fight high level mobs that are in remote areas. To actually complete the mount training quests and get your new mount, you’re going to most likely want to be level 100 when you start. You don’t have to be, no. You can certainly fight to make your way to each of these locations, and you can complete the quests with other people, including ungrouped strangers. If you really, really wanted to complete these quests as a level 92 character, it seems possible, especially if you can stealth and have vast patience and wait for other people to attack the quest mobs before you join in.

But it also sounds like a lot of pain and wasted time every day for no good reason. Much better to wait until you are level 100 to create a Stables, and then begin the quests.

Wish I’d known that before I made a Stables on my level 92 Hunter that I have yet to do anything with. Wasted time, wasted resources.

Before I move on, the other thing to know about the Stables is that there are two additional bonus mounts you can get from achievements. There are two items you can carry in your bags (you don’t equip them), and while carrying one of those items and doing the daily quest, you are nerfed by 25% DPS/healing/Health or by 50% depending on the item. If you defeat each of a certain list of enemy bosses once while riding each mount and carrying the item, you get a bonus mount for finishing it.

Let me try and be clear. You pick up an item at the Stables, lying on some hay. Say, the Black Claw. While you are on your whistle-summoned training mount fighting a boss and carrying that item, you are nerfed by either 25% or 50%. You have to defeat each of a certain number of bosses, while carrying the item, and riding every single mount. There are six bosses, six mounts, so you’ve got 36 fights ahead of you per item.

You CAN choose to just pick up the item and carry it with you all the time while doing daily quests right from the beginning. UGH, hell no. A better solution is to do them all at once. For example, for the Black Claw achieve, the very first time you have all mount daily quest whistles available go do it. You see, while on a daily quest, you can use a summons whistle as often as you like. And you can chain kill the same boss over and over, they have a super fast respawn. AND, you get credit for the achieve even if other people are helping you kill it.

So, as soon as you unlock all daily mount quests and can summon all six mounts, you can track the achievement, visit each of the bosses in sequence, and kill that boss six times in a row, summon mount, kill boss, get off mount and summon different mount, kill boss, get off mount, etc. The Black Claw achieve can be completed before ever getting the first regular quest mount unlocked.

The second achieve can only be done once you unlock the 50% nerf item, which only happens once you’ve earned all the daily quest mounts. So it takes a little longer.

But there is no reason to fear the mount achieve. Just get the item and all your whistles and go have a fun afternoon chain killing bosses. Bring a friend! Your friend doesn’t even have to be on a mount to chip in and help kill them. Seriously, go do it and end up with all eight mounts and have fun. The hard decision comes after you’ve got all eight mounts. Keep the Stables or replace it with something else? it does take a Large building slot…

So, the Stables. A Large building that sounds wonderful, MUST have, want those mounts… but you should have patience. Leave that one for when you’re level 100 and have a level 3 Garrison with more room. maybe for when you get that second unlocked Large plot and want to put something there. You could use it for a Stables, burn through all the mount quests, then replace it with something else. Just a thought.

Okay, so what buildings do I recommend you start with, then?

Your level 2 Garrison will have one Large plot, one Medium plot and two Small plots.

The first one I recommend is that you keep your Barracks, the first Large building the game makes you build. The Barracks is lovely for two reasons. First, at level 2 you can assign a Follower with the Bodyguard ability to it so you’ve got a leveling buddy all the time. You can’t possibly get that one until level 94, but it’s so fun. At level 3, it lets you have 25 Followers active instead of only 20.

“So what”, you ask? Level 94 is a long way down the road, and ditto to having a level 3 Barracks in the future. But wait, there’s more!

Artillery Strike Incoming

Okay, so people have reminded me that the following ain’t true. I got the idea that you needed the Barracks to have the Call to Arms ability from beta, but you don’t. It comes from your Outpost choices, and as far as I can tell you just get it in your starter zone. I have a Barracks for everyone right now so I don’t have anything rubbing my nose in the way it really works.

So! You get a new action button in Warlords of Draenor and it doesn’t have shit to do with a Barracks. It’s related to your Outpost choices, and has nothing to do with your class and spec. And it’s cool! It’s also oh so easy to forget you have it.

I’m talking about the Call to Arms ability, an action button that dues something different depending on what Draenor zone you are in. In every Draenor zone after your starting one, you build a little Outpost, and you are given a choice between two buildings. Each building can give you different benefits, access to different quests, different Follower rewards and a different ‘Call to Arms’ oh shit ability.

The Outpost choices can bite you on the butt, too. Are you a leatherworker? Do you have a Barn building and want to assign a Follower to it so you get more resources each time? Then for Alliance choose the brewery in Spires of Arak for your Outpost, because the Follower you eventually get from it is a Skinner to be put in the Barn. Complicated, right?

Well, WoWhead has a wonderful guide to all Followers, what they can do, where they can go, how you can find them. One read through of that and every question is answered. So, it’s not that bad. Oh, I suggested you go read a guide on Wowhead? You’re shocked, I know.

The Call to Arms ability. This is so easy to forget to use, but it is a game changer if you use it. Fighting a rare mob in the world? About to die? Hit that button and have a shot and living to tell the tale of how, um, someone else totally saved your ass.

As an example, for Alliance trying to complete the quest to unlock Protector Illona, an awesome Protection Paladin tank Bodyguard Follower, you have to defeat two spirits that are pretty powerful. Just one killed my butt when I tried it on my Rogue. Ah, but then I remembered that Call to Arms ability, and the next attempt I made I used that to call in an Artillery Strike on the two mobs and cleaned their clock. Just, destroyed them. It’s really very powerful and useful in a tough fight. And oh so incredibly easy to forget you have it.

So that’s Call to Arms. Nothing to do with the Barracks, just something to love. A special little snowflake of an ability.

back to the Barracks. That was supposedly what i was talking about and explaining why I recommend taking it while leveling. Having the Barracks gives you special Patrol Follower missions. You can tell which ones they are in the mission list, they have the picture of a Spyglass next to them. Doing a bunch of those is how you unlock the level 3 Barracks blueprint. Patrol missions typically give better XP bonuses than regular missions, so yeah. YUM.

Barracks, what’s not to love?

Bodyguards

The second answer to why to have a Barracks while leveling is Bodyguards. There are several Followers that have the Bodyguard trait built in, five at the time of this writing but next patch who knows, one of which you unlock immediately after upgrading your Garrison to level 2.

You want that Bodyguard? Yeah, not so fast chum! You can’t assign a Follower to your Barracks until it is level 2, and you can’t upgrade Large buildings until you reach level 100, OR level 94 and use the Outpost quest chain reward from Talador.

That’s right, there is a way to get it at level 94! One of your rewards for completing each leveling zone Outpost quest chain after the starter zone is a book that you can turn in for the Garrison Building blueprint of your choice. Completing Gorgrond gives you a book for smaller buildings, but completing the Outpost quest chain in Talador (and being level 94) gets you a book you can use to upgrade a Large building. Like your Barracks.

So, if you keep your Barracks and you use your Comprehensive Outpost Construction Guide from Talador on the Barracks to reach level 2, then at character level 94 you can immediately assign someone to be your companion, your Bodyguard, your buddy in the foxholes of life.

This is a freaking game changer for any class that ain’t a tank or doesn’t have a tank pet. HOLY SHITSKI.

Bodyguard Followers are NOT all tanks. Don’t let the term bodyguard fool you, they are really your companions. Some of them serve as threat-generating tanks, but others are DPS or healers.

As an example, I have been playing my Rogue a lot since my Warlock and Druid reached max. I intentionally set out to get the Barracks to level 2 and get Protector Illona as my tank at level 94.

Having Illona as a tank while you are a DPS class is amazing. It’s just… there are no words. Especially if you remember to call for Artillery when you’re about to get overwhelmed.

Does a Bodyguard sometimes get overwhelmed? Sure. Do they sometimes pull things you perhaps might have left unbothered? Unfortunately. But usually, if the situation is dire enough taht your bodyguard is about to die, you were gonna be hosed regardless. As a Rogue, I was delighted to learn that when I enter stealth, bodyguards do also. I also found out that if your stealthed bodyguard walks over a mob, the mob notices and attacks. You have to pay attention to where your bodyguard is if you’re stealthing all over the place. But the feel of stealthing into a camp and then unleashing a tank in the midst of them, OMG, so fun.

No, really.

Remember, not all bodyguards are tanks. Some are healers or DPS as well. I love my bodyguards on my Warlock as well, but I use Tormmok, an optional Follower from Gorgrond anyone can obtain. Tormmok is a straight up melee DPS, and he’s very powerful. Bodyguards scale with your level, so don’t worry about what level they are when sending them on missions. As your bodyguard, they are not only the same level as you in the field, but they also scale in power with your ilevel.

When I’m questing on my Destruction Warlock, I prefer to have my Grimoire of Supremacy Abyssal pet out as my AoE tank, and Tormmok as my single target melee DPS. That way I can control my tank pet with the extra DPS Tormmok gives me. Also, having two giant companions with me everywhere I go is an experience all to itself.

If you prefer leveling and playing as a tank, there are Healing bodyguards as well.

You’ve got options in bodyguards to match your playstyle. Maybe managing them and where they are and what they will aggro is an added challenge… but if you’re gonna whine about having Tormmok aggro something once in a while, not much I can say to that except shit happens, lead your forces better maybe?

FOLLOWER MISSIONS

Third, and the REALLY biggie for the Barracks is it increases the likelihood you will succeed with your Follower missions by increasing your pool of talent.

If you don’t really raid, or hell even if you do, a MAJOR source of gear upgrades comes from your Follower missions. It’s really quite amazing the amount of gear you will get thrown at you in these missions. My Druid had an almost full set of 615 gear just from missions by the time I was level 100.

One of the keys to completing Follower missions is to have a variety of Followers with a wide range of abilities that can counter mission objectives. The more Followers you have available to you, the more mission objectives you are capable of countering perfectly, and the more missions you can have active at once.

Follower missions frequently come up with 8 or 10 hour durations that award iLevel 615 or 630 loot, and higher. Each Follower of green or blue quality can counter one mission objective. Epic quality Followers can counter TWO at the same time. And whatever rarity your Followers are, once they are leveled to 100 all XP they gain is applied to improve their rarity. Eventually, if you keep sending them on missions, they will ALL be Epic.

Trust me on this. Right now I have 30 Epic Followers at level 100, all at 645 ilevel or higher. Only 25 are active, but maybe they’ll increase that cap someday? Maybe?

I like leveling Followers, but every time I want to level one I have to temporarily deactivate one of my epics. It’s horrible. Who to choose? How can I be asked to make Sophie’s Choice? I love them like my own children! Well, I love them like I would my own children if Alex ever brought me back some epic loot. Maybe I love them better. Just saying. Kid needs to step it up. I might have to send him to Clean the Latrine. perhaps he can bring me the epic Donut of Coffee Absorption.

The point is, if you send your Followers on missions as often as possible, they will continue to level. Once they are 100 and Epic, each one can counter two different objectives. Once you’ve got several to 100 and Epic, then the chance you can perfectly match ALL of a high level reward mission’s objectives goes way up. And the more of those that you get at high item levels, the better your chance to max out your best loot missions with 100% chances.

So you want many active Followers, you want to level them by sending them on MANY missions, and you want to be able to upgrade their armor and weapons a lot.

Which leads me away from the Barracks and on to the next Large building… the Dwarven Bunker/War Mill.

Dwarven Bunker/War Mill

The Dwarven Bunker is another great building, and a direct competitor with the Barracks for that lone leveling Large Building plot.

Why have the Barracks while leveling? All those answers I gave up there.

Why replace it with a Dwarven Bunker instead?

First, maybe you don’t want a Bodyguard. Maybe you want to keep ALL of your Followers away on missions and leveling as you quest so they’re all at max and epic and useful as soon as possible.

Also, maybe you know that you can wait for that increased Follower cap to go to 25, that as you level your character in the game 20 Follower spots are enough all the way through to Nagrand. Sure, you’re not doing high XP Patrol missions and moving towards unlocking the level 3 blueprint until later, but maybe you are okay with that…

Because with a Dwarven Bunker, and upgraded to level 2 as soon as you hit level 94 in Talador, you can spend Garrison Resources on work orders to frequently get armor and weapon upgrades for your Followers.

That’s right. The trick with the Dwarven Bunker is to get it to level 2, and dump Garrison Resources into it to get Follower gear upgrade tokens. The higher your Followers ilevels, the better the gear rewards you get offered from some Follower missions. They start at ilevel 600, and the cutoffs for gear missions are 600, 615, 630 and 645. Oh, and all the Followers sent on a mission have to have the minimum ilevel for that mission or that follower doesn’t even count towards it.

So yay! Not only do you want Followers to be level 100 and epic, but you also really want to push the ones with a good variety of talents to ilevel 645 as fast as you can.

Cassie is still working on this. She gets her highmaul raid missions with only a 78% chance of success. When the reward is a piece of 645 loot, that SUCKS. She has the followers, she is still working on the ilevels.

It’s a hard choice to make, which to do first. Both have advantages and benefits to choosing it.

I personally chose the Dwarven Bunker when I started out on my main, and the Barracks for all the others. I know that, compared to every other character I’m playing, it’s made a HUGE impact to my Follower ilevels. Like I said, my main has 30+ at epic and 645. Hell, most are above 650 now. None of my other characters have a team of followers that high in ilevel.

But the downside to having a Dwarven bunker was, I was ALWAYS starved for Garrison Resources. I spent so many resources on leveling buildings, sending all of my Followers on every mission that was ever offered, and buying Dwarven Bunker work orders that every day saw me desperate for new sources of Resources. It sucked.

I got to the point, I think I mentioned it in a previous post, that I went out searching for every single treasure in every zone, because many of them reward Garrison Resources. I also hunted down and killed every rare because they also reward some resources when killed. There are treasure maps you can buy which show where treasures are, but you can only get them after completing the zone’s quests. I finally just started using an addon that shows them all regardless of quest status. What addon? I did say I mentioned it in a previous post. You read that one, right?

In hindsight I wish I would have started with the Barracks while questing, got my bodyguard, and waited until level 100 to add the Dwarven Bunker. I think it would have been more fun having a bodyguard, and I would have been less stressed about Garrison Resources. But on the other hand, shit, I like having a 100% success rate for every mission in my log, and sending them out in waves to bring me back my gold and loot to disenchant. And the need for resouces DID serve to spur me on to finding every treasure and rare mob in every zone. That was really fun having that need driving me on.

There is one other way to get these Follower upgrades other than as mission rewards; a Small building;

The Salvage Yard.

All I can really say about the Salvage Yard is, it uses a small profession plot, and you don’t unlock it until midway through Spires of Arak, your level 96 – 98 questing zone. So it’s up to you if you fill both of your small plots early with profession buildings/Storehouse and wait until level 100 to add a Salvage Yard, or if you burn your way through Spires of Arak and try to build it right at 96/97.

Why the rush?

The Salvage Yard is another of those buildings that seems like a must-have.

If you have a Salvage Yard, every Follower Mission has a chance to give you a bag (or box) of random shit. Scraps. Trash. Vendor junk.

With a level 2 Salvage Yard, those bags have a chance to have Follower upgrade items JUST like the Dwarven Bunker/War Mill work order… and also a chance to have ilevel 610 gear for your class and spec, transmog items that sell well, and even ilevel 655 BoE gear that sells for thousands of gold if you’re lucky to get one! I’ve only gotten one of those, but I sold it for enough to buy a 655 BoE off hand weapon, so I count myself DAMN lucky.

So an upgraded Salvage Yard gives you even more Follower Upgrade items, to get them up there and ready to bring you back that raid loot! And it costs you nothing, you get the bags and boxes from missions you would have sent your Followers on anyway.

Of course, it’s also another incentive besides XP to send your Followers on every mission you’ve got, flood the mission log with them, don’t save your missions because every mission completed is a chance for a Follower upgrade from salvage.

Resource Management

So, why was I so starved in my resources? Shit, do you have to wonder? Everything I’ve done on my main involved spending Garrison Resources like I was trying to fill up a flock of seagulls with bread. You will never have enough bread, man.

Fortunately, your level 2 Garrison has a Medium building plot on it, and there are two Medium buildings you can choose from to build that can give you extra resources each day.

The two that give you resources every day are the Trading Post and the Lumber Mill. I strongly advise you get one of these as your starter Medium building.

Don’t do what I did and get an Inn because it sounded so cool, like the Stables. The Inn is another of those buildings that sounds awesome at first, but only really shines at end game.

The Lumber Mill requires you to go out and gather some wood from trees in the world, come back and use it to start work orders. You only get 20 resources per work order, unless you assign a Follower to help and then you get 30.

The Trading Post also gives you Garrison Resources, and each work order is worth the full 30. No Follower required. Sounds like a good deal, right? Why choose a Lumber Mill over a Trading Post?

It all depends on where you are in the leveling game.

A Lumber Mill uses lumber you gather in the world to fill the work orders. Once you have a level 3 Lumber Mill, you can unlock a new Follower, a really cool tree dude that you can then assign to the Lumber Mill to get more resources per work order… or to just keep forever.

A Trading Post has a faction reputation associated with it, and at level 3 increases your reputation gains by 20%. Very cool. It also has a vendor you can SPEND your Garrison Resources on to buy crafting mats. Always have too many Garrison Resources on your alts? Blow them on the Trading Post for useful crafting stuff like Draenic Dust!

BUT, to get your work orders at a Trading Post filled, each day it asks for a random material. Usually a raw crafting item like cloth, enchanting dust, a specific herb, ore, that kind of thing.

So, a Lumber Mill is great if you are brand new and have no resources. You can gather Lumber for free while questing and get Garrison Resources to spend immediately on missions and building upgrades. You can be working towards getting your tree Follower, too.

Once you’re max level and have the tree Follower though, hell, you’ve probably got plenty of ore and herbs coming from the mine and herb garden on your Garrison. You’ve got resources coming out your ears. NOW you can consider switching to a Trading Post so you have a place to spend extra crafting mats and Garrison Resources for useful stuff, and get that 20% reputation buff.

With all the ore and herbs my characters gather every day, I have personally switched to Trading Posts on everyone. It just makes sense. It gives me a use for excess herbs and ore, and since you can start more work orders at a time than will complete in one day, if they ask for a crafting material I don’t want to spend, I can usually just wait until the next day to file more orders. Odds are they’ll want an herb or ore before I run out of my last batch.

Inn Due Time

once you reach level 100, upgrade your Garrison to level 3 and unlock that second Medium building, I strongly recommend you build an Inn.

The Inn is a medium building that is vying for your attention amidst other cool sounding buildings. The barn is awesome for leather and cloth, offers a pet (The Pygmy Cow, so cute!) and at max level you can get some epic item crafting mats out of it. But if you can, go for the Inn at first. You can always change it later.

Why?

Because the Inn is another building like the Stables you don’t necessarily have to keep forever.

At level 1, you unlock Inn/Tavern missions. Miss Dungeons and Dragons much? Yeah, how many adventures start in a bar? Same thing.

Every day, there will be two random quests available at your level 1 Inn… quests to be completed inside normal and heroic dungeons. these quests reward things like toys, a Follower, some transmog gear and other stuff. The biggest reward to crave though is Avianas Feather. This item, in a Draenor outdoor zone, throws you miles into the air and then let’s you glide like you’re on a goblin glider for, shit, across over half the damn zone. I am NOT joking. It’s brilliant, and if you don’t have it this item alone is reason enough to get an Inn. Seriously.

So get the Inn at level 100, because you can’t really get any use out of it until you can run dungeons.

upgrade it to level 2, and once a week you can recruit a new Follower. A brand new, crude, unleveled 90 Follower. Why want a level 90 Follower? To shore up those gaps in your mission objectives that we talked about earlier. Once you are level 100 and pretty much have your 20 Followers, you can see which mission objectives you lack coverage in, and use the Inn to recruit some help. Also, you can just choose to recruit Scavangers and Epic mount Followers to level to epic and cut down on your mission turnaround time.

At level 3… you unlock treasure missions. Like the Barracks Patrol missions, these special missions are only offered to you if you have a level 3 Inn/Tavern, and the missions reward you with gold. A decent amount of gold. Like, hundreds of gold a day if you’re doing the missions all the time like clockwork.

But wait! What about all these other buildings? What about those? Who the hell wants to have some same old same old cookie cutter building layout?

Exactly. And that is why some of these buildings are brilliant. Like the Stables. yes, there is an advantage to having it at level 3, but you can live without it if you want to. Or keep the mount speed increase with a clear conscience. And the Inn. Yes, gold missions are nice, but once you have all the dungeon quests done and don’t need more Followers, it’s only gold. Why not try the Gladiator’s Sanctum and have some fun?

And as far as a Stables or Trading Post, you don’t even HAVE to have either of those. You can only stack up to 10,000 Garrison Resources and you get more every day. If you get that high up, and you’re happy with your building choices, why not dump them both to mess around with something else? You can! YOU ARE FREE TO DO IT ALL!

But something things help you a lot more in the early days and early weeks of leveling and then reaching level 100 than others.

FISHWRAP TIME

It’s funny, but if you look at this post, none of it is about questing, or raiding, or playing characters. It’s all about having fun with and increasing the power and usefulness of your Followers.

I think that says a lot about what I’m finding the most engaging and rewarding of all the content in the game. The treasure scattered throughout all of the zones, the many, MANY rares, the wonderful world bosses that drop mounts, the Outposts and the way they help add in more quest variety, all of the other available buildings… it’s all wonderful.

But the Follower and mission system has captured my love and my imagination. That is what I’m thinking about now, and where my interests lie.

Well, that, and soloing old raids for transmog gear and mounts. My Rogue looks dead sexy, yo. And my Druid be looking mighty fine, mighty fine. Too bad you can’t see it as feral when I’m eating your face. You don’t know this, but while I was chewing your arm off I was looking pretty sexy. You’ll have to take it on faith.

I haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s possible. I left out most of the buildings, for the love of Elune! It’s crazy.

That just tells you, this is only MY point of view. The buildings I wish I’d built the first time around so I didn’t waste thousands of resources and gold tearing them down to build something else. The ones I did build the first time and why I’m grateful.

There are so many other possibilities, and I just know lots of people are using buildings that do other things I haven’t even tried yet, things that may be even more fun.

Still, James, if you’re reading this… I can promise you one thing, if you get sucked back in, you’ll find it’ll take a while before you run out of things to do THIS time.

At this time, reading over the post, I see I’ve hit 6000 words.

So.

Fuckit, if you went this far, BONUS ROUND.

Things I think are cool as shit I didn’t mention above.

Bodyguard Followers have their own buddy rep with you. You can level them and retire them and bring them back out and level some more, you never lose rep with one. There are only three ranks of rep, so it’s not bad, and if you can AoE tank (like, say, Bears or Warlocks with an Abyssal pet) then at level 100 walk around the corner from your Garrison (or fly across the continent my poor Horde friends) to Gloomshade Grove in Shadowmoon Valley and make some sweeps through the podlings. It took me less than an hour to complete max level with Tormmok using this method. Plus, revenge on podlings. Little pricks. At max rep level, each bodyguard has some kind of extra quest to do that unlocks their final form. For Tormmok, he gets a brand new badass evil looking sword. SO damn cool. Defender Illona gets a total revamp of her armor. So awesome.

When you use the Call to Arms Barracks extra action button, there are different things it does in different zones. In Gorgrond, the shredder lets you drive a functional goblin shredder… and it has rockets and can fly! So nice for getting to hard to reach areas sometimes. IF you remember to use it.

The Small Profession buildings can have a Follower assigned to them at level 2. Most Followers have some kind of special thing they can do for you, if you just ask them. Inscription Followers can make you some invoices that you can try to combine for extra gold.

The BEST extra Follower profession perk, to my mind, is that the Enchanting Follower will offer to put a glow illusion on your weapon. This is so cool. There is a long list of enchants, including having the appearance of NO enchant on your weapons. I actually have an Enchanting Building with assigned Follower for my Rogue for no other reason than that I want a matching enchant for my transmog, and I’m TOO DAMN LAZY to ask a friend to let me visit their garrison. I am getting serious about my Rogue transmogs. As you can see from the following picture, a bright glowing red dagger just would not do! I’m sneaky. I needed sneaky colored enchants.

Kittiana-businesstime

Okay, I like that. I love the new wolf mounts, too. Like, really love.

Kittiana-wolfie

There is treasure in every zone, and if you get low you can go out and find some that gives you Garrison Resources. I spent many hours scouring the world for Garrison Resources, and I consider it time well spent. It was a lot of fun getting into all the nooks and crannies. That addon I mentioned before to help find treasures? Just kidding, you don’t have to look at my old posts. It’s called HandyNotes and HandyNotes_DraenorTreasures. They’re on Curse. Well worth your time.

On the subject of addons, I also really love Master Plan for managing follower missions. Also, thanks be to friends on Twitter, I now use SavedInstances to help me track all my raid lockouts across all my characters, because I lose track of who did Firelands and which difficulty.

Finally… thank you to everyone that has been reading this blog for all these years, or who have only checked it out once or twice. Your feedback and chatting with me in comments, on Twitter or in the game has always been the biggest joy I’ve had from it. As much as I like writing, the best thing about the entire blogging experience has been meeting folks, talking with you and paying with you. Whether it was in ICC, Firelands or the occasional run in anything it’s been a delight. Thank you, all of you.

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What happens once you’ve got a Follower team all purple epicy and iLevel 645 and ready for any mission that could come your way? When you’ve got your Epic Mounts and your Scavangers and your attention begins to wander just a smidgeon, and you begin to ask yourself, “Is this all that there is with Followers? So, I’m done now, right?”

No. Oh my, no.

No, we haven’t even begun to mine this shaft for nuggets of obsessive gold.

If you’re as gonzo over Garrison Followers as I am, then you just might have a level 2 Inn.

You didn’t get rid of it already, did you? Did you?

The Inn lets you recruit a new Follower to your team, once a week. You can specify what trait or ability you want in a Follower, and then your headhunter will get out there and find you three Followers to get the job done.

No background check or drug testing required, although some of the Followers I get, makes me consider a change to my hiring practices.

The Followers presented to you will be level 90, and could be either Green or Blue quality. You’ll see all three of them side by side, and you can make your choice who you want for that week.

You only get to do this once a week, so no rerolls, no backing out and trying a different talent, you makes your shot and you takes your chances.

A big decision, right? Only one a week. Who will it be? What special trait or weakness in your lineup will you try and buttress?

Such an important decision to make.

I’m not about to make it any easier for you. In fact, if you have trouble making decisions, this might just be a bad day for you.

What I suggest you consider is turning your weekly Inn Follower recruitment into a new minigame I like to call “Inn Follower Megafind”.

The game is simple. Try to build your ideal ‘super team’ from among the Followers you can recruit from the Inn, by studying the potential choices on Wowhead and targeting specific traits or abilities from the list to get who you want.

The heart of this game comes from Wowhead and relies on all of us updating the Wowhead Follower database with information we get every week as we do our recruiting.

You can start by browsing the entire list of potential Followers that you can recruit from the Inn at Wowhead.

Just go to Wowhead => Garrison => Followers or click on this link. Choose the “Recruited at the Inn” option from the drop down filter, apply it, and take a look at who is out there just waiting for you to find.

At this time the list shows 416 potential Followers that are recruited from the Inn, 208 for Alliance and 208 for Horde. Each faction has their own tab for easy browsing, and the Followers are sorted by quality. Wowhead thinks of everything.

You can browse through the displayed names and icons, which give you a strong indication of the race and sex of each Follower. Their class and spec are also shown, so you’ve got some idea of their armor types. You can apply additional filters to your search so you can, for example, see only those Followers of a particular race.

What is needed from us is to fill in the blanks for each Follower entry every week as we do our Inn recruitment.

This is where I try and recruit YOU to help this project out.

What we want to know is simple:
What trait or ability did I select to be offered this Follower at the Inn?
What do they look like? (Screenshot from Recruitment pane or Garrison grounds)

Later on as they get upgraded armor, maybe we can start uploading screenshots if their armor or weapons change at 615, 630 or 645. Later days.

Some entries on Wowhead already have this info and screenshots, but only a few. And in most cases, it’s only a screenshot. Very few have comments to tell you what trait or ability was requested to get them offered.

An example of one that has the info entered already is Kymba Quickwidget, a female Gnome Subtlety Rogue.

Take a look at her database entry and you’ll see a screenshot of her in a Garrison showing her equipped armor, and there is one comment by Raiya telling us this Follower can be recruited when looking for a counter to Powerful Spell. Exactly what we want to know!

Here is what you can do to help.

Every week, if you have an Inn, make a note of what trait or ability you requested, then take a screenshot of the three choices offered.

Then crop the screenshots into three individual pictures, each one showing one of the three Followers you were offered, and upload them to the correct Follower database entry in Wowhead.

Then post a quick comment telling us what trait or ability you asked for that got them to show up, and one more out of 416 will be complete!

If a bunch of us do this, then in a very short amount of time we could have a massive amount of info to browse and plan from.

I’ve been looking through the list, and there is a lot of room for us to help out here. You can be the first commenter and screenshot submitter for a Follower and really make a difference in this project.

Look at this, and tell me it doesn’t help you to see this screenshot to know what awesomeness you could try and recruit;

Wowhead screenshot of Kymba submitted by Chuag

Wowhead screenshot of Kymba submitted by Chuag

Just looking at that screenshot for Kymba, I bet your mind exploded with possibilities.

What would you do if you could browse through screenshots of all the potential Followers, then when you see one you really like learn what specific talent or ability you have to request for a chance to get them to show up?

If all database entries were complete, it would allow you to research and plan in advance which Followers, which SPECIFIC people you want your Headhunter to entice to come to your Inn.

There is no guarantee that the one you want will be the one that shows up in your three choices, but you’ll know you’ve got a chance. And hey, maybe once the research is complete we’ll be able to search the database using a ‘trait or ability’ filter to narrow it down for us?

What would you do with this power? Would you play Inn Follower MegaFind with me? Or use this power for evil?

Would you try to find that one special Follower that is your same race, sex and class that you could then transmog yourself to look like? You could be hanging out with your twin in your Garrison! No, that’s not creepy at all.

Or better yet, be lucky enough to find a Follower that already looks just like your chosen favorite transmog, and recruit them in… maybe to serve as your body double, your political stand in for public appearances, give speeches in front of crowds, appease the miners when they go on strike, take the bullet for you, that sort of thing?

Inn Follower MegaFind. To seek out and recruit the specific Followers you want so you can carefully craft the perfect crew to have wandering around your Garrison. You know, for when you really want to mess with your friends when they come to visit for that weekly invasion.

What, you didn’t think you were DONE with Followers yet, did you? Muahahahaha!

Seriously, what would you do? Is there a possibility that occurs to you that excites you?

Would you be like my raid leader, who I am certain would seek out every attractive female Alliance Follower in scantily clad armor or slut plate to recruit into Tom’s Angels? Or are you more the sort to make your Garrison the local chapter of the Chippandale Orcs displaying oiled pecs and loincloths?

As an aside, the creepiest thought I’ve had yet is wishing I could give my Followers specific real gear drops I got in the game for them to use as transmog. Yes, I would play dress up with my Followers, and I would love to watch them wander around my Garrison in the outfits I chose for them. I promise, I wouldn’t intentionally pick items to give the impression I ran an escort service. Or that my Garrison was the winter home of every circus clown in Azeroth. Swear. Trust me.

There are a lot of fun ideas that come to mind.

Maybe in your heart you’re a secret Dwarven racist. You’re the one that already has your Garrison defended only by your fellow Dwarves (thanks to being able to choose which race your guards all come from with a level 3 Barracks). You’d never trust your personal safety to those damn flighty night elves, right? And now you want to go one step further and field an all-Dwarf Follower team to send on all your missions, and give all those Dwarven heroes their own place to call home. I bet your Inn would be a wildly popular place.

I know, this is crazy talk, this would take months, even years to nail down perfect if you go for all 25 Followers.

This is just the first month of the expansion. One Follower a week doesn’t sound like much, but in one year that is 52 potential new Followers, and you can only have 25 active at a time. This expansion is going to be around for at least a couple years, right? There is plenty of time to make your own plan a reality.

I’m talking long term goals. I’m talking making plans for a future party at your Garrison that will blow your guests away with the crazy lengths you went to make it all your own.

What ideas do you have for this? Is it even something that you’d want to do, or does aiming for a specific Follower week after week after week sound like an idiotic thing to do?

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Lok’tar ogar!

SquadronSoDreen

Okay, I’m Alliance. I can’t motivate you by screaming at you about Victory or Death. We like the softer, cuddlier side of life.

In the Alliance, we’re a kinder, gentler evil overlord imposing our will on a brave new world of savage foes and savager delights.

Best I can do is exhort you to fight fiercely in all your battles, and remind you that at the end of the day your Pleasure-Bot 8000 will be waiting at your Garrison to offer you a massage and a nice hot toddy with your favorite slippers.

I won’t judge why you went to so much trouble to acquire a Pleasure-Bot 8000. Don’t ask, don’t tell, right? Hey, what you do in the privacy of your own inn is your business.

I’m also not going to ask what all those followers are doing in the ‘private rooms’ in the back. As long as the management gets a cut, it’s all good. Do what feels right.

Setting the tone, check.

This expansion has turned the game upside down for me. Blizzard has succeeded with Warlords of Draenor. Indeed, they’ve succeeded all too well.

Here’s the bare truth. I am legitimately more excited to gear up and level my followers than I am to level up on my main.

Or to put it another way, questing is what I do on my main while I wait for my follower missions to be completed.

Also, questing using the Wowhead Follower Guide is what I do to seek out new followers, new locations of minions, to boldly go where new followers have never been found before. I love that guide. That guide is my Gulliver’s journal to adventure!

For the horde!

That’s horde with a little ‘H’, I am a hoarder of a horde, I want them all, must have ALL the minions, must expand my evil empire, must pursue higher follower iLevels…

What, the followers are supposed to exist to support my character’s activities in the game? You’re joking, right?

That is no longer the game I want to play. I want my character activities to support the actions of my MINIONS in the game. Everything I do, I do it for you. And you, and you and you.

And YOU get an armor enhancement, and YOU get an armor enhancement, and You and You and You!

I want to quest to find a nice comfy chair for my followers to sit on while resting in the Inn. Just before the Spanish Inquisition bursts in and asks them pointed questions in uncomfortable ways.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! And certainly nobody knows how to handle… the comfy chair.

I want to be able to research a new small building… the BEER GARDEN. With attached outdoor barbeque area, of course. A nice patio, dancing with my Disco ball at night, luau lamps and tiki torches and a party going on down here, it’s a celebration that lasts throughout the year.

Is that so wrong of me?

I’m telling you. This carrot dangling in front of me will keep me going for years. Content patches? Give me more building options, furniture and missions to send my followers on, oh my.

Right now we can have some followers as Bodyguards with the level 2+ Barracks, follow us around.

The existing followers have pre-determined mounts they use.

Why not open that up? Have any of the followers be able to be Bodyguards.

Or failing that, of the Followers that CAN be Bodyguards, let us quest for Follower mounts we can assign to them.

Follower Mounts… and visible armor transmog sets (not pieces, full sets, let’s not get too complicated). And weapons. And banner poles they can have flying our guild pennant behind them. Or our Garrison symbol! We have Guild logos, why not a symbol for our own Garrison? Our own mark of zorro to strike fear into the hearts of our foes, a heraldic escutcheon carried by our sworn men-at-arms to protect them from the fel fire and arrows of outrageous posers.

Can you imagine being able to have Tormmok assigned as your Bodyguard, and then assign him a sparkle pony, or better yet a big barrel-bellied pony as his mount? And he already has wicked cool armor, but to be able to assign him the Stormwind Guard armor transmog set from the Dwarven Bunker? And top it off with a big banner pole waving your Garrison symbol proudly behind him.

Tormmok

Have your own hulking mass of monstrous badass following you around looking like your Garrison Thug. Your homeland homie.

Your own persona Knuckledragger. Riding around on his tiny fat-bellied donkey following along behind you, as you gallop forth on your majestic rounds surveying your demesne and keeping the peons hopping to it in the fields.

Oh my.

Would I raid for new Followers? Yes, of course.

Would I raid equally as hard for loot upgrades that are worthless except for transmog as soon as the next content patch hits?

Errr. Do I have to answer that where my raid leader can see me?

Blizzard, you won with this expansion. Body and soul, the Garrison and my Followers have supplanted my own characters in what I’m loving to do.

The scary bit is I’m also loving the zones and the questing and the playing of my character. It’s all fantastic, the level of care and grand adventure that all the storylines I’ve played have evoked is magical.

It’s just that as good as the questing is, I love my Follower mini-game even more.

I can tell you this, even at the height of my rare pet battling and collecting obsession, I didn’t go more than two or three mornings waking up to sneak downstairs and see if a rare spawn had popped on a low-pop server.

With Garrisons? “Oh, it’s 4:30 AM, I don’t have to start getting ready for work for another half hour… plenty of time to gather resources, collect mission results and assign Followers to new tasks. Best be quiet, don’t want to wake Cassie.”

Yeah. Yeah, this is a thing.

And my Garrison is still level 2! I can only hope my enthusiasm wanes when I hit level 3 and expand.

Did I mention how excited I am that today I should have my third level 100 Follower and can start taking part in the level 100 missions for bonus rewards?

I used to joke, and say I wasn’t addicted, i can quit any time.

Hah. HAH. LOLOLOLHAHAHAHAALOLOLOL bullshit bullshit bullshit.

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The new expansion for World of Warcraft has been announced at BlizzCon. Warlords of Draenor.

Go back in time.
SEE! the doomed world of Draenor.
FEEL! the drums of the clans inspiring young orcs to war.
BATTLE! the famous warlords of the past to save modern-day Azeroth from destruction.
WITNESS! Thrall meeting his mommy and daddy and realizing they put their loincloths on one hole at a time just like everyone else.
SAVE! an entire world and change events that will have no effect on our own timeline, so are they real fake people or fake fake people?
PLAY! in a different leg of the bifurcated trousers of time (copyright Terry Pratchett).

Lots of stuff came out, and for that news stuff I suggest you go visit WoW Insider or MMO Champion. Anything you could possibly want to know about BlizzCon and World of Warcraft announcements can be found there.

If a game developer farted at BlizzCon, WoW Insider was there, liveblogging it.

I’m saying it’s exhaustive coverage. Or is that supposed to be extensive? No, no I was right the first time. Just kidding! Sorta. It’s all done with love. And a level of stalking that is a little scary if you stop and think about it.

Enough blathering. I’m going to talk about the single new WoW feature I’m most excited about, that’s right, you saw it in the post title…

GARRISONS!

Garrisons are the new WoW player housing. Except it’s not a freaking house, or a hut on a farm, it’s your own walled fortress city.

A city. You get a city.

I’m sorry, but we go from an overgrown plot of weeds and rocks doing slave labor for a panda to building our own populated fortress.

Blizzard, you had me at “Followers”.

First, the official word on Garrisons from the official Blizzard CM blog post;

In Warlords of Draenor, you’ll make a permanent impact on the world with a Garrison: your own personal fortress that you build, staff, and manage. You’ll customize your Garrison’s layout, appearance, and gameplay effects, and attract followers to operate it. The Garrison allows World of Warcraft players to own a larger part of the world than ever before, and opens up a wide variety of interesting gameplay decisions—with as much or as little micromanagement as you wish.

Your Garrison exists seamlessly in the world, but you won’t need to go into an instance portal to visit your home base—as you travel through Draenor, you’ll see your Garrison looming on the horizon.

Read on for more details.

Followers

Followers are NPCs (non-player characters) that you recruit to join your Garrison. You’ll send them on missions to improve your Garrison and earn loot for your character. You can also allocate them to complete tasks—things like crafting or gathering resources, which they’ll do whether you’re online or offline.

Followers have a character level, an item level, and traits that affect missions and tasks. For example, if they have the Mining trait, you’ll be able to assign them to a Mine in your Garrison to gather resources for you. There are common, uncommon, rare, and epic followers, and their rarity affects the number of traits they can have.

Recruiting Followers

To run an effective Garrison, you’ll first need to recruit followers. Some will make their own way to your base, but you can also upgrade your Inn to attract more followers. You can also win followers to your cause as you progress through the game’s story, when completing quests, or simply by coughing up the right sum of gold to hire mercenaries.

When they’re not away on missions, your followers hold down posts at your Garrison, where you can visit them at any time. A major goal for the Garrison system is for followers to be dynamic and interesting—for example, if a follower fails a mission that takes place in a local dungeon, they might be taken prisoner; the next time you adventure in that dungeon, you’ll be able to rescue them.

Missions

Mission Objectives

You’ll send your followers on missions for varied purposes. Successful missions will give you the resources you need to keep developing your Garrison, but you’ll also have the chance to acquire powerful loot for your character, and your followers will gain experience for each mission they run.

The resources you’ll acquire during missions include both existing crafting reagents and Garrison-specific materials. For example, if you assign a follower to a mining mission, you could receive ore, but you might also unearth stone, a new kind of resource used to construct and upgrade buildings.

Though followers are great for solo play, the system also has multiplayer elements. When you dispatch a party of your followers on certain missions, you’ll also be able to join forces with your guildmates’ followers, even if your guildmate is offline.

Follower Progression

Followers grow in power in a way that mirrors players’ progression. From levels 90–100, followers will gain character levels, which have a significant impact on their abilities and mission success chance. They’ll also increase their item level as you equip them with follower-specific gear; once they’ve reached level 100, equipment will have a larger role to play in their overall effectiveness.

Garrisons & Buildings

Building Functions

Buildings are the individual “pieces” of your Garrison—Stables, Farms, Mines, Armories, and more. They improve your ability to recruit, use, and train followers; to craft; to complete missions; and to run missions more quickly by reducing your followers’ downtime.

Each building in your garrison can be upgraded, which amplifies its mechanical effect and visuals. For example, an upgraded Barracks will grow bigger and more impressive, but it’ll also increase the number of followers you can send on missions at one time (for example, 5 followers at once for a level 1 Barracks, then 7 followers, then 12—though the exact numbers are still in flux).

Customizing Your Garrison’s Look

Buildings in your Garrison can be placed in a number of configurations. You can only place small-sized buildings (primarily crafting-related) on small plots; a larger building, like a Barracks, won’t fit. Bigger buildings can be constructed early on—even a “starting” Garrison has room for a large structure. As your Garrison increases in level, you’ll get access to more and larger building space, and increase the versatility and power of your holdings.

Garrisons are visually distinct depending on whether you’re a Horde or Alliance player, and you’ll be able to place your Garrison in one of several zones on Draenor. You’ll also specify your Garrison’s layout (the physical location of buildings within your Garrison’s walls), and select the buildings you’d like to include. Choosing to “spec” your buildings (more on that below) will also change cosmetic aspects of those buildings, like furniture types and decorations, in addition to imparting different gameplay effects.

Garrisons can be shown off to same-faction players in your party, who can walk around your base, converse with your NPCs, and appraise your layout. You’ll have a reason to show your Garrison off, too: trading resources. For example, if you have extra building resources, you’ll be able to bring them to a friend’s Garrison and exchange them for materials that you need.

Specializing Buildings

When specializing your Garrison’s buildings, you’ll choose a variant on the bonuses and abilities the building provides. For example, one Mine specialization might make your miners gather ore faster by the hour, while another will increase the chance that your workers strike a rare mining node. Several buildings can provide you with access to professions that your character hasn’t mastered—though you won’t have enough plots to put one down for every profession.

As you begin building up your Garrison, we expect that you’ll interact with it quite a bit. However, over time, it’s expected that your interaction will become more casual. At lower levels, your missions are on shorter time cycles (minutes, hours or days); once your followers have reached high levels, it’s likely that you’ll send some of them off on longer raid missions for a week at a time. We want garrisons to be important, but our goal is a system that’s easy to enjoy without being extremely intensive.

Take command on Draenor!

Your Garrison will be woven deeply into the storyline of Warlords of Draenor, beginning when your faction leader commissions you to establish a beachhead on this alien world—but the ultimate fate of your personal fortress on Draenor is entirely up to you.

Pretty insanely awesome, right?

Here are more details from BlizzCon about Garrisons, and also my take on things.

startingbuildings garrisons - smallA Garrison is your own personal phased place in the old world of Draenor. You decide what zone you want your Garrison to be in, and if later on you decide you’d prefer the whole Garrison to be somewhere else, you will be able to move your Garrison to a different zone. So it’s not a permanent decision, you can make a mistake and change it later.

largebuildings garrisobns - small

Your Garrison is exactly like the farm in one respect; progress/development is tied to one character. Each of your characters will have a different Garrison. Blizzard has said that there will be ways to accelerate other Garrison growth once one character has it maxed.

mediumbuildings - garrisons small

I do not know if your Followers will be leveled and shared across your account, just like pets and mounts are now, or if they will be character specific. I’d love some clarification on that. Since you have to level them and there are different quality levels, I would have assumed Followers would be account wide.

smallbuildings garrisons - small

However, some of the comments from Blizzard concerning limits on numbers of Followers sent out on missions and bringing back loot for a specific character, and the fact they say your Followers will be present on your Garrison performing the tasks you assigned them when you visit makes me feel that right now Followers will also be specific to a particular character. I have no hard facts, but that is my feeling as things stand now.

garrisons - missions

I find it interesting that they have mentioned there will be Follower-specific gear. That means you don’t give your Followers your own cast-off loot drops as you would in Diablo III. They get their own special items. I guess that way there won’t be complaints that the Rogue is rolling Need on Plate drops so “My tank Followers can get geared up.”

garrisons - missions 2

Your friends can visit your Garrison. Yes! The Garrisons are phased like existing farms, but if you form a party with your friends, the other members of the party will be able to visit (be in phase with) the Garrison of the party leader, up to a whole 40 person raid!

So, the Garrison is like the original Warcraft real time strategy (RTS) towns on crack. The buildings you plop down are real buildings in World of Warcraft. You can enter them, explore them, they are furnished with stuffs. The barracks is a real barracks, not just a building with a glowing door that troops sometimes come running from. I always wanted to go in those damn things! Also, Blizzard has announced they are working on updating the code on the original Warcraft games so they will run on modern versions of Windows. Please release soon, I want to play them all over again!

You will be able to decorate and customize your Garrison buildings. It was specifically mentioned that if you kill a creature out in Draenor and take it’s head as a trophy, you will be able to display it somewhere in your Garrison. More details were not provided, but customization is very cool. Technically, the farm ALSO had this kind of customization. If you improved your relationship with the Friends on the Farm, they would upgrade/decorate your personal farm and sometimes give you pets, join you there, etc. So it might be that these customizations for the Garrison will follow the same lines. We might not be talking color changes or banners, or new furniture is what I’m saying.

Your Garrison will be populated by minions, um, I mean Followers. Your minions. Minions that you will mostly recruit from the town hall of your city, and that have quality ratings just like current pets do. You will be able to assign minions to work in the buildings you erect, and when you go into those buildings or the mine or whatever, there they will be for you to see, hard at work.

I took all of the screenshots you see here directly from the archived BlizzCon streams, so these are fresh as of this weekend.

All buildings can be upgraded through three tiers, and if you look at the screenshots, some are greyed out. You will be able to buy and find Blueprints in the game for upgrading buildings, and possibly also to unlock a specific new building type.

There are more types of buildings than there are spaces to put them, even at max size, so you will have to decide what buildings you want.

I would like to point out that one of the screenshots shows the Dance Studio as a building, grayed out but there as a choice. Clearly, not all building types will be available when you first set up your Garrison, you will have to unlock more somehow later on.

garrison - tier two dance studio

So for buildings, there is an element of collecting going on here. Collecting buildings, collecting upgrade Blueprints.

Garrisonbuilding placing

Then we have the minions. Yes, they are minions, and just thinking about it gives me a gleeful evil cackle from the cockles of my heart.

From the screenshots, you can see they have quality levels, just like our pets do. We can name them, we can assign them quests, send them out to level them up.

Minions will be able to be assigned to buildings in your garrison to gather materials or craft things. When you do that, and then go visit that building, there they will be. Just, too cool.

Minions can be teamed up with other minions, formed into groups and sent on dungeon runs, and even formed up into large groups and sent on raids to bring you back loot.

None of us have ever had minions (or followers) in the game before. These will be brand new, and it makes perfect sense that we’ll be able to recruit them in our Garrison Town Hall.

garrisons - tier 1 starting

garrisons - rank two

garrisons - rank three

It doesn’t end there, though. Blizzard made it clear in their blog post I quoted above that we will be able to run across potential Followers in Inns / Taverns elsewhere in the world.

Isn’t that wonderful? Entering a Tavern to recruit a Follower to send on quests, just like in the conventional AD&D games. After all, how many dungeon adventures start with the heroes all in the bar, drinking? “It was a dark and stormy night, the heroes are at the table before the fire in the crowded inn, and the door bangs open. An old man makes his way in, tired and worn, chilled from the storm. He comes to your table, struggling with a heavy burden. When he reaches your table, he unwraps the bundle he carries, and there revealed is a shield, worn but fine, chased with gold, emblazoned with the symbol of a hero long vanished. He has a mission, will you choose to listen to his tale?”

All adventures should start in a bar.

On a side note, have you ever heard of Tun Tavern, the birthplace of the US Marine Corps? No idea why I just thought of that.

Think how incredibly rewarding it will be when, after following a quest chain where we help avenge the death of someone’s family, they decide to join us and follow us, because we gave of ourselves to help them.

Such a simple thing. Gaining a new follower for completing a long quest chain where you spent the last several hours (or game days) helping them. You got to know them, spent lots of time with them, gave of yourself to help them, and now they’re going to join YOU on your continuing adventures.

What about gaining Followers in some of the new spontaneous world events that were announced?

You find that broken down caravan wagon in the snow, surrounded by Iron Horde orcs racing around on their war wolves and throwing spears as the people huddle inside and try to hold them off. You pitch in, chase off the orcs and help the people get to safety, and one of them decides to join you, inspired by your selflessness in saving their lives at great risk of your own. A new Follower to inspire and mentor.

That is such an amazing, rewarding idea. If Blizzard moves forward with this as they have announced, especially if we can name them afterwards, just think of the level of immersion, the depth of roleplay opportunities this provides, especially when up to 40 of your friends can come to join you in a special phased town of your own creation, populated with people YOU named?

And sure, we will likely (just guessing here) be able to get new minions as drops in raids, just like everywhere we currently find pets in the game.

Maybe we could even get new Followers from our professions. Engineers have already learned how to craft the Rascal-bot and Pierre, we have made the Blingtron and Jeeves, is it such a stretch to imagine us making the Minomatic 9001? A mechanical marvel we can set in our mine to harvest ore, and you know it’s going to get bonus ore from it’s mining, because it’s OVER NINE THOUSAND.

Followers, minions, whatever you’d like to call them, this will be amazing.

We will be recruiing minions, assigning them tasks, building instance groups and sending them off to adventure for us, building entire raid teams and ordering them to get in that dangerous place and bring me back some gear.

We can obsess over minion quality, leveling them up, what cute names to choose for them and the many tasks and quests they can do.

My son watched the whole thing with me, and when he saw you could name your minions, he announced “I’m going to name mine Bob, Bob, Bobtwo, Bob and Bob.”

Me, I’ll probably name mine after friends just like I have my pets.

Except for that one minion that fails at everything, and dies on every raid. You know there will be THAT ONE MINION, and I will find a special name for him. Oh, yes I will.

The developers have said that you will be able to use the Follower interface anywhere in the world to send them on tasks, but to collect the actual rewards they gather or bring back, you will need to visit your Garrison.

This mission system for your Followers looks like it would be perfect for using offline to assign your Followers tasks from your phone, and get the results later in game, but the developers have said they are not working on a mobile version of it at the moment. Too bad, I’d love to be able to manage my growing army of minions while I’m at work, and kiss the last smidgeon of productivity goodbye.

This Garrison and Follower addition is truly the most amazing thing I have seen in the game in all the years I have played. I thought pet battles were as good as it could ever get, but I was wrong. Oh, so freaking wrong.

The ramifications of all of this go so far beyond my expectations, I don’t even care what else they said was coming.

New raids and instances? That’s nice. A new world? Thank you, I’ll enjoy discovering it. No new major changes to pets? That’s okay, I don’t need them.

Oh wait, we might be breeding pets at the pet stables in our Garrison? Um, ew? I don’t have to, like, insert anything anywhere, do I? I like pets, but not that much. If they want to get it on, I don’t ask, they don’t tell.

No, really. Don’t tell. And if my Creepy Crate and Soul of the Aspects get together and present me with a Creepy Aspect, I really, REALLY don’t want to be told how. NOPE.

My own city and minions to command, marshaling my forces and sending them on raids, matching skills and abilities to take on more complex missions?

Expectations exceeded, mind blown, just take my damn money right now. Please?

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