There are some great guides to Garrisons and Followers at Wowhead and Icy Veins, so much hard work went into them at both sites. I am very grateful to the writers and researchers at both websites, it’s helped me a lot.
I’m not here to write a guide, but over the last few weeks there have been a few things that I’ve found out from doing that I want to write down, kind of a long term reminder to myself about how a few things are working for me.
First, I love my Garrison but it’s the Follower and Mission sub-game that has drawn my focus the most. That is where I keep spending my idle time.
There are many missions you can send your Followers on. Having the Barracks at level 1 adds an extra mission type. They’re called Patrol missions, and you tell which ones they are on the mission list. They have a spyglass icon next to them instead of the crossed-swords of the normal missions.
Patrol missions count towards getting your level 3 Barracks; you need to complete 50 patrol missions (account-wide achievement!) to be able to buy the Barracks level 3 blueprint. That was the holy grail for my Garrison, because it let me have an extra 5 active Followers.
I didn’t really understand that the Spyglass identified the Patrol missions, so I wasn’t focused on doing those every time they popped up. Once I did, I leveled three alts to 91 and unlocked their tier 2 Garrisons, kept their barracks, and started looking for Patrol missions. There are a couple that pop up frequently at the 90 and 91 level ranges, so I got the 50 Patrol achieve a few days later. Lesson learned… almost too late.
The missions I get for Followers depends on the level range of the Followers I have active. I haven’t fully tested it yet, but it seems that Followers assigned to a building don’t count towards this, and the Followers that are not active DEFINITELY don’t count towards it.
This means that all you need is a single low level Follower active to keep those low level fast missions coming, with the gold and XP rewards. The level ranges seem to be 90-94, 95-98, then 99-100. Could be a little different either way, I’ve been trying to track it, but I always have Followers out so it’s hard to stop long enough to give a 24 hour span for my missions to reset.
I want as many missions as possible, especially of all level ranges. Lots of missions gives lots of opportunities for XP for Follower leveling, and most importantly for Salvage Crates.
Once a Follower is level 100, the gear grind can begin.
There are special gear quests available when your Followers reach higher iLevels. There are also tasty level 100 Patrol missions at iLevel 600 (base).
Once I had a reasonable amount of Followers at 100, I started getting the max level Patrol missions that had as a bonus 8000, 10000, 12000 and even 15000 XP.
Epic Followers have two abilities to satisfy win conditions, and Blue/Green Followers only have one ability. By focusing on leveling epic Followers first, it gave me a chance to have 2 Followers cover three or even four win conditions on their own, and let me use the third spot for leveling lower level or quality Followers. Lower level Followers only get a percentage of main and bonus XP, but even 10% of 15000 XP is a nice chunk for a level 92, and for Green level 100s it’s a sweet boost.
Then there are the normal missions, missions unlocked at different Follower iLevel ranges that can have dungeon or raid gear rewards.
The three iLevel break points for missions are 615, 630 and 645. Your Followers can currently have a max level of 655.
With 2 or more Followers at level 100, you start getting missions that award iLevel 615 gear.
With 2 or more Followers at iLevel 615, you start getting missions that award iLevel 630 gear.
With 2 or more Followers at ilevel 630, you start getting missions that award iLevel 645 gear.
With 2 or more Followers at iLevel 645, you start getting Highmaul raid missions that can bring you back iLevel 655 gear. Or is it 665? It might be 665. I haven’t gotten one of these yet, so I don’t know. It might be 655 from the Follower Missions, and 665 is possible from the Big Salvage Crates only.
Sound sweet? This is live, right now, and attainable. I have several guildies that are sharing links to their 655 loot from Follower missions, or sometimes from Salvage Crates directly. Whether you raid or not, this is a big prize dangling in front of you that you can do before ever seeing the inside of a raid. I have a team out there bringing me back iLevel 645 boots as we speak. They’re chugging along, making my money. Gotta love ’em.
As far as I can tell, there are only three ways to increase your Follower item levels; items from Salvage Crates from the Salvage Yard small building, items from the 4 hour Work Orders using Garrison Resources at the Dwarven Bunker / War Mill, or as rewards from missions.
Salvage Crates are probably one of the coolest ways, since you can game it. Once you complete the Gnome area with the quest Flame On in Spires of Arak, Kimzee gives you the blueprint for the Salvage Yard. You want to get this as quick as you can, and then upgrade it to level 2. At level 2, every mission you send your Followers on regardless of difficulty level has a chance to give you a Salvage Crate.
You open your Salvage Crates IN the Salvage Yard, and they have a chance to have vendor trash, level 2 crates can have Follower upgrades, and level 3 crates can have damn near anything, including rare transmog gear, BoE ilevel 665 epics, you name it.
You can game this by making sure you have some low level Followers in your mix, so you spawn many, many low level short duration missions to send Followers on. The more missions, the more chances at Salvage Crates, the more shots at Follower upgrades to boost your main team.
I am torn about the difference between a level 2 or 3 Salvage Yard. This is purely hearsay, but I’ve heard that even with a boosted chance to drop Salvage Crates with a level 3 Salvage Yard, you get a net LOSS of Follower Upgrades because you’ve got a much larger potential loot list for the crates.
I’m all about the Followers, time enough to get drops for ME once my Followers are all pimped out. Your mileage may vary, and the chance at BoE iLevel 655 epics is a strong lure to upgrade sooner.
The Dwarven Bunker / War Mill is the other building that can give you Follower upgrades. I know it’s slow, because it’s only a CHANCE at an upgrade, and each Work Order takes 4 hours to deliver. Also, it eats Garrison Resources like candy. Still, I’ve gotten some pretty sweet Follower upgrades from mine over the last week, and they all add up. Also, the building once at level 3 will feed me a bonus loot rool each week, so it will have long term value as well, even after the Followers are leveled.
What I’ve done doesn’t seem to be the best way, but time will tell. I built a Lumber Mill, a Dwarven Bunker, a Salvage Yard and a couple profession buildings. I keep the Lumber Mill stocked up, I keep a few low level Followers active to feed me lots of missions for XP and Salvage Crates, and when I get Follower upgrades, I give them to my epic 100s first.
I spread the upgrades around until all my epics had 615 instead of maxing one out completely and moving on. I also kept sending my Green and Blue Followers on missions to try and get them to higher quality.
My thinking behind this is that the more overlapping coverage my Followers have as Epics, the higher the possibility that I can get 100% on those important gear missions, as well as carry lowbies. I might be wrong because this prevents me from seeing the highest tier of missions at all. A chance, however thin, is still a chance.
I have yet to get a mission for a Manual of Dance, but you can bet that when I do, I know exactly which Follower with useless traits I’m gonna make dance for me.
I’m sure everyone else out there is just as smitten with these Followers and missions as I am… and I’m sure you already know all this. But I somehow keep forgetting things like ilevel break points and stuff, so phooey, it’s useful to me to write it all down.
One last thing.
When a Follower reaches a new gear iLevel, the piece of displayed gear they are wearing or carrying changes too. I watched it happen.
When my Millhouse Manastorm went from 642 to 645 in weapon, the weapon he was carrying changed too. So keep an eye out, see what kind of iconic armor changes your Followers go through as you gear them up!
Have fun in Draenor!