I’ve learned a few things the hard way, and I hope some of the following helps you. or amuses you, whatever floats your boat.
My approach to the shipyard has been to do it on only two characters, my two ‘mains’. They’re the only characters I actively play, the rest are Garrison Mission gold farms.
That being said, I have set up my main Garrison to support my Shipyard activities. My mains already have fully maxed out Followers with the mix of talents and abilities I wanted. If you’re not done with Follower upgrades or leveling yet, or if there are still things you are leveling buildings in your Garrison to accomplish and need resources to build, some of what I’ve done will probably be a waste of time.
First thing to decide is if you are going to build your Shipyard to fully optimize the Legendary quest chain. The Legendary Ring quest chain has a very strong naval component to it, and to have the absolute best chance of mission success requires certain ships loaded out in certain ways.
Chibisan#1890 (on US servers) put together a fantastic list of every mission in the Legendary Shipyard quest chain with rcommendations on the best way to succeed at them that he posted on Reddit, I’m linking it for you here.
The relevant bit for planning purposes is this;
To complete all missions with the best chance of success, you will need the following ship and crew combinations available:
1 Transport (Crew does not matter)
1 Carrier (Must have undead/human/panda crew)
1 Submarine (Crew does not matter)
2 Battleship (Only 1 battleship needs undead/human/panda crew)
2 Destroyer (Only 1 destroyer needs undead/human/panda crew)
Also, those ships will mostly need to be epic to make sure you have two equipment slots per ship you can customize. Some ships have custom crew (like Murlocs) so they may fulfill multiple conditions without using an equipment slot, but for planning, those ships on the list up there are the ones you will need.
Now, one thing to keep in mind is that you can keep destroying ships at the Shipyard table and then going and make another. Yes, it takes a while for the next ship to be finished but to get that perfect ship with the right crew can be a true relief. You can change equipment out later, but the crew is yours forever. Or until you scuttle the bastard. I wouldn’t worry about trying to proc a rare or epic ship, I’d be more concerned with the right crew combo. Nothing hurts worse than releazing you’ve leveled all your ships to epic and you really should destroy one so you can have the right crew available.
As a side note, you can rename your ships. I still haven’t done that yet, but I have been reliably told there is (so far) no profanity filter for your ship names. Go nuts.
as a super special side note if you happen to get a Murloc ship (like the one I show you from my Warlock above), save it. It’s got a Murloc crew that is pretty rare, so hang onto it. It doubles as a transport. Also, I love the idea of a ship with an all Murloc crew. As pirates. Singing show tunes. Well, murgling show tunes. And if murgling wasn’t a word for a singing Murloc before, it is now.
I’m assuming a lot here. I assume you know you have to go out and get the patterns for ship equipment before you can buy them at your shipyard. Or where to find them. That kind of thing. I know you’re all usually better informed than I am and you’re reading this for amusement value. Still, if someone does have a question about something I passed over just say so, I’ll be happy to help.
About ship equipment, you’ll rarely ‘just happen’ to have the exact equipment and ship loadout combination you need for all those treasure missions, legendary quests or Hellfire Citadel loot missions you want to run.
That means you’ll be buying new equipment to load up your ships, at the stupidly inhibiting price of 500 Garrison Resources. EACH. Ugh.
STUPID amounts of resources.
Still, rather than rail at the Gods of the Frozen Storm for setting such a steep cost, let’s work out some solutions.
What I’ve done is fired up both a level 3 Trading Post AND a level 3 Lumber Mill at my Garrison to keep me fed with resources. And I do the follower missions for them. And I set my Tree Follower to the Lumber Mill to boost the gain. I damn near forgot I had that Evergreen chap, nice to see he’s still willing to help me butcher his leafy friends to fuel my war machine.
Using Garrison buildings to boost resource production is one method to speed things up, but the other is to try and get bonus free ship equipment.
Having at least one or two ships with Troll (Horde) or Gnome (Alliance) crews is a treasure. The Troll and Gnome Crews bring back equipment when the mission is complete. So far, every single successful mission I have sent my Gnome Crew on has brought back some equipment that is worth 500 Garrison Resources each. I just stash them in my bags, hoarding them until needed.
This is where destroying ships and making news ones looking for the right crew comes into play. It’s not just for Human/Panda/Undead crews. If you make sure to get a Destroyer or Battleship with a Gnome/Troll crew, there are frequently 4 hour naval training missions up for those ship types so you can keep that ship busy bringing you back some equipment and saving you massive resources. Stockpile those up and use them!
Now, other gates to sending ships on missions are Oil and Time.
Oil is pretty obvious. If you go to Tanaan and do dailies and kill rares, you’re going to have plenty of Oil. I’m getting plenty of Follower missions that being some back too. Oil is not gating my ability to do ship missions. I was all worried about the Oil thing before the patch went live. Little did I know what equipment was going to cost. Worried about oil my big furry butt.
Um, that didn’t come out right. I don’t mean I want you to oil my big furry butt, I’ve already got tons of oil… damn it, I did it again. Um. Okay, I’ll come back to that and fix it later.
Time is the other big factor. With so many missions taking from 4 to 18 hours (and thank you to Blizzard for pulling back from the two full day stuff, OMG), you can only run what you can get done.
One thing I didn’t know going into this patch was that the Mage Tower / Spirit Lodge did more than have Ogre Portals to whisk you away across the map of Draenor.
The other HUGE thing a Mage Tower or Spirit Lodge can do for you is give you work orders for Apexis Crystals, which now have tons of value. Mounts sure, but 20,000 Apexis now gets you an ilevel 695 token to upgrade that baleful gear that drops like flies this patch.
Ilevel 695! And you can choose what baleful gear to upgrade so you can choose to upgrade pieces that have optimal stats! Even better, those 20k upgrade tokens are bind to account, so if you have alts that were slowly gathering hoards of Apexis from the 600 crystal follower missions, those things just proved their value.
Sorry, talking about Mage Towers and Spirit Lodges and benefits for your Shipyard.
When you complete a work order for the MT/SL, there is a CHANCE (about 30% per work order for me) that you will ALSO get a Mission Completion Order. You can have up to five at a time, and using one instantly completes a Garrison Follower mission… or a Shipyard mission. At least, when they don’t bug out as they apparently are occasionally doing. I haven’t had it happen to me yet, and I’ve used several, but I’ve heard it can.
It was a tough choice for me to drop my Dwarven Bunker / Gobline Workshop for a Mage Tower, but I’ve never regretted it yet. I have gotten plenty of those Mission Completion Orders and they have hastened the leveling and mission progress for me quite a lot.
Just imagine, you send your ships on an 18 hour mission at 97%, and instead of waiting until tomorrow to find out if your Murloc ship blew up, you can use a Mission Completion Order and find out RIGHT NOW that it blew up.
And let the murgling commence.
So, to recap.
Don’t be afraid to destroy and rebuild new ships now to lay the foundation for having leveled ships with the right crews later.
Ships with Human/Panda/Undead crews are critical to get that extra success chance for the Legendary quest lines, but also try to aim for some Gnome/Troll crews to get you free equipment and save Garrison Resources.
If you’re starved for Garrison Resources, don’t be afraid to double dip a Trading Post and Lumber Mill. If you choose only one, I’d take the Trading Post because of the delicious +20% faction reputation bonus you get with it at level 3. You do want to fly someday, right?
And finally, if you are done with leveling your Garrison Followers and don’t mind having to buy all three of your weekly raid bonus rolls, don’t hesitate to dump your Dwarven Bunker / Goblin Workshop for a Mage Tower / Spirit Lodge for the bonus Apexis Crystal work orders and Mission Completion Orders.