No matter what your playstyle is, you can never deny how awesomely great Draenor’s new garrison feature is. Whether you PvP or PvE, it’s something we’ve all grown to love or tolerate, and it is slowly becoming something that none of us can live without any longer. While the feature has made our Warcraft gaming far more optimal and streamlined, it’s also done a lot of harm for the players and the game. We’ll go through a list of five basic elements of how Draenor’s garrisons have changed the way we game for the better or for the worst.
1. The Central Hub
Pros: Garrisons are the centerpiece to every character and the proverbial heart of every playthrough in Draenor. This is your Shrine of Two Moons, your Dalaran, your Stormwind, and your central daily hub. Literally everything of basic necessity and travel can be found in one’s garrison. Why bother going to Ashran or Orgrimmar when you have your own transmog NPC is right under the roof of your storehouse? Oh, hey! I just finished my Garrison Auction House quest! No more capital city trips for me!
Cons: You never need to leave the garrison. That is exactly the con here. When we reviewed Warlords of Draenor, we mentioned that the way Draenor is designed in a way that compels players to explore the world and its many secrets. However, when you end up at the endgame, garrisons become so accomodating, there is little reason to depart from the confines of your walls. Sure, there are dailies to deal with like Ashran and the occasional Garrison Campaign, but nothing more. It ironically goes against Draenor’s design as well as the idea that you’re playing a multiplayer game. Everything is so streamlined in one’s garrison that it makes the other 99.2% of the game into relatively useless, memory-consuming, wastes of space.
Pros: The garrison is host to your own personal mines, herb garden, and fishing spot that can be upgraded to increase the yield of their resources. With Draenor’s simplified crafting, many professions now share simple materials that can be gained from these places, like how Jewelcrafting has now forgone the use of prospecting and, thus, the need for specific gems. Though the amount of resources gained from these areas in the garrisons have been nerfed to give more significance to miners and herbalists, the garrison has effectively rendered the hassle of obtaining mats, as it was in the past, obsolete.
Cons: The idea of self sufficiency is fantastic and it does take a bit of time to get there, but you will eventually find the uselessness of miners and herbalists. This becomes especially more apparent when you have several other alts gathering resources from their own level 3 mines and garden, as well as wreaking havoc in a realm’s economy due to the abundance. Too much useless Blackrock ore. Then, by extension, crafting becomes far easier than it already is though it is counteracted by the daily mat crafting limit. It becomes seriously boring after a few months and we tend to take these pixels for granted.
Eh, Dunno: There is, however, a well balanced element in resource gathering in the form of the Barn. Sumptuous Furs, Raw Beast Hides, and Savage Feasts come at a price through capturing the various wildlife of Draenor, with the bonus of a chance of obtaining the much sought out Savage Blood by capturing Elites. It does become easier when you decide to stockpile hundreds of beasts for the work orders, but at least there is some stringent of effort required to obtain them.
Pros: What’s there to say? The minion-minigame is just too much fun. I like the whole idea of leveling and gearing my personal army that help advance the awesome that is me. Easy raid gear? Yes, please. Reputation tokens? Don’t mind if I do! Halaa Battle Tokens? Oh God, I never thought I’d ever be able to get those Talbuk! Not to mention I can get a nutty, fire-pun-spitting, undead chick flinging fire at my foes while I laugh and cackle maniacally. I can’t even begin to talk about the bad things about this. There aren’t any!
Cons: Aaaaand here we are. The one singular thing I hate about this system is that it causes a maddening case for people with OCD. In order to maintain optimal use of your followers, it’s always better to check up on the missions as soon as a mission is done and send them off again to a new one. I feel that I never get the most out of them if I fail to remember when a mission will be done and there’s this awful nagging feeling that I’m missing out on something, especially if I’m at work and have no access to the game. Blizzard seriously needs to make a garrison app. Leorajh simply can’t run around with me in the real world.
Pros: The first of all that you’d think when garrisons come to mind is that they are WoW’s equivalent to player housing. You get to customize what you’re buildings will be and pretty much how it will influence the way your character is to be played. But, more importantly, your garrison tells you that it is your garrison. It gives an intimate sense of being, making this expansion’s hub yours.
Cons: Unfortunately, the garrison is a very shallow WoW-version of player housing. The customization, so to speak, is thinly-veiled at best. Sure, it can be shaped however you want with the limited number of buildings you can construct, but it boils down to a few best combinations of buildings. On a PvP server, one cannot simply live without the Gearworks/Workshop or the mount-in-training meatshields that give a great advantage to anybody who has them. If solely focusing on PvE, the Dwarven Bunker is almost always a necessity, but of course, is dependent on a player’s capabilities. Not to mention the Trading Post for the 20% reputation and the superior production of garrison resources compared to the lumber mill, though the latter will most likely be paired with the former in the beginning. With all this, expect most of your characters to maitain the same kinds of buildings as well as the characters of your friends when you visit their garrisons. “This place looks familiar,” is a very common line among the regular denizens of Draenor.
In the end, it’s much less of a personal abode than it is another place/thing that should be optimized, much like gear and character talents. By being watered-down player housing without any real player design, the uniqueness of a player’s garrison falls flat on its face.
5. Profession Buildings and Salvage
Pros: Profession buildings provide a much needed boost to producing whatever daily mat it is that you need, making a player go past the 10 per day limit of his or her chose profession. The work orders idea is great because you can keep crafting without needing to manage it past the concept of refilling the orders and withdrawing the output, relatively easing the pain of waiting for daily mat cooldowns as those found in the older expansions.
The Salvage Yard is an amazing building that, when upgraded to level 3, can provide an immense pool of loot available in vanilla WoW up to WoD, granting players items that would be otherwise difficult to acquire as an incidental reward to completing follower missions. It’s a great boon for moggers due to its unusually high rate of dropping very rare xmog items that would normally take deus ex machina to acquire. The salvage may also yield current raid tier BoE gear, netting one either an extreme item level upgrade or breaking bank. I’ve geared soooooo many alts this way.
Cons: Much like followers, work orders can become a logistical nightmare due to it being time-based. While it can be just as easy as queue-and-forget, one may be inclined to forget for too long and lose out on some time spent on mats in the process. Remember, it takes four hours for one work order to finish, so forgetting to queue up some more orders can hurt your production severely, especially if your garrison’s and buildings’ levels are too low to accomodate larger queues.
Well, you’d think that the Salvage Yard wouldn’t yield a downside, but it too can be a horrid experience with inventory management. Sometimes, you just receive too much loot from a single crate of salvage that every set of follower missions you finish can net you not only gear but also an hour of fixing your bags. Sure, you may think, why not just sell all the junk that aren’t raid tier? Would be easier, right? Yeah, I would agree with you if only I were allergic to gold. While there are many transmog items I will never use, someone else might find it worthwhile to use them, and some lowbie transmog can get you quite a pretty penny to the right buyer. But again, as much as it sounds like a good thing, it is just as equally awful. I do not like spending the first four hours of the daily reset staring blankly at inventory slots.Related: Column, Player Housing, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday