I am not really a fan of shipyards after the first week. Losing an epic ship or two on missions of 88% and 92% chance of success can really put a kink in my enjoyment and I would not be surprised if others have felt the same. A guild mate failed a 98% mission yesterday and lost two epic ships on the same mission while failing it. To say he cursed a blue steak would be generous.
I have developed a tentative plan of attack on how I will manage my shipyard and perhaps some people might benefit from following the same pattern, or perhaps can offer some tips of their own.
Race played such a minor part with garrison missions that most people ignored it. The people that did recruit followers based on race were doing so more for their looks than their functionality even if with the right traits there was some functionality to it. With ships it seems to be the exact opposite. The race of your crew is insanely important.
Each faction basically has only one race that can counter something and one race that can help with mission success, all the others are useless in my opinion.
Alliance have a Draenic crew that can counter dense fog and the horde have an Orc crew that can counter Icy waters. If you can snag a non faction related race you could also pick up a counter with the murloc crew countering land objective and the Arakkoa crew countering a battleship.
These are the big four crews, the ones I want most. The other two crews I might consider keeping are the Human and Undead crews as they both increase mission success chance.
While the Draenic and Orc crew have direct counters they are specific and targeted, so useless if the counter is not being used whereas the Human and Undead give a bonus to all missions. There is a plus and a minus to both but having a selection of the four might serve you well.
All other crews can go on dangerous missions. Why not? Risk them. If they succeed, congratulations, if they don't and get destroyed, who cares, it will allow you to build a new ship that could have a better crew.
The Arakkoa crew comes on one ship and one ship only, The Awakener, which is a unique ship you can purchase from the Order of the Awakened at exalted. The Murloc Crew is a rare proc, one of a submarine called the Brgrggrgl Mark II and one of a destroyer called the Mrgrggrgl Mark III. Good luck getting them.
My plan of attack?
I want one Awakener (destroyer), one each of the Murloc crew (submarine and destroyer) and the rest an assortment of Draenei / Orc or Human / Undead, adding in some transports battleships and carriers of course.
I believe having these crews will greatly benefit me in the success of missions thanks to the extra counters they provide and I will keep building ships until I get the crews I want.
One of the first things I advise people of when they mention they want to try PvP is to stop thinking of death as a bad thing. Once you learn to handle that everyone dies in PvP it becomes a lot easier of a pill to swallow. I think the same advice should be given here and people need to understand that ships will sink, it is how this part of the game was designed.
Embrace to sink. If you have a fresh green ship, risk it. If you have one with an unfavorable crew, risk it. Heck, even if it is an epic, if it does not have a favorable crew, risk it.
The worst that could ever happen is a ship sinks. Oil is easy enough to come by, so that is not really a limiting factor on how many ships you can build and the garrison resource cost of building ships is low enough that is should not hurt anyone too badly.
Each time you build a ship you have a chance for it to come out as epic and / or for it to come out with a crew you like. So maybe losing a ship with a Gnome crew could be a good thing when it ends up replaced with a Human one.
Learn not to take the loss of a ship to hard because sink happens.
My plan of attack?
I lost some epics and I have learned much like PvP loss happens. I also think I will take a page from PvP and sometimes realize that loss is a good thing. It could replenish your mana, move you across the map, or in the case of ships it can get you a better crew and maybe even a higher quality ship.
I am going to play it fast and loose with my ships, at least the ones that will not be part of my end core. Being murloc ships are rare I will keep them safe and I will try to play it safe with the quality races that I mentioned but any other race, as long as the mission is over 50% they are going on it. Who cares if I lose them. You can't win if you do not try and in this case, even if you lose, it could end up being a win when you replace your useless Gnomish crew with an infinitely more useful Draenic crew.
Scavengers are the new Treasure Hunters:
Remember the days before treasure hunters when scavengers were the shit? Everyone was trying to get them and when one of your followers rolled with this stat it felt like a huge win. With treasures being nerfed some people are not as interested in treasure hunters as much any more (not sure why because they are still great). The thing is if you want to succeed in shipyards you will need a lot of garrison resources.
Equipment costs resources, resources are limited and not unlimited like gold, so you can only get so many per day. So to maximize the ability to get the equipment you need when you need it you will need to have a steady flow of garrison resources coming in.
So the day of the scavenger is back. Nothing better than turning that 300 resource mission into 600, or 900 or 1200. Even more so when replacing the equipment completely on one ship is going to run you 1000. Trust me, you will need resources. Anyone that has gone into this for a full week and replaced some equipment to get missions done can tell you that their previous stash of 10,000 is fast approaching 0.
You might even want to consider going back to a trading post or lumber mill if you ditched them. Just think of it this way, it is entirely possible that if you want to get close to 100% on a three person mission you might need to replace all your equipment and that could run 3,000 garrison resources. So if you plan on doing this right, you will need a good flow of resources. (yes I know that is unlikely but it is just and example)
My plan of attack?
All those deactivated scavengers are making their return to the active roster one at a time. No, I am not benching my treasure hunters but I am no longer as concerned about having the perfect crew for gear missions as I no longer need any gear for them. Garrison followers will be filled with resource collectors only, gold, garrison resources, oil, apexis, you name it. But scavengers are at the top of my list.
Getting all of the available equipment is a top priority in my opinion. Most of them you can get from killing rares in Tanann (also known as T2) and I would suggest it is even worth camping those rares or at the very least when doing additional bonus objectives, do the ones in the areas near were those rares spawn so even if you do not wish to camp them you can still kill them if they happen to pop up while doing your objective.
You will need a group to kill the savage whale shark that has one of them but I am sure you can find a group on group finder for that but the sooner the better. This has been out a week already and the longer it is out the fewer groups you will see for killing massive creatures like this. It is a get it done while it is easier to do so situations. At least this is not a rare so it is basically up all the time somewhere, it is just an elite.
One comes from the second boss in hellfire citadel which if you are not a raider or do not have the item level to get into a pug you might need to wait until LFR comes out to get this one. If you are a raider or even a part timer or past raider with the appropriate item level to pug go for it. The first two bosses on normal are rather easy in the grand scheme of things and even a loosely assembled pug with somewhat competent people should be able to kill the first two bosses without incident and the second one is the one you need. Everyone in the group get the pattern, so don't worry about having to win a roll for it.
Any other ones are really not worth getting. The ones requiring reputation do not counter anything so they are not really anything to worry about unless you are have completion addiction like me.
I purchased the fishing net and used it for a while to get a feel for it and it really is not worth a lot. The best I ever got was a total of 34 enormous fish but the worst I ever got was 14 regular fish. It is not worth losing a counter for such a tiny amount of fish, so do not even consider this one, ever. Just don't. In the vernacular of watcher, if you are using the fishing net you are doing it wrong.
The unsinkable equipment that you can get with our faction related reputation at revered might seem like an awesome thing being your ships can never be lost with it, does not counter anything. Do you know what is better than having an item that makes it so your ship won't sink? Getting 100% on the missions so there is no chance of sinking. Use counters, not unsinkable.
One thing of note with unsinkable is that you will also need to replace it after any missions that failed where your ship would have been destroyed. What it does basically is destroys the equipment instead of the ship. So if you do decide to use it make sure that if you fail you check to see if it is still there or was taken off. Maybe after you are done with the legendary quest line and the mount and pet missions and just want to do it for fun, unsinkable will work so you never need to worry about losing a ship, but early on, just work on getting the missions done and having an actual counter is better for getting them done.
My plan of attack?
None really. I have all the equipment already except unsinkable which I will be getting in a day or two most likely.
Now for the end of this post. You should have the right crews, understand the risks of losing a ship, have been stocking up on garrison resources, and have a full selection of all the possible counters through your equipment.
Don't be afraid to spend your garrison resources. You are better off spending it and making sure you can complete those important missions than you would be by being stingy with your garrison resources.
I know many people, myself included, are hoarders and do not want to part with things, we would want to save them for later should we need them. Well, right now is later enough in this case. Spend those resources, do not hoard them. Just spend them smart, think about which ships you are sending and which counters you need to add before just changing things all willy nilly and you will do just fine. Just don't fall into the "I don't want to spend them, what if I need them later" mentality that so many of us have sometimes.
My plan of attack?
Once I have all my key ships to epic with two equipment slots each I am going to switch around their gear whenever I have to so I can make sure to maximize my chance of success at any given mission. I will freely spend my garrison resources to change each and every counter as needed for each mission. Perhaps in time even figure out a few ships that I can basically lock in as done and never change.
Once I have built it all up, having my ships with my crew and my equipment, I will finish all the best quests, knock out the achievements I might not have by the time that happens, and then never step foot into the shipyard again. Except for perhaps a gear mission here and there whenever they pop up, meaning I will only need to check the shipyard every two weeks or so after I am done, and that is what I am looking forward to, being done with the shipyard because it is not fun, not at all.
Fair winds and a following sea.