I consider garrisons to be the best and worst addition to the warlords expansion. I really liked having a place of my own, it felt right and it shows that the game does have a place for player housing, even if that is not what garrisons were and surely not what they were intended to be.
In the same way however the fact that the garrisons were so important, for making gold, for getting gear, for maximizing professions, for getting crafting materials, feasts, savage bloods, etc, they felt more like work than they did fun.
Because of that reason I only have a few alts this expansion. I did not want to level more alts because I know me and I would have felt I would need to maximize my garrison on all my characters. While the leveling experience was the best it has ever been in my opinion this becomes the first expansion I have fewer max level characters than the previous one. And not just slightly fewer, about one third of the max level characters I had last expansion. Really odd being leveling was so great this expansion, if it were not for garrison I would have had more max characters than ever before.
So for as much as I liked garrisons, I really think they hurt the game a much as they helped it. At least for myself. They where awesome, but they were work, and no matter how much you love your job if you feel like you are doing nothing but that job you will start to hate it. That is not an opinion, that is a fact.
I think there are a few things they could have done to make the garrisons way more friendly and less work like as well as making them closer to player housing and less like a mini game in your own little space in an MMO.
Fewer Missions, More Followers:
I think limiting us to 25 followers was a mistake. If we wanted to have 100 we should be allowed to have 100. Instead of limiting the number of followers we had they should have limited the number of missions we had.
It would work the same, sort of. The reason to limiting us in followers was to assure we could not 100% all missions, which most, or at least many, of us managed anyway with only 25 followers. So that really was a non issue and no real excuse of limiting us to only 25.
If they had missions spawn at a rate of one mission every 4 hours, even if you are offline, than that would mean a maximum of 6 new missions a day. If they let them stack up to a total of 50 missions before they stopped spawning new ones until the old ones were done, that would mean you could go for quite a long time without visiting your mission table, without having the feeling that you are missing out on something by not doing as many missions as possible.
Having more followers active would make everything easier to 100% but at that late game stage getting 100% was not a problem anyway. So people could log on once a week and with their 100 followers they could send all their missions out. In a case like this, with so many missions going out at once, it surely would have lead to a great many of those missions you could not 100% because the people that could do so with would be out on other missions. So you could wait for them to come back to 100% them or risk them if you know this was the only time you would be on all week.
It would decrease the feel that you needed to log on every day as often as possible to get the most out of your garrison mission table. Which just so happens to be the #1 compliant I heard at the beginning of the expansion. And is still a problem when leveling alts when you also need to level the new followers which means logging in as often as possible to do as many missions as possible so you can level your followers as fast as possible.
I believe that fewer missions and more followers would have eased some of the issues people had with garrisons early on, and the problem that some still have trying to log in as often as possible to do every mission all the time.
Mine and Garden Workers:
Like the mission suggestion I believe the mine and garden could have been made to feel less mandatory, or less work like, if you will, at the very least if our workers actually, you know, worked there.
I said this in beta, I said this on release, and I will say this once again. If you assign a worker to your mine or garden they should do the mining and herb gathering. It is their job, they are your follower, they should do the work. Simple as that.
They could have capped it at one stack of each item would be gathered before you picked it up from them, so they could not stock up an endless supply. They could have even set it up that people received 20% fewer materials if their followers gathered the materials, because they are not as skilled as we are, that is why we are leaders and they are followers after all, and I do believe a great many people would have been glad to use than option instead of feeling like "I have to get to all my mines and now I have no time for anything else." which happened to a great deal of us, myself included, at the beginning of the expansion. I cycled through characters and by the time I was done mining all of them I noticed my play time for the day was done.
Professions Building Bonuses:
Professions buildings were nice and all, but they became another thing people felt they needed to do. They felt to make as many crafting materials they needed to keep their profession building running 24/7, and they were not wrong. I did it, you might have done it, and many many people did it. Logging on to all their characters to make sure they were maximizing the materials gathered from their profession building.
They should have ditched the work order idea and had it tie to the actual crafting you do. That little crate in front of your professions building would still fill up with materials, but in a different way depending on the level of your building and crafting skill.
When you did your daily cooldown and received 10 burnished leathers, your storage would get 2 additional that you needed to pick up from there, at level 1 of course. A level 2, when you did your daily cooldown 5 were added there, at level 3 it could be 10.
In addition, whenever you crafted something there was an 10% discount on the cost to craft it and the materials would appear in your professions building cache. With a level 2 tannery it would be 20% and 30% for a level 3. And there would be a small chance to proc a double return. Say you just created a level 6 upgrade to leather gear and surprise surprise, 105 burnished leather and 18 felblight just appeared in your cache.
There would be no cap on those caches, you could let it build up and clear it out whenever you wanted to being you earned those materials from your very own crafting, but I could see the need to add some cap if they felt strongly about it and I would not be adverse to that if they wanted to add one.
Having a worker in the building, as well as adding bonuses they currently do, would increase the chance of having a proc to get more materials returned when crafting something.
This would give profession building a worthwhile reason to have them, and to level them for greater recovery, but it would remove the number one complaint people had, that they had to keep refilling orders. Not like it was a big deal, but many people felt like it was just busy work, and it was. There would no orders to be placed, just craft, and get a bonus for crafting with the building, sounds good to me.
Account wide blueprints, 'nuff said.
Okay, since when have you known me to keep anything that simple. Let me expand. Being we would be having fewer missions over all, meaning fewer gold missions and fewer salvage crates, there would be less of a gold influx into the game than there is now. As such the expense of buying the blueprints with all characters would become a bit more of a burden on those that are not very good at making gold.
So account wide blueprints would just make more sense with these changes. However even without these changes with the advent of account wide this and account wide that, account wide blueprints should have been a no brainer to begin with.
Not like those monuments we have now, those can stay as is, I am talking about an area were we can display trophies. Lets say anything you have a feat of strength for you can scroll through and display it.
An area with lets say 2 display places for a level 1, 4 for a level 2 and 8 for a level 3. A place where you can put up your trophy for cutting edge garrosh, or high warlord, or whatever you have that you might be proud of that is a feat of strength.
This would lean more toward connecting garrisons a little more to a player housing idea, and I see nothing wrong with letting it be such. It would be cool to invite your friends to your garrison and they can see your accomplishments. It would also mean, if at least only in this one small area, each persons garrison was individual instead of cookie cutter.
Needless to say that with less pressure to log in every day and do everything there every day, the garrison would no longer be a place where you hung out as often, so some personal touches would not be such a bad idea I think, even if just for yourself.
How about a place where you can put armor that is in your void storage on display. A dummy you could dress up with all the pieces of that set. You could have as many as a dozen dummies that you could display your tier sets on, your personal designs on, and even more importantly, a one button outfit change when you click on a dummy that has a set on it.
When you click on one of your armor dummies there would be options to add, remove, or wear. If you choose to wear a price would pop up and if you click okay it instantly transmogs you to that gear set on that dummy.
Transmog fans rejoice, this is exactly what you wanted, you just did not know you wanted it until I told you about it. Sure this is another thing that more fits player housing, but why not, it would have been a pretty cool addition. Not to mention it would be something additional that would add a bit of a personal touch to garrisons and step away a tiny bit from the cookie cutter we all have.
Why must all alliance be humans and all horde be orcs? We should have been allowed to skin our garrisons anyway we wish. If I wanted a night elf design with night elf buildings I see no reason why I should not have it as such. I can already have all night elf guards, which I do, so why am I stuck with an all night elf run garrison in a human city? It just does not feel right.
They could even go further and offer skins for any faction in which you are exalted with. So you could have hodir designs, consortium designs, or even klaxxi designs. Talk about choices and the chance to have something different.
Sure there is the "would you sacrifice a raid tier for that" argument but please, go take a long walk off a short pier if you are coming out with that uninformed response to something that is nothing more than artwork. There is no coding, outside of the switch skin coding which would only need to be made once and done, not once for every skin, so it is all just art work.
While it is true you can not just "throw more people at it" for many things in the game as there is so much more involved, any artist can make art assets provided they have the skill as an artist, so you can in fact "throw more people at it", don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Again, more of a player housing of an idea than the garrisons we have come to love and hate, but there are a lot of people that would have liked this option and I do believe having this option would have made them better, even if I doubt I personally would have cared to change the art on any of my characters outside of that of my main. But I would not have minded seeing that option there.
When warlord was first announced at the first blizzcon blizzard said they were not going to be mandatory. When people voiced concerns on the beta blizzard said they were not going to be mandatory. At the second blizzcon blizzard reiterated that garrisons were not going to be mandatory. When warlords was released they said garrisons were not mandatory. When 6.1 came out they said garrisons were not mandatory. When 6.2 came out they said garrisons were not mandatory.
I guess that blizzard and I have a completely different definition of the word mandatory. But I guess it all depends on what you intend to do. For the things I like to do, it was, in fact, mandatory.
If you wanted to experience the entire story through the campaigns, a garrison was mandatory. If you later wanted to experience the later campaigns you not only needed a level 3 garrison, but you needed the shipyard upgrade too. If you wanted to open the flight point to the area were the garrison would be, you needed to have a garrison. If you wanted the portal to ashran, you needed a level 3 garrison. If you wanted to do the pet battle daily, the good one, you needed a level 3 garrisons just so you could get the level 3 pet menagerie. If you want to do the weekly events, like the timewalking quest, the pet battle quest, the PvP quest, the mythic dungeon quests, etc, you need to have a level 3 garrison. If you wanted to do the tanaan quest line you needed a garrison. If you wanted the tanaan base flight point you needed a garrison, if you wanted the tanaan dailies, you needed a garrison, if you wanted to buy the upgrade pieces for 695 gear, you needed that tanaan base which means you needed a garrison. Oh, and if you ever wanted to fly on draenor, you needed the garrison.
I could go on and on with all the things you need a garrison for but the be all end all is this, being the expansion is about raiding and nothing but raiding. If you wanted to complete the legendary quest line, you needed a garrison. No ifs ands or buts about it, you could not do this without the garrison, a maxed out one at that with the level 3 shipyard addition as well.
I don't know about you, but garrisons seemed pretty damn mandatory to me, even if blizzard still keeps saying differently. They say things like, "You can get to draenor without a garrison" and "You can get to tanaan without a garrisons" but seriously blizzard, look up the definition of mandatory.
I think garrisons would have been 100% better if it did not feel like they were 100% mandatory.
So what changes do you think would have made garrisons better?