Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Some Things That Could Have Made Garrisons Better

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.

Trophy Room:

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.

Armor Dummies:

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?


  1. Let's see... hated having to mine and herb my garrisons, so I stopped that really fast on all chars. They should have been account-wide somehow.
    Hate Gladiator Sanctum. Linking an arena that requires 10 randoms to queue to a lvl 3 semi-useless building is stupid. Should have been baseline like the menagerie.
    Wingmen should have had their utility ability from the start, should have been baseline and should have had better controls. Aeda follower was horror.
    Facebook missions pissed me off. While I enjoy the rewards a lot and liked figuring out counters and gearing, the concept of it was nasty. Maybe they should have designed it around wingmen. Swtor companions, their missions and stories come to mind.
    Customization, yes. Everything they did offer was very underwhelming. Even my blood elf guards consist of 5 or 6, rest being trolls and orcs. Flags are changed only at the entrance. Archeology being grounded didn't help with the feel either, the room stayed mostly empty. Personally I liked the Alliance one better.
    Shipyards were crap, felt unrewarding, they also should have moved them closer somehow. Felt disconnected.
    Lots of things I liked, lots of things I didn't.

    1. Seems like you disliked garrisons more than most.

      The alliance garrison was no doubt better than the horde one. There were things I liked about the horde one but over all it was blah in comparison.

      I don't think there was anyone like liked shipyards. lol

    2. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

      Well I respectfully disagree about the player housing not being the purpose of the Garrison in WoD. Blizzard never simply takes an idea and implements it. Oh no, they put their spin on it, modifying the idea until it fits what they think of as their "vision" for the game. Garrisons, all denials to the contrary, are exactly player housing, Blizzard style.

      They were not well done in many ways, from not having assigned workers do any work (I've yet to Fiona pick a single herb) to having a shipyard that is in the next county over. Perhaps the biggest lie Blizzard has yet uttered was the "Garrisons are not mandatory" one. Unlike flying, which I would call a lie of omission, the garrison lie is one of direct commission.

      I doubt seriously a new to Draenor character has any choice but to establish at the basic level the minimal garrison. Even with flight allowed for a new to Draenor character, would there be any way other than getting to the minimum of having a garrison and still have the quests needed to proceed? I doubt it.

      With regards to considering a player's garrison as player housing, this is simply Blizzards' "bigger and better" than other games' version of the same. In Lord of the Rings for example, my wife's character had a nice hobbit hole, nearly as nice as Bags End was for Bilbo. In Blizzards' Draenor, we get a whole settlement as our own personal base, complete with a hearthstone to our own private locale. In other words, we don't get just a manor, we get to be the Lord of the Manor.

      I would further posit that it was being the Lord of the Manor, with workers who do no obvious work other than going on quests alone or in small groups, disguised the basic nature of this being the player housing long sought by some WoW players (me included). We stay so busy running our Garrison that it is NOT a place to rest, make repairs and prepare to go back out into the cold cruel world.

      Simply keeping up the garrison becomes instead a full time job. In future expansions, I expect people will begin to treat the Draenor garrison more as a personal home base, probably with a minimum of the storehouse (bank) and perhaps a few other buildings as personally desired but no longer needed.

    3. @Grumpy
      Overall, I'd say I'm in the group who liked the garrison. I didn't mind professions linked to it, I didn't mind everyone having a mine (I myself am a miner on my main). There's a lot of convenience there too, I built in mine the bank and the AH, I geared my alts that I would have otherwise ignored and I manged to scrape enough gold to buy all the TCG I was missing.
      There's just a lot of little things I'd change if I had the option. Things that made it feel grindy and facebook-ish.

    4. Nowadays, player housing defines you having some plot and some assets you can move to your liking and create something you enjoy. Buildings are too big to be assets.
      Wildstar and Rift have great housing systems, where you can build and position and create items form other items, construct your own buildings and so on. This is basically what people call housing nowadays.
      LOTRO's system is old, with its "plug in the piece of furniture here" style, but it still has a more custom feel to it than garriosns do. You can customize the walls, the floors, the house type, pic the furniture, there's trophies and paintings. Key her being that there's probably not another house exactly like mine if I actually decorate it. While WoW just has a very small pool of building to switch, different followers, some flags and guard changes and pets running around. Meh.

      When I go to Sunwell, I often look at assets and think how I'd like those bushes and those trees and those columns to decorate my house somewhere in Silvermoon. Well, if there was one to decorate.

      I agree with Grumpy, I don't think they were meant to be player housing. I think they were more inline with having an RPG version of the RTS elements, while offering some basic customization.

      It's actually quite funny, but Dragon Age 3 has a system exactly like WOD's garrison. You get your pick of 2-3 major buildings, you have some tiny customization like drapes and windows of the throne room and a bit more for the style of your bed. You also have a command table where you send your 3 followers on mission. I wouldn't call that player housing either.

    5. @Anon

      Wildstar did a fairly good job with their player housing. You can even build your own dungeons on it. And it is not something where I felt the need to spend all my time there either. But I did want to visit it every day, which is a problem I had with garrisons as well. I think blizzard tired to be more "wildstar" player housing than any others.

      Sadly because of the major backlash to garrisons and what they did and didn't do for the game I doubt we will see another attempt at player housing from blizzard for a long time to come.


      Well for someone who liked it you seem to be rather upset with it.

      Oddly this expansion has a lot of that. Many things were "good" but we still both liked and disliked them. It seems there were no home runs this expansion. Just a lot of hits and misses but no big take away from it, at least it seems that way for most.

    6. I complain if asked, but overall I was happy with the feature. The only thing I have been really vocal about is the boost selling business, which I detest, mostly because it has turned a fun environment where happiness came from finishing and achieving things into something too much like the real world. Where money talks and appearances are all that matter.

      /rant off

    7. I can't say I really know a lot about the boost stuff. I had on occasion bought my spot into a run with my horde character, to get some gear to start off, but nothing this expansion and even at that, I think I only did it twice ever and it was more a side deal than a buy in, so to speak.

      Mind if I ask how the boost selling changed? I really do not know.

      Last expansion when everyone and their mother was selling garrosh kills for the weapon I gave them away free. If I had the space and I could carry you, no need to pay me, have fun and enjoy, that is what the game is about.

  2. There were two things I absolutely loathed about 6.0 and 6.1: no flying, and Garrisonville.

    The single, most simple thing that should have been done with the Garrison was to make it account wide per faction. That's it, as simple as that. 99% of the problems solved in one go.

    The mine could be used by any character who was a Miner. The herb garden by your Herbalist. And so on. If none of your toons could make use of it, you could get a follower with the correct trait to do it for you slightly less efficiently as you suggest.

    It wouldn't be possible to earn millions of gold from running missions multiple times, because you'd only have to do it once per day.

    As a purely cosmetic side-effect, your alts could saunter around the Garrison like your followers do. You could admire their cool transmogs, or cringe at the WoD guff they're still wearing.

    I was going to say hindsight is a wonderful thing, but these things were obvious from the get go. And then they doubled-down and bolted on Galleonville. Sigh.

    Now 6.2.2 is here and I can finally fly, I'm pretty happy with WoD. My five Garrisons are making more money than I've ever had for zero effort. [Quick side note: running one wing of LFR nets me 165g less repair bills. I can make that in a few seconds with my Garrison. The economy of effort v reward is utterly broken].

    I don't need to mine for mats, the Herb gardens can be done in a few seconds when wearing the gloves which are now easy to get because of flying. The time and gold I sunk into those Garrisons is paying me back over and over again, I'm now in a position where I can play for free.

    I hope Blizz have learned from Garrisons and that these class faction halls in Legion are a fun addition to the game.

    I'm happy to play WoD for free until I like what I hear about Legion and upgrade to it. Win/win for me.

    1. If there was one (or two if per faction) garrisons per account it would have really helped with the alt issue. I had so many 100s to fast that once I reached 6 or 7 I was doing garrisons and garrisons only when I logged in. That is why I stopped leveling alts. I did not want more. I didn't even have enough time to do the ones that were already 100.

      You make a good point about gold from LFR. For them to make LFR worth it, gold wise, they would need to give 2,500 and no repair bills from any wipes while in there. Then "maybe" it might be worth running from a gold stand point.

      I know about the pay back, my rogue, who entered the expansion with roughly 20K on him and paid for all his garrison upgrades himself is sitting on 180K now. And I rarely log into him. Maybe, at most, once a week. So yeah, garrisons are a massive return on investment.

      The problem comes when you are like me. Someone who was over gold cap before the expansion started. Gold is not really a great motivator. If I was broke I would be on all characters every day trying to make gold. But I do not need it so it lost its fun after a short time.

      Each person has their own motivator. For someone like me, gear is a motivator. So if they added valor gear back I would be running alts through dungeons and valor capping to buy gear. Outside of that, I do not see anything they can add currently that would make me want to play more.