Tobold's Blog
Friday, January 02, 2015
Toying with garrisons

The first building you get for your garrison is the barracks. As that takes up your only large spot at the time and you don't get another large spot until level 100, many people tend to just keep the barracks forever. But I like to toy around with stuff and see if other options aren't as good. And I think that during leveling, at least for certain character classes, the War Mill / Dwarven Bunker is superior to the barracks.

At level 1 the barracks just gives the occasional patrol mission, which slightly speeds up leveling for your followers. But I found my followers level up fast enough anyway, and the barracks at level 1 really don't make an impact. You might not even notice those patrol missions in your mission overview. The War Mill / Dwarven Bunker on the other hand doubles your chance of getting random upgrades for quest rewards, and gives higher upgrades, and an unexpected epic upgrade is sure something you will notice!

At level 2 the situation is more ambiguous. The barracks at level 2 permit you to take one of your followers as bodyguard with you. For my warrior that isn't all that useful, he can withstand hits on his own. And classes that already have pets might not benefit all that much from a bodyguard either. But for my shadow priest or frost mage I think the barracks at level 2 are not a bad option. In comparison the War Mill level 2 bonus is relatively weak. The armor / weapon upgrades for followers might be helpful, but farming iron scraps for cosmetic armor transmogrification probably appeals only to some specific players.

The other three options for large building appear to be more niche. Stables are nice for mount collectors, and help on resource gathering runs, but I'm not sure that they are worth it for most players. The Goblin / Gnome Workshop produces limited numbers of items with limited use. And the Magetower / Spirit Lodge gives you some fast travel option on a continent that is relatively small and already gives you 2 hearthstones. Did you try any of these?

The bodyguard is actually a pretty big DPS increase. You'll want one at level 100 for apexis dailies and garrison campaign quests.

If take a level 3 barn, the bodyguard also greatly assists with taking down the elite mobs.
The patrol missions are important to do, because you need to do 50 for the achievement that unlocks the lvl 3 barracks.

Level 3 barracks gives 5 more follower slots, which is absolutely necessary.
As said the bodyguard is a significant dps increase even as a 100 in good gear.

The problem with the war mil is its a significant drain on resources, pretty much obligating a resource generating building.

I tried the other large building is beta their just isn't enough appeal in them. I am hoping for boost at some point but will probably take them just for achievements at some point.
Most buildings' level 3 upgrades are gated behind achievements. Get on barn and barracks asap so you can make progress towards theirs, trapping animals and completing patrol missions respectively.

Barn is almost mandatory because its level 3 product, savage blood, is necessary for all good crafted gear.

Barracks is almost mandatory because of the bodyguard and 25 follower limit.

Bunker/warmill 1 is very important to have when you are questing Nagrand. Doing so will significantly lower or eliminate the gap between questing at 100 and jumping into LFR & heroics. Warmill 3 will save you a medium amount of time farming cash, honor, and/or resources at 100.

Inn/Tavern should be gotten to 2 so you can get an additional scavenger trait(s), as well as Oralius's Crystal, Aviana's Feather, and the Everblooming Frond. Afterwards you can kick this building over if you are not constantly running dungeons.
Also, the game never tells you why you are leveling and gearing your followers, so I will. Once you have 2 645 ilvl followers it will spawn occasional "Highmaul Cache" missions with rewards of personal 655 gear, or higher if you have beaten Highmaul bosses many times at the various difficulties. These missions are difficulty 645 and have 6 threats to counter, so get that salvage yard/warmill hummin.
Savage blood is produced far too rarely from the barn and the price of savage blood on the AH is plummeting. It's just not that great a building.

The stables prevent you from getting dazed off your mount ever so you can ride anywhere, through any pack of mobs, on the way to wherever you're going. With no flying I feel like it's the next best thing.
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IMO, the no-daze from the stables is huge, not to mention the +20% mount speed. Mage tower is my other favorite. I have limited play time and anything that gets me to where I want to go faster is a huge plus.
I am surprised and a bit pleased to find dissent on the best buildings. It's good that most are useful.

Savage blood is 913 g on my server currently. Each of my barns produces about 1.75 bloods a day. That may or may not be worth another building to a person. Blood remains very scarce to the individual and incredibly valuable. I do not expect the price to dip much more until a 670 piece is raidable by casuals. Indeed it only dipped to its current price because folks like me saw the 3000 price tag a couple weeks ago and ensured our alts had barns.

I have not had the inclination lately to run through any packs of mobs, but I would enjoy the speed for sure.
Best during levelling and best at max level is two different things. For me, the War Mill/Bunker will always win for levelling because not only will the gear upgrades help questing, it gets significantly easier to cross the gear gap between questing and heroic dungeons with upgraded Nagrand gear. Upgrading it to level 2 can wait until you have more resources.

If you have only one 90+ character an argument can be made for keeping the barracks for the Patrol mission achievement, but if you have alts at 90 it takes an hour or two to set up their garrison. That lets you accumulate resources on them and also gets that Patrol achievement counter ticking. Then it's a matter of how often you can be bothered to log in to check their missions.

Alts are excellent if you want to trade in-game time for real (waiting) time. I shaved several days off my lvl 3 Barn and Barracks that way, and if I had started earlier I think we're talking a week or more.
I pretty much agree with everything Scott posted. There are a lot of buildings you will start with and then convert to something else when you finish with them (the Inn/Tavern is a great example), so make sure you have a decent stash of garrison resources before ditching your Lumber Mill.

I am surprised to see Gevlon say the level 3 Barracks is necessary. If you are raiding, the only mission you care about is the Highmaul mission, and 20 followers is more than enough to cover that.
If you take your bodyguard out often, you'll rep up with him. This is worth achievements, and personalized quest lines for each of them. I haven't started that, but I would like to see those.
Bodyguard is excellent, besides the max. number of followers to 25 is one of the best things with the barracks. Don't underestimate this. Later follower missions with followers at iLvl 645 grant you random raid equipment up to iLvl 655... And for that you need the weapon and armor upgrades - war mill / bunker is great here. I also suggest the sawmill or stables, this provides a nice additional income of garrison resources. Trees -> Sawmill -> resources -> war mill/bunker -> weapon/armor upgrades -> shiny epics for the character :-) only need to visit beautiful Nagrand for trees.
random raid equipment till 655? Not true, random raid equip till 680.
You just need to have killed 15 heroic bosses to make it give mythic loot rewards (also 15 normal bosses for heroic lvl rewards)
I think Blizzard did a really good job with the buildings. There is no definitive answer what buildings are "the best", it all depends on your playstyle. And even that changes from leveling to maxlevel.

While leveling you are starved for garrison resources, also you're probably out in the wild a lot so a Lumber Mill makes sense. It gives a nice follower too.

And so you can argue about every building. I currently have both Bunker and Salvage Yard to equip my followers. Once that is done the only reason to keep them would be selling random epics from chests and save some gold with the free token. One player has enough gold and might change to third profession building and gnomish gearworks, the other not.

I have not tryed gearworks and magetower yet. A player who has very little time and gold can probably get good use out of the magetower: gryphon flight costs add up and it takes a minute to get anywhere too.

Interesting decisions to make for every plot.
I found the stable pretty sweet. Being able to gather and use quest clickies whilst mounted, and being immune to being dismounted by monsters dazing you, is a real quality of life boost.

And as others have said, the barracks follower should be thought of more as a DPS boost than as a tank. He's just not resilient enough to tank, you'll quickly find him dead and on a one hour cooldown.
The buildings are quite well balanced. Most people think that one or two are essential while the others are worthless, but no one can agree on what those two are.
I am currently war mill and barracks because I am focusing on the follower game, but once I get a stockpile of follower equipment and all the transmog I want I'll switch out to a stables for mounts collecting.
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