Tobold's Blog
Thursday, September 17, 2015
The future of garrisons

In World of Warcraft I finished building up my 5th garrison to all buildings having level 3, including the shipyard. Yay! Only that the exercise felt kind of futile, since it has become very clear that the garrison as player housing was only temporary and the next expansion will have something else. While the next expansion is still a year or so in the future, we already know that there is no more major new content added to this expansion. And so I'm kind of looking at all things with a regard on what progress I can make that is transferable to the next expansion, and what stuff becomes obsolete.

So for example having 5 characters at level 100 is a good thing for the next expansion, as that gives me plenty of options which classes to play. I'll also certainly have over a million gold and a bunch of WoW tokens in stock for the next expansion. As most of that gold comes from garrisons, I certainly don't regret to have build so many of them. But what parts of the garrison might still be useful once Legion hits?

Most buildings in the garrison clearly won't be of any use in Legion: The barracks, stable, pet menagerie, etc., all clearly state that the bonuses they give only apply to Draenor zones. Many others produce resources or crafted goods which will become worthless in the next expansion. Yes, I can craft epics and upgrade them to up to iLvl 715, but I guess that in the first zone of Legion green drops will have an iLvl of 750 or so. I could still vendor those epics, but the pithy sum that gives clearly isn't worth the effort.

Of the follower missions a good number will become equally useless. I already don't use the xp mission any more on most of my characters, and of the missions giving other rewards, many rewards like Apexis crystals or epics will have become obsolete. This most important exception to that is missions giving gold. Gold is always useful, even if price levels generally go up from one expansion to the next. Blizzard has already nerfed gold missions somewhat, and it is totally possible that they will nerf them some more in order to prevent gold mission farming to continue into Legion.

One possible use of the garrison in the future might be for teleportation: Assuming we keep the garrison hearthstone, it will be possible in Legion to use the garrison portal to Ashran and the city portals from there to quickly get to any old world city. On the other hand the third incarnation of Dalaran probably will also have portals everywhere, and everybody might have set his main hearthstone to Dalaran.

So overall I think it is completely likely that garrisons in Legion will be as little used as the Pandaria farms were used in Warlords of Draenor. I just hope that the replacement player housing, the guild halls, don't feel much less like a home. Overall I liked garrison, and their main drawback is that they are maybe *too* useful. As player housing goes, that is hard to beat.

Unless they are nerfed heavily, they can still print gold. The missions bring salvage that you can vendor. Garrison resources can be sold for "pouch of coins" too.
I expect that garrisons would be both nerfed and lose the Hearthstone, rendering them much like Dal was in Cataclysm. Blizzard wants you playing new content, not loitering around in old stuff.

Garrison in their current state will be useless, mostly because they belong to a zone that will become (almost) useless, apart from leveling. Nobody will waste days or weeks to upgrade a garrison to level 3, recruit 25 followers, clear normal-heroic raids to unlock better gold missions.

Pandaria farms were abandoned as soon as Draenor kicked in. But what if the garrison gets ported to the new Legion zone? What if it just starts producin Legion resources (Legion ore, Legion herbs, salvage crates with Legion stuff too, ...)? That could do the trick.

Even if Blizzard leaves the garrison in Draenor but with updated mats/drops... it could be a nice way to step outside the Legion zones to do something useful.

I just hope they don't add a new garrison-thing while Draenor garrisons become obsolete. We don't need another Pandaria farm.
I'm just trying to figure out what to do with trade skills. Blizzard keeps shotgunning in lots of ideas, but it seems as though they have no real skill at analyzing them after the fact to see what will really "stick" and work long term.

The problem. I expect, is that they are treating it like a TV show. They have, apparently, already designed Legions and are just finishing it up and are already working on the next expansion.

It's clear, for example, that the only people that "hated garrisons" are extroverts and basement dwellers that would have complained about anything short of a 24/7 intravenous narcotics drip. For everyone else, Garrisons provided a lot of activities, things to level, and a way to gather resources that didn't involve fighting off competition.

I, for one, am not looking forward to fighting off the hordes to get resources in Legion. I only hope they have the sense to leave in the gating mechanic that moderates the amount of materials you can get to craft items. A good example of this is timber for the Lumber mill. It's basically impossible to denude the land of timber because you can only start 6 work orders a day per character, and you can collect that much timber easily. You can have short term shortages, but not the condition where dozens of people are constantly hunting tree spawns and only the quickest get trees.
That's the problem with level-based MMOs --- all content is "soon to be obsolete".
Blizzard already said that Garrisons are WoD content and that come Legion you'll have as much incentive to visit it again as the MoP farm.

I think they'll nerf everything to the ground that even remotely competes with Legion content for max level chars and probably even twinks. Gold missions and crates especially. No need to nerf profession epics because Legion ilvl 750 greens.

If you want to get around attuning your hearthstone to Shrine in MoP is already superior. I think I'll get the mage tower everywhere for the few times when I visit Draenor. But then again last weekend I spent 4 hours doing the remaining Pathfinder stuff and can fly. I didn't really plan to do it but then saw my guild mates fly and realized that there wasn't that much to do anyway. Having leveled different chars in different zones for variety I was almost done with Loremaster, hop around for some treasures, do 3 apexis zones and that was it.

Now I have got another char from 96 to 100: celebrating Pathfinder I flew around picking treasures. I guess exp gain from treasures will be nerfed sometime in the future because it seems like the optimal way to level through Draenor now.

Back to topic of garrison becoming obsolete... I really hope so. There should be nothing in older expansions that compells my max level char to go back. Having fun with lower level twinks in old content is fine as always though.
I would like to point out that greens in Legion won't be iLevel 750. 650 tops, and probably closer to 625.

When you started WoD, in your 550 SoO gear, did you get 575 greens? No? I went to level 95 on my more advanced chars before I even thought of swapping out my gear, and I wasn't even in the "top geared" group in SoO.

WoD is MoP on steroids when it comes to the number of people ending with near max gear. iLevel 690 to 700 is not uncommon, even people that only use LFR can do it.

At the same time, the entry level for a new expansion is capped by people leveling through the old expansion and seguing directly into the new one the second they hit the minimum level (100 in this case)... so mobs have to be defeatable by a player in iLevel 600 gear and give them an update as well.

If nothing else, this will be interesting.
I was talking about max level chars. Best MoP profession gear was 553 which is worse than any greens from Nagrand. Nagrand greens are also better than MoP mythic raid gear.

It will be the same when Legion launches, last zone Legion greens will be better than anything in Draenor including mythic, hence my ilvl 750 assumption.
One building will remain competitive: the tailoring emporium.
Unless there is a recipe for a 32-slot bag made out of basic Legion cloth.
I'm not so sure about a bigger bag. Blizzard doesn't really like adding more bag space and we'll also get a new system to store items for transmog like the toybox which will free up a lot of space.

Prediction: the new epic bag will only be 30 slot.

And even if there is a 32 slot, old bags always sell. Every new Alt needs 11 bags.
I made money from selling 16 slot Burning Crusade bags in Pandaria.
There will surely be a new Legion bag. It'll be expensive as hell.
I used occasionally go back to Quel'Danas during Wrath for bombing runs. It's a pity do few missions are actually *fun*.
Let's see:

Menagerie - provides you with tokens to buy pets, pet levelling and quality upgrading stones, pet XP doublers, and occasionally with pets themselves (rare reward from bag). Some of that rare reward pets are among best in game. Verdict: unless nerfed, it will be havily used by pet crowd.

Salvage yard - if not nerfed, will probably be #1 earner building. 32g greens in the box won't be abandoned. (Not to mention transmog greens that sometimes sell for big money).

Gem boutique - daily for 250 g on average for minimal amount of work, any character. Might have some use.

Inscription quarters - more variable daily gold, requires milling - less useful than former.

Mine/herb garden - only for pet crowd and resourses for gem boutique daily. Also transmog items from garden.

Tailoring emporium - big BoE bags and elekk plushie. Will be used by tailors.

Smithy - will be used for pet production (i.e. not much).

Enchanting quarters - if enchant illusions are not nerfed, will be used for these.
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