In my last MMO Times post I provided a link to an article that described the Garrisons feature of Warlords of Draenor to be “disappointing” (thus far). Assuming that Blizzard isn’t hindering folks from sharing their thoughts of the beta testing, and I’m currently in the beta, then I think its warranted for me to share my thoughts on Garrisons (as I have unlocked my garrison in the beta).
Blizzard did promise us the proverbial, yet elusive pony again with Garrisons. Originally they told players that your garrison can be placed in any zone of your choosing, however, thus far in the beta, that is not the case. Instead the garrison has been integrated into the main story line; granted I haven’t quested much beyond the first zone so I don’t know if your garrison can move or if, in the end, you can choose any place you want. You never know, that could be the case and Blizzard is using the main story line to familiarize the player with their garrison.
I have to admit, I am starting to like the garrisons more and more. The fact that you can recruit NPCs (some of which are familiar names) to be a follower and then send them on missions is very similar to the way you can utilize your companions in SWTOR. The biggest difference being that you cannot ask them to accompany you and fight at your side. You get a “garrison hearthstone” which is different then the normal hearthstone and does not have a cooldown (nor does it trigger the cooldown of the normal one). Granted this might be just a beta-only mechanic, I have no idea if that will change when the game goes live. This is especially handy when you need to return to your garrison immediately either to turn in a quest for more resources or to complete the quest your follower just returned from.
Also, during the time in which I was writing this post, a WoW Insider post had shown up with some additional details about garrisons. You may get the option to choose the style of your buildings as well as your guards depending on which of the vanilla reputations with whom you are exalted. I think this is really cool, though I don’t know if I trust my garrison to be properly protected by a bunch of gnomes in mechanical ostriches – my assailants may have too much fun punting my guards (j/k gnomes!!). Be that as it may, this is a great idea to finally utilize those vanilla reputations other than acquiring their mounts.
I think there is still a lot of potential for garrisons and I’m a little excited to see where they take them. I’m sure there will be many out there who will whine that garrisons are not more then they are but you can’t expect Blizzard to get it exactly the way you want it if you don’t lend them your mad programming skills!