Insert Graphic Here on your return, Nubcake :D
I did say, before I went away nearly a week ago, that if anything significant emerged on the 'Actual News' front I would decloak and make some noise. I'm sitting here with the English Channel to my right on a very passable late May morning, and I've just read for what is probably the sixth time the much-anticipated Garrisons Blog that Blizzard published yesterday. It doesn't matter how many times I re-digest the information, there is no denying that in terms of actual new data, there is only one major point of interest to be had. We are now aware that you will have a Garrison in your starting area, but you will also establish outposts in every zone in Draenor. You'll also have a choice to make in each zone: pick from two possible options, and that will provide you (presumably) with the opportunity to create a 'different' Garrison experience with every new character you level.
However, what is abundantly obvious from this first 'part' of the four (every week? who can tell currently) part series, is that my assertion that this experience is pretty much integral to the questing experience is on the money. Blizzard are clearly at pains to reiterate that you don't need to do any of this if you want to level using dungeons or battlegrounds and that you can simply buy your way to the same result. However, what is abundantly clear is that they're hoping you won't want to, and that's why the blogs are here to begin with. However, there remains a DISTINCT LACK of any imagery or data apertaining to the meat and bones of your Garrisons exeprience: no Mission screens, no Professions data, nothing but the briefest mentions of what you'll be asked to do when defending your base of operations, and for most this will be the deciding factor as to whether or not they commit to the process.
That lack of information is obviously deliberate as this is being trailed as a four part series. However it may also be partly due to neccesity as this feature is still clearly 'under construction.' I've been checking Wowhead daily on the mobile for the slightest sniff of an updated Alpha push, because I suspect when new data happens in the next couple of weeks it will be very significant. In fact, my previous concerns that everything would appear whilst I was away are receding: however, what is apparent is that it is becoming very close to a position where a playable client will be available. Major mechanics are clealy in place, and if Blizzard are prepared to start officially discussing the feature, testing should not be far away.
Needless to say, I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to poke me yesterday and point out the Blog had dropped (you're all lovely) and that even though I may not actually be 'here', I am still listening. Let's hope next week's blog has more revelations than this. More importantly, let's cross everything we actually get the data next Wednesday at the same time. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off for a lovely long walk to work up an appetite for lunch :D