Saturday, August 23, 2014

To Build A Home :: The Test

Someone was bound to ask...

It's been a while since we did a Garrisons Post, due to holidays and other gubbins, and I'll be doing my best to make a long-overdue update to the Dedicated Site next week. For now however, I wondered how long it would be before someone asked the following question of Blizzard, especially as it was late May since we saw any kind of 'official' Blogging on the subject:

Do you think Blizzard is putting too much emphasis on garrisons? Feels like they're heavily tied in with leveling and overall game play to the point you simple cant not do them. I feel Blizzard would do so much better just focusing on epic raids and heaps of dungeons, that's our bread and butter. 
Trying to reinvent the wheel every expansion will always bring about hits and misses. 

We're putting together (at long last) more information on the Garrisons that will hopefully assuage a lot of concerns people have and share more about the gameplay that goes with it. It will take us a little longer to put that information together for you all, but I think it will shed some light on the depth of Garrisons while also making it clear how much or how little you can interact with them (based on what you want from it). They definitely have something to offer pretty much everyone (save the rare person). 
We'll do our best to try to address as many concerns and questions as people have in those blogs and in the forums here as we go along. 

What this says to me is twofold: firstly (and most importantly) because there's been no word from Blizzard since May 'officially' on the feature it is clear that Garrisons are STILL NOT complete, demonstrated in the Beta where not all professions are as yet tied into their respective Buildings. Clearly there are a number of other factors at play, but when the first 'official' blog was debuted three months ago the gap between development and release was considerably wider than it is now. However, that gap still very much exists, and I would venture to suggest (looking at CM Nethaera's wording above) that 'take a little longer' could well mean we won't see an 'official' Garrisons comment before 6.0 hits.

Second of all, it is finally becoming apparent that, despite what Blizzard might say otherwise, this feature is a MAJOR change to 90-100 GAMEPLAY. Note I put the G word in capitals because, as the OP points out Blizzard are, yet again, re-inventing the wheel. What our poster may fail to grasp is that if they didn't do this, there would be FAR more complaints that we were simply being given the same stuff, over and over again, that Expansion = new, and this means at least in some form coming up with solutions to long-tern player concerns. Levelling has ALWAYS been a problematic gating mechanism (and it is, like it or not) and making this 'journey' interesting for every single person who plays (because that's what it has to do) is no mean feat to achieve. The Garrison makes things interesting for those who do level to give them a number of options they didn't previously have. However, it is still levelling, pure and simple. The only things that's changed are the mechanics.

Your home. With caveats.

Even though there are those who would say they are happy with just 'epic raids and heaps of dungeons', historically this is not enough, because if it were, people wouldn't have complained so vociferously when Blizzard put the brakes on current development. There NEEDS to be downtime, and that traditionally means the solo player content, whatever it might be. In the upcoming Expansion Blizzard have taken large swathes of single player content and effectively consolidated it in one place. Therefore, a Garrison is effectively your own, PERSONALISED single player quest hub. The key difference between this and any other Expansion is the fact you are the arbiter of what parts of this experience you choose to take part in and NOT Blizzard. They give the options, you make the choices: that's why in every Zone you play you'll be given the choice between one of two structures that are then mirrored in your Garrison 'at home.' That is a significant change from what Questing has been in the past and its the feature I suspect the Devs are hoping make this entire endeavour attractive to as many people as possible.

My Corgi is sad that you don't like change.

Change is not something many people are happy with, despite what might appear to the contrary. However, many parts of the single player game have been unfit for purpose for some time, with Professions high amongst that list. This is Blizzard's way of offering sensible alternatives to the processes, and thought it could be seen as nothing more than re-invention, that's exactly what is needed at this time. The fact remains that if you don't want a Garrison you can simply skip the process and move on, and Blizzard will go to great pains in the next few months to make that point. However, if you choose that path, you will miss one of the most significant attempts this company have made in a decade to allow players a freedom of choice that has never previously existed in this MMO via the medium of pre-presented content. This is the first steps towards allowing players customisable housing, gear and choices. This is what Battle Pets did to vanity collecting. This is what could well be the future for many Expansions to come.

They have to hope they'll be able to entice you to play as a result.

1 comment:

Draytonwow said...

Having messed around with the Garrison somewhat on the level 100 server I like them. It is something different and I prefer hanging around there to standing in Stormwind looking at a post box.

Wandering in to your inn (if you have one) and seeing a load of the followers having a brew is amusing.

The benefits to levelling are easily felt. Getting the outpost in Nagrand to let you stay mounted while in combat is such a great levelling mechanic. Can't comment too much on the other outposts as I've avoided doing too many quests as yet.

The profession benefits of the garrison will be heartily welcomed by those that aren't interested in the AH game. It will affect that, the mine giving me near 100 of each ore at level 2 per day will mean less likely hood of wanting to buy it on the AH. Being able to DE all the quest rewards while levelling with the Enchanter building will give me a huge stockpile of mats. Yes, this will be much fun.

While I can't see this being super alt fun, it will certainly make you main character much easier to manage in relation to stocking mats and getting things done. Hopefully at least, currently I couldn't get the stupid enchanter or inscriptor to actually make me anything. Bah.

Heard Garrisons referred to as Farms 2.0. Much more than that, much more. Bring it on.