Google+ ALT : ernative: 04/06/2014 - 04/13/2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ray of Light


Big Rock. There's a reason this is here, just not yet.

I know I keep banging on about this, but this will be the tenth year of Warcraft. That doesn't simply mean almost a decade of gaming, it represents a vast, VAST amount of Lore that's been presented to us as part of the gameplay, and even for those of us who try and resist the pull of being enthralled by all the possibilities, it still happens. Take my fiction series, for instance. It arose as a direct result of what was happening in game clashing with what I believed SHOULD have happened with the storyline, and became a way for me to cope with what was presented. The story remains the same, only my perception of the details has changed. What this has meant however is that coming into Warlords I find myself utterly and totally devolved from the upcoming storyline, with absolutely no interest in Orcs whatsoever and even less concern with the fact I'm going back in time to meet them... until I realised that actually, Garrosh's agenda should be one side of the story.

My interest, as has been the case with a number of people I know, began to move towards the Draenei, and more specifically the Light they worship.


Sparkly dudes. Back to you in a sec.


As an Alliance player I'm going to be starting in Warlords in what was Shadowmoon Valley before the Orcs threw a ton of Fel Magic at the place and reduced it to a wasteland. What the Orcs are doing there is frankly of little or no importance: what I'm hoping (and I'll have to wait and see) is if we are given any glimpse into the Temple of Karabor, which is of course what becomes the Black Temple in TBC. I'm already writing fiction in which the Temple itself plays a key part, and only when I was listening in the week to some of the datamined music that plays (presumably) when I arrive there for the first time had something of a minor epiphany. When the trailer for Mists posed the question 'why do we fight' I realised that my motivation has changed in the ten years since I began this journey. Just vanquishing a Bad Guy after a while isn't actually enough. Being the victor isn't satisfying either, it becomes almost self-defeating, because there has to be something more for the individual in terms of motivation. Just saving the World is all well and good, but how does one reconcile the personal trauma that creates?

In the end the personal cost of war is something Blizzard has spent pretty much the entirety of Pandaria presenting us with to consider.





We are about to leave an Expansion for the first time ever without a scalp of a Big Bad to brandish, because the Pandarans prevented Garrosh's end-boss execution and suggested he be tried for his crimes instead. This is completely new territory for the storyline: normally the sword has only ever been the answer to the long-term problems of tyrants and monsters. The concepts of compassion and justice normally never walk hand in hand, but the lesson Pandaria has taught us isn't just that our own hearts are the compass of our actions, but we are only heroic sometimes when we do NOT do as we always have, but we stop and think about what might happen if we try something different. However, it appears that the consequences for our compassion are going to push us back to a time where war appears to be the default state for just about everything with a pulse, and that mass slaughter will be only answer. For someone like me, who baulked at the events at the Jade Statue, this is enough to make me want to run away screaming. Therefore, to find a means to reconcile myself with the upcoming events, I need some kind of motivation.

That's where the Naaru come in.


DAT MACE BRO!


There will be those that argue that, for the second time of asking, the Draenei are having to take minor billing behind a Horde aggressor (last time it was the Blood Elves that stole all the thunder) In Warlords they will be the ones being slaughtered by the Orcs we than have to slaughter to make the whole exercise have some kind of relevance. For me personally, however, this isn't the destruction that will ever drive me. I want to learn more about this race of peaceful beings, and more importantly about the motivation that comes from their spiritual guides, the Naaru. There are those who have already speculated that the Light of Elune could have more than a little to do with the Naaru's influence and when I read this for research I was immediately reminded of the quest that Tirion Fordring sends you to in Northrend to try and save the life of a fallen Crusader, a man called Bridenbecker, who inevitably cannot be saved by your actions and is taken by A'dal into the light. It is a quest that touched many people and moved even more to tears, myself included. If you want to know the story behind the man who inspired it, Wowhead has you covered.

What it left me with, and what I still carry, is that the Naaru and the Draenei are a cause worth fighting for.

And so I go into the NEXT Expansion really not caring about the Dudebros of Draenor, except that they exist to further a storyline that, if I'm lucky, might find a way to touch me and change my outlook. However, if it doesn't I have my own chronology to fall back on, and in that the Light remains something that is enough to maintain my momentum. Even if I do not have a character who uses faith as an inspiration I respect those who do, and understand the significance it carries in their lives. You don't need to understand something to fight for it, but it helps if you can start with something like respect, and there's plenty of that here.

I'm ready for whatever Warlords has to offer, even if I'm not actually thrilled about what that entails.

Friday, April 11, 2014

To Build a Home :: Big Time


Oooh well will you look at that...

We discussed in a big old blog post earlier in the week how Garrisons are probably a far bigger thing than a lot of people are currently aware of. Well, some more evidence of that has emerged via the interviews done last week, especially with those lovely people at Convert to Raid. Wowhead were good enough to summarise for those of us on Easter Holidays with the kids and therefore with little free time, and although it's only five lines of text BOY WHAT A 5 LINES THEY ARE:


  • Garrisons will play a big natural role in the levelling experience.
  • There will be quest lines and "Choose Your Own Adventure" style chains that add to your Garrison.
  • Your Garrison choices will alter your quest flow for different zones as you level.
  • It'll be a natural part of the questing, not a grind like the 5.0 dailies.
  • You'll get your garrison as soon as you land on Draenor.


So, all you people who don't think Garrisons are the reason why we have no playable client? THINK AGAIN. Those five lines pretty much place the significance of the Garrison 'experience' front and centre, that they'll be largely indivisible from the entire 90-100 journey, and they mean (if point four is to be believed) this is where you'll spend your life once you're level capped. Point Two is pretty ambitious just on its own too, and if it works could pretty much redefine how the ENTIRE questing experience works in Warcraft, PERIOD.


My daughter still has these :D

For a long time there's been an argument with my lovely mate Mori (who works for a proper big gaming company that isn't Blizzard) about what was inherently wrong with the Quest experience in Warcraft. His answer was always the same: there's no variety. You do the same quest on six characters, it is ALWAYS the same. I agree too, and when 'interesting' quests appear like the money with menaces daily we get for the Tillers it's always a welcome diversion. However, to make a quest truly an experience, you need a choice of possible paths, as well and more than one conclusion. That's why I suspect the 'Choose your Own Adventure' books appear in Point Two: if that structure is going to be applied to Warcraft quests, then subsequently it will influence quest flow as a result and that's a MASSIVE change from times past. If they do it right, it won't be like anything you've ever seen in Warcraft ever before. It will be a true game changing experience.

This also could go a long way to explaining why there nothing to play right now either: if all of this wraps so tightly around the levelling experience, then we'll need to see how that works in tandem with the stuff that's already been done and dusted. This will also no doubt give the art department vital weeks to get those class models done and dusted, and might mean some other things we weren't automatically promised are given a look at too. Personally, now I've heard some actual depth to the Garrison concept, I'm quite happy to wait and see what we get, because if I wasn't excited before I am most certainly bouncing with anticipation now, based on the very real possibility that this aspect of the game is, actually, what the game is going to become. It might be a Garrison for Warlords, but for the NEXT Expansion it could be an Outpost, or a Research Facility, or any number of new ways of using this technology to make the game exciting and to re-invent what the game is about.

If this is Gaming evolution occurring as I watch, I for one am now more than willing to wait until it's done.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Vogue :: Favourite Shirts

The Lady in Reeeeeeeeed...

In the first of an occasional series, I will today be talking about my Process du Moggage.

I've been wanting to alter the appearance of my Rogue for a while because a) my current mog sucks and b) see a) To show you how much it sucks, here it is now.


Okay not COMPLETELY sucky.

My problem with this outfit is twofold: firstly it's just too DULL. Now you might argue that actually, as a Rogue, not being dressed in bright red is an advantage because YOU KNOW CAMOUFLAGE and I'd say you might have a point but then counter with Stealth. If you could still find me, of course :p Secondly, I wanted a change, because there's been far too much doom and gloom in my life of late. The Red Mog's existed in various forms for a while, and is I realise a direct influence on how my Monk's Mog came to be quite so harnessy-themed in the chest department. So, last night I decided not to do what I often like as a starting point for a mog (pick a weapon I already have) and instead pick a colour. In this case, something I could craft to boot. Hence the Purple Rogue's Outfit was born:


Probably needs a Rich Silk Purple Shirt. JUST SAYING


Now we like this for many reasons. Lots of it is crafted, for starters. Most of it isn't going to require a massive farm either (once I get one Warp Splinter for instance, that's done) and it's quite subtle for summat that is purple and gold, give or take. I will do a version with a Purple Shirt in place for comparison and there are a couple of other pairs of shoulders I am considering, but for an hour's work last night when it was late and I was tired, I'm pretty satisfied with the results. I also have my Goblin rogue to consider in the equation, but because of relative body shapes I'm going to take a different approach with that. But what this exercise has taught me is that bright will work if I pick the right combination of colours. I can see my Goblin leaning heavily on Druid pieces, as it happens, just as a nose thumbing exercise.

Needless to say, there's a few other characters that could do with a rework, and I can feel another masssive wardrobe session coming on this evening...

ALPHA :: I Get a Kick Out of You


SAY IT ISN'T SO.

Okay then. We have had a couple of days where everyone has had a turn in the sandbox, a few people have been unceremoniously thrown out for not playing nice (don't hit ANYONE with a plastic spade, goes without saying) and we're now back to a position where everyone should at least understand the lay of the land when it comes to what is and isn't acceptable to do with the Alpha Client. There's a downloadable Beta client on the Battle.net site that doesn't go anywhere, we've had a couple of model upgrades for classes from Blizzard and... actually, that's it. There's been no obvious momentum out here, but I can absolutely guarantee that isn't the case inside Blizzard HQ. The volume of Dev Tweets is down in certain departments, and I'd expect, as it's been a week since the Client was released, to see some movement this week. In fact, I think Thursdays are about to become my NEW FAVOURITE DAY. I've also made an assumption on Twitter this morning that I'm feeling quite confident about, especially in reference to when more than just Blizzard's Friends and Family get to poke at new content:


Citing YOURSELF in a Blog post? Oh COME ON.

See, there's that line in the patch notes that keeps coming back to haunt me:


In order to stand a chance, you will need to build an army of your own.


That sentiment's been there since Blizzcon, and it hasn't changed, and to me that is saying that your Garrison really is an integral part of the ENTIRE game experience. Those who'll be playing the opening Zones at PAX this weekend could well be playing the ONLY bit of the Expansion that isn't intrinsically tied to the Garrison 'scenario' (and I use the word advisedly because by the looks of this thing it could well be considered as an 'instance' in terms of detail and interactivity) and if that is the case, then I'd say there's a better than average chance we won't get to do anything significant until this part of the equation is considerably more advanced in the Alpha Client than it stands. The lovely El of @elsanglin was good enough to slip me a datamined screenshot of a 'proposed' layout of the Garrison building space and frankly, that alone is enough to make me realise that things need some work (though I can take a decent guess you'll have no choice as to where you place your Mine and your Town Hall :P)

This could also go quite some way as to explaining where the perceived 'delay' has come from between people thinking we were ready for a Beta in January, plus the surprise at the amount of data that exists in the Alpha Client and it not being Beta, and where we are right now.

Jobs for the Orcs. Eventually.

So, we now have the situation, quite interestingly, where there's a massive pile of data that the world can look at but do very little else with, and how Blizzard now begins the process of managing expectations based on this. It would be logical to assume that there will now be a period where Blizzard reacts to class concerns simply based on the proposed data and nothing else, which will (I suspect) make the initial process of testing and balancing considerably easier because the number of people playing is so small. Picking out play and environment bugs, quest issues, all this sort of stuff will also be done with a far smaller testing sample this time around, and although this is clearly going to be beneficial in the short term, it won't highlight potential exploits or loopholes perhaps as fast as would be the case with a far larger testing pool. There is also the issue of explanation to be considered, that we KNOW there are going to be Garrison Blogs to explain what's going on, and they will be many in number. This says to me that you will NEED TO KNOW HOW IT WORKS to progress in the Game. That also says that without it, there is no progress on testing.

Don't get me wrong, this gives me a massive sense of anticipation as to what's coming. On the other side of the coin, it also means the pressure is most definitely on Blizzard right now to come up with the goods, and to do so in a way that take's people's breath away. I'm waiting to see what people report back from PAX with, but the game you'll be playing is the SAME CONTENT [*] in quest and zone terms as was available to press in January. It's now April. Time is moving on, and I'm sure nowhere is that more keenly felt than in the Irvine Campus. One of my favourite Chinese proverbs states:

The Journey IS the Reward.

After a decade, I wonder if Warcraft has finally grasped the wisdom that good things DO take time, that jokes about Soon (TM) and 'when its ready' actually do matter when your audience has such high demands. Rushing Pandaria because of other MMO's demands when the NPC's kept telling players to 'slow down' is ironic, but not unexpected. We should all learn the lesson that actually, if we want something to be good, then waiting for it shouldn't be an unrealistic mindset. It is as much about how we get there as it is about what happens when we arrive.

The problem, of course, is not everyone is prepared to travel at the same speed.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Vogue :: The Chinese Way


Red is lucky. NO IT IS.

There was never any doubt my Panda would end up in red. Whatever else I try on her, it just doesn't sit right. After we'd decided on the colour, it was then about whether I went iconic or ignored her roots, and the more I considered the question, the easier the answer became. There would need to be touches of the Pandaran past she owed so much to, but not an excess. That's why the Belt looks like it belongs to the harness she's wearing, it's why the staff remains as an understanding of what she is and where she came from... but the rest is undeniably Azeroth, because that is now what she has become a part of.


A remembrance of what has passed.

As she spends so much time spinning whilst she fights, I've assumed that having lots of clutter and fuss around the outfit would be awkward. That means I've aimed for minimal and (hopefully) have succeeded. There's quite a lot of colour here too, but hopefully not too much, with red and brown being the predominant accents. The green in the belt buckle is accented with the headdress feathers and detail on the staff.


Brown and red and rock and roll.

Normally I'd not be interested in the shorter cloaks but this one is a particularly good match in my opinion for the patterns in the outfit, especially the gloves. Most of this was created when my Monk was in her 50's too, so she's been wearing it for some time. I like the idea of creating a mog when a character now starts their journey, and this is something I will elaborate on in further Vogue posts. For now, this is one of my proudest achievements, if only because I feel it really suits the soul of the character as well as their physical attributes.


All this and Cherry Blossom.

Full list of Transmog Items is as follows:

Alternative Chat :: Episode 21




No-one announce anything else Alpha related! In the brief lull between NEW INFORMATION I actually get enough time to sit down and record an Alternative Chat! Be warned however, this is SERIOUS Stuff.


This week, I will be mostly chatting about:

  • That Alpha Client Rush ^^
  • There's Warcraft News Now. LOTS of it.
  • Digital Rights Management is a THING.
  • Let Blizzard finish their own stuff, in their own time.
  • Yes, I am aware of the irony of me saying the above.
  • THERE IS ALWAYS TIME FOR FAFFING.





If you have any comments or thoughts on this week's Podcast, or you'd like to abuse me for not having a clue as to what the Hell I'm talking about, please send your mail to:

alternativegodmother (all one word) AT gmail DOT com

==


NOTES.


I now have a Facebook page. Come LIKE me at http://www.facebook.com/alternativeblog


==


Also, the Podcast is NOW AVAILABLE ON STITCHER :D Keep everything crossed, and we should be back here on April 16TH!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

ALPHA :: Information Overload

I
All of the datas!

You would be entirely forgiven, after the last five days or so, if (like me) you are suffering from a severe case of Data Fatigue.


Let's look at the facts, shall we?

For WHATEVER REASON *cough* ESO *cough* the Alpha 'Client' was made public last week, there's still no sign of anyone outside Blizzard actually playing it. The data has now been effectively disassembled and laid out for those of us without the ability to mine to make what we wish of it now, more or less. This has proven that it isn't simply that you have access to a shedload of raw information to begin with, it is as much about how that is subsequently presented to the general public that matters. MMO's done pretty pictures and Wowhead's dealt with things with far more intelligent and reasoned consideration, particularly in  the manner in which that has been presented. I said this on Twitter and I'll now say it again publicly: MMO's coverage hasn't been a patch on Wowhead's because, purely and simply, it looks like someone actually thought about what they were presenting rather than simply dropping it in our laps. You would have thought by now that MMO's learnt the lesson about it not mattering being first, or whether you know something ahead of anyone else. People will respect you more for HOW you deal with your data, not that you have it to begin with.

People like me are now picking and choosing our moments to examine, and as there are so many it is at present quite easy to find a space and stake a claim. Let's hope this isn't like Landmark where (as I discovered yesterday) if you don't log in after four days all your hard work effectively vanishes :( As an aside I won't be playing that again for a while if I need to be logged in and manually 'pay' for my Claim. There's too much to do here now, so it's largely moot. I've decided to try and keep up with a legitimate Garrisons Guide this time around: I picked Pet Battles in Pandaria and, in hindsight, it was just too big a task to undertake because I didn't plan nearly well enough. This time around, having all the data early is likely to be an advantage, because it should be relatively straightforward to keep up with everything. I'm already planning ahead for holidays and breaks too, which is worryingly organised. That's one of the advantages of an information overload early on, you have a chance to get a pretty big picture from the word go. There are those however who will say this is a disadvantage, and they'll be absolutely right.


Asleep at the Back.


I've lost count of the number of people who don't consider Alpha/Beta as 'content' and are deliberately divorcing themselves from the process because (quite understandably) they have no desire to live the game twice. That's the problem with this process: you do all the work in an environment where, like it or not, it matters not one jot to you character or their actual progression. There are no discernible gains, rewards are effectively pointless and frankly, you run the risk of getting bored with a game BEFORE IT IS EVEN ACTUAL CURRENT CONTENT. However, this is the ONLY way to see if the game will work before the general public get their sweaty mitts on it, so the process of testing serves a very significant and particular purpose. Blizzard themselves have already admitted that the process of testing in Pandaria was sub-optimal, and they fully intend to learn from this by deliberately gating access and controlling information as a result. Having everyone help you may seem brilliant in principle, but the practicalities are clearly far from ideal. Picking the people who will hang around for the long haul is far more sensible.

Making sure those people keep the game in the public eye is probably even more sensible, which is why I suspect Blizzard won't be too upset that MMO's splashed a ton of datamined screenshots of zones across it's front page this morning. However, I find myself thinking that actually, this is a fine line to tread. By their own admission the screenshots aren't the finished product, the sky's all wrong and the lighting will be iffy because actually, these areas just aren't fully done. Apparently there is an 'insane demand for screenshots': I'd rather get my screenies when the thing's actually finished, but that's an art perspective and personal preference. What worries me now is that the longer we wait for people to gain access to the client for real, the more this data's going to be diluted and devolved and actually it might not paint the game in as great a light as would be the case were everything done and dusted. In that case, I have to frown rather disapprovingly at MMO's decision this morning and not actually click on any pictures. Because frankly, I can wait.

DOES NOT MATTER.

This is not a contest. There is no first place for being clever and providing incorrect information just because you happen to have the means to do so. I think most people would far rather get the BEST information they can, however frustrating it might be to have to wait for it, rather than a version of the truth that actually will bear very little resemblance to the finished product. You can put your architecture in place, of course you can, and seed it with the data you have, but making your own 'pictures' based on the minimum of artwork you have... I think that's taking things a little too far. It is time to learn some patience.

Waiting, contrary to what you might think, will not kill you.

[EDIT April 9th: It would appear that Blizzard don't like people interpreting entire zones worth of artwork in this fashion after all. All the relevant screenshots have been removed, plus Twitch has reiterated that anyone streaming content from Alpha at this time will be subject to a transmission suspension. There you go :D]

Monday, April 07, 2014

ALPHA :: Little Things


ALL OF THE THINGS :D

There's some more details today from the lovely people at Wowhead on Garrisons: the first, let's face it, is purely cosmetic:

Click for BIG.

Now, normally Icons wouldn't be of interest to me but we know from what we have learnt so far that these wee pictures accompany both spells, achievements and (most importantly in this case) PATTERNS. There's a possibility, as a result, that these are the Buildings are going to be the ones you can only upgrade by locating BLUEPRINTS. However, if we examine the raw data from the initial data parse at the weekend, you'll see that there are already Blueprint files in the client:

Garrison Blueprint: Mine - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Herb Garden - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Fishing Shack - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Lumber Mill, Level 2 - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Lumber Mill, Level 3 - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Engineering Works, Level 2 - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Engineering Works, Level 3 - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Engineering Works, Level 1 - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Lumber Mill, Level 2 - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Lumber Mill, Level 3 - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Engineering Works, Level 2 - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Engineering Works, Level 3 - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Siege Weapon Schematics - The weapon detailed in these blueprints is both savage and brutal.
Garrison Blueprint: Mage Tower, Level 2 - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Mage Tower, Level 3 - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Garrison Blueprint: Inn, Level 3 - Teaches you how to build or upgrade a garrison building.
Recall Stone - Teaches you a garrison building specialization.

Most significantly in that list, of course, is the last item, which could be a mistake or could be a secondary Hearthstone back to your Garrison... ^^

There's one other piece of datamined goodness to look at from Wowhead too, which could well be wrapped up in the functionality of your Mage Tower. The description of this building in the Client is as follows: The Mage Tower's arcane researchers search across Draenor for new useful magic for the Garrison.' Bearing this in mind, this list of items that appeared yesterday is quite interesting:

Orcbane: Irks orcs named Bane.
Explosions!: Shrapnel everywhere!
Human Shield: Such blocking. Very WoW.
Mountain Goat: Combat bonus when fighting near precipices.
Yeti: Combat bonus in snow.
Dragonbane: Irritates dragons.
Leap of Faith: Move faster than the holy ghost.
Health Grenade: Bombs party with bandages.

Comedy flavour text aside (that dog gets bloody everywhere) this would seem to suggest that this could be specific buffs for your entire Garrison, or what might be more likely is that your Garrison will 'grant' you these abilities as you make your journey around Draenor, not unlike the Perks your character will be given from 90-100. Gonna watch this one closely too.

The more sharp-eyed of you will notice there's a new icon on my page today, which points to a new project I'm getting up and running as the Alpha swings into being. I'll be creating a comprehensive guide to the garrison, based on these posts and what I learn over time playing Warlords.



So, as these posts are done, the data within them will get transferred to the site!

This Week, I Will be Mostly :: Words


Documents. LOTS of Documents.

YES WE HAVE A GAME CLIENT \o/

I can now not complain about having nothing to write about, and managed six posts for various places on Saturday alone. Yesterday was filled with me laying the foundations for a 'proper' Garrisons Guide and, as a result, I suspect the next couple of days are going to have many, many words in them. It's kinda nice though, having spent MONTHS having to come up with ideas based on nothing but the *hope* we'd get a client. It does mean I have an absolute shedload of different projects all on the table simultaneously, and there'll need to be some thought applied as to what gets looked at next.

There's also going to be a real effort to get the remaining 85's to 90 as a matter of urgency.


ZOMG STILL EXCITE.

I did promise that once I saw a Client I'd be buying myself an Upgrade, so snacks to Warcraft for releasing this at the start of a month when I actually have some money. After that, it's GOING TO BE THE PRIEST TO 90 this week, married with grinding for Skyshards on the Hunter. I did a couple of hours last night and ended up with 21 cache keys: part of me is tempted to save up a bunch and blitz the Guo-Lai Halls. Last night the Zone was packed: Archaeologists everywhere plus people gathering huge piles of Mogu to destroy. Clearly I'm not the one trying to get Alani to give up the goods. After that's done on P I suspect I may default back to Archaeology to get the last titles, but only if I'm absolutely desperate...

Without further ado, off to start getting the day's word total boosted...

Sunday, April 06, 2014

ALPHA :: Terrible Lie


Yeah, so, about that lack of information...

It appears there is more in the Alpha Data Client than was perhaps first apparent for those wanting some Garrisons news. Wowhead have been poking data files overnight, and there's quite a lot of interesting information to be shared.


Plot Sizes.

Your Garrison will have three plot 'sizes' (small, medium, large) with each of those (presumably) having a selection of different 'shapes'. There are four styles of small plot, with three styles of medium and large, which should provide a measure of individuality when designing layouts. The Mine, Farm, Fishing Hut and Pet Menagerie all have their own specific plots, presumably meaning they will be consistent for every Garrison. [EDIT: There is also a suggestion from a datamined map file that your Town Hall and your Mine will be in the same place regardless of location, but this could just be that only one map currently exists. Watch this space.]


Garrison Specialisations.

There are twelve 'specialisations' currently active in the Alpha files, which correspond to (presumably) abilities that the player will unlock as their Garrison increases in size and complexity. Some of these appear to be purely cosmetic in nature whilst others point to 'quality of life' improvements for Garrison resource production and player convenience. The 12 are listed here verbatim from Wowhead's original post:


  • Show Posts: Enables you to stable five more mounts at the stable for public display.
  • Mount Trader: A rare mount trader has taken up shop at your garrison stables building.
  • Recall Portal: Allows you to abort a current mission and immediately bring followers back.
  • Headhunter: Recruit a random follower with a specific Trait, Ability or Role for 10 Material.
  • Blackrock Chef: Enables access to garrison cooking dailies.
  • Blackrock Mining Cart: Grants a chance to discover Blackrock Mining Carts full of extra ore.
  • Orchard: Plant an orchard in your garrison that will produce rare fruit.
  • Exquisite Skinning Knife: Increases the hourly skin gathering rate by 10%.
  • Gemfinding: Mining nodes in your garrison mine have a chance to produce rare gems.
  • Mass Teleport: Removes travel time for the first mission every day that requires 5 followers.
  • City Travel: Provides access to portals that grant transport to cities other than Orgrimmar and Stormwind.
  • Mechanical Picker: Automates harvesting of herbs from the garden.


There's some big reveals in this group: the Garrison will have Dailies (YES THEY HAVE NOT VANISHED \o/) and there will be SPECIAL VENDORS allowing people like me to spend hours grinding for new mounts (it's okay, I'm used to this.) Also, Specialisations will have a direct effect on the resource production rate of your Garrison (bonus to skinning, rare fruit and rare gems) whilst at the same time opening up additional functionality such as portals or faster gathering rate for resources. Finally, where was that Mechanical Picker in Halfhill. EH?

GIEF LUMBER!

Missions.

Only 3 Missions exist in the Alpha Client files. As this is pretty much the major component of building/progression, this will go some way to explaining why Garrisons got the rather limited billing they received in the Patch Notes. Needless to say, this will be what's being worked on currently and what we'll see appear in subsequent Alpha and Beta builds.


Building Composition.

There have been some (understandable) changes from the initial Blizzcon announce. The full list of buildings in the Alpha Client are as follows:

  • Alchemy Lab: Reagents and 'interesting' Alchemical wonders. Creates materials for Alchemy, and stores them.
  • Armoury: Storage/Maintenance of arms for the population
  • Barn: Houses the animals that provide the Garrison with leather, meat and cloth.
  • Barracks: Houses your military forces and followers.
  • Enchanter's Study: Creates materials for Enchanting, and stores them.
  • Engineering Works: Creates materials for Engineering, and stores them.
  • Fishing Shack: Bait, tackle and DAILY QUESTS.
  • Gem Boutique: Creates materials for Jewelcrafting, and stores them.
  • Herb Garden: Growing herbs.
  • Inn: Recruit new followers, access to Cookery Dailies with Specialisation.
  • Lumber Mill: Provides building materials for Garrison.
  • Mage Tower: Provides 'useful magic' (probably passive buffs,) unlocks new Missions.
  • Menagerie: PET BATTLES AND PET MISSIONS \o/
  • Mine: Diggy, diggy hole :D
  • Salvage Yard: See below.
  • Scribe's Quarters: Creates materials for Inscription, and stores them.
  • Sparring Arena: FIGHT TO THE DEATH. He's Sparticus /points ^^
  • Stables: Mount display, speed bonus, unlocks Missions.
  • Tailoring Emporium: Creates materials for Tailoring, and stores them.
  • The Forge: Creates materials for Blacksmithing, and stores them.
  • The Tannery: Creates materials for Leatherworking, and stores them.
  • Trading Post: SELL ALL THE THINGS, BUY ALL THE THINGS. No AH though :P
  • Workshop: TBA :P
GIEF MOAR LUMBER!


This list gives the first indications that 'Professions' inside the Garrison will be self-providing: the Barn will give three 'raw materials' for use, as will the Herb Garden, Lumber Mill  and Mine. For each major building, there are three 'abilities' listed, which I am going to assume correspond with each tier being unlocked. For instance, if we look at the Alchemy Lab:


Alchemy Lab

The Alchemy Lab creates a variety of reagents and interesting Alchemical wonders.

  • Generates a batch of Alchemy reagents daily, and allows production of Alchemical items. The building can store at most one batch at a time, and new batches are only produced if free storage space is available.
  • Now stores up to two daily batches worth of Alchemy reagents.
  • Unlocks Specializations, and ingredient capacity increases to a maximum of four daily batches.


I think it is fair to assume that the standard Tier 1 Bonus is a daily production rate. When you 'upgrade' to Tier 2 that storage rate doubles, and with Tier 3 it then doubles again. This appears to be the case for the Enchanter's Study, the Engineering Works, the Gem Boutique, the Lumber Mill, the Mine, the Scribe's Quarters, the Tailoring Emporium and the Tannery. Unlocking the Storehouse however appears to give the ability to increase that storage capacity further:

  • Enables new Logistics missions, and increases the storage of daily batches or shipments on every other Garrison building by 1.
  • Enables access to your personal bank, and increases the storage of daily batches or shipments on every other Garrison building by 2.
  • Unlocks Specializations, and increases the storage of daily batches or shipments on every other Garrison building by 3.

Personal bank access is new, and something of a surprise. I'm sure it won't be the last one we see with this feature.

There are also some interesting new additions to the building list: the Trading Post suggests you will be able to gather raw materials from other areas for specific crafts in your Garrison. The passive mount speed bonus will be useful if we're all on the Ground for a while, and answers the question many had of if we would be compensated for losing flying speed. The Storehouse will 'transmute' Salvage into Material and subsequently Material into Gold, but what is not apparent is if this is then a way for you to make real money to spend in the game world or simply a 'gold' currency for the Garrison. Certain buildings control the flow of Missions (like the Mage Tower) whilst others are simply there for Material production (such as the Herb Garden) It's also possible your Fishing Shack will be required to purchase the speciality bait required for catching Draenor fish we discussed yesterday. I'd also not discount seeing more daily quests being introduced via these means in future Warlords patches.

Needless to say, I take back what I said yesterday. There's a TON of stuff here to pour over, it just took a while to dig it out. MASSIVE props as a result must go to Wowhead without whom I would not now be wheeling around my conservatory, shirt on my head, celebrating what looks like a MASSIVE new feature with tons of expansion potential.