|Garrisons is SRS BNS.|
There was a Blizzard Live Q&A yesterday, with (at least for me) two of the most important people in game (Mr Stockton to the left and Mr Kosak to the right) available to take questions on any number of subjects, but with a distinct bias towards the Garrison. When all was said and done, there wasn't a huge amount of new information on the table, it was only AFTER the Twitch stream was done that the meaty chunks were served. Having said that, of course, I thought the whole thing was nicely done, although Dave could do with growing his beard back and Cory really should have turned up for work in trousers. I was particularly impressed with the high quality of questions from Twitter to boot:
|IGNORE THE QUESTION WHERE DO I GET THE MUGS?????|
Like I said, most of this wasn't anything we didn't know already. Some key things were clarified, and it is worth bullet pointing these for the fact I'll be covering them in a podcast next week:
- There is a distinct benefit to building a Professions plot for a Profession you already posses. This grants faster daily cooldowns for the key items needed for crafting, the highest tier recipes plus additional bonuses. Building a Professions plot without knowing the Profession means NPC's will do the work for you but you won't gain access to the best recipes.
- Garrison Outpost buildings will be swappable at L100 (presumably for gold.)
- Level Three Blueprints are Account Wide, meaning once done once you have access to them across all your characters.
- The Garrison has a Storyline: like the Pandarian Invasion quests in 5.1, there will be a character buildup and then a 'story' proper, which should last about 16 weeks (and which I suspect will tie in with L100 zone 'dailies' as well)
- You can recruit all the followers in Draenor, but only 20 at any one time will be viable for use in Missions. Inactive followers will remain in your UI, and will require a 250g fee to 'activate', making the business of Follower Management a new mini-game all on its own (see below.) GONNA CATCH THEM ALL regardless... ^^
- Death Knight Guards will be available for DK's who are Exalted with the Knights of the Ebon Blade, and you'll be able to have banners showing your faction pride around your Garrison (totally called that /flex)
There's some additional odds and ends to consider (which I'll start to cover in detail over on the Dedicated Blog starting next week) but in the main this is pretty much business as usual for those of you playing beta as it stands. Last night a portion of my Twitter feed exploded after the following comments were posted by Tom Chiltern:
Once you have followers at ilvl 615, the second tier of level 100 missions unlocks, at 630 the third tier unlocks (includes missions with ilvl 645 gear for your character), and when you have followers at ilvl 645 the fourth tier unlocks.
The fourth tier is special in that they show up rarely, but they're raid missions for your followers that reward your character with raid quality loot of a tier higher than you're currently running. If you're doing LFR, you'll get normal quality raid loot, if you're running normal raids you'll get heroic quality loot, and heroic raiders will get mythic quality loot. Mythic raiders will get mythic loot and 1k gold.
These missions show up rarely enough that you won't be able to deck out your character in these items before the next raid zone shows up, but having a handful of them will give you a nice edge.
Of course, many people read this and assumed that if you're bleeding edge progression you'll need to have a Garrison to get the 'extra edge', a point which was quickly squashed by Ion Hazzokostas (in the same thread):
The nature of the tuning here is such that it's absolutely not going to impact any sort of cutting-edge progression racing during the early days/weeks of a new tier. It's more of a helping hand later on. And because the availability of these missions depends on your character's actual raiding progression, they aren't replacing or trivializing the importance of actually going into raids and killing bosses.
Without getting into exact numbers, being classified as a "Heroic raider" or "Mythic raider" or the like requires multiple weeks of experience in a given zone at a given difficulty. And if you're worried about the impact on gearing up for the next tier, an occasional chance at a random Mythic piece pales in comparison to the dozens of Mythic items your farm clears will be bringing in every week, with the ability to trade items around and target specific drops through bonus rolls. This will be a drop in the bucket by comparison.
Garrison missions (or lack thereof) aren't going to impact any sort of world-first or realm-first competitions. But this system does help keep the system relevant to a broader range of players, and as overall gear levels improve over the course of a tier.
If you didn't know it already, this is Blizzard giving everyone the same chance at a portion of loot depending on how they approach the game. It is the most potent of carrots to ensure casual players not only stick with the Garrison, they play it right through endgame and beyond, because it will give them via solo play the opportunity to access End Game in a manner that is utterly dependant on their own effort to accomplish. Frankly it is a stroke of genius and the QQ-ing from certain players has already begun because, of course, the only way you should ever get Mythic gear is by doing Mythic content. yeah, like the only way you get Legendaries is by four years of hard grinding ^^
I've been telling you this since November, but let me re-iterate it again. Garrisons may not be mandatory, BUT YOU WILL WANT ONE. You don't need it to raid, far from it, but every other part of this Expansion is linked to them in some way, shape or form. If you want to get the most out of the casual end game, you should have one. If you don't raid but want a chance of gear upgrades whilst playing solo, you will need one. They are the Christmas Toy you always wanted but never got, the lottery win you've spent years playing towards, and the genuine realisation by Blizzard that the majority of their demographic, in the main wants something more than the same old experience of levelling and rushing to end-game to discover that, actually, there's nothing significant to do there anyway. If this works the way I now *think* it will, that emans every Patch will bring a new extended storyline to your Garrison, and the entire Expansion will play out with this feature at its core.
Don't say I didn't warn you :D