If you're venturing into Draenor for the first time, there's no avoiding the new garrison feature: it's at the heart of all of your adventuring into this new world. But before it can become a hub for questing, professions, and missions (more on that later), you'll have to build it.
Fortunately, it's not very hard: as soon as you make your way through Tanaan Jungle, your first task will be establishing a garrison in Shadowmoon Valley (alliance) or Frostfire Ridge (horde).
If you want to know more, we're about to cover the basics of Warlords of Draenor's garrison system. Though no story spoilers follow, if you want to head to Draenor without knowing what comes next, you'll probably want to skip this post.
Now, onward, to Draenor!
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Warlords of Draenor: Alliance Garrison
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Warlords of Draenor: Horde Garrison
Establishing your garrison
Getting started is the easy part: as soon as you wind up on Draenor, you'll be directed by your faction leader -- Veleen for alliance and Thrall for horde -- to claim a space for your new garrison and start collecting supplies to build it. None of this is onerous, and considering how much work must go into building an outpost in a strange land, you manage to wrap things up pretty quickly. Plant a flag, chop down a few trees, kill some annoying local wildlife and BAM, you're watching a cinematic showing you a bird's eye view of your brand new outpost.
Your garrison starts at level one -- a small outpost with just a handful of quickly-constructed buildings surrounded by a wall. This starter garrison has plots for you to build just two buildings (one small and one large), but as you advance you'll find you're quickly able to expand your garrison to level 2 (two small, one medium, and one large building, as well as buildings for secondary professions), and at level 100 you'll be able to push your garrison to level 3 (three small, two medium, and two large buildings).
At level one, most of your choices are made for you as you're directed to build a barracks (large), which lets you collect more followers and run certain missions, and a building related to one of your professions (small), which unlocks profession recipes and daily crafting quests. While your early garrison-building decisions may be few, as you level up you'll have more options to custom tailor your garrison as it beset suits your character.
Building for success
To construct buildings, you'll need the resources to build them as well as the blueprints needed to construct them. So far in the beta, resources -- which are generated automatically over time and can be gathered through questing and other activities -- aren't a big obstacle, as I've yet to hit a building I couldn't build due to resources once I had the blueprints.
Blueprints, on the other hand, can be harder to come by. Initial blueprints are given to you through quests to advance and construct your garrison -- and when you need to build your first profession building, you're given a selection of blueprints to choose from. But some blueprints you'll have to go hunting for: you may get them through questing or you may find them (or their associated quests) unlocked as you level.
Bear in mind, however, that this is written based on beta information and could change before the expansion's release -- but these are your building options right now.
Small: These buildings are all profession-related.
- Alchemy Lab
- Enchanter's Study
- Engineering Works
- Gem Boutique
- Scribe's Quarters
- Tailoring Emporium
- The Forge
- The Tannery
- Storehouse, which allows access to your bank
- Salvage Yard, which allows you to recover salvage on missions which can be turned into crafting materials
- Barn, which allows you to capture creatures throughout Draenor which provide various resources
- Lunarfall Inn (alliance) or Frostwolf Tavern (Horde), which allow you to recruit new followers
- Lumber Mill, which allows you to collect lumber throughout Draenor which provide garrison resources
- Sparring Arena, a training arena that offers perks at various levels, including increased out-of-combat regeneration, underwater breathing, safe fall, and reduced damage
- Trading Post, which allows you to trade resources for a variety of crafting materials
- Armory, which offers you a chance to get better quest rewards as well as, at higher levels, a free raid bonus roll every week
- Barracks, which increases the amount of followers you can have, unlocks certain follower missions, and allows you to use the Call to Arms ability to summon your troops to help you in the field (great for taking on elites solo)
- Mage Tower, which offers portals for quick travel throughout Draenor
- Stables, which offer mount-related bonuses like not being dazed while mounted, the ability to interact with objects while mounted, and increased mount speed
- Workshop, which grants you easy access to a variety of engineered creations, including siege vehicles
And starting at level 2, all garrisons will have access to a Fishing Shack (for fishing dailies), Herb Garden (for collecting herbs), Menagerie (for working with battle pets), and a Mine (for collecting resources). While these buildings are automatically constructed when you build your level 2 garrison, their functionality is unlocked through questing.
In addition to your garrison having levels, each building within it has levels: and you'll have to find the blueprints to create and upgrade each building to gain access to all of their associated perks.
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Warlords of Draenor: Garrisons: Follower Missions
Recruiting followers and running missions
Another major garrison function is the ability to recruit followers and send them on missions. Think of this as a simplified, more "click it and forget it" version of battle pets. You collect new followers in a variety of ways: some quest-related NPCs might offer you their services as followers after you help them out, others are rewards for doing specific missions at your garrison. Each of your followers has its own level, class, talent spec (which can be changed), abilities, gear, and quality level (green, blue, purple, orange).
So what do you do with them once you've gotten them? Send them off on missions, of course, to do some of the garrison's drudge-work for you: they can run patrols, fight monsters, and even compete in Hearthstone tournaments. Missions spawn randomly and have unique rewards -- all grant experience to your followers, but some may offer bonus experience, garrison resources, gold, gear, or vanity items.
To send your followers away, all you have to do is select the mission and then select the follower (or followers) that you want to send. Each mission offers unique circumstances that will required different skill-sets to counter: look for followers with icons under their names (representing skills) that match the enemies they'll face in the mission's information to have your best chance of success. Beyond choosing which followers to send, you don't have any control over what happens on a mission. Just select the followers (the game will tell you their percent chance of success) and send them off -- then when the time required for the mission has elapsed, you need to check back in at your garrison to see how the mission went.
For more on garrisons: stay tuned. Though this feature isn't completely finished in the current Warlords of Draenor beta, we've got more details for you coming up.
Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you can't bring your A-game to World of Warcraft! Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from the seven things every newbie ought to know to how to get started as a healer or as a tank.