Once you head through the Dark Portal in Warlords of Draenor, you're going to be faced with a variety of choices, particularly when it comes to building your garrison for the first time. While the process may seem like a complicated jumble of various bonuses and purposes, it's actually relatively easy to get your garrison up and running -- and your first few buildings will be handed to you right off the bat. As you continue to level, however, you're going to face more and more choices in regards to what to place in your Draenor stronghold.
Garrison buildings are also tied into professions in Warlords, although not quite as rigidly as you might think. Instead, what the buildings do is offer you a way to craft items that involve professions you might not already have trained. It's about flexibility and choice. It's also not something that's going to take up the majority of your time while you're in Draenor. Your garrison is fully capable of functioning on its own, once you've handed out the orders. So how do you pick what's right for you? It's a personal decision, but here are some things you want to keep in mind when you're getting started.
Your first couple of garrison buildings are decisions that will be made based on what you already have going into the expansion. Upon creating the garrison, you'll be asked to create Barracks for your soldiers -- taking up the only large plot on your level 1 garrison blueprint. Barracks are just fine to start off with, because they unlock patrol missions for your followers that will get them more XP and get them leveling up more quickly -- which means they can do more difficult missions and bring home more cool stuff for you.
Your second building is going to be a small plot, reserved largely for buildings that are tied to professions. You'll get a quest item while you're leveling that will unlock the blueprints for a building associated with one of the two professions you already have learned. This is honestly your best bet for starting out anyway, because you'll want to level your professions while you're leveling out in the world, and a profession building will help you out with that process.
During the course of leveling along, you'll eventually find yourself able to upgrade your garrison to level 2. This will open up another small building plot for you, as well as adding a medium building plot. There are five different medium buildings you can build.
- Barn The Barn isn't exactly useful right out the gate for most players. However, a level 3 Barn will let you capture beasts and harvest Savage Blood, which is used for all epic crafted armor and weapons. Honestly, this isn't something you're going to need to worry about until you reach level 100, so you may want to pick something that's a little more useful right away -- unless you're planning on gunning for max level as fast as you can.
- Inn The Inn is primarily for unlocking daily dungeon quests, and improving your followers. Again, this may not be really useful right at the onset of leveling -- although if you plan to spend a lot of leveling time in dungeons, this might be a really good option for you.
- Lumber Mill This is an absolutely ideal first choice. The Lumber Mill has you collect lumber from trees around Draenor as you're leveling. You turn in the lumber to create work orders, and the work orders give you garrison resources, which are needed for garrison tasks like creating and upgrading buildings or sending followers on missions. It's immediately useful.
- Gladiator's Sanctum This particular building is pretty much made for people that are going to be spending a lot of time doing PvP. The level one sanctum allows players to collect broken bones from enemy players -- something you're not going to find unless you're messing around with PvP combat.
- Trading Post This is your other immediately useful option. You can turn in trade goods -- ore, herbs and the like -- to create work orders, which will give you more garrison resources, much like the lumber mill. If you already have a gathering profession, this is probably a really good direction to go.
Professions and Garrisons
So how do profession buildings work, exactly? Well, there are a couple of different ways in which they can be useful. All professions on Draenor have at least one cooldown-based ingredient that is used to create gear and items. If you have a profession learned, you'll learn how to create that cooldown-based ingredient yourself, just like in prior expansions. If you have a profession building, you can also submit work orders to create that cooldown-based ingredient. So you have a couple of choices, here.
- Create a building for the profession you have learned If you go this route, you'll be creating at least twice as many of those cooldown-based ingredients, so your production is going to go faster. If you upgrade that building to level 2, you can assign a follower to work at the building, which means -- you guessed it -- you get even more of those cooldown-based ingredients out of the bargain. This puts you on the fast track to crafting everything your heart desires.
- Create a building for a profession you don't have On the other hand ... what if you're an engineer, but you'd really like access to enchants for your weapons, but you really don't want to drop engineering? If you create an enchanting building, that building will be able to create enchants for you. You can create work orders for the materials needed to create those enchants. Here's the catch: It's not going to be the best of the best enchants. If you want top of the line, you're going to have to find an actual enchanter. And you won't be able to make special profession items like mounts -- those are reserved for people who have actually learned the profession. At the same time, if you don't really care about being bleeding-edge ready for what the world has to offer and simply want access to crafted items you wouldn't normally have, this is a way to make that happen.
Along with all the buildings you'll be placing in your garrison, you get four structures that are automatically included when your garrison reaches level 2. The Menagerie is specifically for Pet Battles, the Fishing Shack is for fishing, the Mine is for gathering ore, and the Herb Garden is for gathering herbs. Many, many people have been wondering if you really need a gathering profession or not, especially if your garrison is going to provide ore and herbs for you -- and the answer to that is much the same as the answer to whether or not you want a profession building for the profession you have learned: You can skip the gathering profession if you want, but if you keep it, you'll get your resources much faster.
All four of these plots are unlocked by completing a quest, and they are not available until your garrison is level 2, which takes some time to do. If you have a gathering profession learned, you don't have to worry about the time factor -- you can mine your ore or pick your herbs out in the world the moment you set foot on Draenor. If you don't have that gathering profession learned, you have to wait. The amount of ore and herbs provided by the mine and the herb shack is also limited -- you aren't going to be able to pick endless amounts of herbs for hours on end.
Can you sustain your professions with the herb garden and mine? Yes, you can, but it's going to be a slower process. You can speed that process up considerably if you have a gathering profession and gather your own materials while you're out questing. So while you don't technically need to have a gathering profession, it makes things faster if you do. The choice is, again, up to you -- if you're fine with waiting, drop that gathering profession and don't worry about it. If you want to speed things up, make sure you can gather while you level.
Flexibility and choice
The ongoing theme with Warlords of Draenor in regards to professions and garrisons is one of streamlining, simplification, and choice -- and that choice usually hinges on how much time you want to spend on things. If you want the ability to craft things quickly, there are options available to make that process pretty speedy. Gone are the days where your only choice with a cooldown item was to simply make it, then log on the following day to make another -- you can actually speed up the process considerably with the right building and the right follower. Gone are the days where you need to collect a million different complicated ingredients to craft an item -- most profession items only require the cooldown ingredient, and one or two other different kinds of commonly-found resources or crafted resources to create.
The big question really boils down to what do you want to do? Do you want your items fast, or do you want to dabble in a little bit of everything, and take your time doing it? Players planning on getting to 100 as quickly as possible are likely going to want the speed option, players that aren't in a rush may want to instead try out different options and take their time. The only real recommendation I'd make is to go for one of the two medium building options that produce garrison resources while you're leveling, as those are always useful, and to consider what you're really looking for when you level, and how quickly you want to get it done.
And even then, nothing is set in stone. Once you've learned all the recipes there are to learn, made all of a particular item you want to make, or earned all the building achievements for a particular building, you can tear it down and try out something new. The possibilities are pretty much endless, and you're never going to run out of useful ways to utilize what your garrison has to offer, whether that's profession items, quests and special missions, achievement progression -- a veritable waterfall of content for you to pick and choose from. To try your hand at putting a garrison together yourself, check out Wowhead's Garrison Calculator tool, and for more on garrisons and garrison features, check out our previous guides.