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An Alpha Look at Garrisons

by - 6 years ago

Here’s what we know about Garrisons so far, regarding what’s in the alpha build that’s been mined out so far.

Before we start though: DATAMINING DISCLAIMER: Please note that any and all information acquired through datamining is subject to change. Just because something is in the files doesn’t mean it’ll ever be implemented in the game. And anything implemented currently is not permanent until the game itself is released.

  • Aside from the Town Hall, you’ll start with the Fishing Shack, Mine, Menagerie, and Herb Garden accessible (though you may need to get schematics for them before you can build them). These buildings don’t appear to eat into your available plots.
  • In terms of buildings that were in the BlizzCon mock-ups that aren’t in the data, both the Academy and the Infirmary have been cut. (I’m sure the “Health Grenade” ability has something to do with the latter.)
  • In terms of buildings that weren’t in the mock-ups that ARE in the data (but have no description), we have the Sparring Arena and the Workshop.
  • Archaeology still doesn’t have a dedicated building, because it’s not the Storehouse.
  • While some specializations and “garrison abilities” have been mined out, it’s clearly an incomplete list.
  • No information about followers has been unearthed yet.

Let’s start small and work our way up.

Small Buildings

There are 10 buildings that were denoted as “Small” in the mock-ups. (Fun fact: in another screenshot, the Dance Studio is denoted as a small building, but that’s the only place it shows up, and it’s obviously not in the data.)

garrison small buildings blizzcon

While some of the names have been tweaked, it should be pretty clear what goes with what: all of the small buildings except for the Salvage Yard and the Storehouse align with a production profession. And the profession buildings all follow the same pattern in terms of what they do at successive tiers:

  1. At Tier 1, the building unlocks the ability to produce both materials and/or finished products relevant to the profession. At this tier, only one day’s worth of results can be stored in the building, and if that’s not cleared out, the building doesn’t produce anything new.
  2. Tier 2 increases the storage capacity to two daily batches.
  3. Tier 3 unlocks specializations and increases the storage capacity to four daily batches.

The language is pretty identical for all of the buildings, though it’s important to point out that only production professions (Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Enchanting, Engineering, Inscription, Jewelcrafting, Leatherworking, and Tailoring) fall into this category; gathering and secondary professions are covered elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the Salvage Yard and Storehouse are stand-outs for a number of reasons.

  • The Salvage Yard allows you to generate Material (the currency used to upgrade your buildings) from Salvage, as well as unlocking Salvage missions. At Tier 2 you can convert Material into gold, turning the building into a direct moneymaker once you don’t have any place else to dump your Material.
  • The Storehouse unlocks Logistics missions, and each tier increases the storage capacity of all of your buildings by 1. So a maxed Storehouse means your maxed profession buildings have a capacity of seven daily batches. And it gives you access to your personal bank, but not your guild bank or Void Storage.

Because of the utility offered by these two buildings and because they offer a new mission type, which none of the profession buildings do, my sense is that these buildings are no longer Small. Since the data implies that there are a total of four small plots, and that the design intent is to let players have access to SOME professions without granting access to ALL of them, it seems pretty strange that so much utility would be bundled in with these non-prof buildings, since it effectively gives you only two small plots to plop profession buildings on. More succinctly, the Salvage Yard and Storehouse seem too good in comparison to any other profession buildings, and as such aren’t really choices.

Medium Buildings

The mock-ups denoted seven buildings as Medium, but three of those were the Mine, the Farm (now Herb Garden), and the Pet Stable (now Menagerie), which all seem to be starting buildings that you won’t actually need to lay on plots. That leaves the Inn, the Barn, the Lumber Mill, and the Trading Post.

garrison medium buildings blizzcon

What do these buildings have in common?

  • The Barn generates agricultural goods, while the Lumber Mill produces Material. Both of them benefit from the Storehouse in terms of increased storage capacity.
  • All four buildings unlock a new kind of mission.

Now, the data points to there only being three Medium plots (which is down from the four plots shown in the BlizzCon mock-ups). In terms of presenting interesting choices, the choice is really dependent on certain factors:

  • If there are other methods to acquire followers (and we’ve been told there will be) then the Inn isn’t necessarily mission-critical. You’re missing out on the Cooking tradeskill merchant, but depending on how diligent you are with Cooking or whether you’re only eating Feasts, it may be immaterial. Additionally, once you hit the cap on Followers, the Inn may be less valuable.
  • If you’re a Leatherworker and you want leather, the Barn is mission-critical, since you don’t get it for free like the Mine or the Herb Garden. Same goes if you’re a Tailor and want cloth. If you need meat for non-fish Cooking dishes, it’s more necessary, but if Cooking isn’t your bag…
  • If the Lumber Mill is the only method of generating Material, then this isn’t a choice. If it’s just a faster/more efficient way of generating Material, I feel like people will use it until they don’t need Material anymore. In that case, post-Tier 3 uses of Material are what’s really at stake here, since otherwise the Lumber Mill is only important while you’ve got buildings to build/upgrade.
  • The Trading Post is a cipher at this point; we don’t know what trading routes are specifically for aside from Stockton’s statement about them many months ago, and presumably the Trading missions will be a wash with all of the other mission types, but if the weekly rewards are more valuable than the late-game value of the other three buildings, then it might be a lock. Hard to tell without more data.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the Salvage Yard and Storehouse seem to have more in common with Medium buildings than they do with Small. Between the unique mission types, the unique utility options, and the part where they don’t directly impact followers via bonuses (a Large building quality), it seems that if they aren’t Small, they ought to be Medium. That makes the choice matrix that much more compelling though, since there must be pros/cons between going Salvage Yard vs. Lumber Mill for material generation, just as an example.

Large Buildings

With the Infirmary and Academy cut, and with no sense where the Workshop and Sparring Arena are going to fall in terms of size/function, that leaves four choices for large buildings with three plots to put them in. This is actually an interesting change from the BlizzCon mock-ups, since it appeared there would be four Large plots, not three.

The BlizzCon mock-up UI showed four of each plot, if you don't count the Mine and Herb Garden.

The BlizzCon mock-up UI showed four of each plot, if you don’t count the Mine and Herb Garden. (And you shouldn’t, since they’re “starting buildings.”)

The main thing that sets Large buildings apart is the direct impact on followers. Like Medium buildings, all of the buildings offer unique mission types, but the other thing they do is directly impact followers and mission bonuses:

  • The Stables reduces Mission travel time by a flat percentage and grants a unique bonus.
  • The Barracks increases your maximum followers and grants a unique bonus.
  • The Armory increases your followers’ item levels (and hence their combat potency) and grants a unique bonus.
  • The Mage Tower is vague about what it does, but it apparently provides a lot of mission bonuses.

The choice matrix then becomes a matter of weighing the following bonuses:

  • completing missions more quickly (Stables) AND increasing your personal ground speed vs.
  • having a deeper roster of followers to attempt a higher quantity of missions (Barracks) vs.
  • having more powerful followers with a greater success ratio (Armory) vs.
  • having more mission bonuses (Mage Tower).

Not knowing exactly how mission bonuses play into things make the Mage Tower appear to be the weakest link, but we’ll see if the data bears that out.

That’s All For Now…

But there’s a lot more to come, especially as additional builds reveal more of the Garrison system design. We’ll have another post up soon, speculating on the Workshop and Sparring Arena buildings, non-production professions, and max-level garrison gameplay.

What are you looking forward to most about Garrisons? Let us know in the comments. 


Bringing bad news from the burning western wastes of Arizona since 2013, Crow is also a dad, guild officer, game designer, and sci-fi/fantasy author. Follow him @unlimitedblack for memes, pictures of his kid, and occasional design insights.

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