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Build 18522: Garrison Small Buildings Analysis

by - 8 years ago

*deep breath* Okay, so we finally saw small buildings get their iteration in this week’s build, but there are a couple notes to get out of the way before we get down to business:

1) Cory “@mumper” Stockton tweeted that current design has Tier 3 garrisons with 3 small plots, down from 4 in earlier designs.

2) Wowhead’s garrison calculator, drawing off datamined information, paints Tier 3 as having 2 large, 2 medium, and 3 small buildings.

So suffice it to say that this definitely will impact our choice matrices for medium and large buildings, but we’ll go into that later. Let’s talk small buildings.

Profession Buildings

After previous builds have left them mostly untouched, we’re finally seeing shifts in the designs for all of the profession buildings.

Generally speaking, the shifts have resulted in a building pattern that looks like this:

  • The base number of work orders at Tier 1 remains one, while Tier 2 increases it to three and Tier 3 increases it to five. The Storehouse impacts this, but we’ll get to that later.
  • Tier 1 is always about the production of that profession’s stock in trade.
  • Tier 2 is always about adding some additional functionality.
  • Tier 3 is always just about increasing the number of work orders to five and nothing else.
  • References to specializations are universally gone, in keeping with recent statements.

Let’s go down the line.

Alchemy Lab: The Tier 2 ability grants you get a bonus random potion each day. This echoes the Student Lab specialization that’s been cut with specializations gone, which ought to remind everyone that whatever specializations the devs were planning will likely be included somehow, someday, if they were cool enough.

Enchanter’s Study: Tier 1 continues to emphasize that you can disenchant items, while Tier 2 lets you get better results from disenchanting while at the Study. Depending on how much of an improvement this is, this could be pretty cool if you’re enchanting.

Engineering Works: The Tier 2 ability promises access to an “experimental engineering device each day.” Without any indication of what these devices are, it’s hard to say how useful this will be, but it sounds promising and keeps with the kit of Engineering being all about wacky and risky devices. (We can probably assume that these devices won’t be anything mount-related or vehicular, since that’s the Workshop’s job.)

Gem Boutique: The Tier 2 ability allows you to sell Jewelcrafting products for gold. This feels a bit underwhelming, unless we’re talking about getting a premium that’s above/beyond what you’d get for vendoring your cut gems. I don’t see any evidence that JC will be making jewelry again, but perhaps that’s another shift in the offing.

Scribe’s Quarters: The Tier 2 ability lets you “create forged documents that allow you to gain illicit goods.” Like the Engineering Works, what these goods are will determine how useful this is, but it fits the kit of the profession well.

Tailoring Emporium: The Tier 2 ability gives you access to plantable flags for bonus abilities. This sounds pretty exciting, given what existing flags in the game already do, but the proof will be in the pudding.

The Forge: The Tier 2 ability removes “wear & tear durability loss.” My interpretation is that you’ll still take durability damage from dying in an encounter, but not from the general act of dealing/taking damage. This is… pretty big.

The Tannery: The Tier 2 ability gives you access to tents that offer a well-rested buff if used on log-out. Being able to carry around a inn in your bags sounds amazing, since it ameliorates one of the reasons why you’d want to go back to an inn during a break from questing. It’s a great way to subtly encourage players to stay out in the world without forcing more travel time on them.

All told, it feels like it’ll be more compelling to build a profession building for its Tier 2 perk than it will be to get the Tier 3 version. That may depend entirely on how frequently people will be working through daily work orders in order to support their gameplay, especially since that’s not something that’s been very broadly tested so far. We’ll come back to that later, though.

Non-Profession Buildings:

As it stands, there have only ever been two non-profession small buildings, which are the Storehouse and the Salvage Yard. Both have been iterated on in this build, and we’ll tackle them one a time.

The Storehouse: Previously, this was supposed to unlock a new mission type, and also improved the daily output of all of your output-producing buildings by 1 per tier (which, you’ll remember, also affected your barn, mine, Lumber Mill… it was a powerful building). The current model now gives you access to your bank at Tier 1, your guild bank at Tier 2, and a Void Storage/Transmog NPC at Tier 3. In addition, Tiers 1 and 3 increase your building output by 1 and 2 respectively, which doesn’t affect as many buildings as it did before.

All told, the Storehouse is less mission-critical than it was before in terms of work-order increases, even if fewer non-profession buildings are actually producing a daily output for it to augment. This is good, because it means that choosing the Storehouse is now an interesting choice versus taking a profession building for its Tier 2 ability. Now, having the Transmog vendor tacked onto Tier 3 feels like an odd choice, though I can see the rationale as to why. I just sense that some folks are going to feel compelled to sack a small plot just for the Transmog vendor.

The Salvage Yard: This is a complete rewrite. Previously, you had salvage missions, a salvage-to-material conversion, and a material-to-gold conversion all wrapped up in this building. Now, you have a more vague concept of recovering Salvage from missions, and later tiers allow follower (Tier 2) and player items (Tier 3) to potentially be a part of that Salvage.

The missions being stripped feels like an across the board shift (most medium/large buildings lost them), while taking out the Garrison Resources conversion feels like a move to make it less mission-critical. Salvage being a catch-all term means that it could literally be anything: bonus Resources, profession materials, vendor trash items, and at successive tiers, equipment. If you’re going for a very follower-centric build (accompanied by the Barracks and the Inn, perhaps) then having the higher tiers of this will probably be valuable. But unless Salvage turns out to be something that’s generally useful whenever you get it, that leaves the value of the building as a choice vs. professional buildings in the same place it was before: it’s only useful if you haven’t got something else you want more.

Enter the Matrix

It’s actually hard to do a full-on matrix for small buildings at this point, and here’s the reason why: it’s not clear if all of the profession buildings will work identically to the Alchemy Lab in terms of how it interacts with a player who has the corresponding profession. Recall how the Lab currently works:

  • Completing alchemy-themed follower missions (which are unlocked when you build the Alchemy Lab) generates a currency called Secret of Draenor Alchemy. This can be exchanged for greater flask recipes at your Alchemist NPC, or for gold once you no longer have a use for the currency.
  • Players with the Alchemy profession want the Lab because it’s what gates access to several recipes. They don’t need the Work Orders function except to circumvent daily cooldowns.
  • Players without Alchemy want the Lab because you need the Work Orders functionality in order to produce stuff like flasks and potions for yourself.

It’s hard to apply this logic to other professions, because generating consumables likes potions and flasks feels like a different investment from generating non-consumable items like armor or weapons. Until we’ve got other buildings to test with, it’ll be hard to really judge if a) a player should always build a building they have the profession for, or if b) it’s intended to be an Interesting Choice regarding if you build that building or not.

This choice is actually a big deal, since many players still use a primary profession slot on a gathering profession, and none of the gathering professions have small buildings. So players with a gathering profession will have more choices on how to spend their small plots vs. players who have two production professions if it turns out that the building is a requirement.

The beta servers are currently down as of this writing to push a new build, so we’ll see soon what else we’ve got to work with. Keep it locked.

JR Cook

JR has been writing for fan sites since 2000 and has been doing Blizzard Exclusive fansites since 2003. He helped co-found BlizzPro in 2013. You can hear JR every week talk about Hearthstone on the Well Met Podcast published on iTunes.

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