[OOC] Garrisons, Again

Well now it’s time for me to complain about Garrisons again. It’s been a fair amount of time since beta started, but my worries about them have only deepened. Blizzard claims they aren’t required, and technically speaking they’re not. Just as right now, you can technically make it from 1 to 90 without questing — I have a friend who did it. Or that Pandaren who never left the starting island. You can technically do dungeons to level, or PVP, or do pet battles. You technically don’t have to unlock the gates into the Vale, you could have a mage make you a portal, or a warlock summon you, or a friend fly you in on their passenger mount. The problem is that the garrisons are so tied into the questing that it’s basically impossible to level (by questing) without doing them. You do a quest in your garrison, and it opens up a lot of quests in the outside world to do. If you don’t, you will run out of quests far before you reach level 100, and be constantly behind.

Okay, so what if you like to do professions? All crafting professions are tied into garrisons. At present, if you’ve actually leveled up your professions, you receive no additional benefit from that profession in your building. Didn’t level Leatherworking? No problem. You can make LW items in your garrison at the exact same speed as someone who did. (Hint: That speed is slow.)

From someone on the forums:

Right now I have an issue with the professional mat CD being shared with the Secrets CD for most (but not all) professions. It should not be a shared CD. It’s already going to take almost 3 months for some professions to learn every recipe if a Secret is made daily without being hampered by having to chose between making mats or making a Secret to learn another recipe.

The garrison system really slows down and neuters alt crafters. I have every profession covered between my alts, but there’s no way I’m going to sink the gold and time into getting a building for every single one of them, and then doing the crafting quest on a 24-hour cooldown every day. For every alt.

The actual gameplay of Garrisons goes like this: It’s founded during a quest, then you gather materials and blueprints in order to upgrade the buildings and make more of them. You acquire followers through quests (and other means), whom you can send out on missions. You don’t actually do anything for these, you click to send them out and then wait around for 10 minutes or an hour or 10 hours for them to finish it. It’s not a mini-game or anything, just waiting. There are the invasions, which are basically scenarios. If you played Mists you know how fun scenarios are (or aren’t). NPCs in the Garrison hand out quests and tasks for you to do. That’s it. I guess there are some people who find this fun, and I’m not trying to rain on their parade at all. But I think it’s pretty awful, and the more I’m forced to do it in beta, the more resentful I get.

Garrisons should be a truly optional side-game, like pet battles. 

I’m all for them awarding cosmetic rewards and cool things, like titles, and pets. I actually think the mount-taming system is pretty neat, and it’s a great example of an incentive that would make people want to do Garrisons. Transmog sets would be another thing. There’s currently only the Stormwind guard set for Alliance, which has absolutely zero appeal to me, but they could easily add more. But please, for the love of Pete, do not make them mandatory to quest, and do not make them mandatory for crafting.  I am sure, at this point, that I’m just shouting uselessly into the wind, but I can’t see most people being very happy about them.

And what I would do if I were in charge:

Make them into actual player housing. Take inspiration from rip off other games who have done housing and improve on it.

All characters can buy their racial housing for a nominal fee. I would offer two tiers of housing, a small house and a “deluxe” house. Through other means (rep, quests, achievements, cash shop), players could acquire other properties. For example, maybe becoming Exalted with all Pandaria reps would allow you to purchase a property in Pandaria, with a Pandaria-themed house. (Players can own as many as they want, but would have to select which one is currently active.)

I would use a “hook” system like SWTOR and LoTRO do; various housing items have different categories where they can be placed. Large wall decoration, floor covering, small outdoor decoration, etc. To start out, these could all be existing art that exists in-game, such as the items you find in houses in the world currently.

I would also take a hint from those games, and make housing account-bound by faction. So if you own an Ironforge house, all of your Alliance characters could visit and decorate it.

One of my favorite things about my LoTRO house are my cool trophies. These can drop rarely from random monsters in the world. You loot a pristine so-and-so hide, and it could be taken into Stormwind or Orgrimmar and turned into a trophy for a small fee. (Can you imagine how cool that shop would look? Trophies all over the walls!) Trophies could also drop from raid bosses, and would be a great incentive to get people to run old content. What if you could acquire a miniature ship in a bottle from Heroic Deadmines?

If the houses were small plots and not just houses, you could also include amenities like a stable, an auction house NPC, etc. Still not mandatory, but many people would want them simply for the convenience factor.

And most importantly (for Blizzard), you could monetize the heck out of them. You could sell “keys” to new an exotic properties in the cash shop. How about a house in Molten Core? You could sell furniture packs to furnish your new house.

 

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