Now that World of Warcraft‘s patch 6.1 is out, with its irresistible allure of new Blood Elf models and Twitter integration, you’ve finally gone out and bought yourself Warlords of Draenor, and you’re ready to head out into new territory, all for the sake of the Horde! Or the Alliance, if you really must.
Problem is, you’ve been given this Garrison thing and you’re not quite sure how to manage it. No need to stress! Just follow my guide and you’ll be a Master Builder in no time.
1) Start collecting Garrison Resources immediately
When you first start questing in Warlords, Garrison Resources are a common quest reward, and you get used to having as many as you need as often as you need them. Before too long, however, you might want to, say, upgrade your Garrison to level 3, or upgrade two large buildings to level 2. Suddenly you’ll be able to appreciate how valuable these resources are.
There are several ways to collect Garrison Resources. The most obvious is to build a lumber mill, a large plot building which allows you to harvest small, medium and large trees depending on the level of your mill. A lumber mill is a good thing to have while you’re still busy building and upgrading your garrison, but once those resources begin to stockpile and construction slows down, you’re going to want to switch out that building for something more useful. Resources tend to go from “plentiful” to “not nearly enough to do what you need” and then to “piling up with nothing to use them on”, so when you reach that third stage, ditch the mill.
Another way to collect resources is to send your followers on missions where Garrison Resources are the reward, so try to ensure you always send followers on these missions when they become available, and try to make sure it’s pretty certain they will complete the mission successfully. A great add-on to help with making sure you always pick the best team for any given follower mission is Garrison Mission Manager. Install it immediately. You can thank me later.
Lastly, Garrison Resources are also all over Draenor in the form of treasure. So get the Handy Notes add-on, which will mark the location of these (as well as other treasures) on your map.
2) When you construct a new building, make sure you check the requirements for obtaining its level 2 and 3 blueprints
Some of the achievements require tasks that can only be accomplished once a day, so you’re going to want to make sure you’re doing those. Most achievements require tasks that take time – the sooner you start conscientiously working on them, the sooner they’ll be done, and you won’t, for example, find yourself stuck with a level 2 Barracks for longer than you had to all because you didn’t send your followers on enough patrol missions.
3) Do not neglect your Herb Garden or your Excavation/Mine
While the Menagerie and Fishing Shack are pretty much only going to be useful to you if you enjoy pet battling and fishing, your Lunarfall Excavation (Alliance) or Frostwall Mines (Horde) and Herb Garden are useful no matter what. Even if you do not have a profession that requires either of these resources, building up your Herb Garden and Excavation/Mine, and collecting herbs and ores every day, can still be very beneficial.
Apart from the fact that both ores and herbs sell pretty well on the auction house, they also both have a chance to drop Primal Spirits (a valuable Warlords of Draenor currency) when you’re collecting them. When upgraded to level 2, your Excavation or Mine will also begin to spawn Mine Carts, which contain useful items such as ores, Primal Spirits, and, most notably, archaeology fragments.
Upgrading your mines to level 3 will expand their size, allowing you to mine more ores, while upgrading the Herb Garden to level 3 will allow you to start harvesting fruit, which, upon consuming, will add 75 to a secondary stat (the stat depends on the fruit) for an hour. The best thing about this fruit is the fact that the boost is not cancelled by death, making it a necessity in situations where you expect to die several times.
Make sure you start completing work orders at your Excavation/Mine and Herb Garden as soon as you can, as these will contribute to the achievement Working More Orders, which you need in order to obtain level 3 blueprints for any of your small buildings.
Once you have the Working More Orders achievement, you might want to hold onto the Draenic Seeds that are dropped when collecting herbs, as you can use these to buy various transmog weapons as well as a companion pet.
4) If you’re no longer using a building, change it
As I mentioned before, the Lumber Mill is invaluable while you’re still doing a lot of building, as it provides you with Garrison Resources, but once you have more than enough and have completed all the Lumber Mill-related quests and achievements, you’re going to want to swap it for something more useful pretty much immediately.
Another medium building that is useful in the beginning but tends to lose its worth over time is the Lunarfall Inn or Frostwall Tavern. One of the best things about the Inn/Tavern is it allows you to recruit followers with specific traits – for example, if you need a follower with the Engineering trait to assign to your Engineering Works, you can hire one by speaking to your Innkeeper. Before long, however, you might find that you really don’t need new followers – in fact you’ll be deactivating a few, especially if you don’t have a level 3 Barracks.
The Inn also offers a range of useful rewards via various dungeon quests, but once you’ve collected these, the quests have all turned into dailies, and running dungeons has become pretty pointless, you might want to swap your Inn for something more useful.
5) If you’re not sure which buildings to choose…
A fully upgraded Garrison allows you to build two large buildings, two medium buildings, and three small buildings. Every building has its own perks, and it should be fairly easy for you to choose the ones that will be most beneficial to your character. If you’re still uncertain, there are one or two buildings that are great no matter what.
Large buildings: the Barracks is always a good choice, as it allows you to have up to 25 active followers rather than the usual 20. You might be surprised how useful five extra followers can be, especially if you’ve assigned followers to other buildings. The Barracks also allows you to assign a personal bodyguard to protect and assist you, which you might find quite useful, especially while questing.
Medium buildings: I’ve already mentioned the Lumber Mill and the Inn/Tavern. Another great medium building is the Barn, partly because it allows you to make such useful items as Savage Feasts, which feed up to 30 people and grant 100 to the eater’s highest secondary stat for an hour, but mostly because at level 3 it produces Savage Blood – perhaps the most valuable crafting ingredient in Draenor.
Small buildings: Typically you should choose buildings that match your professions, but you don’t necessarily need to be a certain profession for that building to be useful to you. If you find yourself collecting a lot of gear, the Enchanter’s Study can be used to disenchant this gear and transform it into enchanting materials that can be sold on the Auction House. Through the Scribe’s Quarters you can make Darkmoon Faire cards, which can be sold or used to obtain an ilvl 640 trinket. Obviously the Storehouse is just generally useful to anyone who wants to avoid endless trips to the bank or transmogrifier, while the Salvage Yard is useful to, well, anyone.
6) Take a break sometimes
While Warlords of Draenor has very few of the daily quests that we have come to associate with gaining reputation and other rewards, your Garrison does require daily attention. Making sure you do every single thing you’re supposed to every day can become very monotonous very quickly, so don’t be scared to neglect your Garrison on occasion before it becomes a chore.
Otherwise, follow your instincts, do your research, and have fun!