This article has been in the making for months. Quite frankly, since I first stepped into my garrison, something I knew very little about despite being a steadfast BlizzCon attendee. It’s no surprise that the implementation of player housing in World of Warcraft has caused some friction among the community. First off, anything will given 10 million opinions. Second, it was an oft-requested, just as oft shot down idea until Blizzard felt the designers could bring something fresh to the table. The team behind Warlords of Draenor did exactly that. Producing an instanced version of your own private army – perfectly made for app play – that would help you in battle, grow along side you, aid you in your professions and even allow you to show off to friends.
Alex Albrecht and I touched upon our dislike of the hot new feature during the Tavern Talk panel at PAX South. Sticking with the panel’s topic, we strongly felt that garrisons as implemented in WoW have detracted from the universe. Instead of taking the risk of venturing out into Draenor players can sit safely at home a few times a day to perform the rather mundane and repetitive tasks of leveling up followers, earning them (or you) new gear or grabbing profession consumables. It’s a time save, something I very much appreciate. Unfortunately this time saving mechanic dramatically alters the experience.
Not leaving my camp saves me the risk of dieing to mobs or the dirty, deranged horde. It also stops me from discovering new aspects of the world. New rare mobs, new territories, new battle pets, new undiscovered loot, new quests. All aspects that WoD has plenty of and designed very well.
Before someone jumps down my throat I understand that I am making a conscious decision to stay in my garrison. The fact of the matter is that no matter how you slice it is that even if I rebel, shun the feature and head to social hubs I’m not the only one that needs that decision. The rest of the community does to or the open world remains ultimately less populated than it previously appeared to.
Remember those dirty horde I mentioned? Well, there are players behind those characters. Players that help form memories, good or bad, when they attempt to gib my priest. That death could be the start of a beautiful friendship or a buddy adversarial relationship. I’ll never know because everyone’s safe in their garrison…