As you may have heard, Blizzard is planning a 4 part series of blogs on Garrisons Soon™, but we've been getting bits and pieces of information from Blizzard interviews as well as datamined information. We discussed this at length on the latest episode of The Drunken Musings Podcast which I co-host. Quite honestly I'm a bit disappointed on how Blizzard is blatantly dragging their feet on releasing information, but I guess they have a long time to stretch it out over.
One of the most important things that we have learned from Blizzard so far is that "Garrisons are tied to every aspect of max-level tradeskills so if you want to advance your tradeskills, you have to build that up in your garrison." I'm going to try and summarize what we know so far, of course related mostly to gold making.
Everything involved with Garrisons, both buildings and the actual Garrison itself have 3 levels. Level 1 is the base level you receive, and you have to work up to Level 2 and Level 3. The exact mechanics on how you do this for each is not yet established, and I'm not going to speculate on that at this point. Just assume it involves some sort of work/grind/thought. The most interesting part here is the different benefits for the Garrison Building Levels have been datamined, and are going to be the focus of this article.
You are given the Mine, Farm, and Fishing Hut by default. Everyone will have these on their Garrison, I'll get into each building below. There are 3 different types of buildings: Small, Medium, and Large, each has to be created on a limited number of plots. As you level your Garrison you will receive the following plots to build on:
Level 1: 2 Small, 1 Medium, 1 Large
Level 2: 3 Small, 2 Medium, 2 Large
Level 3: 4 Small, 3 Medium, 3 Large
So basically, you're unlocking 1 extra type of plot every time you level your Garrison. So building choice is going to be an important component in maximizing gold making.
The Default Buildings
The default buildings on the Garrison that are relevant to gold making are the Mine, Farm and Fishing Shack. Each has a unique function, and I'll cover them in this section.
The mine seems to have 2 benefits. The first is that it will produce it's own materials daily, and as it levels it will gain holding slots from 1 to 2 to 4, which is common among all of the profession related Garrison buildings. You will generate one "batch" (vague but it's all we have) of goods per day, and hold them in storage. As the building levels you'll have to visit your Garrison less to harvest your goods, as it will have more storage slots. The Mine also has Ore nodes within it, each level unlocking a new "mineshaft", the final level unlocking Rich Nodes. Whether or not these will be farmable by non-miners is up to speculation.
So the Farm is also called an Herb Garden, and it's precisely that. Possibly the WoD Tillers farm, it works similarly to the farm, expanding in size as it levels. The tooltip states that you'll be able to "grow and harvest useful herbs", so this makes me think it'll be possible for non miners to harvest the nodes in the mine (or maybe your followers will have professions), but honestly it's about 50/50 at this point in my opinion. Seems to be a WoD farm, and right now one of the possible specializations is the ability to automate the picking of herbs from the garden. It will be interesting to see what we have to pick against for that specialization, but I hope there's a similar mechanic in the Mine.
The fishing shack is the only one among the 3 that does not seem to produce it's own materials. It unlocks a fishing vendor that provides bait, tackle, and "support" (think Ben of the Booming Voice). As you level it, it will also unlock 3-5 fishing daily quests. The Devs have also mentioned that there will be a fishing pond on your Garrison. We do not know the mechanics on the fishing dailies, but I think there could be some interesting opportunities here if Blizzard plays their cards right.
Small Buildings - Gold Making Central
I'm not saving the best for last, I'm giving them to you right now, the category that contains the profession buildings!
As mentioned above, it's more than likely you'll be choosing your professions if you want to maximize your tradeskills (you do). The profession buildings all have similar mechanics, they are all used on small plots, and each crafting profession has one. Blizzard has said (I think Hwoo) that if you have a profession as well as it's corresponding building, you will receive some sort of benefit, that exact benefit (possibly patterns/essential reagents) is not yet known. Each building provides similar functions to each profession and that is:
(Profession Building) creates a batch of (profession reagent) items daily. Also allows for production of (profession items). As mentioned before the storage levels from 1 batch of holding to 2 to 4, still only creating one batch daily. At level 3 you will also unlock specializations that can increase the productivity in different ways (think talent tree for your garrison), but these abilities are not yet known.
Now from the Dev interviews we know that followers can be put to work in these buildings. This adds another level of complexity to the Profession buildings, but anything you could theorycraft right now would be ridiculous speculation, but just know they'll play a big part in your setup for sure. Followers will have different specializations and strengths, and they will also have their own set of gear/weapons. The same followers you can use to craft for you will be taken away from the pool of those that can go out and get gear for you.
It's unclear how the crafting aspect will be restricted to buildings where the user does not have the profession (which many gatherers will end up with). One can venture to guess there's a limited amount of crafts per day as well as a limited amount of things that are craftable if you chose a building that you don't have the profession for. Again that is all up in the air, and we won't have answers until the 2nd or later Garrison Blog, or until people get to test out Garrisons. Surprisingly, although you get 4 small plots, you will likely not use all of them on Profession Buildings.
Likely to be one of the primary choices for your small plot, the Storehouse provides quite a few useful functions. The Storehouse has two primary functions, the first is that it provides new logistics missions, which most likely will increase the speed at which you level your garrison. The second, and possibly more important function is that it increases your storage space on each of your buildings by 1 then 2 then 3. This is key because it implies that each building will be able to store a maximum of 4+3=7, or a week's worth of materials, making the Garrison seem like less of a daily grind, and more like a "visit it when you have time" kind of thing. Of course the buildings need to be emptied or they will stop producing their once daily mats, so for someone like me (and probably most of WoW's subscriber base) who don't like daily grinds, this will be an essential building.
This "once a week" mentality goes along with Blizzards statements in their original blog post about garrisons in November 2013, where they stated (about followers): "it’s likely that you’ll send some of them off on longer raid missions for a week at a time. We want garrisons to be important, but our goal is a system that’s easy to enjoy without being extremely intensive." Hopefully this still holds true today.
While it still remains relatively unclear on what this one does, it could be a wildcard for most gold maximizing setups. The Salvage Yard does the following at it's different levels:
Lvl 1: Transmutes Salvage into Material, and enables new Salvage Missions
Lvl 2: Enables transmutation of Material to Gold.
Lvl 3: Unlocks Specializations
Now since as mentioned above we don't know what finalized specializations will be, and due to the vague nature of this building it it's current known state, it's pretty tentative on whether or not this will be a good gold making building. Only time will tell.
Medium Buildings - Gathering/Garrison Development
Although Small Buildings will provide some of the most interesting choices for gold makers, Medium Buildings will also provide a bit of decision making potential for gold makers.
Another building that seems to
be necessary building during your Garrison development, the Lumber Mill
does not produce any materials for your own use, but provides materials
for Garrison Development that are key to building and upgrading your garrison. This will most likely be the first building you choose for a Medium Plot, but in theory, you could drop it once your Garrison/buildings hit max level and swap it for something else. That's speculation of course, and unconfirmed until we see how we interact with the Lumber Mill.
To me the inn will be a necessity for every Garrison. It provides you with the ability to recruit more gatherers for your garrison, and will most likely be one of the first medium buildings you choose. At Level 2 it also unlocks a cooking tradeskill merchant, and possibly cooking dailies (most likely a Specialization at level 3).
Probably the best gold making choice, the Barn provides raw materials such as leather, meat, and cloth. Like other profession buildings it can hold 1 then 2 then 4 daily batches as it levels, up to 7 with the Storehouse. A source of materials, this will most likely be the best choice for gold making.
A wildcard among the Medium Buildings is the Trading Post. Since we don't know completely how we will interact with it, it's hard to tell if this would be a desirable building, but described as the "Garrison's center of commerce with the natives of Draenor", this could be an essential building.
Lvl 1: Opens a new trade route and unlocks trading missions.
Lvl 2: Additional Trade Route
Lvl 3: Specializations
Not much to say here until we learn how this building works.
No details about this one, but odds are it won't be beneficial to gold making. Theoretically it'll be involved with PvP somehow.
Large Buildings - Garrison Support
Large buildings do not seem to be tied in to gold making in a major way, but will allow you some decisions about how to set up your garrison (such as Mage Portals/Stable/Armory/Barracks). The only possible plot we'd be interested in is one called the Workshop, but right now there's no info out about it, so we'll have to wait and see.
I'm sure I missed a thing or two, but this is more or less where we are right now, for better or for worse. We're definitely going to be learning a lot, and I think that a majority of the gold making theorycrafting might end up going into how to delegate your followers rather than the buildings themselves, as I believe an optimal gold making building structure will become prevalent once we can tinker with the setups a bit.