Why WoW Garrisons Are Not Satisfying: Player Housing vs Town Building vs Mobile Apps

This is going to be a serious business post with inadvertent gaming industry type references, but in respect of brevity I shall keep this in note format. If you’re looking for a beautifully composed document highlighting the pros and cons of WOD Garrisons, flee! /flee

So let’s rewind. I like to do that. Warlords was announced and finally players are able to have their own “housing” system via garrisons. STOP RIGHT HERE.

First let’s loosely define what player housing is:

1. Has a house. For the player.

Wait. Let’s loosely define what we EXPECT of player housing.

1. A place of respite.

2. Seen as a means of integrating “game” immersion. A place your TOON can call home. A place your toon can customize and decorate and share in their experience with other toons. You went and hunted a giant lizard in a deep dark sewer and want to share it as a trophy? Yes! A place to represent your in-game accomplishments through a visible means through a “tangible” presence of gaming reality. A place to just relax, for your toon to get some “me” time, maybe work on professions or fish or cook, at home.

Ok so now that we have THAT out of the way, I was very excited for Garrisons but as the details of how it actually functions was released, we started to realize that this was mainly just a self-instanced TOWN where you can play with your “followers” through “missions” which is where the mobile gaming aspects come into play.

Ok we’ve just absorbed a lot of information. I said town. And I said mobile gaming.

So is a garrison a TOWN BUILDER? We can place different buildings and although very very limited, these buildings allow us to interact with them to obtain resources, sounds town builder. But this is where the synergy and interaction run dry. The buildings do not interact with each other, and there isn’t really anything else to do once the buildings are up and running.

These buildings also act to make central professions obsolete, taking away from the MMO aspect of the game?

So this is where “housing” and “town” kind of collapse and fall short. We can KIND OF customize our faux town, but that’s about it. There are monuments you can obtain through tedious time consuming achievements. Sure, they want us to play more, through stretching out TIME. Don’t even GET me started on Music Roll drop rates and the amount of TIME it will take to collect them.

True housing should transcend all expansions and be inclusive of all content at any given time. Currently all our pets can wander our garrison, check. Archaeology trinkets seem to be tied only to WOD digs, x. Music rolls (DIAF) drop from all raids, check.

Now the subject gets touchy. Now I know that the WoW community can be seen as being pushed into a self centered and anti-social mindset with LFD, LFG, insta-queues. All very handy though. But Garrisons are a great representation of this. WE are the commander, this is OUR garrison, and ours only. To visit a friend’s, you must join their group and technically “teleport” through the multi-verse where your FRIEND is the ultimate commander of your faction.

The garrison town/housing doesn’t really help to build community. We can’t visit others or critique their décor skills at will. I treat the garrison as the very weak layer of daily busy work that barely adds to the game. And I haven’t even started about follower missions yet.

The follower/mission system sounds like an amazing idea on paper. You meet these NPCs and they decide to join you in your quest to conquer WoD or whatever it is we are doing here. However once they join you, other than seeing them wander about your garrison occasionally we now trek into the territory of mobile gaming design.

Missions. Oh dear. Missions are probably the most meta we can get in WoW other than achievements. Pick a mission, choose some pictures that match the weaknesses, and wait. Come back and receive stuff. While this IS handy for gear and exp and everything that missions provide WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH WOW? There’s very little engagement, heck there are entire buildings centered around making your followers stronger that also augment mission luck.

This is an extremely elaborate 3D mobile game, where you can then step outside of your Garrison back into World of Warcraft! What’s going on?

You see, we had this idea to make the MoP farm more like a phone game. It would make the farm in itself a bit more enticing, add some pizzazz to the crops, random events, different seed quality etc, but alas, nothing. However, this would be a mobile model WITHIN WoW, now it has become one of the ONLY pieces of content for this entire expansion. But you see, MoP had a lot of OTHER stuff, like factions and the Isle of Thunder and ACTUAL other stuff out in the world to do!

I can farm rep? You mean kill thousands of Arakoa enemies? Uhhh ok.

So, garrisons fail at being housing, they aren’t immersive, heck my toons HATE going back to their garrisons. I haven’t mined/herbed in months. It’s not really a town builder, I have the buildings I need, and in terms of missions…ugh.

Truny the Homeless

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