Don’t get me wrong, Blizzard most definitely had me at “Mage Tower” but there is a distinct hum of rebellion in the air.
If Garrisons are going to be such a part of our new lives on Draenor, then we need to love the aesthetics. My first character was a Human, a Warlock with a temper which belied her innocent bovine smile but she’s been the only Human I’ve managed to get anywhere near the level cap. My last attempt, a Paladin languishes in the Redridge Inn picking flowers and wondering what she did wrong. I play Gnomes, Elves, Dead Humans, Orcs, Aliens with hooves, anything in fact apart from Humans and yet, it’s Human architecture being forced upon me even on a brave new world.
We knew we wanted the Garrison to feel like a big new feature, but we also wanted to keep it familiar, like bringing a piece of home to Draenor. There is just something about running into Stormwind or Orgrimmar that evokes that sense of faction pride
Yes I have an idea of just how unreasonable it would be ask the development teams to create unique artwork for every building but then why couldn’t certain buildings reflect different races? For example the Jewelcrafting one could be based on something Draenic and for the Alliance, your flower garden could take on a Night Elfish feel. You’d still have the same number of buildings to design but it would allow those of us who aren’t particularly keen on granite, stone and wood (or spikes and red banners for the Horde) to have a tiny place to call home in this savage world.
We (or at least I) already have a clear idea of where my characters reside and whilst I know that the Garrisons are meant to be front line encampments on dangerous and foreign soil, so that things like Mentzelia’s home from home as shown below really wouldn’t work, it’s hard to shake free from those ideas.
My second and perhaps more serious concern stems from beginning to realise just how important these Garrisons are going to be. I hate being told what to do. The second someone strongly suggests I should carry out a specific course of action my hackles come up and the pig-tailed brat masquerading as a devil on my shoulder sticks out her tongue. I must admit it surprises most people that I manage to work for an organisation very much into hierarchy but what I don’t think they (including my boss) actually realize is that 99 percent of the time I do what I want. Luckily this currently mirrors official policy fairly closely so my inability to follow anything which sounds like an order isn’t particularly obvious. Show me a line and my automatic response is to cross it so yes, perhaps a chunk of this is motivated by the fact it’s not going to be optional like the farms.
I’m also not a great fan of single player content in WoW and I can’t quite shake the concern that if questing and leveling is linked so thoroughly to your Garrison then this will play a part. I really didn’t enjoy the single person scenarios leading the story line on the Isle of Thunder for example, primarily because doing them as a undergeared healer hurt. Of course the obvious response to that would be “spec damage” but at the end of the day, being forced into a spec you don’t enjoy playing takes the fun out of something just as much as struggling to do it because you hit like a wet kitten. I rarely play alone and certainly when it comes to leveling up through an expansion, that’s definitely something me and Mr Harpy do together. However we’re both interested in different things, he’d like his Alliance garrison to be covered in spikes and dripping with the blood of people silly enough to come around to borrow the sugar. I want gardens and a little bridge over the river. I want a wreath on the door and somewhere to reflex, whereas he’s more likely to spend the minimum amount of time he can there because unless you can grow your own Horde to kill… he’d rather be out in the “real” world.
Am I being negative? Sure I am. I have a chest infection and a tendency to think the worse at all times, it’s part of my coping mechanism. I want to love the Garrisons because they have Mage Towers full of books and a garden but that’s also tainted by doubt. Perhaps it will be just like that other game with a Mage Tower in it, I start out determined to do one thing whether that’s not date Alistair or not love Garrisons and the opposite happens… who knows.
One thing likely to win me over is customisation. The devil is in the details. Give me a tiny Hearthstone board and NPCs playing it in my Inn because I play Hearthstone sometimes. Let me grow some plants for artistic value rather than their ability to be grinded into potions. Give us the chance to reflect a tiny part of our character’s personality, not just in things like the mounts in the stables and what battle pets we have lying around in the shade but in the books, trinkets and followers we have.