Garrison - WoW Player Housing

For years now World of Warcraft players have speculated about when, if ever, we might see player housing come to Azeroth. With each new expansion expectations rose and were dashed as the feature failed to make an appearance. With Warlords of Draenor, the latest WoW expansion, Blizzard is finally ready to debut player housing.

WoW Player Housing

Player housing isn’t really a ground breaking innovation in itself, many MMOs over the years have provided players with a personal, customizable space – including Ultima Online, EverQuest II, Star Wars Galaxies, Lord of the Rings, DC Universe Online, Star Trek Online and the upcoming WildStar & Elder Scrolls MMOs to name a few.

As we’ve come to expect from the four previous expansions, the WoW execution borrows heavily from the ideas of other MMOs here & there, but the execution is uniquely Blizzard.

Garrison Management Panel

WoW player housing upgrade

Garrison Buildings

With WoW’s approach to housing, players won’t simply get a house, but an entire village to develop into a thriving fortress. Players will be free to select from a number of structures to place and upgrade over time.

Each building provides the player’s garrison with unique features & benefits, although few details are known at this time. Based on screenshots from the “What’s Next” panel at BlizzCon 2013 the available buildings include…

  • Alchemy Laboratory
  • Tinkerer’s Garage
  • Blacksmithing Foundry
  • Enchanting Tent
  • Dance Studio (joke)
  • Jewelcrafting Shack
  • Leatherworking Shop
  • Tailoring Tent
  • Salvage yard
  • Storehouse

Additionally, Blizzard shared some details about a Barracks building which when upgraded increases the number of possible Followers your garrison can employ, and an Inn which when upgraded will attract additional NPCs to recruit. While we’re on the subject of Followers…

Garrison Followers

Followers are recruitable non-player characters that populate your garrison/village. Like items & equipment, Followers have levels, unique traits, stats and attributes and come in a variety of rarities – common, uncommon, rare and epic.

Follower Panel

Follower Recruitment

So how do we get our hands on a few followers? Actually as it turns out there are a couple of ways to populate your garrison. Over time NPCs will randomly show up at your garrison plot, but if you really want to crank up recruitment build & upgrade your Inn to lure them in with the sound of patrons enjoying wine and song.

From time to time you’ll gain new followers by completing quests at various points through-out the game’s story. If you’ve got the gold you can always hire mercenary NPC followers.

According to Blizzards recent brief on Garrison building, it appears that followers may play a wider role in gameplay experience as followers who may have failed to complete a mission, getting themselves taken captive in the process, may end up trapped in a dungeon where you can fight to release them later.

I wonder if we’ll ever be told “Sorry warrior, your follower is in another castle.”?

Follower Missions Panel

Follower Missions

Based on their traits your army of followers can be directed to perform tasks like crafting, gathering resources, even to go on missions and bring back epic lewtz. For instance Followers with the Mining trait will be able to performing ore gathering tasks, another with the Herbalist trait presumably can be sent to gather herbs.

If you’re familiar with the SWTOR Companion feature this will sound a bit familiar. Personally I found the ability to send Companions on missions to be incredibly useful and rewarding. And to top it off, Followers can continue performing their tasks while you’re logged off enjoying something else IRL.

Call it wishful thinking, but we’re hoping there will be app interface that will allow working players to check in and command NPCs during breaks through-out the day.

What do you think about WoW’s new player housing?

So what are your thoughts? Is Blizzard’s approach to player housing a home run, or a foul tip? Given what we know so far is it what you had hoped for, or does it fall short of your expectations?