The lead game designer for World of Warcraft, Ion Hazzikostas, recently spoke to the guys at IGN about how they managed to bump their subscribers past 10 million once more with the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Hazzikostas credited this partially to the positive reaction towards the new Garrison feature, though he isn’t certain if the feature will be seen in future expansions. If you’re not familiar with Garrisons, here’s a little run-down.
A garrison is essentially Blizzard’s answer to player housing in World of Warcraft, although they do serve other purposes. Players can build outposts in seven different zones on Draenor, but their primary garrison is located in either Shadowmoon Valley (if you’re a part of the Alliance) or in Frostfire Ridge (if the Horde is more your kind of thing). You can build structures to support any profession in your garrison, as well as a few others – which provide instant portals to certain zones, or access to the Auction House one they’ve been levelled up.
While questing out in the world, you’ll accrue followers. From your garrison, you can send followers on various quests to earn rewards such as gear, gold and experience, or station them in one of your buildings, which grants it a bonus.
“I think there’s no question that we’re going to keep pushing the Garrison feature forward throughout Warlords of Draenor“, Hazzikostas told IGN. “Your garrison is your settlement in Draenor and your ongoing efforts against the Iron Horde and your enemies are expressed there. In the 6.1 patch coming up we have some improvements to the Garrison system: followers, new followers, new traits for your followers, new missions and so on; but I think as we look into future patches beyond that it’s likely we’re going to grow the Garrison concept further.”
“As we think into expansions beyond WoD, I think in many ways the Garrison is… very much a product of Draenor. But I think the gameplay, offline progression, having a sense of ownership and a place to call home, having followers to do your work and send out into the world in service of your cause, I think those are potential more universal things that even if there aren’t 1:1 of those terms or systems, the concepts and the type of gameplay has been embraced and so we think it’s clearly a great part of World of Warcraft.”
As unfortunate as this may seem, we trust Blizzard and appreciate the fact that they plan on innovating new ideas for future expansions – who knows, maybe we’ll be sick of the Garrison feature by the time the next expansion rolls out.
If you haven’t had a look at Continue Play’s Warlords of Draenor Review, you might want to give it a read. Dale gave it a near perfect 9/10, saying that “World of Warcraft’s fifth expansion is a triumph – giving a decade-old game a new lease of life, and proving that Blizzard still has what it takes to dazzle players with drastic shake-ups to established mechanics.”