Remember kids: alpha is alpha, and everything is subject to change.
So, a couple of important details to correct about my earlier reporting on garrisons.
It’s not clear that you actually generate material while you’re logged out, or while you’re away from your garrison but in the game. It would be logical if this was a technical limitation: it’s literally rewarding you a single material into your currency tab every ten minutes while you’re sitting IN your garrison with the material ticker at the bottom of your screen, which is enabled by a buff called “Garrison Currency (Material) Bar” so anytime you don’t have that buff, you’re not generating material. That being said, once you’ve set your buildings up and assigned your followers on missions, there’s not really anything to do in your garrison, so why stand around to get a trickle of materials when exploring, questing, and killing rares will get it for you more efficiently?
Rare Spawns Demoted
On that note, another important discovery was this: once you’ve killed a rare mob, it becomes a normal mob with normal drops, meaning it doesn’t drop materials. This seems tailor-made to prevent rare-farming, but it also doesn’t bode well for concepts like farming rares for toys/mounts, like we’ve all practiced on the Timeless Isle.
There’s a lot about the followers elements that seems unpolished at this point.
The first mission I completed with the quest-rewarded follower Olin Umberhide netted me a Frostwolf orc hunter named “Rakka” (I think; I didn’t have a screenshot for it at the time), who came with Rapid Fire and Enchanting for abilities. However, in the Follower lists in the mission pane, she’s named Olin Umberhide as well. Despite neither Olin having any Death Knight abilities, the icons next to their names are the DK class icon. And looking specifically in the Followers pane, both are listed as Warrior – Fury, while the icon in the upper right-hand of the follower info pane is for a Shaman.
Under the abilities for each follower, it’s clear that the ability counters a particular threat, but hovering over the icon for the threat throws a Lua error. Also, “Rakka” has the Enchanting ability, but that has a field for “Counters:” with no icon next to it.
A big issue that I’m noting with missions right now (aside from all the inconsistency and obvious errors in the UI) is that it’s unclear what the cooldown is supposed to be for unlocking new missions. Yeah, your set of available missions seems to be linked up with what buildings you’ve built (with a Barracks and an Alchemy Lab I’m getting patrol missions and a mission that rewards the Alchemy currency) and when you’ve built more buildings maybe you don’t run out of missions as quickly, but running out of missions really doesn’t feel good.
As an example: logging in this evening, I noticed that I had a mission available. I dispatched one of the Olins (neither was optimal for the mission threats, so it didn’t matter who I sent) and then went off to start working on questing through the next story segment of the zone. It was pretty convenient to wrap up the last quest of that story segment AND get the toast the mission was complete at the same time; it felt awesome to realize that after clearing an interesting section of story, I could go back the garrison, collect rewards from completed missions, and maybe set my followers off on something else. And hey, hearthing back I saw I had a bunch of new quests available for me to do as a player.
So then it didn’t feel good to realize that after collecting my rewards for the mission I’d completed, I didn’t have another one available. I even caught a quest that just handed me a new follower, and didn’t have a mission to send her on.
Now, sure, it’s cool to see your followers traipsing about the garrison (without much to do, they tend to just shuffle between the food tables next to the central campfire and just eat and emote silently), but I’ve only seen one Olin at a time doing it at a time. I don’t like the idea that I’m going to be collecting followers just so they can be window dressing around the garrison because I haven’t got work for them to do.
Solution? I’d like a little more transparency on when missions are going to become available. If it’s “check back tomorrow” then that feels kinda like dailies, but at least then I’ve got a frame of reference. If there’s no indication at all, it’s going to be continually more frustrating to see I don’t have any missions to send my guys on. I’d really prefer to have more missions to choose from than I have followers to dispatch, rather than having idle followers because there are no missions to do.
Those are the main impressions I’m getting on the second day. Now that Blizzard is enforcing their level 92 character lock on the test realms, I’m not certain if I’ll be able to test much more than I have so far, but I’ll keep you all posted.