Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Warlords of Draenor Garrison

I haven’t been very kind about garrisons since they were revealed at Blizzcon last year. My expectation were that it Blizzard was introducing a game within a game, and that the mini game would be required if you wanted to participate in other legacy aspects of WoW.
After playing the game for a month, I can say that my expectations were pretty spot on. Do you like to raid? There’s a building for that. How about PVP? Yep, building for that too. Professions have a building. Every one of them, down to the gathering professions. And yes, naturally you can’t build one of everything, so the player is supposed to tailor their selections based on what perks they want, so that they can compete in the fun aspects of the game.
There is one new element they added to the mix, and that is the missions/followers system. This is the most nefarious piece of the garrison, and one that I thought was fun at first, but have grown to despise. Via questing, dungeons and other activities you recruit followers from out in the world. They can be leveled up, geared up and upgraded so that they can take on missions for better and better rewards. You can get gear for raiding, gold, garrison materials and other stuff.
I’ve maxed out probably about 15 followers and I’m filling out my roster of 25, but after that it seems like this system is intended to dangle gear in front of your nose, so that you slowly and steadily keep leveling them up for better stuff. Same purpose as raids/content, but in a static menu driven, probability adjusted system. This casino is winnable, but the odds are stacked in favor of the house.
My major problem with this minigame is that it’s a distraction that silos players away from each other and the troubling thing is that I think this is probably the smartest thing Blizzard can do. Gamers are caustic, entitled jerks and probably shouldn't be interacted with at all. The garrison is a substitute for doing things in the world traditionally. The garrison is a sterile environment where the developers have absolute control over everything from the economy, to the rate of player progression. They can speed it up and slow it down based on how they feel. It feels dirty to me.
The garrison definitely satisfies the need for the player to log in on a regular basis. I expected it to be a good freemium game, and that expectation seems valid. It’s definitely a tool that takes freedom away from its player base, which to be fair the economy is one aspect that has been taken away by bots and gold farmers for a long time. It’s needed in that fashion I suppose, but Blizzard needs some competition from its own player base.
But why? Why does Blizzard force people into this sterile environment, populated by NPCs and controlled by developer balance? I feel like the entire WoW player base has just been assimilated into the matrix, and their sole purpose is to be a battery in keeping this monstrosity on life support, when I feel like its run its course. I mean, subscriptions I guess.
I’m kinda done with this after a month. The garrison is lame.
The only thing left for me in WoW is to raid with Something Wicked people and play with the friends I’ve made there and to do a little theory crafting where it is needed. 

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