While there are plenty of guides telling you what each building does, there are precious few guides on what buildings you should actually take (and avoid.) That’s like telling people “mutual funds are a diversified collection of stocks that grow or decline based on the underlying securities” and when pressed which mutual funds are actually any good the answer is “Hell if I know.”
The being said, I base all my decisions on maximizing gold. I find that gold allows me to do whatever, whenever I want in game without too much fuss. It allows for the purchase of trinkets, armor and weapons and if you had 5k at the end of Pandaria, that was enough to buy you a Garrosh carry and an heirloom on even your shittiest, of shitty characters.
So here is my current guide/philosophy to the Garrisons (up to at least Level 2, which I think is reasonable for most people.) It may not be yours, but it’s how someone who is proficient at gold making thinks about this thing.
First, I am decently geared, with an ilvl of 570. Because I was 570, the first time quest rewards that held ANY meaning for me was in Spires of Arak. That is a LOT of quest items that normally would have been sold. Instead, I banked them ALL because my first building I recommend (for non-enchanters) is the Enchanter’s Study. NOTE: You can’t build it right away if you’re a non-enchanter, but you CAN build it as soon as your Garrison hits level 2 (Around level 92/93…so resist the urge to sell those items and just deposit them in your bank.)
Once your Garrison is level 2, build that Enchanter’s Study and start DEing all the items you had. It is a shocking amount of materials if you have been questing and killing the rares in the zones.
(CHEAT: You can ask a friend with an enchanter’s hut to invite you to his Garrision, and you can use his disenchanting forge. If he/she is willing to do that, then you can take one of the daily cooldown small buildings that does NOT TAKE HERBS.)
While the expansion is in its early stages, Enchanting mats sell for a lot more than the item in question would sell for. As time goes by, or when you’re ~ level 97 and equipping the majority of quest items, this option may not be the most viable to maximize gold and feel free to switch it up to another small building. At this stage, it doesn’t cost that much to switch between small buildings, so it’s not like you’re really losing a lot by having this building early.
Your other small building, especially if you don’t have a Scribe, should be the Scribe’s Quarters. The level 1 version sucks…the level 2 version is the bomb.com because the level 2 version lets you make your own Darkmoon cards. Darkmoon cards, if you didn’t know, are the biggest moneymaker in the first patch. END OF STORY. I’ll debate a lot of things, except for this. The ability to make as many cards as possible, on as many characters as possible, is crucial early on because the RNG associated with putting together a good deck is dicey. (Plus, if past experience holds up, the melee/ranged DPS decks and healing decks will sell for a ton and the Tanking deck will be a joke.) Just like the Enchanter’s Hut, you won’t be able to build it unless you have the profession or until your Town Hall hits level 2…so get your Garrison to level 2 ASAP on as many characters as you can ASAP, even if you have to forgo levelling to 100.
For a non-Scribe, the fastest way to get the Scribe’s Quarters to level 2 is to get that Talador outpost up and running. Once that goes up, you can buy the Blueprint for gold from the Blueprint vendor and then the name of the game is churning out Darkmoon Cards.
Seriously. Raids don’t open until December…Take some of your characters (who have been racking up rested XP) and powerlevel them to the point where they can at least have a level 2 Scribe’s quarters and level 2 mines/herb gardens. Imagine having 3 mines, 3 herb gardens and 3 Scribe’s Quarters along with a Forge and Gem Boutique and Tannery…you’re not only churning out 2-3 cards per day, but you’re also kicking out 3 of the most important crafting cooldowns without diverting any herbs away from your card-making. That’s the key: Pair your Scribe’s Quarters with any building that provides extra daily cooldowns THAT DO NOT REQUIRE HERBS, as you will need all the herbs you can get for your Darkmoon Cards: Forge, Tannery, Gem Boutique, Tailoring Emporium, Engineering Works.
At the start, the Barracks is a must-have building, because of how few followers we get. You are limited to 20 active followers, but if you have the Barracks, that number jumps to 25. A 25% increase in followers is nothing to be sneezed at, especially since you are going to be assigning ~3-5 followers to your various buildings to improve your work orders. Your goal, early on, is to get as many followers as you can. You can sort them into your A-team and B-team once you have so many, you have to put them on reserve.
The Frostwolf Tavern (and it’s Alliance equivalent) is a MUST-HAVE for your first medium plot. Even though you’re picking up followers through questing, there WILL be noticeable gaps and those gaps will cost you opportunity if you don’t address them early on. Specifically, you’re going to want to assign a follower to your Herb Garden and Mine to maximize those yields and work orders. If you don’t have a follower with the Herbalist/Miner traits, your inn (once per week, at Level 2) will let you get one. I was missing a miner…so I spent my first “request” on a follower with the mining traits. I don’t know when it resets, but if it resets when the weeklies reset, you have a day to get your Inn to level 2 to order one today, and order one tomorrow. Some information on this would be appreciated.
You should know, by questing and finishing up Gorgrond, you will get a book (Outpost Building Assembly Notes) that lets you buy the Level 2 blueprint for either a small/medium building. UPGRADE YOUR TAVERN. You won’t get the ability to upgrade the Tavern to level 2 until level 98 or the Spires of Arak outpost, so you might as well take advantage of this now. The small buildings, you can upgrade to level 2 at level 93, so why wait the extra five levels? By the time you finish Gorgrond, you should be level 94 anyways, so it’s a non-issue.
The reason the Inn at level 2 is the best, is that at level 2, you can task your ‘Headhunter’ with bringing you a person with specific abilities or traits each week. Need to assign an Herbalist to your herb garden but don’t have one? She’ll get you an Herbalist. Need a Miner to assign to your mine but don’t have one? She’ll get you a Miner. Instantly. Even when it comes to missions…say you don’t have someone who can counter Deadly Enemies? She can bring you one. Want a follower with Epic Mount, to make those long quests (10 hours) shorter (5 hours), she can do it.
In a few months, when you have more followers than you know what to do with, you will start pruning them down. In order to make sure you have at least one follower who can handle each situation, you will need an inn. At some point, diminishing returns will set in and your finalized lineup of 25 followers will be set in stone. Once that happens, knock that building down, but for now…recruit, recruit, recruit!
On that note, your Gorgrond Outpost should be the Lumber Mill. Early on, you’re going to want/need as many garrison materials as you can find, and if you follow the natural questing progression from Frostfire Ridge to Gorgrond, you will get a metric shitton of Garrison resources in FR/Gorgrond just by questing, killing rares, finding treasrues and discovering the clickable ‘tangled vines’ nodes scatterd throughout Gorgrond. The only way you can click on those ‘tangled vines’, is if you took the Lumber Mill Outpost. Since you probably intend to quest through Gorgrond to pick up 1) the automatic follower and 2) the upgrade book, you might as well kill three birds with one stone, and collect the extra resources.
Again, diminishing returns. At some point, once your Garrison is complete and you’re swimming in materials, you can switch out that Lumber Mill to the Gladiator Arena, which gives you follower quests with higher XP, but at this stage you’ve got more than enough quests just from owning a Level 2 garrison, so there’s no need for this outpost yet.
In summation, at level 96/97 your Town Hall is level 2, you should have level 2 mines/herb gardens producing goods, your Scribe’s Quarters (level 2) is producing cards and you have paired it with the Enchanter’s Study or something that isn’t using up your herbs and is using up the ore you keep producing in your mines. At level 97, you can consider tearing down the Enchanter’s Study because it’s not as effective, but it’s up to you. Because of your inn, you have followers with herbalism/mining traits inside of your level 2 gathering buildings and hopefully you have followers who you can assign to your profession buildings. If not, each week, you can rectify it one follower at a time using the inn. Your Barracks is going to let you have 25 followers which is fine, because you’re going to have 3-6 of them assigned to various buildings.
At Garrison level 3, you’re going to construct the War Mill because the level 3 War Mill it lets you get 1 of your 3 “Greater Charms” in Draenor for free…considering how expensive those can be in either Gold, Garrison resources or Apexis crystals, this building starts paying for itself immediately. To get the building to level 3, you need to have TWENTY followers at level 100…so keep running those missions non-stop along the way to pump up your followers.
You’re also going to want the Barn, because the Barn allows you to make Savage Blood, and that’s another cooldown you definitely want access to. It’s used for all the high-level crafting professions, and will pay off throughout the expansion as people continue to craft epic gear.
By my calculation, you should have just enough resources to pull this all off in the manner described, without getting stuck along the way, but if you do…treasure/rare hunt. There are addons and maps available, and those creatures usually drop Garrison Resources, enough to get your Garrison rolling if you run out of resources.
NOTE: This is how I’ve set this up for gold-making. Some people want to RP, or have fun, which is fine and their choice. I’m a mount collector, and I’ve decided to skip the Stables. One, because it does nothing for my gold-making. Two: I have 210+ mounts…6 more aren’t going to make a difference but an extra War Seal per week is going to make a huge difference, especially on alts that I don’t play as much.
Which means you can have a different setup, but I would be hard-pressed to understand any different choices early on considering what I know about gold making in the game. Let me know how you would improve the gold-making capacity, or changes you would make to the strategy, in the comments below.
For more information, and to listen to the most recent podcast we did specifically about Garrisons (among other things) you can check out our podcast, the Warcraft Lounge, at www.Warcraftlounge.com. We’re 5-star rated on iTunes, we’re also on Stitcher radio, or you can listen off the site directly.
Background: My cohost and I both graduated with Finance degrees from Penn State, and both worked in the finance field (I still do). He has about 2 million gold (after buying Invincible and Ashes for 1 million each and because he’s insane), I’ve got 250k (because I feel that is the ideal amount) and together we talk gold-making, professions, game-changes, casual stuff, hardcore stuff and more.