One of the new (and occasionally confusing) features in the Warlords of Draenor expansion for World of Warcraft is the garrison. It's lovely to have your own "home base" with all the amenities of a town. But figuring out what to do for the first time and what your best options are is a bit of a head-scratcher.
(Horde side notes come later)
Garrisons. You haz one. And as you look around and ask "what next?" you realize that there's no Plain Ol' English guides to what's going on. This is not meant to replace any of the other guides out there -- this is a set of my notes for my guild members, who hit Draenor and love their garrisons but have no idea what to do with them.
Keep both hearthstones -- I have one set for Pandaria with all the portals, but you can pick another city. One is always set to your garrison. This makes questing easier (or returning to Stormwind/Exodar/Ironforge/Darnassus for holiday events and Darkmoon Faire)
The first thing you notice is that the Garrison has trade chat and city/region chat. You can turn them off with /leave 1 and /leave 2 (you can always rejoin them.) Luckily, Blizzard has limited the number of times you can talk per minute and trade and city chat is being better utilized for asking questions and for offering to sell items.
Next, the game will have you build your barracks. This gives you a button that you can click when you're in trouble (use it!). In Shadowmoon Valley (starting area), clicking the button will bring asquad of four armored fighters who will rush in and beat up whatever monster is causing you trouble.
Building plans will drop as you do things -- as you fish, plans for a fishing shack will drop (and so forth) If you plan on keeping up with cooking or if you are an alchemist, you will need to do a lot of fishing.
TIP: FOLLOW THE PUG AROUND
A one time bonus when you start, Pippers the Pug steals some Garrison supplies. You can retrieve them by following him around.
Resources you will want to track carefully are "Garrison Resources" that have as their icon a little crate. They are generated by your garrison and by other activities. Sending followers on missions will cost you garrison resources (usually 5-10 resources per adventure.) It's best to send followers out on missions that give you things you really need (a rare item, or garrison resources, or gold (if you have lots of resources) rather than send them out on anything.
To upgrade to a level 3 town, you need 3,000 garrison resources... and that's a bunch, let me tell you!
Apexis Shards are another currency that is obtained from various garrison activities.
If you are undergeared (or are a caster with low DPS), get one of the people in your garrison to follow you around as you collect herbs from yur herb garden or mine or do other collection tasks. Occasionally you get jumped by mobs, and your follower will help you kill them quickly.
Be choosy about which missions you send them on. Each mission costs (usually 5-10 garrison resources) and you can choose ones that give YOU (yes, you) experience or the occasional epic object or gold (most often) or garrison resources. My first time through I sent them off on every available mission. When I hit level 100, I found myself resource-short for garrison upgrades.
My current strategy is to send them out on missions with lots of extra experience OR missions that give me garrison resources. Gold is actually easy to come by in this expansion.
Eventually, you get an outpost in the other areas of the world that can serve as your "home away from the garrison." You will be offered two choices to build at each area. I make the following choices:
I built the Guardian Orb at Ft. Wrynn.
I built the Shredder at Highpass
I built the Trading Post in Spires of Arak
I built the Tank in Nagrand
The tank and shredder are particularly effective for soloing elite mobs.
I'll add Alliance notes next week and Follower notes the week after.