Tag Archives: Garrisons

Pet Battles – Beyond Catching Them All

When Pet Battles were announced as a feature of the Mists of Pandaria expansion for World of Warcraft I was a skeptical.  Pets had been a thing forever in Azeroth, if a bit rare.  I remember getting that worg pup and a spider back in vanilla WoW, but they were akin to mounts back then in that they took up bag space and didn’t do much when brought out aside from follow you around… though that was enough at times.

Children’s Week brought along some more pets to show off, first in Azeroth then the Outland version.  Things evolved, pets and mounts became manageable through a different interface, ceased to take up an inventory slot per pet, and became cross-wide items.  I collected some along the way, including a few from BlizzCon Virtual Tickets, because I tend to be a collector and also because achievements began to show up for them.

Grunty from BlizzCon 2009

Still, as a Pokemon player I was dubious about Blizzard attempting to graft something akin to Pokemon game play onto WoW.  When I did finally pick up Mists of Pandaria during its second year, I treated pet battles as more of a collection game than anything else.  I picked up pets opportunistically as they appears, tried my hand against a few of the NPC pet masters, but generally treated it as very much a secondary or tertiary activity.

It wasn’t until Warlords of Draenor and the need to defeat some bigger pets in order to unlock the menagerie in the garrison that I started to consider doing more than level up a few pets for a catching group.  Then I started building something of a pet army, enabled by the Pet Battle Teams addon.

At that point I built up teams to defeat the pet battle masters throughout the game as well as the daily garrison challenge.  I leveled up pets and collected the badges to buy stones to upgrade their quality, but I never quite got around to the Celestial Tournament, the big pet battle event on Timeless Isle in Pandaria.

Before I got to that I burned out on Warlords of Draenor and garrisons and did not return until WoW Legion was looming.  At that point I was more about getting flying in Draenor then the pre-launch events for WoW Legion and then the opening of the expansion itself, during which time battle pets were not a priority.  After my initial run to 110 in WoW Legion I tired and took another break.  It was only with my return late last year, after switching to the Rematch addon for pet battles, that I was back in the saddle.

The main Rematch UI

But I still wasn’t up for the Celestial Tournament.

The Celestial Tournament is a series of seven battles against a couple sets of possible foes, three battle masters and four epic pets, during which you cannot heal or revive any of your own pets.  It your Pokemon faints battle pet passes out they are out and if you need that battle pet again you had better have a dupe.

While I have read that you can do the Celestial Tournament with as few as 18 level 25 pets, they do have to be the right pets.  I was able to put together teams from my 500 pets to take out the initial three masters, but the four epic pets would thwarts me every time.  Looking at guides, I discovered that I lacked most of the recommended pets for these battles.  So my goal became hunting those down and then leveling them up.

A few possible contenders, like the Iron Starlette, I had but just needed to level up.  Some candidates were fairly easy to find.  I stumbled upon an Unborn Val’kyr on my first attempt to find one, and bagged a pair of Emerald Proto-Whelps along the way.  Others took a bit more time.  I had to run through Ahn’Qiraj about a dozen times before I managed to get the Anubisath Idol pet as a drop.

Anubisath Idol up front in Pandaria

I also came up with a daily leveling routine that would take a level 1 battle pet all the way up to level 25 in five fights, which I will post about later.

In the mean time I took on the Wailing Caverns and Deadmines pet battle dungeons.  Those are somewhat easier events based on the Celestial Tournament model, where you battle a series of challenges in the dungeon environment but cannot heal or revive your pets.  Doing Wailing Caverns has a chance to award pets when you finish, while the Deadmines awards you tokens that you can use to buy one of three pets.

At the Mining Monkey in the Deadmines

Then one evening as I was killing the same mobs over and over on the Isle of Giants in Pandaria looking for one of the Zandalari pet drops, I decided that maybe I ought to go check out the auction house.  Most pets you catch can’t be traded, but some you get through other means can be caged and handed off or listed at the auction house.

A visit to the auction house and 50,000 gold later and I had filled most of the gaps in my potential Celestial Tournament line up.  (Remember when that was a lot of money?)  I wasn’t aware that quite so many pets were tradeable.  Granted, they were all level 1, so I had some leveling up work to do, and a few need to be boosted to rare quality, but I had a clear path forward.

And then, when adding those pets to my collection I crossed the 600 pet mark, which gets you an achievement and another pet.

Stormwing is the reward pet

Meanwhile, I stumbled across another achievement reward out in the Broken Isles when I did the 30th unique world quest pet battle.  That gives you a token to up your battle pet storage.

Space for 1500 pets

I was actually starting to wonder about storage.  The initial limit was 1,000 pets and, while there are only currently 946 pets you can get (Warcraft pets says that number is 917, with 960 total, so take your pick) you can have dupes.  You can catch up to three of any pet… and I have dupes of some of my more useful ones… plus any pets that pre-dated Mists of Pandaria you got one for every character that had it, which is how I ended up with five Creepy Crates in my collection.  So my total was edging up towards 800.  But now I have more breathing room on that front.

At this point I think I have all my Celestial Tournament pets at 25 and boosted to rare quality, so I plan to give that a serious run this weekend.

And collecting… that keeps on going.  My count is currently at 614 unique pets and I have a bunch I can still get if I work at it.  I’ll never get to the full 946 though.

Recount collection stats

That count includes pets that came with collector’s editions of the game and, while you can find a collector’s edition of the 2004 release of WoW still, the price is way too steep for me.

Meanwhile Back in the Garrison

Despite being critical of the so-called “game play” of garrison missions and Blizzard having nerfed garrison gold farming back to the stone age with the 7.0 patch back in early August, I still hit garrisons with Vikund and several alts every day.

Why am I doing this?

Well, there is still that garrison shipyard achievement I want, “Master of the Seas,” so I will have the title “Captain.”

I will be called "Captain" before this is done

The current score is 19 out of 25 required

The naval bonus missions are the rare ones, so I check in daily to see if one has popped up, then run some missions anyway (including the one for 400 oil) because I might as well get the “Fleet Commander” achievement while I am there.

But mainly I have been going back for garrison resources.

After the 7.0 patch, Blizzard took away gold as a reward for many things… though you can still get occasional ilevel 655 or 670 items from missions that are worth… but boosted the garrison resource output.  I imagine that this is to help alts and others showing up in the post-Draenor era build their garrisons.

So all those follows with the extreme scavenger trait that I optimized for in order to boost gold returns on mission, they now return piles of garrison resources instead.

That is a pile of resources

That is a pile of resources for three resource missions

The salvage yard now hands out garrison resources with each box or bag you open as well.

I am taking all of those garrison resources to the vendor at the trading post, which I have built on several of my alt garrisons as well, and but supplies for my tail who then turns them into hexweave bags.

Making bags

Making bags

I save some of them for the auction house when the price is good, but my main goal is to outfit all of my characters, inventory and bank, with 30 slot bags.  I figured that I might as well put all of those alts hanging about in their garrisons waiting for their turn in the Broken Isles to use.

It is funny, at times, to see the array of bags that my characters have.  There are plenty of 16 slot mageweave bags, along with a fair number of the old school, no-bind, 16 slot traveler’s backpack.  I remember when getting one of those as a drop was a big deal.

There are bags that were quest rewards and bag that were drops from old raids that I ran back and did once I was high enough level to solo them.

I even have the Haris Pilton “Gigantique” from back in the Burning Crusade era.  A 22 slot bag for 1,200 gold, a time when both 22 slots and 1,200 gold seemed like a lot.  I did not, however, bother to buy the so-called “Portable Hole” bag from Haris Pilton, a Wrath of the Lich King era addition to her stock.  It wasn’t because it was too expensive, though you can get a 30-slot hexweave bag for less these days, but because nearly seven years back it simply annoyed me that Blizzard decided to use that name for what is otherwise a rather modest sized bag.

I’ve looked in a portable hole before, it holds more than 24 slots worth of stuff.

Last Minute Garrison Gold Grubbing

The WoW 7.0 pre-Legion patch goes live tomorrow.


The WoW 7.0 patch notes have the following two items about your Draenor garrisons:

  • Many sources of gold from the Garrison has been reduced or removed.
  • Newly obtained salvage from the Salvage Yard no longer contains equippable items. Salvage obtained from before the patch remains unaffected.

Both were expected, but you might not be aware of just how much your gold revenue will be taking a hit.  I knew that follower missions that paid off in gold were done for, but I did not know that follower equipment, which is worth a decent amount of gold today, will be worth just 1 copper after the patch tomorrow.

I’ll be cashing all those in when I get home.

Blizzard Watch has a guide up to help you extract as much last minute gold out of your garrison as possible.  Get it tonight, because tomorrow will be to late.


Meanwhile, Back in Azeroth

I haven’t written much of late about actually play World of Warcraft.  That hasn’t been due to a lack of play time really.  It is more a lack of doing anything worth writing about, a problem of sorts that I lay directly on the cumulative doorsteps of the five garrisons I have running right now.

The Draenor Contestants

My five garrison characters, pre-Draenor

Seriously, when I log in and go through each character, collecting all their work orders, checking all their buildings, doing all the harvesting, upgrading follower equipment and then sending them out on new missions, and then finally go through the various daily pet battles to continue work on my pet army, I am about done with time on an average weeknight.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  At least Blizzard has given me a reason to log in every day to check on things, but sometimes days go by before I do anything besides garrison maintenance.

But occasionally I do get out and do things.

I did, for example, run Alioto through the gnomish section of Spires of Arak in order to finally pick up the level 1 plans for the Salvage yard.  I am what, four months late in doing that?  And then when I found out you get a follower as well when you finish that chain I started pushing the rest of the Draenor crew through it.  I think only Trianis is left.

The instance group has not been completely idle either.  I see Earl, Skronk, and Ula on regularly, no doubt tending to their own garrisons and working on alts as well.

We also went out and did the Iron Docks as a group… like five times already.

Flushing out all the NPCs in the Iron Docks

Flushing out all the NPCs in the Iron Docks

It is kind of a neat instance.  There are several interesting mechanics that you have to learn as you move through the whole thing, so there was some trial and error, which is always good.  There is at least some satisfaction in figuring things out.

But once we figured things out the whole thing was pretty easy in normal mode.  Easy enough that the first two times we ran the instance Ula was not feeling well so we ran it as a foursome.

And, as an at-level four person party, we beat it on our first run through.  Granted, we died a lot as we learned the mechanics, but once we figured things out the fights were not all that tough.  So after our first run through as a team of four, we did it again.

Then the next time we were one, we ran it three more times with Ula in tow.  We did it that many times because, by that point, the run was pretty quick and because she was level 93 still and Blizzard decreed way back in Pandaria that you cannot even walk into a dungeon, much less enter it through the Dungeon Finder, unless you meet the minimum level requirements.  Heaven help the nanny state.

So our last couple of runs through we tried to maximize experience by killing every mob we would find.  We even tried to take on that big open area that you roll the giant iron wheels through to clear.  We did well on the periphery, but the big mass in the center overwhelmed us, so we rolled one wheel through to thin that out and then cleared the rest.

Of course, part of the problem is that Tistann and Earl are both over-equipped.

Tistann with the big gun and the big pet

Tistann with the big gun and the big pet

Tistann has the full upgraded purple engineer’s gun and a couple of the item level 630 crafted pieces, while Earl has a Garrosh heirloom weapon and level 630 pieces of his own.  So we have way more DPS than anybody would ever need to take on instances at level 94.  That advantage will get pared back as we level up, but right now we are OP.

If we were a more active group, I might even suggest we all just drive for the level cap and work on the heroic versions of all of these instances.  I am just not sure we are that active.

Still, we have conquered the normal mode version of the Iron Docks.

The instance group in the Iron Docks

The instance group in the Iron Docks

And then there was the whole 6.1 patch thing, which I have not yet begun to explore in any depth.  Garrisons keeping me busy and all that.

I was happy with how the heirloom changes turned out.  While Blizz warned us that we might need to log on and dig through every character’s bank in order to get all of the heirlooms we socked away over the years to show up in the new heirloom tab, mine seemed to all get picked up automatically.  I still logged everybody in all the same… that was kind of interesting to go visit some old characters… but it wasn’t really necessary.

All told I had 19 heirlooms, which was enough for three achievements.

HeirloomAchiI then turned around and went to the guild vendor in Stormwind and the heirloom vendor in Ironforge and filled out some missing slots by buying a pile of the now readily available for gold level 1-60 heirlooms.

I then used Darkmoon Faire tickets and ancestral coins from the Lunar Festival to upgrade some key heirlooms that I just bought, and which I thought might be useful in the near future, to the level 1-90 versions so I can drive some alts straight to Draenor when the time is ripe.

Blizzard figured out a way to get me to participate in holiday events again.

I mentioned my 2006 vintage Orc Hunter Garnatz as the prime candidate to get me a Horde version of the Garrison thing, because I clearly need more freakin’ garrisons!  Well, he is heirloomed up the butt to level 90 now.  I can have a whole army of forgotten and idle… but well equipped… alts now.

And, finally, I did take the obligatory selfie with the new camera.

Vikund in his garrison

Vikund in his garrison

So that is about all the news I have from Azeroth of late.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go attend to my followers.  Some of them might be idle!!!

By The Fifth Garrison I Totally Had It Down…

Over the weekend in World of Warcraft, after wrapping up garrison maintenance for four characters, running the garrison daily, doing a pet battle for tokens, and fishing a bit, I started thinking about actually… well… playing the game.

I know, I know, all that other stuff is part of the game.  But each feels like its own little thing and apart from what I think of as playing WoW, which is leveling out in the field and running instances.

With three level 94 characters in Draenor, I had my choice of classes to play and level up.  Alioto was high on my list as, having the inscription trade skill, I wanted to unlock the garrison herb garden for him.

So what did I do?

I logged in my rogue, Trianis, star of my doomed attempt at the Loremaster achievement over the summer, to see where he stood.

He was level 88 and just a ways into the Valley of the Four Winds.  He had been a possible contender for “who goes to Draenor first” back before the expansion hit, but I had ended up leaving him behind with Pandaria unfinished.

I did a few quests there with him, rode out to Halfhill Market and boosted his cooking skill from ~280 to 525 with the set of “catch up” recipes available, generating a cooking achievement every couple minutes.  Then I flew him back to the road into Kun-Lai Summit and picked up the starter quest for the zone.  My goal was to see if I could get him to level 90 and to do the quest for the Grummelpack, the 24 slot bag that is a quest reward about half way across the zone.

As it turned out, that was about the perfect set of goals as he literally popped to level 90 when I turned in the quest for the Grummelpack.  #winning

I swapped in the new big back, recalled to Stormwind, and headed straight to Khadgar and into the Warlords of Draenor starter zone.  It was just after I committed to that path that I realized I had not done much about my gear.  I was actually still wearing several pieces of the 1-85 heirloom gear that had allowed Trianis to speed through the Cataclysm expansion.  I never got around to replacing them while in Pandaria.  The drops I got there all had a better item level, but the heirloom gear stats remained competitive.  Side effect of the great stat squish I guess.

But now I was going into Draenor wearing that stuff, while back in my bank I had a full set of Timeless Isle leather gear to open up and wear.  Those purples, at item level 496, would have clearly been better than what I was wearing.  But it was too late, so I pressed on through the expansion intro.

Come on Khadgar, move your ass

Come on Khadgar, move your ass

The fifth time through… well… I was at the point of being optimized for the experience.  And doubly so as a rogue, where you can stealth through things.  I still have to resolve the dichotomy of the full on rogue play style and the feral druid pseudo-rogue play style, as they are not identical.  The feral druid just does not have the damage capabilities of the rogue, but can cast heals… and since I got the random druid specialization that lets Alioto cast a heal while in cat form, he is even more survivable… while the rogue has to vanish and run away if he gets in too far over his head.  That, or die a lot.  Dying a lot reminds you to vanish eventually.

Anyway, I made it through, took the ride to Shadowmoon Valley and launched into garrison creation.  Again, having been through Shadowmoon Valley four times before, I know which quests to run to get followers and what I need to do to unlock the level 2 on the garrison.  In pretty much “zip zam boom” fashion Trianis was sitting in his level 2 garrison with 9 followers.

Another town hall

Another town hall

I did have a couple of new quests to run.  For trade skills Trianis does enchanting and tailoring, the “no need to harvest” combo.  That meant he had to go find the quests for both trade skills and run them down before laying down the Enchanter’s Study and the Tailoring Emporium.  No extra space for a Storehouse, so he’ll have to travel to do his banking.

On the bright side, the raws he needs to run his crafting material production orders had been accumulating on a couple of characters, so he was set to kick those off.

I had to decide what to do with my medium slot.  I wish that the Dwarven Bunker was a medium building, as I have gotten a huge amount of benefit from it with Vikund and his garrison.  Hi followers are bringing back item level 645 gear at this point due to all of the follower upgrades.  Absent that, I decided to go with a Lumber Mill, if only because it was a building I haven’t played with as yet, and Trianis is behind in his garrison resource accumulation.

So now I have another character in Draenor and another garrison to tend.  And all of the candidate characters I had listed for Draenor back before the expansion launch are into the thick of things.

The Draenor Contestants

The Draenor Contestants – all now in Draenor

So now I should work on leveling them up.

Of course, I say that, but then I saw this on the WoW 6.1 PTR release notes:

Alchemists can now transmute for Savage Blood

And what trade skill do I NOT have in Draenor yet?  And how badly do I want/need savage blood for crafting?

But, you know, I do have an alchemist.  He is a level 83 druid, so he isn’t THAT far from the level cap.  And how much more work would six garrisons be compared to five?

This is how I get mired in side tasks.

The State of the Garrison Address

You came from Draenor? How does that even work?!

Nate Pagle, in Pandaria

As I sat last night thinking about what to write for today’s post, I looked back at the week and realized I had written nothing but posts that were attempting to be meaningful, relevant, or topical.  And while those are great for the looking back sections of my monthly review, I don’t want anybody to think I am putting on airs.  So rather than yet another “thinking about games” piece… and I still have a few of those on my “to do” list right now, including a look at the “OMG we have some already?!” CSM meeting minutes and some mildly optimistic thoughts I have had on LOTRO’s future… I’m going to go back to dull old writing about stuff I’ve done.

I am going to write about my garrison.  Again.

We are now past the two months marker for Warlords of Draenor and I am still not sure how I feel about my garrison (or the way trade skills have been changed).

Chieftain Cheat Sheet

Also, I don’t run into these guys like I used to

Actually, I have four garrisons now.  Working from the idea that garrison resources might be a scarce commodity and the fact that you can just earn them over time by simply having a garrison and logging on every other day to collect them, I ran one alt, then another, and then a third into Draenor.

Then, of course, I got a follower for each, but thought I should push on and get a couple more.  And if I just got another level then I could have another building or upgrade the mine or whatever, when suddenly I found myself with my main at level 100 and three alts in the mid 90s and, if I sent my followers on shorter missions, a seemingly infinite loop of logging a character in, checking followers, sending them on new missions, collecting some resources, topping up work orders, to the point that there have been a couple of evenings where I have done little else in Azeroth.

So I am really not sure if I want to get another alt in the mix, as five garrisons might represent a breaking point.  As it is, I am mostly playing with my garrison or doing minor garrison related tasks.  But when it comes to the whole Garrison Campaign, I am clearly still in the “Wait, What?” category.  I am not yet sure if I have advanced my garrison to the point where I would get into the campaign… or how I would know if I was there.  And am I supposed to be getting garrison invasions or something?

Anyway, I am going to stop and review where things stand… building by building.  Now is the time to click on a link to elsewhere if you have no interest in this. (EJECT!)

Vikund's Alliance Garrison

Vikund’s Alliance Garrison

Building roll call after the cut as I just go on and on.

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Warlords of Draenor – Garrison Life

I said multiple times during the months long run up to the Warlords of Draenor expansion that I was going to try to avert my eyes and ignore details about the release so as to be surprised and engaged when the launch came.

I was pretty successful in that regard, as I felt almost no sense of the final product having been spoiled or played out before I even arrived, leaving aside the semi-meta idea that we’re going to be killing ourselves a ton of orcs.  But the day I tire of slaying orcs is the day I should probably hang up my sword and devote myself full time to Pokemon or internet spaceships.

So when it came to garrisons, I had no idea what they would really end up being.  I listened to what Blizzard said about them at BlizzCon last year, when they announced the expansion, filed that away and thought no more about it.

The Garrison Slide

I pretty much just remember this slide

Now though, a couple levels and a zone and a half into the expansion, color me surprised on a couple fronts when it comes to garrisons.

The first surprise was that garrisons do not seem to be an option, a side item akin to the farm or pet battles during Mists of Pandaria, or just some sort of end game exercise to keep us busy during the next content drought.  When you finish the starter zone, you are lead by the nose to a specific spot in the zone… along with everybody else in your faction on your server, one of the great Blizzard oversights of the launch… and are set towards building your garrison.  I went with the flow for my first character, Vikund, as it seemed to be a required step on the path into the game.  Plus he is, as I noted previously, my “do all the things” character, so I’ll try any task with him.  But I will have to see if I can skip that, and how far you can get without it, when I bring my next character into Draenor.

Vikund however jumped onto the whole garrison thing with both feet and got his garrison to level 2 pretty quickly.  I am just not sure what to think about it.  Frankly, I am not even sure how it leveled up.  This post is impressions based only on what I have seen in game, and the game seems pretty cagey about indicating progress towards levels and such.

Level 2 Alliance garrison layout

Level 2 Alliance garrison layout

More after the cut because aimless verbosity.

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