Looking forward to our new "Home" in Azeroth. Regular updates on Saturday.
As part of a world wide series of press events this week, Brian Holinka was interviewed in South Korea. Around six minutes into the video, he’s asked a couple of questions about garrisons and what the plans for them are beyond the initial release of the expansion. One of the possibilities he mentions for future garrison content is garrison pvp. I’ve previously stated on this blog that I would be interested in seeing some form of limited garrison pvp. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder about what would be the best way to implement it.
Our garrisons are going to be real places that we will be able to visit on Draenor once we’ve built them. Blizzard has really tried to emphasize that point. It’s not going to be locked off from the rest of the world we experience. They want it to be some place where we can walk,ride, and (eventually) fly right in without having to wait for a loading screen. And I think that on some level, allowing our garrisons to be locations where world pvp can occur would add to that sense of immersion. I just think that allowing world pvp in our garrisons would be really difficult to accomplish. The number of spots on Draenor where we will be able to set up camp is going to be limited. Which means, in the zone where you set up, it’s going to operate like your farm in Pandaria. Your garrison is going to be phased over the garrisons of every other person that built on the same spot as you. So for the most part you would only be able to visit your garrison in the zone where you set up camp, limiting world pvp opportunities you get into there to just defensive actions. But that’s just one zone. Every other building spot on Draenor would be “open” to your character. Perhaps, if you were to flag your character for pvp, you would get to see some of these “open” spots filled in with a random garrison belonging to a player from the opposing faction. Or maybe it could be limited to the world pvp zone that was mentioned during Blizzcon. If you build your garrison there, you would be able to access quests specifically designed to have the player attack a garrison from the opposing faction, which is in a different part of the zone from where you’re able to build your own. But that’s all ignoring what I think would be the biggest challenge of garrison world pvp, which is selecting your targets. It’s a question of a very large population dealing with a very limited amount of space where this could take place. How would the game decide what enemy garrisons I ended up encountering? If there are a dozen Horde garrisons on the same plot of land, how is the game going to decide which one of them it is that I’m invading? If I manage to make it all the way to the top of someone’s mage tower before I get killed, is it going to remember which garrison I was attacking so I can go back and get to my body? Or, when I get back to where my body is, will I be out of luck because it’s floating way above me since I’ve corpse walked back into a different garrison with a lower level mage tower (or a different building entirely in that spot). I just think there are too many variables for garrisons to work well as a world pvp spot.
As a map for a battleground, I think it would work better. I can see something along the lines of a Strand of the Ancients type game. Two rounds, giving each team a chance to attack a garrison from the opposing faction and to defend a garrison of their own. It could even become the one battleground with the most map variety, if the garrisons chosen for the battle were randomly selected from the ones built by the players taking part in it. While the randomness of the map would make it the most unique battleground in the game, it could also cause a large number of problems. I’m sure it wouldn’t take people very long to figure out the best defensive builds for their garrison. If you didn’t build in the “correct” zone, with the optimum placement of your buildings, then you would be doing it “wrong” and cost your faction the match if your garrison was chosen to be defended. And heaven help you if you didn’t have all of your buildings upgraded to the cap. A lot of those issues could be solved by just using generic garrisons for the battleground, but then what’s the point? You’re not actually trying to defend your home. You’re just defending a random outpost, like you do in most of the battlegrounds we already have.
Of course, the really wild and crazy idea would be to use garrison pvp to go back to Warcraft’s roots. Blizzard has built different game styles into WoW previously. We have the quest chain about the farm that uses plants to kill undead. We have some turn based strategy going on with pet battles. Lets get some good old Warcraft RTS going with our garrisons. Have my character be the hero unit as he leads some of the followers he’s collected to assault an enemy garrison on the other side of a map. It would definitely be a change from the type of pvp we see in WoW currently.