Patch 6.0.2: The Iron Tide is scheduled to crash into Azeroth on Tuesday, October 14. Featuring new content heralding the Iron Horde incursion, updates to the skills and abilities for every class, and a host of gameplay adjustments, this overture to Warlords of Draenor is coming at you armed to the teeth.
The Dark Portal in the Blasted Lands has turned blood red. Hundreds of strange-looking orcs are violently pouring into Azeroth, killing everything that stands in their path. Nethergarde and Okril’lon have already fallen, and while the Horde and the Alliance moved as quickly as they could to get reinforcements to their people, they are too late. The Iron Horde invasion has begun.
In this desperate hour, King Wrynn and Warchief Vol’jin have called upon their greatest champions to join the front lines in the Blasted Lands and do whatever they can to stop the Iron Horde . . . before the rest of Azeroth falls before them.
Word of this surprise attack sends players rushing to the Blasted Lands to reckon with the barbarous infiltration. After the fall of a high ranking Iron Horde general named Gar’mak Bladetwist, you’ll report what you’ve witnessed in the Blasted Lands to King Wrynn or Warchief Vol’jin. It’s apparent to both the Horde and the Alliance that this is only the first salvo in a much larger conflict, and the only way to win is to take the fight directly to the Iron Horde . . . by journeying through the Dark Portal into Draenor.
The Infiltration of Blackrock Spire
An advance party of Iron Horde forces has barged right out of the Blasted Lands and pushed all the way to Blackrock Mountain, where they found refuge and supplies in Upper Blackrock Spire. There can be only one response: the Alliance and the Horde of Azeroth must face this iron incursion head on.
Available to level-90 characters for a limited time, this specially revamped five-player version of Upper Blackrock Spire sets the stage for the coming counterstrike against the Iron Horde. Here, you will face Orebender Gor'ashan, Kyrak, and Commander Tharbek as you begin to take the fight to the enemy and sharpen the skills—and swords—you’ll need to succeed on an unwelcoming alien world.
Prepare yourself. Draenor is waiting.
As we mentioned in part 1 of this series, we want the process of staking your claim on Draenor to fundamentally shape your gameplay experience. In part 2 of this series, we looked at some of the buildings that you might choose to construct and the different perks and rewards they offer you. In this part, we’re getting to know the NPCs you’ll surround yourself with, and what they’re capable of.
Once your Garrison starts to come together, with a Barracks up and running, you’ll encounter your first Follower and send him on his first mission. You’ll use the command table in the Garrison to activate the Followers window, which allows you to manage your Followers. Therein, you’ll have a searchable list of all Followers available to you in the game and all of the information you need to work with them: their class, spec, quality, abilities, traits, level, xp needed to reach next level, and what they’re currently up to. Followers can level up to 100 just like you can, and you’ll want to level them up, as each Follower becomes more powerful as she gains levels.
While you aren’t restricted from collecting as many Followers as you like, your Garrison can only operate properly with a maximum of 20 active Followers (this number is increased to 25 if your Garrison features a level 3 Barracks). Followers can be inactivated to maintain the total population you’re going for, and inactive Followers don’t forfeit any of their experience while waiting for you to activate them again later.
One of the main keys to a Follower’s success is his Quality. As with many other systems in WoW, Followers come in Uncommon, Rare, and Epic quality. This designation limits the Follower’s abilities and traits, with an Uncommon Follower allowed one of each, a Rare Follower using one ability and two traits, and an Epic Follower gaining two abilities and three traits. Importantly, all Followers can upgrade to Epic Quality, and they gain random traits and a second random ability along the way. The experience they gain after they reach level 100 is what upgrades their Quality.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Your Followers’ abilities and traits define how you’ll use them, and generally, you’ll assign Followers who have specific Profession bonus traits to buildings devoted to that profession, and you'll send strong fighters out on missions. Those with a good match for your buildings will stay home and work for you while you send others out into the wild on missions.
It’s a dangerous planet on which you’re building a Garrison, and different threats are best met by certain abilities that your Followers take into battle. For example, if you need to send someone to deal with an enemy who has deadly minions, you’ll want to choose a Follower who happens to be a Druid with Entangling Roots, or a Hunter with Freezing trap, or a Rogue with Sap, etc.
You won’t always have the perfect counter for the missions you need your Followers to undertake, and that’s okay. As missions become more challenging, you’ll get to send Followers out in groups, and there are some traits that affect other Followers in the group. The race preference traits are a good example here, as a Follower who has a preference for Goblin companions will increase the chance that the mission is a success when you surround her with Goblins.
I (E.I. … E.I.) Will Always Love You
The Bodyguard trait is truly notable. A small number of specific Followers have this trait, and when you assign them to a level 2 or 3 Barracks, they become your personal protector. That’s right; if you ask him to, a Bodyguard Follower will follow you right out of the Garrison and into the savage lands of Draenor, fighting by your side, utilizing his class abilities, and gaining reputation with you.
Some restrictions may apply. Bodyguard will not follow you into any battlegrounds, instances, scenarios, or washrooms. You may only have one working Bodyguard at a time. Void where prohibited. Seriously.
Reputation, you say? Yes. Much like the NPCs you earned reputation with in Pandaria, your Bodyguard will get to know you, and after many trials by your side, he will become your Wingman and gain another Ability. After much more experience fighting together, he’ll reach the remarkable reputation level of Personal Wingman. Your Personal Wingman comes with a special perk, and perks include:
- The ability to summon another player to your position
- A portable repair kit
- A portable mailbox
- The ability to cast a portal that you can use to return to your Garrison
Do You Need Something Specific?
With a level 2 Inn/Tavern, you’ll gain access to a headhunter. Working with your own private “HR at the bar”, you can order up a Follower who has a specific ability or trait. The headhunter will then present you with three potential new hires, and you can choose one of the three.
It’s a process that is so exhausting for the headhunter that she can only perform this feat once per week!
There are many other ways to obtain new Followers. Some come to you as the result of Garrison missions. You’ll meet others as you complete quests in Draenor zones such as Talador, Spires of Arak, and Nagrand. Still others can be purchased, and Followers such as Nat Pagle can only be attracted to your Garrison by your great deeds in the field of their expertise.
You are going to do many great deeds, right?
Check out our previous Garrison previews:
In part 4, we’ll take a stroll through a fully built and operational Garrison, touching on the daily and weekly steps you might take as you bring the pain to your enemies on Draenor and seek out fine rewards for yourself.
If you’re beta testing Warlords of Draenor with us and have any Garrison-related questions or experiences to share, head over to our Beta General Discussion forum and post it there. You can also leave a comment in the forums here.