Garrisons are inarguably a very central part to the WoD expansion. But, as it has been mentioned a few times, they will not be coming with us to the next expansion. At least, not in their current incarnation. But it does seem likely that Blizzard will take some of the technology and ideas from the garrison and use them in the next expansion.
So, what would I want to see?
It’s hard to say exactly what I would want because we don’t yet know what the expansion will be. The garrison of WoD was intrinsically linked to the story and feel of WoD as was the farm to Mists. So whatever the next expansion would be, the next incarnation of the garrison would have to fit in with it thematically. However, without knowing what the next expansion will be, there are still some things I would want to see with the next garrison.
One of the my main issues with the current garrison is that it is so large. There is a lot of space to cover, which makes running around doing chores can be a very tedious thing. This space made sense since the garrison was a military outpost, but in the next incarnation, I would like to see something a little different. Something a little more compact.
If at all possible, I would like to see Garrison 2.0 as one building, sort of like a compound. Specialization of your garrison would come from the rooms you picked rather than separate buildings. Keep in mind, I do not want to see the next garrison become a house. But I think it should be smaller than it is, and making it a compound would be a good way of keeping it smaller.
I would also like to see race themed buildings in Garrison 2.0. Especially if it is one building, it would be much easier to design for all the race (smaller space, reusing models). My gnome is sick and tired of barely being tall enough to see things in her garrison and my draenei would really prefer a few more floating crystals. The changes wouldn’t need to be huge, just enough to give each race a little ‘flair’.
The other problem with the garrison was that once you had it all set up, there was very little reason to leave it. People would log into their garrisons, do their garrison chores, check their bank and AH, and queue up for their instances. I know Blizzard doesn’t want people to hang out in the capital cities all the time, but hiding in our garrisons was even worse. So the next incarnation of the garrison will need to include much more incentive to venture out.
In order to do so, Garrison 2.0 should have more quests to find things outside the garrison with enticing rewards. Think the Inn, but with quests to find things out in the world as well. There should also be randomly spawning things out in the world that you can find that would help your garrison. So while you wait for that instance queue, you are out in the world searching for something, or trying to complete a quest.
Finally, professions should not be a part of the new garrison. Sure, the garrison might award some mats or recipes for them, but nothing on the level of the Herb Garden or Mines. And definitely no crafting huts like we have today. People should have to again go out into the world to gather their mats and craft their stuff.
One thing I thought was very well done, was the set and forget missions. I would like to see something similar (but not the same!) in Garrison 2.0. While I’m not entirely sure what the next version should be, I do like the mini-game of missions. I would advocate for less missions but the ones we keep give more interesting rewards, but missions are in a pretty good state where they are.
Here’s an idea actually, for missions 2.0. Players can set out missions for other players to complete instead of their followers. Both those setting out the missions and those completing them get some sort of specific reward that helps them to further their garrison. For example, setting out missions gets you a garrison specific currency while completing missions nets you in gold. And then that garrison specific currency can buy things like gear, toys, pets, and more. That could be a fun way to get people out into the world again.
I think garrisons have been an overall very successful part of WoW. However, like all things they have had their faults. Moving forwards, I really hope that the next garrison encourages more ventures into the world as well as interaction between players. The next garrison should be less of a home base, and more of a starting point for your playtime.