I had a rough idea of what I wanted to discuss as my final overview of Warlords, and it should come as no surprise that I’d have a few things to say about Garrisons.
Primarily, I feel I ought to apologize to everybody for getting your hopes up.
A lot of the Garrison hype was my fault, let’s not beat about the bush here. I genuinely believed, as did Activision Blizzard, that the feature would redefine how the solo game got played. What I singularly failed to grasp, without a doubt, was the reasoning of a design team who didn’t want anything to do with customization at all. The thinking behind a home of your own was that everyone, like it or not, would accept the same layouts and buildings, plus identical quests and rewards. When the saving grace of the entire endeavor was gold? Suddenly there was a lot more forgiveness for sad and predictable repetition. That might be the case for many players, but I have to be honest here. The customization issue is what I’m still incredibly angry at, and I doubt that will ever vanish. This was a superb opportunity to provide everyone with a unique part of Azeroth of their own, but it was never going to happen.
There, I said it.
The biggest joke of all, of course, was that they proved it was possible. Giving players Xmas decorations and Hallows End games simply re-inforced the understanding that had they chosen that path, you could have customized the space even further. All the assets existed, were scattered across Draenor, but I can only assume that the ‘player housing’ ethos was never on the whiteboard. In essence, that’s what so many of us still desire and crave, but unless this game has some RTS element ingrained within, there’s the sense it’s somehow not complying to a long-standing design ethos. I may shout and rave until I’m blue in the face, but Transmog is probably all I’ll ever get in terms of true aesthetic freedom, and although this makes me sad beyond words, it has to do.
The Class Order Hall, let’s be honest, is a massive joke when placed alongside the Garrison in its current form. The idea, it appears to me, is to present the illusion of a lovely, well-thought out generic hub, and that somehow being able to use this with everyone else in your class will grant the entire endeavour some gravitas. I don’t give a flying fuck where I am, on reflection, the Artefact management and Daily Quest Hub could be presented in a separate interface. Honestly, I don’t care about the other Hunters either: this is deception, lip service to the original idea that promised so much but was neutered by a desire to only allow real time interaction. The thing is, if Warcraft actually bit the bullet and provided player housing, they’d beat the crap out of every other MMO doing the same. It would be incredible and brilliant and people would flock in their millions to use it, but that’s never how Azeroth has worked. You don’t get to change the aesthetic of the game, and you never will.
You either love with what you’re given, or you go play another one of the ‘family’ of games. If the latter is of no interest? Tough shit.
The fact I’m still here and writing about Azeroth should tell you that I accept my fate: I won’t be stomping off into the sunset any time soon on the back of these changes. However, I’d be a big fat dirty liar if I didn’t think admit the depth and breadth of my dissatisfaction over how this all finally played out. I’m not a designer. I’m just a woman with a set of very specific ideas as to what would work for me, and that’s what blogging ends up being, wish fulfillment. I so wish this had been different, but in the end the Garrison was what it was, and for those who made millions on the back of it, I salute you. To everyone else?
I feel your frustrations had a point.