World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Interview

During last weekend's BlizzCon, AusGamers had the opportunity to chat with Blizzard Entertainment's Helen Cheng and Marco Koegler about their newly announced expansion pack, World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. A bit of what was talked about:
AusGamers: In regards to the Garrisons, is this Blizzard's answer to player housing? How personal is it going to be? Will it be continually supported from this expansion through to the persistent future of World of Warcraft?

Marco: So rather than giving the player a house location that doesn't mean anything, we really wanted to do something different. It felt really good to own the farm in Mists of Pandaria but it was just a really small place. So we wanted to take that up to the next level, but way beyond that and because we are tapping back to the roots of WarCraft with the theme of the expansion, that having a kind of base seemed like the right way to go about it.

So every Garrison will go through three levels as you kind of build it out and you can control the placement of the buildings. So for example you can decide where the Mage Tower is going to be at the beginning of the Garrison; is it going to be at the top of the hill and therefore customise the layout to how you want to interact with those buildings.

You'll also be recruiting followers and every player will kind of recruit their own set of followers and you can give them names and be kind of living in your Garrison and operating the buildings and just be the economy of that place. So in terms of that, we think about a lot of customisation. You'll be able to see your Garrison as you are kind of travelling through the world itself, so it's not like you have to hit a magical stone and there will be a loading bar and suddenly you are in your garrison instance. We tried to make that a seamless transition. You'll see the geometry as you place it, and as you get closer it will basically be spinning up a server instance in the background and you'll transition to your own server at that point where your followers will be doing things that you made them do.

There is also an aspect of, if I'm in a group, you'll be able to see the group leader's garrison because garrisons don't exactly exist in the same place -- there [are] multiple plots on Draenor [where] garrisons can be -- but players can obviously pick the same spot so we have some rules on how to deal with that so I can show you my garrison and you can show me mine.

With regards to carrying it forward, I think it fits into the storyline of Draenor because you are fortifying and putting a foothold in a foreign world. We've talked about ideas of (maybe you have your followers and you like them) and maybe if that is a popular thing future expansions could see you taking them and establishing them to other places. But the garrison itself is kind of at the moment is intended for Draenor.

AusGamers: So is it sort of like your modern version of resource management from the original RTS WarCraft? It seems like that is something you are carrying across in the expansion?

Marco: There's hooks of that in there. For example you'll have to get lumber and get resources to actually build some of these things. It's definitely tapping into the RTS fantasy, but it's not like you'll be controlling units to do these things as you would in an RTS.

AusGamers: How many followers can you actually recruit?

Marco and Helen: [Laughs] We don't actually have a final number yet.

Marco: I suspect it will be 15 to 25 or so. There is a lot of ideas of like, (I can send my followers to do a raid with your followers) and stuff like that.