Each level 3 Garrison can sport 2 Large, 2 Medium and 3 Small Buildings. I don't plan on examining the Herb Garden, the Mine, the Menagerie or the Fishing Shack since everyone gets them.
Options for large buildings are the Barracks, the Dwarven Bunker, Gearworks, Magetower, and Stables.
The Barracks- level 1 - provides Patrol Missions to your missions list which reward higher than normal follower xp - allows for faster levelling of followers
- level 2 - allows you to assign a follower which will act as your bodyguard out in the world at large - when you have capped your reputation with your bodyguard they provide perks such as a mailbox, portals, summons and missions tables.
- level 3 - increases your follower limit by 5
Utility and AnalysisIt speeds up the process of levelling followers, increases your active follower limit from 20 to 25, provides support while out in Draenor and gives you a few quality of life perks while out in the world. I think this building is a must have for everyone, but especially classes which are on the squishy side and could benefit most from having a bodyguard.
The Dwarven Bunker- level 1 - doubles the chance for rare or epic upgrades to quest rewards and treasures and allows the colletion of Armor Scraps
- level 2 - provides work orders - garrison resources in exchange for follower armor and weapon upgrades, Apexis Crystals and Armor Scraps
- level 3 - one of your 3 Tempered Seals of Fate each week at no cost (raid loot reroll tokens) and a daily quest - 25 Armor Scraps in exchange for 15g and a follower upgrade for either armour or weapons
Utility and AnalysisIt offers the chance to improve your levelling gear and your follower's gear, gives you a bit of gold through a daily and gives you one more chance at a bosses loot table every week. I think this is a must have while levelling, and you may want to keep and upgrade it for toons that you plan to raid on. If you don't plan on raiding, it is replaceable once levelling is done and you are either well supplied with follower geared upgrade tokens or your followers are geared.
The Gearworks- gadgets and gizmos
I think this building is meant more for PvPers as Wowhead guides specifically mention the usefulness of the gadgets in Ashran. I've rarely had more than a passing interest in PvP so I think I can safely skip this building entirely. I may at some point take this building on some future alt, just for the sake of achievements, but that is it. I really have no interest in it otherwise.
The Magetower- level 1 - allows the collection of waystones from Ogres allowing you to power up a portal
- level 2 - allows the use of two different portals and work orders - turn in waystones and get Apexis Crystals and sometimes Mission Completion Orders
- level 3 - one final portal
Utility and AnalysisIt lets you get around faster and complete missions faster, and gives you another source of Apexis crystals. I think this is marginally useful. You have to spend time farming the waystones, and the Mission Completion Orders are not guaranteed to be contained in your completed work orders. The extra Apexis are nice, but if you have to farm something, why not the Apexis themselves.
I think the utility of this building is marginal at best, and I would probably only take this building on my mage for sake of having her own tower and to fill out achievements at a later date.
The Stables- level 1 - opens up dailies to tame and train several new mounts and allows you to stay mounted while interacting with things out in the world
- level 2 - eliminates the peril of being dazed by mobs and opens up the ability to gain one more mount
- level 3 - increases mounted speed and opens up a final mount
Utility and AnalysisLets you get around faster and do stuff while mounted, lets you earn a bunch of new mounts that are otherwise unavailable. This is definitely something to do, but only once, and is replaceable once you've done it all. I have this building on my main, and once she has all the mounts and the titles, it will be replaced.
So where does that leave us:
- Barracks - must have
- Bunker - must have
- Gearworks - skip - maybe take on some backwater alt for achievements
- Mage Tower - skip - again maybe for achievements and/or esthetics at a later date
- Stables - take once for mounts and then replace
As of right now, everyone with the exception of Eccentricah is rocking both the Barracks and the Bunker, although most need to upgrade the Barracks. Eccentricah has the Bunker and the Stables currently. Once she has completed the mount training, she'll replace the Stables with the Barracks, so I clearly need to make getting those done everyday somewhat of a priority.
She presents me somewhat of a difficulty though, as my main, because if I do LFR on anyone I will run it with her, so the Bunker would be nice to have for the token. But then again, if I can avoid impatience and just accept whatever the loot gods provide, as was the case prior to MoP, then I can ditch the Bunker. A bit of a conundrum there, so let's move on to Medium buildings.
Your choices here are not any easier to make, making you choose two of either the Barn, Gladiator's Sanctum, the Lumber Mill, the Inn or the Trading Post.
The Barn- level 1 - allows the trapping of beasts to turn into Raw Beast Hides or Sumptuous Fur on a work order basis
- level 2 - allows you to assign a follower which increases your work order yield, also expands your work order queue. Additionally, allows you to trap beasts which yield +100 stat food on a work order basis
- level 3 - allows you to trap elite beasts in Nagrand which provide more raw mats per work order and will also provide some Savage Blood, increases your work order queue yet again, and has a lootable pet which is otherwise unobtainable.
Utility and AnalysisBest stat food in game, crafting materials and a pet. If you like gold or know someone who does, you want to have this building. Trapping can be a bit of a bugbear for some classes. I have found the task easiest on my Hunter (no surprise there), followed by my DK.
Gladiators Sanctum- PvP building. Bleh. Next?
The Lumber Mill- level 1 - allows you to harvest trees to turn into Garrison Resources via work orders, allows you to find and obtain Weldon Barov as a follower
- level 2 - expands your work order queue, allows you to start the process of obtaining another follower, allows you to harvest larger trees which provide more lumber per tree, and allows you to assign a follower which increases your work order output
- level 3 - expands your work order queue again and allows you to harvest the largest trees
Utility and AnalysisA Garrison Resource generator. Great if you are continually resource starved, or just want more resources to trade at your Trading Post.
The Inn- level 1 - daily visitor offering dungeon quests
- level 2 - follower recruiter appears, allowing you to recruit a new follower each week AND you can select them by trait or ability
- level 3 - unlocks treasure hunter missions
Utility and AnalysisQuests, gear, pets, toys, followers, gold. What's not to like? If you get out of your garrison at all, you want this building. If you never leave your garrison, but your followers do, you want this building. If .... oh nevermind. You want this building.
The Trading Post- level 1 - Trader visits everyday offering his or her wares in exchange for Garrison Resources. Work order available, different mat taken everyday (5 of them) in exhange for 30 Garrison Resources
- level 2 - expands work order queue and allows you the opportunity to build an auction house terminal. Also opens up another rep grind (Hurray! Kidding.) Sha'tari Defense.
- level 3 - final expansion to work order queue and increases Draenor rep gains by 20%
Utility and AnalysisGoldmine. No, seriously. You plug in low priced materials and receive GR in return. When the trader offering a higher value material at the lowest trade appears, you trade in your GR for those materials. This building is a must have in my not so humble opinion.
So, again, where does that leave us:
- Barn - goldmine
- Gladiator's Sanctum - no thanks I've developed an allergy to Stun, Sap and Backstab.
- Lumbermill - GR generator - stiuational
- Inn - must have
- Trading Post - gold printing machine
See, here's where it gets tricky. There are 3 buildings that I want to have on each character, and we can only take 2. Decisions, decisions. Here I think it comes down to what generates the most money, and how we really want to spend out time on our characters. The Barn requires trapping, and that is time consuming, on a sliding scale based on the strength of your toon. On my rather poorly geared hunter, I can be texting, each a sandwich, talking on the phone, half asleep, and bag 40 elite Bulls in Nagrand in an hour. On my mage, not so much.
The Inn seems to be absolutely mandatory for every character, if only for the treasure hunter missions, and the ability to pick and choose followers to round out our counters. Fun stuff and more gold if we venture out into the scary world of dungeons and heroic dungeons.
The Trading Post is simply too good not to have. Put in a mat worth 83s and take out 1 1/2 mats worth 9g. What is not to love? You only have to wander as far as your local auction house to profit.
So in terms of time expenditure the Barn requires the most, the Inn a moderate amount and the Trading Post the least.
In terms of gold realized, that depends on market prices of Fur, Hides, Dust etc. On my server Bloods are now around the 300g mark, Hides and Fur 2g, Dust is around 7g. One days work orders at the Barn filled with elite Bulls would yield 1164-1464g per day depending on whether I got 3 or 4 Bloods out of the bargain. This drops to 144g if filled with non-elite animals. One day work of work orders at the Trading Post would yield 315g (really? Yeah, double checked it.) worth of mats when trading the GR back in with Pyxni. The Treasure Hunter mission at the Inn clock in at 450g (600g at best) per day possible.
So right now, the ranking would be Barn(with elites), Inn, Trading Post or alternately Inn, Trading Post, Barn (with normal beasts).
So, since I really do not want to spend the rest of this expansion alternating between the Garrison and Nagrand, I am going to have to put a cap on the Barns. Elite mobs provide so much more base material than normal mobs, so I am only going to have Barns on toons that can most easily and most quickly get their trapping done. My Hunter and my 2 Deathknights will have to shoulder this burden.
Now Inns. Hmm. I am most comfortable doing group content with my Mage and my two Paladins. Ret is very forgiving and I've been Mageing it up for years. So it makes sense to have Inns on them because I am more likely to run dungeons with them.
Now the Trading Post. Number-wise it produces less gold than either of the other two must-haves, but it's no brain gold. It's easymode gold. It is also gold wrought from items under continual demand and very thin supply options. Everyone needs enchants. Everyone will get newer gear at some point which will require more enchants. Enchants require Dust and it is hard to come by. Heck, Pyxni was absent for about a week and the market went nuts. Dust dried up and the price jumped to 12g per. That would make one day's output of the Trading Post 540g putting it on par with the Inn. I think I am going to stick to my guns and keep the Trading Post on everyone.
Small BuildingsThis brings us right along to Small Buildings, and this section will be smallest. You can place 3 small buildings in your Garrison. You have a choice between buildings to match a primary crating profession, a Salvage Yard and a Storehosue. I'm not going to go over each professional building in length. At level 1 you get work orders, at level 2 you get expanded work order queues and can assign a follower who increases the output of each work order, and at level 3 you get the last expansion to your work order queues and open up professional missions which will reward a certificate allowing you to rush a couple of work orders through to instant completion.
Alchemy, Jewelcrafting and Inscription buildings also offer a daily quest (which can be very lucrative except for poor-old beleaguered Alchemy). The Inscription quests is available to professionals and non professionals alike. I can't vouch for the availability of the JC or Alchemy daily to non professionals.
If you have crafting professions, you will probably already decided to build the matching building, as well you should. If you don't have crafting professions, but are considering taking a crafting building, be forewarned that the production cost of materials is higher for you since you will not get the skill bonus and will not have the daily cooldown. If you take an Alchemy or Enchanting building you can at least sell your output on the AH, but if you take any of the other buildings, you are stuck with soulbound mats and can only produce the entry level items which may or may not sell.
So, for dual crafters, we really only have to decide between the Salvage Yard and the Storehouse. Any toon with only one crafting profession, or dual gatherers don't have a decision to make, just take both of the following buildings.
The Salvage Yard- level 1 - allows Salvage to occasionally be recovered from missions
- level 2 - increases chances of Salvage and it may now contain follower gear and upgrades
- level 3 - greatly increases chance of Salvage and it may now also contain player gear
Utility and AnalysisProvides gold via vendor trash and marketable BoEs, enchanting mats via disenchantable player gear, occasional gear upgrades for you, and sometimes herbs, ore, cloth or leather. Also sometimes provides follower gear and upgrades. It's another source of gold which is always useful and an occasional source of follower stuff which is useful as long as you are still gearing your followers.
The Storehouse- level 1 - increases the work order queues of all your buildings (mine and herb garden too) and provides access to your personal bank
- level 2 - further increase to work order queues and provides access to your guild bank
- level 3 - another increase to work order queues and provides access to a transmog npc.
Utility and AnalysisExpands work order queues and provides bank access. This is useful insofar as it allows you to be away from your garrison for longer periods without missing out on the production of mats. Since it provides a maximum work order queue of 36 work orders you can be away for 6 days without missing out. It ties nicely to the Trading Post as it allows you to jam the work order queue full on days when it wants the lowest value mats and to avoid placing work orders on days when it wants a higher valued mat (anyone who place work order queues on Dust days need to just mail me their gold instead, mkay).
This is the pickle I am in, since all of my toons have or will have a Trading Post, I need to decide whether to be matchy-matchy and have a Storehouse or to take door number two and have a Salvage Yard. I've thought about this for the past few weeks and I am really no closer to a decision. The expanded queue is nice, the bank and guild bank access is nice, but gold is nice too. It looks good in my inventory window. It flatters every profile and smooths out unsightly bulges. It does windows, buys me flowers and never drunk dials me at 3 in the morning.
Sod it. I have a one hour cooldown guild bank thingy, I have a portal to Ashran for bank access. I have a banking toon. I've never seen a bad work order demand at the Trading Post last any longer than 3 days. Dual crafters keep the Salvage Yard.
My Own Garrisons - The PlanCurrently, this is where I am and I think after all this rumination that I will alter the garrisons as follows:
Eccentrica - Mage
Large - Now: Stables and Bunker
In future: Switch out the Stables for the Mage Tower and the Bunker for the Barracks
Medium - Inn and Trading Post
Small - JC, Tailoring and Salvage Yard
Deathvixen - DK
Large - Bunker and Barracks
Medium - Barn and Trading Post
Small - Inscription, Salvage Yard and Storehouse
- no changes necessary to her Garrison, but switch from trapping Bulls to trapping Wolves
Morrisminor - Paladin
Large - Bunker and Barracks
Medium - Now: Barn and Lumber Yard
- In Future: Switch out both for Inn and Trading Post
Small - Inscription, Alchemy and Salvage Yard
Larrisah - Paladin
Large - Bunker and Barracks
Medium - Now: Barn and Trading Post
- In Future: Switch out Barn for Inn
Small - Tailoring, Enchanting and Salvage Yard
Ironicah - Deathknight
Large - Bunker and Barracks
Medium - Barn and Trading Post
Small - Blacksmithing, Engineering and Salvage Yard
- no changes necessary for her Garrison, except for getting out to Nagrand to trap elite beasts instead of normals
Madmurray - Hunter
Large - Bunker and Barracks
Medium - Barn and Trading Post
Small - Enchanting, Salvage Yard and Storehouse
- no changes necessary to his Garrison except for switching from trapping Bulls to trapping Wolves.
Well, I realize that was an extremely long winded post, but I feel much better about the whole business now that I've really compared all the benefits of the buildings, and come down to earth about what I can reasonably accomplish. Since I've let all the work orders on all of my barns run down to nought, I can go and happily demolish two of them and install Inns in their place.