Followers – keeping your lazy ass in your garrison since about, oh, November 13th or so.
Hey there Internet. Master Rokk here. Remember back in the days just before Warlords launched, and Blizzard told us that garrisons were completely optional and not necessary to do? A month into the expansion and we’ve come to realize that garrisons are about as optional as crossing the ocean by plane. You don’t NEED a plane; I mean, swimming is an option right? (Ships would be a less sucky option, but the point is still sound. — Editor)
But as much as we had to work on leveling our garrisons, it is the faithful minions, the followers, who are the backbone of garrison life. It is their job to leave the safe walls of the garrison and make their way out into hostile world of Draenor, risking life and limb to bring back gold, garrison resources, and gear. Mostly for me.
To keep the garrison HR department from breathing down my neck, I want to ensure the success of my team (of which I reap the benefits). I want to create a “nurturing work environment” to “promote synergy” which will inevitably “get me phat loots.”
Thuggs, an AIE guildmate, created a forum post that outlined the best way to build an army of adequate followers:
Addons: Garrison Mission Manager, Master Plan
Garrison Buildings: Barracks, Tavern, Salvage Yard, and War Mill
Barracks – having more available followers is always good, not necessary but high priority
Tavern – the ability to recruit for Abilities and Traits is extrodinarily useful and I put this as the most valuable early follower based building you can get
Salvage Yard – a must have for the ability to gain armor and weapon sets and enhancments, high priority
War Mill – great resource for further developing 100 lvl followers, but with the cost of resources for work orders, I put this at a low priority after the rest of your garrison is upgraded as it is a constant drain of 120 resources per day of work orders
Gather all the followers.
1) Upon leveling to 100, I would use this resource to find each of the quest obtainable followers. Some of these quests are their own little questlines and some are tied into the story development for each zone. Completing the storyline quests in each zone often gets you a couple followers as well as the followers from the various outposts you choose.
2) Using the above guide there are a number of followers you can gain through finding items in Draenor and turning them in to the appropriate person listed in the guide (or wowheads database for the follower). Examples such as Abu and Image of Archmage Vargoth (might have spelt it wrong)
3) Achievements, such as Croman and Leeroy Jenkins in heroic dungeons as well as Meatball from the Brawlers arena and others.
I advise gathering up as many as possible, spending one afternoon doing this. You will go over your limit on active followers and I suggest patience until you’ve completed all the follower gathering that you will get on your little spree. Now with a collection of followers you can start to review how many of each counter you have. The addons above make this very easily done. I suggest a goal of 2 of every counter, and then prioritize Epic Mounts, Scavenger, and Extra Training as supplementary traits that will come in very useful. Deactivate all the other followers until you can once again send missions out (ie 20/20 or 25/25 whatever your limit is based on barracks level).
Tavern – Now that we have gained the maximum coverage of counters by finding those easily gained followers, we are going to use the Tavern’s recruiting ability to fill in any counter gaps. This is number one priority. After you have 2 of every counter, prioritize Scavenger trait if low on resources, Epic Mount to speed up long missions and then Extra Training to help level followers. You can recruit one per week, so maximizing this gain is vital.
Salvage Yard – This is a necessity as your 95+ missions will be giving you medium crates which can contain follower armor/weapon enhancements. During this entire phase, I advise stockpiling enhancements and equipping weapon/armor sets to 100 level followers. More on this strategy later.
1) You want to start churning out as many missions as you possibly can at this point. If you are resource starved, make sure you send them on missions with very high success chances 80% and above so you are not wasting slim resources. As your resource bank increases (particularly with scavengers) you can start spamming these missions for follower experience. Keeping at least one follower in the low level range (90-94) and one in the mid level range (95-98) will spawn more missions for you to complete increasing the flow of experience for followers and crates from salvage.
2) You want to be leveling followers to 100 at this point. Make sure that the mission level is close to the follower level, within 2 lvls below. For example, 93 lvl mission I want to send someone 93-95th level to maximize the experience gained. Missions that you vastly out level provide reduced experience, and should only be done when you are flush with garrison resources and have nothing better to send them on. After hitting 100, keep sending them out until they reach epic status, as they will continue gaining experience upgrading from green to blue and blue to epic. It will take a while, but the extra counters are essential for completing the highest difficulty missions with good success rates.
3) Resist the temptation to start indiscriminantly raising the item level of your followers. Stockpile the enhancments and sets for the time being to be used when you have 3 or more epic followers. Continue leveling and opening crates as much as possible.
1) Now that you have 3+ epic followers, you want to start gearing them up to try more challenging missions. When a follower hits item level average of 615, missions with that gearing requirement will begin to appear in your mission log. Often these missions need 3 followers and have multiple threats to counter. This is where the extra number of counters from epic followers comes in most handy making your team able to handle more variety of mission threats than you could as rare or uncommon followers. Before we continue, lets address gearing up followers.
Enhancements versus Sets.
Use – Enhancements will only ADD to a pre-existing weapon or armor value. To maximize the gain from these cherished items, you want to equip a weapon or armor set, which sets that value at 615 for the green version, 630 for the blue version and 645 for the purple version. Only then do I advise using your enhancements, because if you do the reverse, you’ll be effectively throwing away the enhancements. For example, I have leeroy jenkins and use to green enhancements to get his armor to 606, but then get an armor set. I use that armor set on him, his armor will be replaced and upgraded to 615, effectively wiping away those two enhancements. Now lets do that in reverse, I give him 615 armor, then apply the two enhancements, now he has armor of 621. Same material use, but a significant gain in item level of the follower.
Strategy – You want to spread out your sets and enhancements around your epic followers raising your primary team up evenly. Raising one to 630 and leaving the other two epics at 600, actively harms you by spawning 630 and 615 item level missions and leaves you unable to actually complete them with any degree of success (usually less than 30% success rate). By evenly bringing three to 615, you’ll have a greater likelihood of completing the missions successfully leading to more crates for salvage and better rewards. Do not believe you are done with three followers at 615. You want to maximize your flexibility to handle any and all threats, so continue filling out your epic ranks and upgrading them to 615. Resist the temptation to push higher with fewer followers, as it will only slow your total progress down. At about 6-7 epic followers at 615, is where I think the benefits start to reduce. Follow the same strategy with a gearing goal of 630 item level. All this while, you will be leveling other followers behind the others and flushing out your counter diversity. Then continue to do the same up to the same 645 item level. Note: That a follower can have a max item level of 655, so if your enhancement would put the value above 655, do not use it for such, as you are not getting its full effect.
Congratulations, you now have a fully stocked, levelled and geared army of followers! What now?
I have begun deactivating my epic geared followers over time. As you gain epic, the new counters for those followers are often random, and while I had a good balance before of counters, I find myself rife with one or two specific counters due to RNG. Time to deactivate and recruit more extra learning and epic mount followers and begin leveling them up. Keep leveling them up, as those recruited followers can provide better traits and counter combinations, so instead of having to run 3 epic followers with 3 different counters but their 2nd counters are all the same, you can further diversify your counters and provide better synergy as the races and traits combine better with others.
I eagerly await the next stage of follower missions in some future patch, for the time being, they are a great source of gold, 200-500 daily, resources for expansion or building changes/experimentation, gear for your character, and reputation relics and tokens.