Today, I’m going to be talking about my experience and opinions with Garrison Invasions.
Overall, I’m happy with the Invasion idea and believe this is a good direction for the game and a good usage of the Scenarios Technology introduced in Mists of Pandaria. I do have my gripes and I will outline those, but I wanted to make it clear that despite the cynical tone to my post, I am generally happy with Invasions.
Invasions are a fun way to experience your friends and guild mates Garrisons as well as help them along in their quest progression. They do not require a particular group make up to complete, though they would appear to favour a full group of Damage roles as you are judged more on how fast you kill the incoming hordes of enemies and less about surviving them (Tanks) or assisting your army NPCs (Healer). I believe that some mechanics should be put in place that help these non-Damage roles contribute more toward the completion of an Invasion than they are currently capable of.
- Tanks :: Traditionally these roles are intended to hang onto mobs so that Damage roles can finish them off. Strides have been made this expansion to increase the damage output capabilities of tanks in general, but they are still considerably further behind in damage output than traditional damage dealers. I know players that prefer the tank role over any other and spend most their time in this role. These types of players are encouraged to switch to a Damage spec to assist more during their invasions due to being graded on how well you dispatch minions. My thoughts on the subject are, that it would not be too difficult to put in a mechanic that applies to players in a Tank spec during an invasion. I can come up with a myriad of ideas on how this could work, but I’ll outline my two favourite suggested solutions:
- Tank Damage Buff :: Provide a temporary buff for the tank that increases damage done for a short period of time after successfully mitigating an attack (block,parry,dodge,miss). The buff should be strong enough to bring damage closer to that of damage dealers. This would allow tanks to be more effective during the Invasion scenario and encourage their play style.
- Buff Army Damage :: Temporarily buff the damage of all the Garrison minions fighting within 30 yards of the tank. This would help tanks bring more to Invasion groups while preserving the intention of the role to hold onto mobs while others dispatch them.
- Healers :: Players who prefer their healer roles are at a much more severe disadvantage over tanks when it comes to Invasions. The roles are tailored for helping others survive incoming damage and have very minimal tools at their disposal for dealing damage. A player in a healer role during an Invasion contributes very little to dispatching attackers on their own and rely on others to do their work. Once again this role as well as the tank role is punished for not being a damage dealer during an Invasion making it very difficult to get a decent score during the scenario. I always have ideas on how to do things differently and here are my favourite suggestions for healers in Invasions:
- Buff Healed Minon Damage :: This role needs to have stronger damage buffs to their minions compared to tanks as Healers are rarely ever pushing out damage to mobs directly. I would suggest that buffing the damage output of a minions that the player heals with a direct heal in proportion to the percentage of the amount healed (stacking for hots with a cap) for a brief period after being healed would allow healers to contribute more toward Invasions while preserving the play style of the spec.
- Summon Random Followers :: Successful heals (not overheals) have a chance based on the percentage healed (with min/max chances that also uses the PPM mechanics for consistency) that one of the players active followers would be summoned to assist in the battle for a short period of time. These temporary minions act exactly as if the player has selected them as a Patrol buddy, Allowing multiple followers to spawn and aid the healer in dispatching invaders near them. This too would also promote the healer play style.
I obviously did not work out all the kinks in the suggestion as these are just random brain-storms but the general philosophy behind the suggestions are sound and could be implemented using already available tech the game has in place. Limits and caveats would need to be addressed but I believe I’ve made my point. These are just a few of the fun ideas that could be done to improve the experience of non-Damage roles during invasion.
I also find that the rewards for doing more than your first Invasion for the week are extremely underwhelming (50 Apexis Crystals). I also feel that the manner in which this reward is delivered is very lacklustre. It’s extremely dissatisfying spending 10+ minutes fending off the hordes of invaders to be rewarded only with a notice in your log that states you got some currency. You have the technology to make this better and you use in other aspects of your game design, why limit it? Use it everywhere. When I complete a scenario award me with a bag that contains any items/currency I am to receive for my efforts. Flash my screen with those frames you use for level up notifications and achievement progression to tell me I’ve accomplished something. This not only signifies the end of the event, it makes players feel like they achieved something, even if that bag only contains 50 Apexis Crystals (a rather sad amount for the effort). It would still feel like a more epic experience than what’s currently in place. Hell, just off the top of my head, why not adopt the MoP end game scenario rewards system for Garrison Invasions? You made the conscious effort to not include end game Scenarios in the expansion as a prelude to running dungeons at max level, despite how overly successful they were. Use the mechanics available from there to give players a meaningful reward that brings them back and has them jumping after anyone who’s asking for help with an Invasion. Throw in some crafting mat rewards, since these are the primary functions of many of the buildings in your Garrison, it follows suite and for the love of god reward us some Garrison Resources. There is little enough repeatable lvl 100 content that rewards this currency, making it very difficult to try out different structures in your Garrison. This is just one place you can adjust rewards so players have more choices in how they obtain additional Garrison Resources, but that’s a topic for another day. I understand the need to limit some rewards to weekly, I don’t think that should apply to content designed for three players, when you can run as many dungeons you want all day long and still get rewards.
Well this ends my rantings on Garrison Invasions, I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the subject. It’s back to Draenor for now.