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Garrisons are a stupid idea - World of Warcraft Depopulation and aiming LOW has become the norm

I will explain in detail why Garrisons are a "Wouldn't that be cool if" that was not thought through, and not done well. Yes, it's another World of Warcraft rant, but when your invested in the game since 2003, yup, 11 years you tend to form opinions. If you are counting that and noticing it's before the game came out, you'd be correct.

Wouldn't it be cool if you could have your own piece of land, a player home?
No, not a home, a Garrison that you command!

That seems to be the entire foundation of it, "Wouldn't it be cool if" without actually thinking the entire thing through. The reality of the situation is that it's PHASED.... Remember that stupid little FARM in Pandaria? The same farm EVERYONE had? That occupies the same exact space but you had your own "Phase" of the farm, and the farm could be upgraded...

That's right folks,

Garrisons are just your Mists of Pandaria Farm on a larger scale.

There is ZERO personal ownership, they are merely extensions of your character that you can take advantage of to advance yourself through the game. Nothing more, nothing less.

People can't run around and go Oooooohhh damn that Garrison looks awesome I wonder who owns that... because the damn thing is phased, again they all occupy the same space.

Now, the looming question that most ingornant people have is "Well, how else could they have done it?" I DONNO, I was a huge player on Asheron's Call back in 1999 and they had ZERO trouble populating the landscape with purchasable and upgradable homesteads.... oh wait! I know the problem: World of Warcraft is too small!

This is a complaint I've had with the game since they nerfed the awesome sprawling Goldshire of Alpha. Ever since I first beta'd my way into the raptor cave from Menthil Harbor... That took Thall a week to travel in the story.

Now, initially my complaints about the world being small came back with developer comments like "Well, how fast could you run in other MMOs vs  WoW?" Yeah, you ran slower in other MMOs congrats, WoW was a pioneer of speed. Eventually it just came down to "We want the entire world to be handcrafted, would you rather have a world that was lovingly built, or one that was just processed in a terrain generator?" Setting aside how arrogant that sounds, a Terrain Generator isn't a dirty word, especially if you go back and hand-craft stuff in it after it's generated. Huge spawling world? Sorry, you failed at it from day 1.

This map from basically explains it all. See Asheron's Call on the bottom side?

Yeah, that's the game I was talking about where we had NO ISSUE with FULL and TRUE playerhomes. So yes, World of Warcraft is just way too small.

But, even if it wasn't. There is a HUGE reason why Garrisons in their current form are actually BAD FOR THE GAME.

World of Warcraft 
what MMO was about!

Okay, so I realize the pool I'm reaching for is really small, but How many of you remember Vanilla Bean? Classic WoW before Burning Crusade came out?

During that time, how often did you run into another player? Pretty damn often right!
People everywhere!
How many times did the LocalDefense call go out to kill the enemy faction?
Pretty often.

                      No Cross Server Players          - VS -          Higher Overall Realm Population

Yeah, there were different factors, but factor #1 that depopulated (Yes, that's what we are talking about) the gaming world was FLYING. When people can skip directly to their quest target and ignore everything else, that's when you simply don't see them around. Now of course that's a non-issue while they are leveling up, but once the majority of players have levelled up, you won't see people travelling at all, just at their destinations.

Now, for everyone who think I hate World of Warcraft and I hate Mists of Pandaria, you are 100% wrong. I loved the expansion when it came out, Pandaria was an example of a Quest Storyline done right, an adventure that you or your friends can jump into and explore togather. Epic events that span multiple zones culminating in the unlocking of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

Now, I'll set aside my rant for YOU GUYS SCREWED UP THE VALE f or another time and focus: this amazing quest line created a rich world that I enjoyed re-questing in again and again. People would fly about getting Dread Amber Shards or looking for Rare Spawns, the game world was POPULATED.

Now, what killed the population? Isle of the Thunder King. Congratulations you Ruined Pandaria! Empty as empty can be. All possible gains on the mainland invalidated by this new island, while it's the story focus, no one wants crappy old gear when they could skip to the front of the line and get the brand new gear now! And that's how Pandaria was empty from that point on until the end of the expansion.

End of the expansion? But what about that Isle of Giants and Timeless Isle... yeah, Isle, Isle, Isle... These goddamned islands are still keeping the players off the manland, you got a grand UNUSED mainland congrats.

How about a "Timeless Awakening" or "Mists Parting For Good" or whatever where all the timeless stuff was added to zones all over Pandaria?

Then all the old zones would have remained populated, the game would have still had people doing stuff. There are so many ways that could have been better handled.

Now, what does all this have to do with Garrisons? Garrisons are phased, you got lots of daily quests and events to do in them, now people can go from living in Capital Cities where they SOCIALIZE to some extent or another (or they can at least see other people), to a phased area where they see no one and live out their little Single Player game...

That's what I meant when I said
World of Warcraft 
what MMO was about!

Star Wars: The Old Republic made me ask one grand question: WHY MMO? The game was an almost perfect Single Player RPG where you take on the role of a Solider, Jedi, Smuggler, Agent, Bounty Hunter, or what have you and play through a story-line dedicated to that role, an amazing Quest Story that will level your character up, pit them against ever increasingly epic foes (not in actual game difficulty but rather in how in theme and tone). Eventually having you take your place as the master of your own story... then it dumps you without purpose back into the galaxy and congratulations, you can do battlegrounds or group missions now. There's no depth to the world beyond that phased and separate experience I just mentioned,

Warlods of Draenor alas suffers from the same problem. It's got itself wrapped up in a Singleplayer fit when it doesn't need to be. We should be bringing players closer together, not sticking them in their own sandboxes and letting them play together every once in a while.

Now, they are on the right track by eliminating flying until the first patch, we'll be able to actually SEE other players now, although I suspect they have ulterior motives for this such as they just don't want us going to certain areas...

But you know one other thing that disappoints me about The Orcish Homeworld of Draenor...
2 words.
Draenor Itself

When we were introduced to Outland, it was with the solid knowledge that this was a
SHATTERED world, that the majority of it was GONE, and I'm not talking about a huge ocean either! The Outland we saw was supposed to be the floating chunks of rock that were LEFT OVER that congeled togather within the Twisting Neather.

Instead what do we have? Solid disappointment.

Comparison image from Wowwiki
Most Bang for the least Buck Possible, set expectations to LOW!

So, they put the Ocean back in and built an equal number of zones from scratch. I'm not going to deny the amount of time the zone team spent putting this masterpiece together, but a HOMEWORLD it is not, it's hardly a continent and the fact that they are trying to leave it that way (true or not, I pray not) shows a severe lack of creativity and ambition.
It is a LOT easier to say that the land ends right after the map does, but what's not the impression it gives, the impression it gives is that you are only glimpsing the start of a much larger world.

So, a tiny world, that lacks ambition, is very anti-social, having forgotten the meaning of the word MMO. Yup, that's my World of Warcraft. I don't hate it, but I can't stay silent about the flaws that are well, huge, in your face, and apparent at all times.

I can tell you that these flaws will not stop me from playing. 
                        They just cause me to go off like a kid with Tourette's Syndrome.

UPDATE: WoD Day 1: