How to get your Garrison up and running with a minimal amount of pain

Note and apology- Much of this is wall-of-text. I was just hammering the keys as fast as possible to get content dump on the topic without much regard for spelling, organization, proper names etc. My aim was to give all of the insight I have in one place, and get it down as it occurred to me. Much of this will be old hat to some of you, but likely there will be some tidbit in here that will be useful.


As some of you know I have this completionist issue with getting any alt with a full garrison. As I am on about my 15th full up garrison as I go through the process all over again Horde side, I thought I would relay some insights in making this go as fast as possible.

First off, when you hit 90, you can skip the intro scenario and just take the Warspear portal from your hub, and fly to the starting area. You will find the quest guy there.

Next, skip all of the level up process for Warlords. Check out this guide on how to get your followers as fast as possible. What I did this time around horde side was to do these in Frostfire ridge

/way Frostfire Ridge 65, 60 Dagg 1
/way Frostfire Ridge 39, 28 Dagg 2
/way Frostfire Ridge 65, 39 Weaponsmith Na’Shra
/way Frostfire Ridge 60, 32 Gronnstalker Rokash
/way Frostfire Ridge 52, 40 Shadow Hunter Rala

There are some quick quest series for the Na’Shra, Rokash, and Rala. Dagg just accept your invite. He will be in a crate outside your garrison. The rest of that guide will get you the rest.

Next load up handy notes (an addon) and fly around gathering all the treasures. Between this and those few quests, including any quest associated with garrison advancement, you will ding 92 in heirloom gear and be able to head on into the next zone (Gorgrond). Repeat the process there, and if necessary do the quests to activate your outpost.

When you level up by grabbing loot like this, you generate a lot of money and garrison resources, both of which are binds in advancing your garrison. If you just quest, you will fall behind on money and garrison resources, although if you do the entire campaign you will have ample money.

The structures you want

  • Barracks
    -Trading Post
    -Salvage yard
    -Forge or a structure for your crafting profession (tailor is a very good one if you are a tailor)

To get the salvage yard, you need to go to Spires and do a quest series there to get the engineer follower. See linked guide.

Why these structures?

The inn gives you a once a week chance to recruit an extreme scavenger. If you get about 5 of these, you will be literally swimming in garrison resources, and this is key to making the whole thing profitable. You also get treasure missions at the high level.

You want multiple extreme scavengers to deal with the 2 and 3 person garrison resource missions. If you can load up 3 extreme scavengers on one GR mission, you will get something like 2000+GR in a single mission. Thus having an army of extreme scavengers with different ability counters is the ideal team to maximize GR flow and let you convert GR to fur or anything else, which sells on the AH.

Barracks lets you have 25 followers. This means more income.

Stables will let you mine and herb mounted and travel at max speed, which is important for grinding out your shipyard.

Trading post can be upgraded at no garrison resource cost. If you have resources from other toons, you can load up work orders for garrison resources on the new guy. This is a way to get an edge. Also you get a rep bonus for your shipyard grind. Also you get a trade vendor, which lets you exchange garrison resources for fur, which sells well on the market since you make 30-slot bags out of it. I used to make barns for my tailors, but the time it took to trap and process traps for hexweave, as well as the overcamped spawns for the Alpha wolves was a horrible headache, and I realized that if I just instead got an army of extreme scavengers, I would be swimming in GR that I could dump into fur via the trading post vendor. Since then I flipped all my barns to trading posts, and my 2 tailors can not keep up with the inflow of fur coming from my other alts via the trading post. My bag production has saturated the market, so I am at the point where I can quickly dump fur for quick cash on the auction house.

Salvage yard gives you crates on missions that return upgrade tokens for follower armor as well as garrison resources. The items you get vendor for little, but can be disenchanted for dust, which sells better or can be used on trading post stuff. Bank resources you do not need from crates, then trade them in on work orders when they want that resource for garrison resources.

Storage facility will up your number of work orders, and gives you a bank.

Blacksmith has the zero repair buff for Legion/Draenor. Tailor will grind out extra hexweave for you, to increase the number of 30-slot bags you can generate. Being able to make your own 30-slot bags helps with alts, and sell for 1000-1500g each. This is a big moneymaker. Note that if you are going to do the tailor structure, you need to be a tailor yourself to really make this worth it.

You can flip an alt to tailoring easy. Don’t skill it up. Just make hexweave and do research for 5 tokens and buy the hexweave bag recipe. Put a tailor in the structure for tailoring and let it crank out the hexweave. Also look for rush orders for the tailor emporium on missions, which ups your return. Also every single alt with extra garrison resources can exchange them for fur at the trading post trade vendor. Note price on this varies daily between a low of 16 and a high of 40 per fur. If it is high one day, hold off and wait for another day.

As far as followers go, you will ultimately want to get rid of bodyguards as they have a useless ability in the end game. You will want to recruit out followers from the inn/lodge to fill in your gaps. You want an even mix of counters. When I recruit an extreme scavenger, I pick the one that has the ability I lack. Note also there are 2 reputation gated followers over in Tanaan that are useful, both come in around 645 item level, level 100, and one is a greasemonkey (useful for shipyard) and the other has extra apexis (not as useful). As far as I can tell the only dump for apexis crystals is the battle pet that requires exalted rep to buy from the faction vendor.

Follower retraining certificates can be used to randomize the abilities and traits. If you get enough of these you can do roulette on your garbage followers to see if you get something better.

You want the addon garrison commander. This allows you to control-left click your table, and collect all your resources and send out the followers. THis makes it super fast on a daily basis. You can change the priorities of what you go after first, as well as what mission success rate you want. This addon guy also makes similar addons for your order hall, shipyard, and the BFA table.

In general if I have followers under max level/epic, I will pick the highest success rate XP mission until I have nothing but epic followers left, then do the control left click thing to send out the rest for all the other stuff.

Good missions include

  • rep tokens…sell for around 10k gold each if you are patient. People like these because it shortcuts the Draenor flying grind (you need rep to get flying in Draenor)
  • gear, typically vendors for 20-40g each
  • garrison resources, converts to fur via trading post
  • follower upgrade tokens, gets your guys to max item level
  • ogre caches and barrels of oil- a great gift to the next alt, also auction for decent money
  • maps vendor for 100g, some toys sell well

Now once you hit 100, you can upgrade your garrison to tier 3. I typically like to get the salvage yard maxxed first (quick Garrison resources), trading post maxxed (help with GR generation), then inn and barracks to accommodate your missions. I will go for storage to up total work orders, then after that do the rest once I am flush in resources.

At 100 you can start your Tanaan valley grind. The aim here is to hit revered with the faction that gives you your assault missions (headhunters on horde side). At revered you can buy the oil rig. You also get the unsinkable ship equipment, which means you do not have to rebuild lost ships. You can get at honored with Order of the Awakened the apexis follower. At honored on headhunters you get the greasemonkey follower. At exalted Order you can buy the apexis battle pet. Oil rig is a once a day mission (17hrs) to give you 400 oil. You will be swimming in oil between that and grease monkeys. Arrakis rep will let you increase your stash size in the garrison to 1000GR.

Ship missions take oil. The grind to complete your shipyard is long. First you establish the outpost and start your dailies. About 2wks of grinding will get you revered and the oil rig. I suppose with enough grease monkeys you can skip the rig, but the rig means steady oil. Those daily missions will give you the oil you need starting out, so at least run dailies on a new toon trying to get the garrison and shipyard running.

Regarding dailies- Throne can be a pain if you are on at a crowded time as the spawn gets overcamped. I will send out invites to like faction and get through it if I must. You can take the mission, check the camp, and abandon it if there is nothing up there for the other option. Harbor is quick…look for the bombs on the ground you toss at the tanks…speeds it up. The arrakoa one up high is also good because there is an elite area that quickly generates completion, along with harvesters you can click for fast advancement. Iron Front is good because you can click the flags to summon bosses and get a pile of rep, and there are lots of chests there. THe bloodmoon stuff takes forever, as well as the one with the cave…avoid those. You will get 3 dailies, and let the kill X one define which assault you pick.

One of your dailies involve getting 10 apexis crystals. Each of those handynotes treasures will give you 1 or 2 of them when you loot it. If you are pressed for time, those are a quick way to complete the quest, which is why I save them. If you run the 4 green icon handynotes raid bosses, you will get 1-2 each per kill. This is worth doing when you are low on GR, and only the one in the central area is worth it after that. Any boss that pops (star on mini map) will drop 1-2 of these, so as you fly over look for bosses and pop them. There are purple chests and crystals on the ground. Chests show up in the iron horde orc areas, and crystals show up in the throne/arrakoa areas. Each of those will give you 1-2 apexis, and in addition, 20-50 GR , which can be a huge help if you are starving for GR. Just fly around hunting those and you can really cap your GR.

Now I find you can blow through these dailies if you push to level 111. This is legion stuff. They accelerated it, and there are legion invasions (google ‘legion invasion timer’ to find out the next one) that will rapidly level you up. At 110, head to BFA, get your neck piece, armor piece, and do a few quests to get a weapon, and you can now mow down Tanaan in no time flat.

When you are building up in Tanaan, hit the 4 bosses (green icons in handynotes). Each gives 100-200 GR per kill, and you can do them once per day. That plus your assault missions and other dailies will generate over 1000GR a day. If you find loot chests and loot crystals while you run your dailies, those give 20-50GR each. So while you may have had to pick up every single piece of GR loot in Draenor proper to hit around 2K GR, once you can mow down Tanaan, you get that each day. If you have mains who get ogre caches, you can transfer 1000 GR a pop with those.

Now the shipyards give loot tokens which vendor for 20-40g each. You need a class that can use the bind on account token though. THey are a good leg up for a fresh 90, but likely better for vendor value. Shipyards also give elemental resources, which you can convert with an alchemist to elemental earth used to make 30 slot bags. Note that the daily trader that shows up may be the herb one, which will teach your alchemist a recipe to use the alchemy work order resources into transmutes at will. I send all the elemental stuff to my alchemist who periodically converts it all to earh. Earth sells the best on the AH, going for as much as 5g each, which adds up as you generate 200 stacks.

The tailor hexweave daily grind is to do your hexweave transmute, empty and feed your tailor emporium work orders, and make bags as you go. 2 of them keep my alts flush in bags. Note that salvage yard crates can generate herbs and stuff you use for this, and the useless herbs/ore can be converted to GR via work orders at the trading post.

When you get your shipyard to the max, you will have 10 ships. Build these

3 subs
2 destroyers
3 battleships
2 cruisers

Bank extra GR and get ship rapid completion orders. When you are swimming in GR, you want to optimize the fleet. Decomission useless ships and build and instantaneously complete new ships until you have the mix you want. If you do not get a murloc crew, you will have to build a transport instead of a battleship or a sub. There is the special ship ‘the awakener’ that is reputation locked to exalted…it is awesome if you have access to it, but not worth the grind otherwise.

You want human/undead crews. Human is for alliance, undead is for horde. Recruit until you get them. If you get murlocs keep those. You can use a murloc crew to replace your transport, and if you do what I suggest, you will get a couple on the way to an all human/undead crew. Humans/undead have increased mission success. As far as ship upgrades go, get one of each and each human/undead/murloc crew gets ‘unsinkable’, a reputation revered unlock for headhunters from Tanaan. You will not lose those ships at that point and can send them out on low success rate missions and never need to replace htem. If you need to double up on upgrades, do fel smoke launcher or shark. More missions use those. It helps to buy a bunch of those quick completion ship scrolls from your garrison quartermaster until you have optimized your navy.

Now also at max level you get a shipyard table in your garrison next to the mission table, and you can just contrl click it to send out your invincible navy on dailies for free loot with no worries. Note also that at top level (after a certain amount of missions) you will get the Admiral’s compass, a 4hr cooldown hearthstone to your garrison shipyard. I love that thing because it gives me a 2nd way to hit my garrison.

Now your tier 3 garrison has a portal to warspear on the top of a tower. You can take that, go to Tanaan, or better go to Stormwind/Orgrimar portal hub. THis means that your garrison hearthstone and Admirals compass means 2 more trips from anywhere to the portal hub. Life is very easy because of this. You can in a pinch use the portal hub to go to warspear and fly, but that is slow.

Your menangerie can be upgraded to tier 3, and you can automate the pet battles there to get loot bags with battle pets. When I get 3 of something, I cage the 4th and auction it. THis is a good source of income. You can not unlock this structure until 100. You will have 3 pets you have to beat, all of which drop easy to an iron star team. XuFu is helpful for the teams you need on dailies. You will get one from the guy who heals your pets, and sometimes a 2nd from Kura who pops up. To do the Kura one, you need to start the battle, see what she has, then flee and load up the proper team. No worries, the pet heal guy is right there and will heal your pets for free. Also this level 3 menangerie is the way you power level your pets when Squirt is in the garrison. That fight is the fastest way to take your team to 25…2 battles from 1 to 25 if you use the safari hat, hot dog, and hamburger buffs. If you want to make money selling battle pets, selling a level 25 version will go faster than the level 1 versions.

And one last tip for fresh 90s. Go to Pandaria and find Cromie. Cromie will give you a quest and an item to port you directly to timeless isle. Go into the cave to the north and collect crystals until you loot a crystal of insanity. You can use that every 15 min for a stat buff. SUper useful. From there run through the gulp frogs, and hit the underwater cave near the ship. Sit in a chair and click the fire…you will port to Draenor and skip the starting scene.

Your upfront cost for garrisons is steep, but over time the convienance and passive income generation is worth it.


Edit- some information on running stuff

The shipyard stuff works like this

  • At 100 you get a quest from your warchief/main dude near the mission table to find a ship guy at iron harbor. Take the long flight there. Do his quest, port back to your garrison. You can bang out the area mission there (it will give you an option for a garrison invasion if you do).

  • You then are told to build a transport and then talk to a dude in the harbor who will send you through a cut scene to Tanaan. You can quickly establish the outpost by following the bread crumbs. Note handynotes will show GR treasures that are worth picking up while you are there. Leave the toy treasures alone, but grab the GR chests. You save the toys for the 10 crystal daily.

  • Once you plant the flag, you will have a series of (trivial) quests that you need to track on your map to see if you are high level. Do them until you get the blue daily ones, and do those as well. Near the assault mission table in Tanaan, open the rep vendor and buy the blueprint for battleship before you port /fly back to your garrison.

  • You will then get a series of quests involving a tutorial on how to equip ships and run missions and upgrade ships. Typically the wait time on these is around 1minute during the tutorial, so there is a little time sink. Eventually you will get 6 rapid ship order scrolls and you will learn the plan for battleship. Build 3 battleships, 2 destroyers in addition to the troop transport you have (6 total ships). Do not churn for crews here. Also you will likely be sent back to Tanaan to talk to the person who you bought the battleship plan from.

  • You will then have a quest to complete 15 naval missions. At this point I refuse to do treasure missions. Treasure missions have the golden chest symbol on them. Do instead the XP missions (crossed swords) or missions to unblock fog or buff a zone on the map. Let the treasure missions build up. Run a mission if it is over 70% success rate. They are 8hr and 4hr, so depending on your play time slot you can maybe do the short ones first and send them back out before you log for the day. If you log on once in the morning and once at night, you can keep these missions on cooldown and get good progress against the 15 missions. Note if you are oil starved, you can do dailys in Tanaan to solve that problem. Note each day check to make sure you have your full fleet of 6 ships, and if not build a replacement.

  • When you hit 15 missions, you get a follow up for 25 treasure missions. This is where you should be super happy that you saved those treasure missions. Before you do so, learn your submarine plan (you got this as a reward for the previous stage) and build 2 subs. Repeat the process of morning/evening sending out of the ships, and check to make sure you have a fleet of 8 each time. At this stage if you are out of treasure missions but you have a high success rate XP mission, run those to give your ships XP.

  • When you complete 25 treasure missions, you will get a reward for a cruiser plan. Build 2 of those, and now your fleet is 10 ships. Your fleet table now moves to your garrison hall next to the mission table. You also at this stage likely got in the mail an Admiral’s compass (the stone that returns to your ship yard). You now are at the stage where you want to buy ship rapid completion orders with your excess GR, and go down and decommission/build ships until you get your human/undead/murloc crew . You will continue to grind Tanaan dailies to unlock the unsinkable upgrade and oil rig. Once you have 10 ideal ships with proper crews and gear and unsinkable, you are done.

I have 13 full up garrisons Alliance side, and 2 Horde side, with another 6 in various stages of shipyard completion. So that was 21 garrisons. It took me 45min to log in and cycle through all of them with the shift click feature from Garrison COmmander. I could maybe get it down to 30min when my ship mission tables on the remaining 6 horde garrisons are done and I do not have to fly. THat is around a 1min30s to cycle a garrison on missions. Each attempt has a chance to yield treasure and or rep tokens, so that is pretty high payoff in terms of passive gold per hour.

I let salvage crates accumulate into stacks and on the weekend when I have time, I open those up. I use autohotkey (see the wiki section for this site on toggle spam scripts), and I drag the salvage crates and bags to a bar and turn on the spammer and have it repeatedly click open the stacks. This generates a pile of GR and herbs/ore/items. I disenchant those salvage items (they only vendor for 5c) since the dust is worth more than the vendor value. The soulbound ones on non-enchanters just get vendored. I also get upgrade tokens for armor/weaponry for garrison followers.

I also have dragged to a bar the unopened weapon/armor yellow tokens. I use the spammer to open those up as well.

I gear out toons with priority given to maximizing extreme scavengers first. For a while I used to recruit out greasemonkeys, but I have found over time that between the rep gated one in Tanaan, and the fact that some guys luck out and get grease monkey as they level up, and the fact that you can get a token reward to change a trait to grease monkey, that I do not need to recruit for that. So I just recruit extreme scavengers.

The follower retraining scrolls come in three flavors. One will do traits and abilities, and another will do just traits, and another will do one specific trait. I will use the ones that do a specific trait to remove professions I do not use (like engineer on a character without engineering). The abilities ones are a crap shoot, and they will never remove bodyguard, so this is why I just deactivate bodyguards first as they have a useless ability from a mission standpoint. On the scrolls that just reroll traits, I will use those to try and luck out and get extreme scavenger on some dude with something useless like an unused profession. The abilities and traits scrolls are really a huge crapshoot, and maybe using those on deactivated followers to see what you get. Typically I have a decent mix of abilities (abilities are what counter the mission), and I do not want to randomize those useful abilities. But a deactivated follower is good fodder for that.

I find when you have 4 of each ability available for missions, you are pretty solid for running missions. Typically you will have some kind of deficiency (such as only 1 guy who does group damage), and when you recuit extreme scavengers from the inn/lodge, try to pick a guy that has that ability.

As you upgrade followers do not use the 3,6,9 tokens on fresh 100s with no armor. Use the 615/630/645 tokens on them first. Send all the 3/6/9 tokens to a guy that is above 645 and work to cap that. You can buy for gold those tokens from a vendor in your garrison to shortcut this, but I typically hate doing this because it increases cost of the process. Note that if you have mostly low level followers less than 100, I just instead let the tokens for armor/weapons build up and focus on XP missions until I have a healthy population above 100. If you max out one guy and have a bunch of low level followers, the mission table will populate with high level missions and you will only have one person who can run it. It is better to get them all up to about the same level tier before you start maxing out their levels so there is a nice plentiful quantity of xp missions. Once you reach the stage with a lot of maxxed out elites, you can run the 10K XP missions with carry groups for the new low level guy to rapidly bring that guy up to level.

Note that when you exceed your follower cap, you can not run ship or table missions until you deactivate a person. With a tier 3 barracks your cap is 25. I then retire a bodyguard or some useless profession.

I do assign people to structures as long as I am using them for work orders, and I do not assign anyone to the barracks. So Lantressor the mine guy I will assign to the mines, load him up with work orders until his XP caps, then take him off the mine and use him for missions after that. If I am actively mining still and have draenic stone to grind out, I will put him back on the mine and use him for work orders. But once that is done, it is mission duty. I will never retrain him from his mine speciality since eventually I will likely have more stone to process.

You need to look at your structures and see if you will use them. I definitely use tailor for tailors and hexweave. I also use alchemy structures to transmute elementals to elemental earth. Engineering is nice so you can make a bunch of swiss army knives for alts, but after that the main thing you do is gliders and you just use raw mats for those and do not need to man the structure. The gem guy can be useful for low level gems, but it is pretty much useless. The blacksmith is good for the buff, but I only work order him until his level is max. I think drums may require work order mats, so leatherworking is a pretty good one. I would have to look at inscription as well. If you are not going to use your profession structure, flip it over to something else you will use. Note hexweave is soulbound so you must be a tailor to use it.

You can also move around structures on your garrison map. So I always like the salvage yard to my right as I come out of the garrison, and I drag it to that position on all my alts.


Awesome post. I’m not playing WoW right now, but I was a huge WoD garrison fan. Great write up.


Holy Kow thanks, I was doing things sooooo wrong.

Dang! That’s efficient.

I’ve tried - still not sure they’re all level 3 all buildings but most on alliance. The shipyard I think I’ve only done that to highest level for the BoA ring missions.

May have to re-examine everything.

Great and thorough advice for sure!