So it's been a couple of weeks since my last blog post, and most of what I've been doing during that time has been leveling my various toons and working on odds and ends. All 11 of my Horde max level toons now have fully productive level 3 Garrisons which are netting me a metric ton of cash every day.
I've managed to get 2 more of my Alliance toons to max level as well, so I'm now starting the process of getting my alliance garrison and gold-making operations up and running as well.
For both of the alliance toons that I recently finished, I focused on questing as quickly as possible rather than flying around gathering treasures, and I found that did actually make the leveling process go a bit faster. Both finished around the 9 1/2 hour mark, or about an hour and a half faster than the flying around looking for stuff approach.
My enhancement shaman is up next. He's already worked his way through Shadowmoon and is heading for Gorgrond now. Will probably do the Fight Club version rather than Lumber Mill, just for something different (Blacksmith, Farm and Lumber Mill...Go!)
I'm really interesting in seeing in what the payback period is for an investment in max level garrison, because these things aren't cheap to get started. I had enough of a gold base on the Horde side that it wasn't really noticeable, but alliance side, I can definitely see the total cash levels drop when I invested the money to start them up.
So here is what it is costing to get a Garrison up and running for some basic gold-making (note that the way that I'm questing, I'm generally not finishing with any Outpost Building Assembly Notes and usually have at least one Comprehensive Outpost Construction Guide, which allows me to get my Level 2 Dwarven Bunker / War Mill for free.)
Level 3 Garrison - 5,000g
Level 2 Salvage Yard - 750g +300g
Level 2 Inn - 1,000g +300g
Level 2 Dwarven Bunker / War Mill - free with Outpost Guide +300g
Level 3 Salvage Yard - 1,000g +500g
Level 3 Inn - 1,000g +500g
So that's an investment of a total of 10,650g to get your garrison up and running. Once you've got your staff of followers outfitting with a good complement of treasure hunters, you can generally be generating at least 500g per day, which means you're looking at just under 3 weeks for a full payback.
What I'm generally doing is making sure that I have at least two followers with the scavenger trait to keep the garrison resources rolling in and then recruiting the rest as treasure hunters. I check the other traits when recruiting to make sure that I still have a good overall balance for other mission types.
Then, once or twice a day, I'm collecting my missions, opening my salvage crates, DE'ing any Warlords gear, which goes to my enchanter and then either vendoring or sending other gear to an AH alt to sell. I'm generally only worrying about trying to sell other gear if it looks like it has a market value of at least 500g. It's just not worth my time to try to manage 100's of relatively low value greens.
I'm also putting in War Mill work orders to help with gearing up my toons for the Highmaul and Blackrock Foundry mission gear. Mostly to make sure that these alts will be relatively well geared to start the next expansion.
Now one thing to clarify is that this approach lets you gear up your followers to get raid gear as well as just gold making, very few of which require specific item levels for your followers, so if you want to do the bare minimum, all you absolutely need is the Inn at level 3, which will cost you 7,800g, so a faster payback on that one.
You could also include a trading post to make some money off of garrison resources, and I may actually start adding that to a few of my Horde toons now that I've got several at cap for garrison resources.