Garrison bodyguards 101
I admit, I spent a long time thinking the bodyguards you could get from your garrison’s Barracks were stupid, even useless. I’d take Defender Illona out with me, thinking a tank-type character would be useful for keeping my squishy, leather-wearing self safe. And it did: Illona’s great at pulling and holding aggro. Unfortunately, without a healer, she’s also pretty good at dying, so whenever I’d take her out to do dailies with me, she’d die whenever I got in a tough spot and then I’d have to wait an hour to get her back. For the value she offered, it just didn’t seem worth the effort of going back to my garrison to fetch her again.
But I decided to try switching up my bodyguard routine to see if anyone else was more interesting — and boy was I wrong. Trying out Leorajh totally changed my opinion of garrison bodyguards.
So when might you want to bring a bodyguard along with you in Draenor?
- When you want extra DPS to help you burn through just about anything (and who doesn’t?)
- When you want a tank who can keep aggro off you (a good match for healing classes who can keep their tanky bodyguards alive)
- When you want some extra support through buffs or healing
However, there are some cases in which you won’t want to have a bodyguard tagging along with you:
- When you’re stealthing through mobs, your bodyguard will just pull aggro
- When you need to be careful about what you pull, because many bodyguards can accidentally pull extra or unwanted mobs with proximity or AOEs
- When you’re heading into a battleground or dungeon, simply because they can’t come along
Though bodyguards won’t make or break your gameplay, their help can speed up dailies and questing, making them a useful asset as you explore Draenor (or work on that Draenor Pathfinder achievement). Sound interesting? Let’s look at how to get your own bodyguard.
Getting started with bodyguards
To use a bodyguard, you’ll need a level 2 Barracks in your garrison. If you’re already level 100, this is a snap — even if you don’t have a Barracks already, it should be easy enough to buy the plans and get one running in short order. If you haven’t quite hit 100, though, the level 2 Barracks is within reach of any player starting at level 94 with a bit of effort — and, if you make that effort, a bodyguard can offer solid support while you level.
For lower level characters, you’ll want to run through the Talador quest chain to finish your garrison outpost (you’ll pick up a quest head to Talador and get started as soon as you hit level 94). When your outpost is completed, you’ll receive a Comprehensive Outpost Construction Guide which you can trade in for level 2 plans at your faction’s Ashran hub (you’ll find the NPC near the flight path whether you’re Alliance or Horde). It shouldn’t take more than an hour to complete and then you’ll have a bodyguard to help you through your last six levels in Draenor.
Once your Barracks is in order, you’ll need a follower with the “bodyguard” trait. Bodyguard is a trait only a handful of followers come with, and it can’t be rerolled or otherwise assigned to any other followers. (But we’ll talk more on bodyguard availability in a bit.) Even at level 94, you should have at least one bodyguard already in your garrison to get started with. To use them a s bodyguards, however, you’ll need to assign them to your Barracks from your architect’s table. Just select your Barracks from the garrison map and then click on the plus sign where it says “Click to assign a follower.” Select the right follower and you’re almost ready to go out adventuring with your new bodyguard.
Once assigned, your bodyguard will stand in front of your Barracks — just go talk to them and ask them to join you. They’ll follow you throughout Draenor, sticking with you through flight paths and mounting up whenever you do. If you ever want them to go away (say, if you’re planning on stealthing through an area), just talk to them and send them back to your garrison. If they die, they’ll also head back to your garrison, though you won’t find them there until an hour has passed.
Which bodyguards are best?
Though not all bodyguards will be perfect for all classes or play styles, there are enough bodyguard options to make them a useful addition to almost anyone’s roster. As you play with a bodyguard, you’ll gain reputation with them for each kill you made in their company. When you reach level 2, they get an additional skill, and when you reach level 3 you receive a quest to unlock a unique perk which can make them extra useful. (And if you’re looking to rush through the rep, all of the standard reputation boosts apply to bodyguards, too.) Unlike Hunter pets, you can’t control how or when they use their abilities: any skills they have they’ll use as they see fit, assisting you in combat. This makes them easy, no-management companions, but sometimes they’ll pull aggro and get themselves killed — so if you pick up a bodyguard with taunting abilities, you may want to have any healing skills at the ready, because there’s no way to turn taunt off.
Let’s look at who’s available and what they have to offer.
- Delvar Ironfist, Blood Death Knight. The first bodyguard follower Alliance players get, Delvar does reasonable DPS and is reasonably sturdy, making him a good all-purpose bodyguard. At level 3, he can open a portal to your garrison.
- Defender Illona, Protection Paladin. She’s a solid tanking option and is excellent at keeping mobs off you — but you’ll want to have some healing to keep her going. At level 3, she can create a summoning stone to let you summon party members (requires two players).
- Vivianne, Fire Mage. The first bodyguard follower Horde players get, Vivianne does great DPS and if you’re looking to kill things she’s a great addition to your team. At level 3, she can open a portal to your garrison.
- Aeda Brightdawn, Demonology Warlock. Like the Alliance’s Illona, Aeda is meant to serve a tanking roll, with taunting abilities to keep mobs off you — however, she’s squishier than Illona, which can make her more frustrating to keep alive. Be sure to keep her healed if you take her out exploring with you. At level 3, she can create a summoning stone to let you summon party members (requires two players).
- Leorajh, Restoration Shaman. My personal favorite amongst the bodyguards, Leorajh does damage, heals, and at level 2 has a mini Heroism buff (10% haste rather than Heroism’s 30%) he’ll cast on you. At level 3, he can summon a portable command table for you to use.
- Talonpriest Ishaal, Shadow Priest. Does decent DPS and stays out of your way, which makes him a solid option as a companion if you’ve had trouble with other bodyguards (though Horde players may prefer Vivianne for this purpose). At level 3, he becomes your personal mailbox with Courier Raven.
- Tormmok, Arms Warrior. Tormmok is another option for players looking for a tank-style bodyguard (but doesn’t like their faction-specific tank), and he does decent melee DPS to boot. At level 3, he can repair things for you.
So which of these bodyguards is best? There’s no single right answer, because it depends a lot on your class roll and playstyle. However, any bodyguard is of great use, especially while you’re grinding your way through Tanaan — so if you have the space in your garrison, I’d recommend picking one up to help you through the latest set of in-game achievements. While it won’t trivialize them, having a bit of extra muscle is a noticeable improvement.
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