Ah yes... SilverGeek is also a Warcraft junkie. I've been enjoying the new expansion, though learning what to do with the garrisons has been a bit of a head-scratcher. Although I play-tested both the alpha and beta releases, I was more interested in the quests and storylines and details than I was in playtesting the garrisons.
Still, they're a lot of fun, and it's been interesting to work them. This set of notes is a general "guide to starting a garrison" as learned (the hard way) by me.
The best bit of advice I got was to keep
your old hearthstone along with the new garrison hearthstone. Yes, you can use the portals on Ashran (the PVP island) but those are useful only if you want to go to Stormwind or Ironforge. If you want to go to (say) Shattrath or Darnassus, you have to take the long way around. Setting your old hearthstone to the main shrine in Pandaria is a much easier solution.
One of the features you'll notice with garrisons is that you do (ugh) get the old "city chat channels" by default. One of the NEW things you'll notice is that they've limited how frequently you can post something to the chat. There's less stupid "impress the world" chat and a bit more useful information on it.
The first building you will learn for your garrison is your barracks, which teaches you how to put buildings in the garrison. Once it is finished, a reward announcement shows up along with a button that you can drag to your action bar. You will want to keep this on your action bar -- if you get in trouble or you're trying to take down an elite, clicking on this button gives you reinforcements.
When you go into new areas, you will be able to build a "garrison outpost."
I built the Guardian Orb at Ft. Wrynn because the damage from this lasts longer.
I built the Shredder at Highpass because it gave me a mobile "tank"
I built the Trading Post in Spires of Arak
I built the Tank in Nagrand because it gives you a nice solid fighting vehicle for ten minutes.
I'm not wimpy, but I don't like dying and I don't like repair bills.
Shortly after you garrison is in place, other building plans will drop for your professions (though there's no 'kitchen' for cooking.) You will find that your professions act in very different ways now. You will eventually get a mine where you can mine ore, and a fishing shack. At level 95 you can build a lumber mill, at 96 you get a herb garden.
These three professions give you a unit of currency called "garrison resources" (and later, apexis shards). Gold is not that hard to collect in Draenor, but other things like the apexis shards and garrison resources can be a hard grind.
Build this rather than the other choices. Lumber mill generates Garrison Resources. The other buildings don't.
you are undergeared or don't like wasting time (or are a caster with low DPS), get one of the
people in your garrison to follow you around as you collect herbs from
your herb garden or mine or do other collection tasks. Occasionally you
get jumped by mobs, and your follower will help you kill them quickly. Anytime there's a quest inside your garrison (the "seismic" one, for example), get a follower to help.
choosy about which missions you send them on. Each mission costs
(usually 5-10 garrison resources) and you can choose ones that give YOU
(yes, you) experience or the occasional epic object or gold (most often)
or garrison resources. My first time through I sent them off on every
available mission. When I hit level 100, I found myself resource-short
for garrison upgrades.
At level 95 (or near there) you will get the quest that gives you blueprints for a level 2 barracks. When you do this, you can go to your "architect board" and assign yourself a bodyguard that follows you all over Draenor and helps you kill things. This is a great timesaver, because things die faster with help.
Not everyone in your garrison is honest. As you prowl around, you will find pilfered supplies (the guy in your fishing pond, the pug... and so forth.) These are "one time" resources but still pretty handy.