Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Island Expeditions in 8.1

Blizzard is changing up how rewards work for Island Expeditions in 8.1:
Currently in Battle for Azeroth, Island Expeditions have a chance to reward cosmetic items based on which type of creatures you and your team defeated. For example, if the island theme of the week was Hozen, there’s a chance to receive one of the Banana toys. If the invaders were Nerubian, you could have a chance to receive the Voru’kar Leecher companion pet (among other things). They way this has worked is by means of a hidden scorecard that counted your group’s efforts against anything on the island that was part of the invaders’ ecology. So if anyone in the group earned some Azerite from killing invaders or mining Azerite near the invaders, everyone in the group had a chance at the cosmetic rewards. That chance grew based on how much invaders’ Azerite was obtained, and was also a higher chance in Heroic and even higher in Mythic difficulty Islands. We set the maximum chance you could earn at a reasonable threshold, in the hopes that players wouldn’t feel that they needed to only kill invaders and not complete the islands in a natural way. 
Of course, that’s not how it worked out. Confusion around the best way to get cosmetics led to a divergence in playstyles, with some players wishing to focus exclusively on hunting specific creatures, while others wished to win the island efficiently to get Azerite. This caused a significant amount of tension between players who had differing goals. 
In Tides of Vengeance, all players on an Expedition will have a chance to receive cosmetic rewards based on the island’s inhabitants, rather than which enemies were specifically defeated. That chance will again be higher on higher difficulties, but there will be no need to strategize around invaders. The most efficient way to receive cosmetic rewards will be whatever tactics cause you to complete the Island quickly, on the highest difficulty that you’re comfortable.
I agree with Blizzard that the two playstyles interacted badly with each other. However, I wish they had chosen the other path to be the default.  Hunting rares and specific enemies is much more fun than speeding to the goal.

What I would have preferred:
  • Expeditions are a fixed time, say 20 minutes.
  • Most Azerite at the end wins the match.
  • Normal creatures do not give Azerite, only named creatures.
  • Many normal creatures become non-hostile.
  • The "invasion" occurs at the half-way mark.
  • No Azerite elementals.
So you can't speed up the expedition, and all you have to do to win is stay ahead of the enemy. Your focus becomes finding named enemies, and doing the mini-events around the island. Then when the invasion occurs, you hunt them down and clear them out.