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.


  1. And I'm one Pandren Fire Elemental pet from finishing the Island Expedition pet collection achievement. The Coldlight Surfrunner, which was bugged for 3 months finally started to drop. The price on my server went from 400k down to 75k in just 7 days. Thank goodness I got mine without buying it.

    Right now, I'm using Island Expedition to level my alts. Did 7 characters this way.

    In 8.1, if you finish the weekly Island Expedition grind, you'll also get a treasure map mission on your boat to get about 5k gold.

    1. I don't really do a lot of island expeditions, so I don't have many of the rewards.

      How is levelling with expeditions? Doesn't it get boring?

      Also, what do you do for gear? I don't think you can get gear through expeditions.

  2. TLDR: forming any kind of strategy was too hard for the players. From now on, they get reward for just doing that they were doing anyway.

    1. TLDR: Gevlon cannot read and always speaks of idea that inhabits his head instead of facts.

      The truth is that there are 2 strategies for doing expedition: "fast run" strategy to gather azerite target as fast as possible (do big pulls, mine azerite nodes and claim any source of azerite as soon as possible) and "farm mounts, pets and transmogs" strategy (avoid non-named mobs, pull and kill named mobs, never mine azerite nodes, try to stall opposing faction until invasion occurs, kill invading named mobs, and only after that get the azerite target).

      Of course, these two modes are incompatible, and one person doing opposing strategy can ruin the run for the rest of the group.

      However, I do not see a problem there. When I'm looking for premade groups for islands, I can always tell if the group goes for the fast run or reward farming (it's always in the group description, plus reward farming cannot really be done on mythic difficulty because other faction gathers azerite too fast, and you either lose or win before the invasion occurs).

      The problem can only occur if the group that is automatically matched for heroic or normal difficulty expedition cannot agree on what strategy it uses.

    2. Gevlon, the strategy for farming rewards is counter-intuitive. You "win" an island expedition by reaching 9000 Azerite first. Thus the best strategy is to gather Azerite quickly.

      The strategy to farm rewards is much slower, and you are more likely to actually lose the map. It's as if you were in a race, and you decide to run backwards for the first half, because there's a secret reward if you do that.

    3. I understood. However previously you had to choose between doing the thing fast for the non-cosmetics or slow and get extra rewards. Now you get some extra rewards for doing it fast. How is it not a nerf?

    4. Oh, I suppose in that sense it is a nerf. However, I think the part you are missing is that the "slow" way with extra rewards is completely hidden. There's no way to tell that path even exists.

      It was discovered about 2 months after BfA launched by people making spreadsheets keeping track of what they did and the rewards that were obtained, then testing hypothesises. It's not even a guaranteed thing, the slow way just increases the chance of getting a cosmetic reward.

      Meanwhile, the fast way is how the game and UI tells you how to play. If the game says "first to 9000 Azerite wins" and "There's a huge Azerite eruption occurring, better get it all", it's hard to fault people for doing just that.