Blizzard cuts the complicated confusion of Island Expedition rewards in patch 8.1
If you were wondering how exactly to get your hands on Island Expedition rewards, you’re not alone — and honestly, the answer is a complicated jumble of prioritizing kills based on particular mobs. In some ways, this flew in the face of completing the Island Expedition as intended. If you wanted particular rewards, you needed to kill those mobs — and put the brakes on gathering Azerite until you did so. Needless to say this ended up in conflict between players that wanted to take the time and shoot for rewards, and players who just wanted to get their Azerite as quickly as possible and get out of there.
In Tides of Vengeance, that will be changing. Blizzard released a blue post today clarifying the changes coming to the system.
In Tides of Vengeance, in addition to two new Island Expeditions, we’re making a number of adjustments and improvements to Islands. One of those changes will alter how various cosmetic rewards are determined, and we’d like to explain that further, as we promised here: https://twitter.com/WarcraftDevs/status/1065080683058487297 149
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.
Thanks to everyone who has stormed our high seas with feedback on this. We really appreciate it.
Honestly, this is how players have always approached rewards — if there’s an easier, more effective way to get said rewards, players will shift their tactics to take that route every time. Of course, when you’re dealing with purely cosmetic rewards — toys, Battle Pets, mounts — not everyone is going to be as gung-ho about grinding for them. Some people just don’t care about the cosmetic stuff, which is where player conflict was coming into play. If you’re queuing just to complete your weekly Azerite grind, you don’t necessarily want to spend extra time on an Island.
Island Expeditions are a lot of fun, but the current reward system is an exercise in unneeded complexity. Players are willing to jump through hoops to get loot, but when those hoops are too complex to be easily understood, that’s where frustration comes into play. Make something too random, and players will eventually lose interest altogether — which sort of defeats the purpose of new content.
The upcoming changes to Island Expeditions turn that maddening hunt for loot into a much more straightforward process. No more trying to kill particular mobs, just complete the island and cross your fingers. Obviously, completing the Island Expeditions on higher difficulty levels will up your chances at getting loot, but that’s only to be expected. Hopefully the changes will focus player’s frustrations away from conflicting motivations, and square on the random nature of loot drops — which is where it’s always belonged anyway. If you’ve been struggling to get your hands on cosmetic rewards in Island Expeditions, you should be pleased with the changes when they go into effect. Patch 8.1, Tides of Vengeance, hits live servers next week.
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