Feedback: Island Expeditions

BFA Dungeons, Island Expeditions, and Raids
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A new Battle for Azeroth feature, Island Expeditions, is now available for testing for characters that complete a the "Island Expedition" tutorial quest at level 116.

Once unlocked, Normal Island Expeditions can be completed by characters of level 110-120. This unlock is account-wide.

Heroic, Mythic, and PvP Island Expeditions become available at level 120.

Alliance players can queue from the Expedition table in Boralus Harbor, near the Tradewinds Market. Look for the green ship occupying the second slip.

Horde players can queue from the Expedition table in Zuldazar Harbor, at the Port of Zandalar, on the west side. Look for the red ship.

What is the goal of an Island Expedition?
The goal of an Island Expedition is to collect Azerite. The first team to 6000 Azerite wins.
A group of NPCs from the opposing faction (or players, if PvP) will also be present, competing with you for the Azerite.
Many things on the Island reward Azerite: chests, Azerite crystals, powerful creatures, friendly NPCs in need of aid, killing enemy NPCs, and more.
You’ll find things you can interact with, scattered all across the Island to help you.

Thank you for testing, and we’re looking forward to your feedback!
Update Post!

I will update this post as things progress. Thank you for your feedback!

4/27 - In the next major build, three different Islands will be available per week on a rotation, drawing from the following pool:
    - Un'gol Ruins
    - Molten Cay
    - Verdant Wilds
    - Dread Chain
    - Whispering Reef
    - Skittering Hollow
    - Rotting Mire


4/19 - These changes will be in the next build:
    - A tutorial quest and island are now available at level 115. Players must complete the tutorial quest to unlock Expeditions. This unlock is account-wide.
    - Normal mode requires level 110+
    - Heroic, Mythic, and PvP require level 120
    - At the start of the Island, 3 high-value targets will appear in the fog on your map as red X's, giving your party some initial direction.
    - Two new islands are available: Molten Cay and Dread Chain.
    - Around 800 new creatures have been added (some will lack abilities)
    - New end of island invasions: Naga, Black Dragons, Twilight Dragons, Saurok, Trolls
    - End of island invasions now have a pre-spawn visual (so they don't spawn on top of you)
    - New chest type: puzzle. Find levers, pressure plates, etc. needed to open an ancient chest.
    - Questgiver required objects (e.g. Torch, Shovel) spawn closer to their questgivers
    - Visual updates to skyboxes, times of day, and weather effects.


4/03 - We have turned on Island mode: PvP. Please let us know how PvP Islands feel! Of note, you do not currently have PvP talents active. Please let us know how much you miss them!

In addition, we've added a fog of war to Islands. You will see a bubble around yourself and your allies that shows nearby Azerite sources. When you leave the area, the icon will persist, but grey out. The enemy might take it, you won't know until you re-enter the area!

3/29 - We have activated heroic and mythic difficulties, queue up from the Expedition Map!

3/20 - These changes will be in the next build:
    - Creatures no longer increase in Azerite over time, but are worth more in general.
    - Players and Advanced NPCs gain Azerite Residue slower
    - Updated abilities for Azerite-based elementals
    - New abilities for several humanoid groups
    - Normal difficulty tuning (generally, things will be easier, and the AI is less aggressive)
    - AI NPCs should jump around less
    - Updated Azerite visuals all around
    - Azerite Energy no longer stacks
    - Consumables available at your docks now cost Seafarer's Dubloons
    - Seafarer's Dubloons can now show up on Expeditions
    - Each faction's ship captain will now order a cannon barrage on enemies that come too near.
    - New weather effects have been added to elemental invasions.
On the alliance side the Ship is missing.. but the NPC are there they keep falling from their position.. Unable to interact with the Quest giver High commander Halford

[EDIT]:: This fixed itself when I ported to Stormwind then returned.. The ship then loaded..
Was able to Queue up for the scenario but was disconnected from server (solo join) alliance side about 15 seconds after getting in.

Logging back in has me stuck with a loading bar 75%
same even solo queue DCs now im stuck with a loading bar. shame really wanted to test this.
Alliance side:

So far you can only mine the Azerite for points
I see buff on all mobs that they give Azerite but none are actually giving them to alliance side once they die.
NPCs are super weak.
Love Sneaky Pete

At current rate you are gonna be in there for solid 30+ minutes when in reality it should end in 10 minutes if the mobs were to give you Azerite.
We believe the issue causing disconnects has been resolved; please let us know if you're still experiencing issues!
So far really liking the Npc AI in the expeditions. Rogue Npc was especially cool. Was off minding my own business and found an azerite node to mine and then rogue pops up out of stealth saps me steals the node then vanishes and runs off
I agree the AI is enjoyable. You really have to pay attention when fighting those faction NPC's. It'll be safe strategy to focus them down when they show up.

Skaggit is a pain. Hes a small target to see and sits back and rocks you from a distance. His occasional 20K "Big-shots" make quick work of you. His sustained dps is around 3K/s .

https://s18.postimg.org/bnenolttl/Scenario1.png
Did few runs as a tank, healer and dps group comp and also one as 2 dps and a healer. So far it looked really nice and fun, quick scenario with new set of mobs, buffs and objectives every time. It has high potential at higher difficulties (normal seems very easy and would most likely get boring after couple weeks since you can do a lot of them within a day) but with some additional features or maybe random objectives i.e. in one scenario you have big boss fight, in another instance you get bonus objective to steal azerite from enemy faction's ship and so on, it would gain more replay value.
Seemed like you are able to do much bigger pulls with healer and tank hence finish the scenario quicker (also have higher chance of successfully completing the expedition isle).

AI npcs feels nice to fight against although I'd be happy to see them become even more aggressive at higher difficulties e.g. use their stun on players when rare mob is about to die and steal the orb.

What I really disliked is the faction tag on mobs. It looks like there is no incentive to engage other faction currently fighting mobs (if the mob is at low hp) since we cannot steal the azerite that particular mob is going to drop due to faction tag and it looks like the only way to 'steal' the mobs azerite is to kill the enemy faction so that the mob will 'soft reset' losing the faction tag but will retain its hp (looks like mobs don't reset their hp if you wipe, not sure if inteded).

The consumable items sold by Moof and Zuna (horde side) deal way too much damage and they don't provide any meaningful gameplay (at least on normal difficulty). You just pull as many mobs as possible and then use the items (grenades, gun) to blow up pack within a stun duration.
It's also not fun having to spend about 400g for each isle expedition just because of those items.
I think it would be much better if those items, instead of pure damage boost, had effect like Engineering consumable from Legion and were obtainable inside the scenario (or maybe crafted by different professions) e.g. Gunpack or Gunshoes. Or if there is an expedition island with underwater cave you could use a Leystone Buoy to swim out of that cave quicker.
It would also be nice to give players a choice and e.g. inside the portal that spawn randomly, instead of bunch of azerite, sometimes we would get those consumable items.
However, it looked liked the portal objectives spawn about ~7minutes into the scenario, so sometimes you don't even encounter it. Would be nice to have it spawn a bit quicker unless it has random spawn rate.

It seems like the best strategy is going to be; pull 2 packs/rare mobs then pick up orbs (azerite energy) from the slain packs to get 2 stacks of buff (60% dmg and max life + heal to full hp) and then immediately ambush other faction to get their azerite since they pose no danger with even 1 orb stack or keep chain pulling since you melt packs with that buff. Basically the azerite energy buff is very powerful at the moment.
The AI is pretty ridiculous. Constantly jumping in circles spamming ranged instant/castable-while-moving spells is a bit much, and literally every mob does it.

Relax.
Jaina's Angels, Match 1:
Jaina's Angels Comp: 2 ranged - Squallshapers (Frost Mageish), 1 tank - Frostfencer (Warriorish)
Horde Equivalent: The Blazing Sunhawks

My Team Comp: 2 ranged, 1 tank

Caught them and pretty much whomped em every time, even when they tried to get the drop on us. We started and got to about 1/3 of the Azerite before interacting with them, and caught them trying a mid-range elite:
Encounter 1 - Pretty much caught them with their pants down, Nuked down the ranged when we got to them, The melee in their group kept on the NPCs and when brought low, tried to evade down the cliffs near the Alliance ship, but our Warrior jumped over and caught him before he escaped. Basically this team doesn't have much in terms of defense (which is odd, you would think, their frost shields dont have much going).
Encounter 2 - This time they tried to drop in on us while we were killing the Bone Worm boss which spawned on an island near the Horde ship. Myself and the other ranged took out their two ranged pretty quick, and again Frostfencer dodged about a bit.

Jaina's Angels, Match 2:
Got lucky and hit them a second time, this time my team was myself (as an Arc Mage), and 2 Demon Hunters (one tank, one damage).
Enc 1: They came at us while we were near our ship, and managed to nuke down the two demon hunters when we couldn't focus one down (they support each other when one isn't focused). I dodged about long enough for my allies to return and finish them off. Side note, they probably need to learn to ignore Ice Blocks.
Enc 2: This time they tried to ambush us near some low level crabs, but we saw them coming. Once the Frostfencer charged in we blew apart one of the Squallshapers, then the Frostfencer, then the other Squallshaper. They melted that time.
Enc 3: They tried to ambush again, but little effect, again we focused and blew them apart.

Judgment: All flash and theme, they dont really hit hard, this 3 man team probably needs to play more defensively, elsewise they get nuked from orbit. They have good teamwork, but they crumble if one of the Squallshapers is defeated. A third run will give me an idea if the Squallshapers have any difference in abilities. Take out the ranged, and let the Frostfencer dash about, focusing one down is key.
They farm decently well, but they seem to keep to the center/east side of the island. On the second match when left to their own devices they managed to catch up to our Azerite farmed in the beginning, but after we killed them the second time they couldn't catch up.
It would be nice if there was a variance what you get to do inside of the portals instead of having to kill 1 big mob and then loot chests each time i.e. you could have a gauntlet to get through and have a chest with azerite (or interesting consumable items to help in the expedition island/permanent, minor buff) at the end (think of the gauntlet like one of the robot's trials in Mac'acree) or having to move through traps on the ground in correct order i.e. there are 4 element traps on the ground and only stepping on fire/earth/water in a sequence will allow you to get past the gauntlet (Guo-lai halls in Vale of Eternal Blossom)

Additional race-like events would be a nice addition to make the expeditions feel more alive and unexpected every time you queue (so it won't boil down to "kill enemies every time, just different kind of monsters") i.e. sometimes both factions are teleported into a zone with mobs which you have to kill in order to progress (gauntlet in Thorim's encounter) or having to cross the bridge with traps like on Imonar (consumables like Gunpack, from my previous post, could find a use in here) with a possible mini boss at the end, and the team which completes it faster get additional azerite or maybe opposite teams get a penalty for losing e.g. every member gets a random debuff for the remainder of the expedition isle similar to the ones you get on Mythic Eonar from Paraxis.

Proving ground style of race event within expedition could also be fun. You get swarmed with new packs of mobs every 15 or so seconds and you have to get as far as possible (progress of other team is visible). To avoid taking this random event longer than expedition isle itself you could spawn a huge amount of mobs with each new wave; think of the swarm of mobs like Sentinax portal farm.
I have a brilliant idea for chests so hear me out:

MIMICS
The smart AI, aka enemy team, seemed to do the same thing same during the 3 rounds I played.
They would attack us directly 3 times, ignoring the Azerite objective for the most part, then afterwards then they'd focus primarily on the PVE objective.

One of the alliance Hunter NPCs has a wolf pet that feels like it has a stun on an obnoxiously short CD and possibly on no DR. Very annoying.

Sometimes mobs would directly spawn right on top of my team after we initially cleared it. For example on the beach, my team cleared the Bone-worm NPCs and then we were immediately met with the Borderlands 2 crystal monster look a likes in the exact same spot which proceeded to annihilate my team since we weren't ready.

I know there'll probably be more additions, but playing the same map with the exact same general NPCs that happen to be in different locations will get stale real fast. Going to need a lot of variety to prevent this so the only thing I can recommend doing is having a large number of islands/NPCs at the beginning of the expansion and possibly adding more with each patch.

The matches vs the enemy team feel extremely one sided and unbalanced when playing with a healer. Similar to 3v3 arenas, a triple DPS combination has almost no chance of winning against a double DPS/healer combo.
I suggest making the queues work like Arenas/BGs where once you pick your role (healer, tank, dps), you can't change it midway and have the enemy team mimic that composition so it's fair.
However, this will probably mean never letting 2 healers or 2 tanks queue with eachother since it could make annoyingly slow gameplay like it did in 3v3 a while ago. On the plus side, this will help prevent players from finding the "perfect role comp" to just steam roll the enemy.

If PVP Island Expeditions go well, it could be fun to have a Rated PVP option for it that include its own rewards and specific titles. This could also be solo-queueable which will hopefully appease the "Solo-Queue" menace.
I definitely see the promise Island Expeditions have going for it and there really isn't anything else quite like it in WoW (such as when my party genuinely got caught off guard by a blood hungry Gnome Rogue).

That said right now my biggest concern with Island Expedition is that it feels too much like a cut and dry race to see which side kills mobs and each other the fastest.

I would personally love the idea of completing objectives that could indirectly effect the enemy expedition such as using a key to release a captive tiger who returns the favor by hunting the enemy expedition or Sneaky Pete somehow rigging a trap in the jungle that could launch you to another part of an island. Just things that adds spice and variety so that each run through an Expedition gives unique experience than the last.
I'm loving island invasions, but I really hope the AI has scaling, gets progressively harder as you repeat them based off how well you did, or easier if you did poorly. They remind me of Mists scenarios, only better. As a suggestion, it would be interesting if a single island's map changed each time you got in, for a non linear experience.
When you go through the portal and fight Lord Kamet he needs to move around in his little temple area. It's too easy to LOS his attacks near the columns on his far right and left.

His AOE attacks are tough to see on the floor the "smoke" effect is super subtle. His melee attack is weak compared to gale eruption and wind force

https://s18.postimg.org/ufrwe1x8p/Kamet.png
It's an interesting experience and I definitely see the potential for this feature. Right now though they feel very repetitive. Changing the locations of mobs/treasure and the types of mobs/treasure doesn't really offer a fresh experience. My experience has mostly been random killing and looting of anything shiny. Occasionally running into the other team, stabbing them, then going back to random killing and looting. Sometimes I barely even ran into the other group.

Will there be other objectives/puzzles/bribing of npcs, etc added to these? The goal to reach 6k azerite is fine, but having randomized bonus objectives might be a good idea. They don't even need to be rewards, they can simply offer buffs for the group or debuffs for the opposing group.

It's a fresh experience for the game and I enjoyed it, but I worry it will go from fun to repetitive grinding quickly.
It was a tad confusing on what to do at first, yes the goal was to collect azurite, but nothing in the game actually tells you how to do that until you get the tracker enabled. That aside:

The ice ele was pretty cool, however the enemy NPC's didn't even try to do anything to it, it's almost like they disappeared. Additionally, one of the enemies we fought could straight up 1 shot any of with some axe throw ability that was spammable. That was an unpleasant experience.

I plan on doing more of these, but just from doing a few, it's already repetitive to the point that I don't want to do it anymore.

Criticisms of the island aside, I found it was absolutely gorgeous, the little items you can pick up on the ground were a nifty little gimmick similar to something you'd get in a BG while the trash mobs themselves didn't seem out of place at all.

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