Island Expeditions - Collection Feedback

BFA Dungeons, Island Expeditions, and Raids
First off I'm the kind of player that enjoys making it a goal to collect as many pets, mounts, toys and transmogs as I can. This post is through that lens. I appreciate a lot of people have issues with the playability or power rewards of Islands, but this topic is meant to be constructive criticism on the collectables that are meant to be obtained via Islands.

I know players like me who want to install All The Things and slowly check entire zones off are in the minority, but for every one of us there are hundreds of more casual collectors who will, to a degree, be as affected by the Island's low drop rate and design as us - people who only want a specific item but have to deal with the same % chance of getting it as anyone is of getting any item.

I see this system as being as flawed as Prestige was in Legion, and since Prestige eventually became account-wide, I'm hoping for a shake-up in how Island rewards work by the end of the expansion (or at least at the end of it, to make going back a more rewarding experience). So:

Drop Rate Is Too Low

I've done perhaps 20 islands so far - many players have done more - and I have obtained one pet. Despite my initial hopes for the system as something for collectors to enjoy, I find myself considering that lucky. I got my pet before Muffinus tweeted what appeared to be a sign that the drop rate was buffed, but in the course of doing more than half of those islands AFTER that tweet, I have received no other special reward - not even extra AP or a rep token, which to be honest I don't really care about. Based on some posts I've seen around the internet, many players don't even KNOW there are toys, mounts, pets and mogs to collect - they ask for Islands to be spruced up with such rewards, apparently unaware they already exist because they've never seen a drop in their party.

Too Many Drops From Same Source

Using All The Things, which admittedly is not perfect, I get the number 319 in regards to unique rewards - mogs, toys, pets and mounts. In perhaps a first for the game in its entire history, from everything players know this staggering number of items all drop in the same way, with no deviation: win an Island.

Players can complain when an item they want drops off a boss that drops 10 other items they don't want, but that's relatively tame. In that situation, you have a 1 in 10 chance of getting what you want per kill. In this situation, if you want one specific item you have a CHANCE at getting a 1/319 chance of getting what you want. Anecdotally, a <10% chance at getting a 1/319 chance.

If you want to collect all these collectables - again, a minority - you need to get lucky 319 times to collect everything. Arguably, it gets worse as you go; at the start you have a 100% chance of getting SOMETHING you want, but as you fill out the collection your chance of getting a non-duplicate item shrinks, and shrinks, until eventually you're at a 1/319 chance for the last thing you want. Strangely, this creates the feel that as you get closer to completing your goal, you're getting less effective at it.

Boring Math

So, let's say there are 319 items, and that Islands take an average of 15 minutes to complete. I'll make a few assumptions, hopefully to highlight how ridiculous the current system is for a collector looking to collect everything - but, again, keep in mind the same could easily be true for a person who just wants one specific item and keeps getting stuff they don't want, or doesn't get anything at all (RNG, right?) So I'll assume every Island drops an item, every third island, every fifth island and every tenth island. Again, I'm currently at 1/20 islands giving a reward, and I'm pretty sure we can get duplicate items. The following calculations are assuming it's IMPOSSIBLE to get duplicates - this is a best case, short-test case scenario.

Every Island: 15 x 1 x 319 = 4,785 minutes = 79.75 hours
Every 3rd Island: 15 x 3 x 319 = 14,355 minutes = 239. 25 hours
Every 5th Island: 15 x 5 x 319 = 23,925 = 398.75 hours
Every 10th Island: 15 x 10 x 319 = 47,850 minutes = 797.5 hours

To clarify, if we were guaranteed a unique reward every 10th island, it would take 33 in-game playtime days to collect everything. We aren't guaranteed a reward any X number of islands, and we can get duplicate rewards, not even counting the AP rewards or reputation tokens.
Why Are Collectables There?

So, with those kinds of numbers in mind, I cannot imagine Islands were given all these neat rewards to give collectors something to do. There are just too many from the same source, at too low a drop rate, and there are duplicates. The armour pieces seem to drop piece by piece, not as a whole set. If you want a full set you are looking at getting lucky 8 times, getting -exactly- what you want 8 times. So I can't believe this is supposed to be a case of a player looking up the rewards, seeing something they want and deciding to try to get it through Islands; there's no way to target anything, the rates are too low and there are too many competing drops.

I also can't see it being something to keep Islands fresh. Most players never seem to see drops in the course of doing their weekly quest, the rate seems to be too low to even pretend to give players that feeling of "at least I'll get something other than AP", and most players who even know about these rewards will just get frustrated when they don't get anything. Arguably the fact most of the items are tradeable means the intention is for them to be purchasable and tradable on the AH... but there's an achievement for getting all the pets - looting all the pets, not learning all the pets. As in your character loots the pet, then learns it. This is -not- an account-wide achievement; one of your characters needs to loot 28 pets themselves, 28 1/319 chances at a low drop rate per island. This achievement is part of an achievement meta for Islands which rewards a title, which suggests the achievement is intended to be completable.

I would honestly be surprised if anyone gets that title, ever, unless the system or the achievements are changed.

Potential Solutions

So, those are the problems I and others like me have with the special Island reward drops. Again, I know collect-it-all players are a vast minority, but there are dozens of times our number who at least want to collect all the pets, and that's still an incredibly difficult and time consuming task under the current system. I have alts I played at max level in several expansions who have less playtime than 33 days.

So here are a few solutions I think could help make Islands feel more rewarding for most players, ones I've thought of and ones I've seen mentioned around collector circles. I'll try to rank them in terms of most preferable to least, but I know what's preferable for players isn't always what's best for Blizzard.

Doubloon purchases
One criticism Doubloons have right now is there is "nothing to spend them on but buffs". One solution a lot of people float is simply putting the special rewards on a vendor and letting us buy them for Doubloons. This is my favourite method, obviously; even if pets cost 50 each, mogs cost 25 each and mounts cost 200 each there's still an end in sight to collecting everything, and this system allows players to target what they want. I appreciate this might be seen as "too easy", though.

Bad Luck Protection
As I said above, even assuming every 5th island drops a unique item results in a huge amount of playtime to collect everything - or even one specific thing if the order you get drops in is particularly unfavourable. However, something is better than nothing. I think the system should be tweaked to disallow duplicates (or at least let us opt out of them or reroll them for an item we don't have yet), and IDEALLY we would be able to guarantee a drop every X number of islands. A couple ways that could work are set out below.

Reward From Weekly
The weekly reward gives us AP and rep, but it could also be a great psychological boon if it rewarded a random collectable drop, too - even if you didn't get a pet or a mount doing actual Islands, once a week you can ensure you'll get one, even if it's not what you'd like. Ideally, as above, this wouldn't give you anything you've already obtained.
Conquest Bar
The Conquest system in BfA allows players to work toward a set of rewards by filling up a bar each week. As I understand it, the rewards are predetermined - first it's a weapon, then it's X, then Y, and eventually the ilevel starts going up, etc etc. One reason I saw for this was to guarantee PvP players a reward even if they are unlucky, just for participating. I wonder why collectors don't have something like this, honestly. Is it because collectables are permanent while gear is short-term and replacable? Personally I think that's an argument for making collecting easier, but I can see why people have the opposite view.

In any case, I feel one solution could be a Conquest system where every 5 or so islands across your account, much like Prestige is now, you gain one of the rewards from a pre-determined list. That way the rarer items in Blizzard's eyes can be put further towards the back, after a player has done 1,500 Islands, but there's still a visible end to the grind. It gives an incremental reward and lets you know you'll EVENTUALLY meet your goal, even if it's a long way away - a carrot on a stick is useless if it's a mile long and you're running on a treadmill. A bit of a reward every now and then helps tremendously.

Closing Thoughts
There will probably be some people who think I'm arguing on behalf "just being handed rewards", but I think the math shows I'm not looking for handouts; I'm looking for a reasonable time investment as opposed to an impossibility. I've jumped through a lot of hoops and spent a lot of time collecting stuff in previous expansions, so I definitely don't consider myself a casual player who wants to do the least work, but this reward system is, I can say, probably the worst I've seen in the game for anything.

I honestly feel this system is more likely to break collectors and make them give up on collecting rather than encouraging them to keep trying, and while I don't have the data - only Blizzard does - I feel logically collectors are their most loyal subscribers, and discouraging them from trying to collect in any capacity rubs me the wrong way. I may be wrong, though, if anyone has data.

Anyway. I welcome your thoughts. This went on way longer than I expected, but I wanted to try to be thorough, to help Blizzard understand the problems collectors, at least, have with Island Expeditions.
I've run well over a hundred of these things and have yet to receive a single cosmetic reward. I really hope something changes with this, because as it stands I feel demoralized just running past the queueing board.
Being one of the people generally against handouts, I can say that I do like the points you make with regards to possible fixes to the rather abysmal drop rates. I'm probably one of the only people currently fine with how the system works currently since I mainly use IE's to farm AP and because I never really expect anything to begin with but AP, i'm never really disappointed.

I've made a hefty sum of gold off selling various things from IE's but I do want to say that having collected so many pieces, it feels odd to have so many odd's and ends' pieces in regards to the various transmog sets, moreover it's a little more than disheartening to have so much but yet have so little at the same time.

That being said I'm not a fan of a "vendor" for dubloons, since that would make it too easy to collect everything then forget all about IE's. I do believe in working for something more than anything, and I do like your suggestion for a weekly reward in addition to just bonus azerite. I firmly believe and support IE's being an expansion long endeavor, and anything but a weekly "reward" seems like it would be far too generous.
09/13/2018 08:22 AMPosted by Moonpony
Being one of the people generally against handouts, I can say that I do like the points you make with regards to possible fixes to the rather abysmal drop rates. I'm probably one of the only people currently fine with how the system works currently since I mainly use IE's to farm AP and because I never really expect anything to begin with but AP, i'm never really disappointed.

I've made a hefty sum of gold off selling various things from IE's but I do want to say that having collected so many pieces, it feels odd to have so many odd's and ends' pieces in regards to the various transmog sets, moreover it's a little more than disheartening to have so much but yet have so little at the same time.

That being said I'm not a fan of a "vendor" for dubloons, since that would make it too easy to collect everything then forget all about IE's. I do believe in working for something more than anything, and I do like your suggestion for a weekly reward in addition to just bonus azerite. I firmly believe and support IE's being an expansion long endeavor, and anything but a weekly "reward" seems like it would be far too generous.

Thanks, I appreciate your input, and the fact you don't think I just want handouts. Many players enjoy interpreting feedback like this as "give me something for nothing", but all I'm asking for is a foreseeable end point to the grind - I don't care if it takes all expansion doing the weekly every week on multiple characters, or even longer, I just want to feel like every Island I do is progress toward that goal, instead of randomly wasting chunks of time with no real progress.

The Doubloon suggestion is my most preferred solution purely because there are hundreds of collectables and that would make it easiest to get everything, but I'm not saying the prices should be so low as to make it possible to collect everything within the next year. I haven't really put thought into the prices, but assuming every individual thing was 50 Doubloons that would be 16,000 Doubloons to get everything, which I think is still quite an undertaking.

Nevertheless, I also know a vendor is the least likely solution to be picked if anything happens, I just thought I'd mention it because someone would have, and it's my preferred option. I would at least appreciate the transmogs being put on vendors, though; that would take 200 items out of the pool of 319 possible rewards, which would make the mogs more collectable and targetable at the same time as drastically increasing the chances of getting pets/mounts/toys if that's what you're after, and avoiding duplicates - a 1/40 chance at one of those things would be much better than a 1/319 chance, and if they did that... I still think the drop rate is far too low, but if the mogs were available elsewhere and removed from the potential list of drops I think a lot more people would be okay with the current drop rate.

But yeah. -Ideally- I'd like it not to take too too long, but I have no problems with this being an expansion-long undertaking; I'd just prefer it to be achievable, otherwise I don't think I'll bother doing Islands after I hit exalted. I think there's a balance to be met between encouraging players to keep doing content long-term and letting them "finish", and I think the current Island reward system is massively failing at finding that balance; if people collected everything, they wouldn't have to do Islands any more, of course, but if they feel discouraged to even try they'll stop even earlier.
Pounded out a chain of mythic and heroic island expeditions over the last few days. Sitting on ~400k azerite collected total. Not a single cosmetic drop, no mounts, no pets, no transmogs, and only 1 world quest drop (sonic stone). Most players I talk to in game during these expeditions have had similar experiences, they are getting nothing but doubloons and most arent even getting much of those outside of mythic.

I am having fun doing these expeditions, working in smaller groups of people and communicating with them has been a good break from the monotonous lifestyle of world quests and heroic instance ques, however it would be nice to see the rewards of this more plentiful. I know a good deal of players see them as a chore more then anything else, but I happen to like them and would like other people to find more of an incentive to do them with me.
Good post. There's nothing "too easy" about the doubloon solution at all though I would say to any who view it like that. It just makes the collecting into an effort with a set end in sight and a set pace. The question then just becomes "how many islands total should a person have to run before they've collected everything?" 300? 500? 1000? The number can be tuned around any number of islands. People can tolerate pretty high numbers as long as they know their effort won't be wasted (unlike RNG, where every island without a drop = a waste for collectors).

People should not try to re-define easy to mean "lacks RNG." In an RNG based system, some people will be very lucky and get things far easier than the currency grind after all. While others will be very unlucky and get things at a rate far worse than the currency grind. The unlucky scenarios are the ones that should drive decision-making for design. In other words, the designers should look at any situation and go, "okay, if we do this, how bad will the unlucky players have it under this system, and is that something players should find acceptable?"

There are multiple solutions for Island Expeditions they can use. The best is probably a mainly currency based system, with maybe some hybrid elements. (For instance, all the pets are on a vendor, transmog and mounts derive from RNG, but the RNG should have elements to it to protect against duplicates and provide bad luck protection).

Whatever they do, if they continue to rely on RNG for a large loot table, a combination of bad luck protection and prevention of duplicates is something that should always be present for such a system.
09/13/2018 12:25 AMPosted by Squirble
I've run well over a hundred of these things

Wow. I have done maybe 10 and I have decided I hate expeditions enough to avoid completing them.
Most of these posts are right before the fix and I would suggest doing the islands again. I can see the increase of drops vs before. People should stop complaining and feeling entitled to everything that drops on the islands. Its just luck.... you either got it or you don't. If everybody had everything with no effort involved then their is nothing special about your toon or what you worked hard for.

Spend your Dubloon's at the vendor to help complete the island. Its goes faster if you already premade your grp.
A lot of the posts are right before the fix, yes, but a lot of the issues outlined in the opening posts are still present. There are still 319 or so items to collect and no way to target, and you can get duplicates. Even with the increased drop rate (apparently you can get two at once if you're lucky) the possibility of getting any single item, let alone all of them, that you want is laughably low.

And, as I indicated in an earlier post, there's an enormous difference between "no effort involved" and "reasonably possible". Not wanting to take 800 hours to collect everything isn't wanting things handed to players, it's not wanting to waste an incredible amount of time when there are better alternatives that still encourage effort.

Plus what collectors consider "special" is filling out collections, not having any single item. At the moment, island drops are ironically both targeting collectors with a ton of items they want, and are the worst source of collecting anything in the game due to the sheer time investment and lack of protection.

Let me say it again: people aren't asking to have "everything handed to them". They are asking for collecting to be a legitimate end-game pursuit at the same level as raiding and PvP. Things ought to be completable to encourage participation, not so rare they make people not want to bother. You don't get raids these days that most players will never even step inside because they're too hard to time consuming to unlock - and even if you did, they'll be easy to do in a couple expansions.
Farmed up the last 250k azerite I needed for the meta achievement (and then some) over the last 24 hours (~40 heroics) and the drop rate improvement is definitely noticeable.

I went from 0 cosmetics in the first 750k azerite farmed to: 6 armor appearances (3 of the same plate pants :-/), 3 toys (all the same toy, the skeleton monkey banana), two weapon appearances, and finally a pet (Scuttles) in my last one.

This is in addition to a ton of dubloons (even buying the target painter every game I've still gone up 160 dubloons) and around 10 quest items (a few 700 azerite).

It's still not great, as I'm mostly in it for the pets and mounts, but it isn't miserable anymore. I would like for duplicates to not drop, but at least you can sell the BoE equipment. Duplicate toys are just 50 copper.

I've heard people are getting cosmetic rewards at least every other mythic, but I play at odd hours and haven't tested it myself. Can anyone confirm that drop rates feel even higher in mythic?
I used to enjoy mount collection, then Paragon chests happened.
Now I just dont care.
So if I am going to stop paragon farming I might as well ignore island expeditions that I hate.
According to rarity (before they updated drop-rate and the addon)

I've done 120 runs of Isle expedition

Gotten about
15 transmog
7 pets
2 toys
10+ quest items
I haven't seen anyone on an IE mount, or say they've gotten one. As a mount collector, that's really discouraging.

The dubloon vendor is the easiest, most obvious solution. The darn things are epic, but they're virtually useless. I'd even settle for pets at 1500 dubloons and mounts at 3k, or 2500 and 5k, prices like like the timewalking badges. We would have a tangible goal that still requires an investment.
The problem is dubloons are intended to be used on consumable items though, not cosmetics. Changing the currency to be able to be spent on cosmetics would be a slap in the face to people spending them to speed things up. I'v spent hundreds upon hundreds speeding these things up and only see team mates use them once every like 10 games. If anything, blizz needs to come out and say that they AREN'T EVER making them usable on cosmetics so people start finally spending them... or do what they did with essence in legion. So, increase the price of dubloon items by a huge margin, and then increase the drop rates of dubloons to match. This devalues the stockpiling of the hoarders, who simply SHOULD NOT be rewarded for mooching off people who are buying the consumables to speed things up.

Anyways, done probably close to 600 islands now. Probs about 520 normals, 80 heroics.

60+ normals since the droprate increase.

......where are the mounts? i havent seen anyone get any in all my runs. This carrot on a stick, ap fatigue inducing, trash rushing blur of gameplay is a poor attempt to create long living content in the grand scheme and it needs to change. At the very least, we need communication / clarification on if mounts are tied to some special event or something.
They've already nerfed the consumables that were even kinda worth it. In all the runs I've done, I think I've seen 2 vehicles and maybe 3 purple glitter destructobombs. If they speed the runs up, it's not by enough for people trip over themselves rushing to the vendor.

I also don't think anyone would care if you farmed til it dropped, or farmed til you had several thousand dubloons. I certainly don't care if someone farms the fox kit from Tol Barad, or buys it off the vendor.

If the idea is to entice players into IEs, slightly better RNG and useless currency isn't the way to do it.

Edit; "mooching"??? Are you serious? Unless someone sits AFK the whole run, they're not mooching. If you keep up and help kill/CC, you aren't a moocher by any stretch of the imagination.
Sorry but nukes are obviously worth it, tanks were too. Starting a run off with a giant pull to nuke 2k+ az within a minute is a no brainer. Usually, depending on the map, you can predict where the cluster will spawn too. So when my regular island frand comes with, we do that first pull, backtrack, tap nodes to spawn cluster. We do a 2nd giant pull to the cluster, nuke on top of that too, i mean its very easy to hit between 3.5-4.5k from these 2 pulls... so maybe you or the people you play with just arent using them to ther fullest potential or something i dunno.

And yes im obviously serious? We've been told these vanity items drop from islands, so naturally the goal is to finish as many islands as quickly as possible to get one to drop. If you really dont understand how you're suggesting dubs should be spendable on vanity items, and that how in doing so the efficient players, spending dubloons to speed up the runs are punished for having played organically and quickly to try and get these things to drop in the first place.... then have a nice day and thanks for the discourse :)
I would pay 15 Doubloons every Island until I ran out if there was an item that guaranteed at least one special drop at the end of the island.
Best part so far about islands is how you and a pal can group up, and kick the third guy off right before the win.

It isn't a 1/319 to get that last item, it is 1 in a 1,000,000 especially if folks keep abusing the fact that they can kick the third person.

Because, hey, it's funny right?

Kicks being able to be done even if the person is in combat, mining the last bit of Azerite, or pausing to repair is just the icing on the cake of stupid.

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