Island Expeditions: Scenarios 2.0

BFA Dungeons, Island Expeditions, and Raids
Doing this on mobile, so forgive some errors here and there.

I want to throw some thoughts out on Island Expeditions, and where WoW can move forward from them. But, to have any discussion on that, I want to first applaud Blizzard for the technical things that they are, and their attempt to bring procedurally generated content to wow coupled with a new step in their AI programming in the game.

I premise that the healthiest way to examine IEs are as scenarios 2.0. First introduced in MoP, they were brief three player storylines that had some gameplay in a strict structured setting. Since then, the 1.X iterations have cemented scenarios as the premier ways to tell in-game story without disrupting the world. If they were so great in MoP, why abandon them? Because they only told one story each, and occupied an odd place in gearing players/the reward system. To fix this, Blizzard would need to find a way to 'energize' scenarios in order to make them somewhat fresh every time.

When the designers developed the puzzle system for the Mind-Worms/ etc in Legion, they hinted at procedurally generated content and its applications in the futurr. Yes, I think they were referring to the tech for IEs. This supposedly brings that fresh content to scenarios, right? In essence, it could, but the game swung too widely in the other direction, cutting out the story entirely and making them both too random and far too much the same.

Premise: Diablo had the correct mix of random procedurally generated content and story elements. You had the random hallways and monsters, but you had tent-pole story elements mixed in.

I would contend that the developers should look to improving upon the system with more set 'story' pieces that can be encountered in IEs. For example, for the Druid Islands we have the drop that takes you to the Moonglade to learn they are a feralized enclave that left for the islands long ago. This can be expanded upon by adding 4-5 set encounters that expand on the lore and maybe drop items that unlock difficult group bosses for the overworld, such as with the Arrakoa in BC or the Dungeon Set 2 questline in the original dungeons.

These kind of interactions expand on the IEs and iterate on the scenario idea that this evolved from. What needs to happen next is to marry the best parts of the original scenarios (storytelling) with the better parts of the new format (evolving and modifiable gameplay).
Islands definitely are too unstructured, which can make for a miserable experience because you can get times where no one is on the same page. The first big split that can happen is those hat want to quickly get azerite vs those that want the cosmetics. From there things can split further.

Until Blizzard fixes that major issue, it won't matter if they try to make islands more coherent because that disconnect is the biggest incoherence with them.

I'd also say that perhaps D3 isn't the game they should look at because that's likely what they reference and they pretty much missed everything behind why rifts work in that game. The obvious thing, is that the end goal for rifts was consistent. Kill a ton of mobs quickly until rift guardian spawns and then quickly kill rift guardian. Rinse and repeat. No depending on the build, some would kill everything, while others would only seek out elites. Honestly, given what people have figured out with island rewards, the D3 model doesn't work with them.

Next, the AI team is just obnoxious. Some it feels like the people that put them together exclaimed loudly "Let's take the things that everyone hated from certain content and lets give them to the AI teams." It's like the team went out of it's way to troll the players, the AI teams are just not fun to deal with. The versus aspect, to add in an artificial time limit just further works against the reward aspect of islands. Kind of hard to fight the invasion boss, when most teams conclude it's far quicker to AoE everything in the vicinity down. Even harder when the AoE teams will go for the most efficient rate to get azerite or sometimes beat the players to the invasion bosses.

Also the timed aspect just doesn't make the experience fun. If I want to race the clock I'll do mythic+. Not every feature needs to be a god damn race against the clock.

Honestly, I'm debating if IE's are the definition of sunk fallacy because it's not great content in it's current form. Or if they really needed more time, like much of this expansion. I'll also say IE's are a good example of why Blizz should hired a psychologist to look over some of their decisions. Maybe this garbage seems fun to someone that leads the teams at Blizz, but I'm pretty sure most psychologists would point out the design decisions here wouldn't be well received by the player community overall. Like there is a frustration factor to them that can't be justified as the whole "get good it's a challenge," because it's not challenging hard, it's tedious annoying hard. It's the kind of hard where success isn't met with "huzzah, to a bit, but totally worth it!" and more a "Oh thank god I'm done with this thing! Screw you Blizz, want to punch the morons that designed this!"
I think a “challenge” mode option should exist.

In that mode, there is no resource limit to reach and leave, instead you stay as long as you want and each “rare” killed or “event” cleared your group gains a stacking multiplier that will reward you with a massive amount of Azerite Power at the end.

After each multiplier gained, all the mobs gain a stacking health, damage buff etc. that will never cap out but at some point becomes less time efficient and better to just leave and start a fresh one. However this allows the hardcore to push high for bragging rights.

After each set of lets say 5 multipliers gained, a massive raid boss level type mob appears of massive raid type event that truly tests your skill, ability and teamwork.

In combination that the enemy alliance/horde faction will also gain power and try to kill you still.

This will solve the gogogo mentality as it’s more about skill and teamwork and less about how fast you can go because at a point it’s just becomes unrealistic to go fast.
This also allows you to actually explore the island and unlock events and buffs and rewards to help you out.
I’d like to add that it was the Darkest Dungeon’s Farmstead (endless) more that inspired that idea as I enjoy that addition to the game.
Did the first "scripted" island today and loved. Definitely can see the concern for common goals. Blizz needs to create some form of queue categories so like minds can play together.
10/21/2018 10:40 AMPosted by Meirneth
Premise: Diablo had the correct mix of random procedurally generated content and story elements. You had the random hallways and monsters, but you had tent-pole story elements mixed in.

I would contend that the developers should look to improving upon the system with more set 'story' pieces that can be encountered in IEs.


What I don't understand is that in order to even get to KT/ZD you have to do this very story focused scenario with a variety of interesting objectives and mechanics, with each faction getting their own view of the Siege of Lordaeron. So instead of delivering more interesting scenarios like that, we get... island expeditions. Even the basic idea of exploring islands and encountering strange and new things there while contending with the opposite faction is pretty interesting in theory, and yet it's the most lazy, barebones thing imaginable in execution.

10/21/2018 09:56 PMPosted by Millinna
Islands definitely are too unstructured, which can make for a miserable experience because you can get times where no one is on the same page. The first big split that can happen is those hat want to quickly get azerite vs those that want the cosmetics. From there things can split further.

Until Blizzard fixes that major issue, it won't matter if they try to make islands more coherent because that disconnect is the biggest incoherence with them.


The fact that getting anything of value from these outside of grinding your weekly Azerite depends on ignoring the entire point of the expeditions and doing a weird strategy (singling out a specific type of mob) seems to be the heart of the issue. If drops were just normalized and not tied to rares I think it would solve the problem.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum