Island Expeditions are the newest feature added to the World of Warcraft with its latest expansion, Battle For Azeroth. With a party of three, you can venture onto the open seas in search of the valuable Azerite, the latest tool of war in the Horde and Alliance War Machine, to empower your Heart of Azeroth. In doing so, you’ll level the strange artifact to new and greater heights, empowering your Azerite gear to unlock further effects and abilities for your character. However, despite our best efforts, players have simply not been playing Island Expeditions in the manner that they were originally intended. This week we’ll be bringing you some advice on how to make the most of your Island Expedition experience and how to claim the most prolific rewards for your time.
As most players will already be aware, you can begin your Island Expeditions at Captain Flynn Fairweather for the Alliance, or Captain Rez’okun for the Horde. The popular majority of players simply focus on their weekly quest to gather six thousand Azerite in order to maximize their Heart of Azeroth level. Most participants will pursue the quickest and most linear method of gathering Azerite as to beat the opposing faction and maximize their Azerite rewards, often ignoring rare creatures and other explorative aspects of the Expeditions. In doing this, it’s been discovered that we as a player-base have been unintentionally ignoring the most vital aspects of Expeditions since launch.
Some adventurers may be aware that Island Expeditions also award a slew of bonus items for players. While WoWhead has them listed in detail in their Expedition Reward Guide, to best summarize the list, Island Expeditions can reward:
- 5x Mounts
- 5x Toys
- 28x Battle Pets
- 85x Plundered Weapons (14 models that have never been made available)
- 3x Plundered Hats
- 4x Plundered Shoulders
- 23x Item Sets (3 unreleased sets, 5 Cloth, 6 Leather, 6 Mail, 6 Plate)
These have been public information since the open Beta for Battle for Azeroth, however, drop rates for these items have been seemingly low for most players. Performing the quickest methods for completing these scenarios, as it turns out, most players will never see any of these rewards. Instead, killing the rares that populate the islands rewards these items, including quest item turn-ins that produce a vast amount of Azerite. We can get so specific with these items, in fact, that in knowing what to do you can specifically target items, mounts, and collectibles with little difficulty.
Each rare creature on an Island Expedition gives a chance for a player that kills it to obtain an item directly related to the theme of the creature; Twilight Dragons can reward the Dragonrider Armor and the Twilight Harbinger Mount, Pirates can reward the Squawks mount or Captain Nibs pet, etc. However, unlike typical loot systems we see in PvE content where loot is calculated after a creature is slain, these loot rolls are created at the end of each Expedition. While each creature does indeed have its own loot table, these tables remain hidden and are hypothesized to be linked to each other based on the theme of the creature.
This means that there is indeed a manner in which to grind out these rare rewards across the southern isles of Azeroth. By specifically targeting named NPCs that spawn throughout the island, you can potentially trigger their loot table and generate rewards. There are two different creature theme types that will generate over the course of your expeditions to best help you to target the loot you want:
Island Creature Themes are predetermined from week to week and are shown on the Expedition Map alongside the Azerite you’ve collected for the week. The creatures shown on your map will be the three from which your main enemies will be drawn from for the week and will be the predominant enemy type across your adventure. Invasions occur after a certain amount of Azerite has been gathered by both teams, and can occur in multiple stages (up to three). Higher difficulty ratings will require more Azerite to progress into subsequent stages. Stage 1 begins when players make landfall, with named rares and bonus objectives dotted across the Island. Stage 2 then sees Azerite elementals and massive deposits spawning in key points around the island.
Stage 3 is the most radical change to the island; invasions of additional expeditioners will see any possible enemy type make landfall on your island, laying waste to the weekly creatures and situating themselves near large Azerite deposits. As such, you could begin an expedition on your Island fighting Vrykul, and then later transitioning to battling Fire Elementals, allowing you to potentially farm specific creature themes outside of their weekly rotation.
While lower difficulties will allow you to trigger Stage 3 Invasions quicker, there does not appear to be any difference in loot drop chances between difficulties, meaning that enemies killed in Normal Difficulty Expeditions have the same chance to drop items as those killed in Mythic Difficulty. Furthermore, there does not appear to be any particular cap to how many items can be rewarded after the end of an expedition, with several players reporting numbers in the double digits while Wowhead itself reports up to 5 items at one time.
However, these methods in which to farm particular creature themes are not in and of themselves the manner to successfully complete island expeditions; from killing the Unleashed Monstrosity and high-yield Azerite drops, the enemy faction can quickly pull ahead in your expeditions and claim victory. With this in mind, the choice is ultimately up to you in how you want to explore Blizzard’s latest scenario system. Do you prefer the one evening per week where you can quickly cap out your Azerite, or do you want to explore what the South Seas of Azeroth have to discover, and claim the rich plunder that the various races of the world have left for the wary adventurer?
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