Battle for Azeroth introduced countless new features when it launched all the way back in August of 2018. And although it feels like a lifetime has passed since then, the lifespan of WoW’s latest expansion was filled with a plethora of new content that spanned the course of the last two years.
One of those features, introduced at the expansion’s launch, was Island Expeditions: a PvE/PvP game mode that focused on you and a team of two other players visiting various islands across Azeroth and gathering deposits of Azerite for your faction. If you’ve played the game at any point during the last two years, you probably know Island Expeditions more than you’d like to.
What’s certainly upsetting is that this mode with tons of promise and potential was totally left in the dust right out of the starting gate, and never revisited again by Blizzard throughout the course of BfA. Still, that’s not to say that Island Expeditions shouldn’t have received some sort of update at any point during the expansion.
The constant resource race for Azerite between the Alliance and Horde certainly never ended from a lore standpoint, so it would only make sense for these islands (and a couple more) to play an extended role in the universe as the expansion moved forward. Perhaps an additional island down the line located off the coast of Mechagon, or another in the depths of Nazjatar, would have made a ton of sense. And although the islands that you travel to in your expeditions don’t have an actual place on the everyday world map, there are in-game islands off the coasts of southern Kalimdor and Pandaria that could have potentially served as the backdrops for new instanced experiences during Patch 8.3.
To run the same handful of islands each week without any sort of variation at any point during the expansion’s lifespan was certainly a disappointing “feature” of BfA, as there was plenty of room for innovation. On top of the lack of expansion to Islands, the monotonous grind that it presents week after week for a once-per-reset chance at some extra Azerite Power and a chance at the Rank 4 essence of Worldvein Resonance isn’t exactly attractive, either. However, the true weakness of Island Expeditions doesn’t come from their sheer lack of variety or intrigue, but instead from the platform of missed potential.
And as a sidenote, when it comes to the challenge factor, the mythic difficulty for Expeditions is way too easy, and the PvP difficulty isn’t anything special when there’s plenty of other, more fun ways to get your PvP fix.
Battle for Azeroth peaked at its launch, and Island Expeditions were certainly part of the reason why those first few weeks of the expansion were so enjoyable. They were fresh, fun, and even presented a fun twist on PvE and PvP content. Perhaps if the system was expanded upon just a little bit, they would have been considered one of the more successful features of BfA.
Moving forward, I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Island Expeditions – or some formidable clone – make their way into Shadowlands. Of course, the lore behind the system would have to change extensively, as Azerite is being left in the past. Also, the idea of journeying off to a faraway island to chase minerals is a bit odd for an expansion dealing with WoW’s underworld. Still, I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing Flynn Fairwind lead us on another journey of some sort down the line.
Photo Credit: Blizzard Entertainment, World of Warcraft