Theory to Targeting Island Expedition Rewards
Thanks to the amount of information provided from players, it has been determined that Island Expedition rewards can be targeted based on what you kill during the Island Expeditions themselves. While killing certain creatures does not guarantee you the items themed to that creature, it does enable the chance
for a player to get items related to that creature at the end of an Island Expedition.
Before going on, it is worth mentioning that the amount of rewards that can be obtained from a single Island Expedition varies greatly. On personal experience I've seen up to 5 items rewarded to a single player (2 green transmog items, 1 blue transmog item, 1 quest item and 1 pet) from one Island Expedition win.
It is also unclear if the difficulty level of Island Expeditions has an impact on Island Expedition rewards and chances.
How It Works - Simple Version
Many Island Expedition rewards are themed off the creatures and invasions that occur during Island Expeditions. For example, Squawks
is a mount reward from Island Expeditions that is Pirate themed. If you encounter some Pirate themed rare creatures and manage to kill them, Pirate themed items such as Squawks
may show up on the loot window at the end of an Island Expeditions for one of the participating players.
Another example is Plundered Blade of Northern Kings
a popular Vrykul themed transmog sword. Encountering and killing Vrykul themed creatures on an Island Expedition may cause this sword to show up on a player's loot table.
This means if you are looking to collect certain rewards, you will really want to scout out as much of the Island as possible in search of these special enemies. Again, at the very end it still comes down to RNG on if anyone in the group manages to loot items related to the creatures you just killed. But keep at it and you will start to see these results.
How It Works - The Complicated
On the technical side of things, every rare creature (and potentially some elite creatures) on Island Expeditions has a loot table. However instead of being able to loot the creatures directly after killing them on Island Expeditions, the results of those rolls at the loot table is calculated at the end of the Island Expedition.
This means the most effective way to grind special Island Expedition rewards is to seek out named rare NPCs around the Island and also kill a few varying types of creatures (instead of farming the same types of elite creatures). However, due to the score limit, this also means that looting Azerite from chests, mining nodes, or the Unbound Monstrosity elemental event is counter-productive to collecting rare rewards as they only end the Island Expedition faster and give you less time to search out other rare creatures.
When looking to target certain rewards, there are two systems of Island Expeditions that exist to help encounter a lot of a certain type of creature.
Note About Invasion Events:
- Island Creature Theme: The 3 Islands every week will also come with a creature theme shown on the Expedition Map interface when queueing for Island Expeditions. The creature themes associated with each Island are also shown in the "Today in WoW" section on the Wowhead homepage! This means you will often encounter these types of creatures when on an expedition to that particular Island, giving you many opportunities to get rewards associated to those types of creatures. So when Rotting Mire contains Pirates for the week, expect chances at Squawks after every Island Expedition to Rotting Mire.
- Invasion Events: The 2nd is the Invasion event that occurs during some Island Expeditions which occurs as teams collect Azerite around the Island. An invasion event causes a lot of enemies of a particular theme to spawn on the Island, giving many creatures of a similar theme for players to kill to add a lot of rewards around that theme to their loot tables. So when a Vrykul invasion occurs on your Island, expect a decent chance at many Vrykul themed items such as Plundered Blade of Northern Kings.
Currently, invasion events are much easier to trigger on lower difficulties of Island Expeditions, but it is unclear if the difficulty of Island Expeditions has an effect on the chance
at some Island Expedition rewards. Invasion events are explained in more detail in our Island Expeditions: Random Events and Invasions
Interestingly, with the change to island experience, some friends and I recently had an opportunity to start doing normal islands to level some alts. It is roughly equivalent to questing right now, arguably better with full rest due to the pacing of kills vs the prevalence of ‘non-combat-value’ quests. Due to the monotony, we started testing some rumors. You see, with the drop rate increase even casual islanders had started whispering of patterns and deterministic opportunities.
So, dozens and dozens of islands later, we have discovered a few facts about islands by trial and error.
- All island loot rolls are irrespective of any sort of specific individual contribution. We had someone sit AFK and they still received the ‘rare’ loot consistently.
- It is possible to target loot, though not really to target specific loot except through repetition and RNG.
- The normal way people ‘do’ islands is counter-productive and does not reward you with items (at all, in some cases).
Long story short, islands have a series of dynamic loot tables built for the entire group that are filled with low chance proportions based on the named rares you kill on that island. You do not know each mob’s loot table contains as it is obscured from direct inspection, you can only infer and guess based upon repeated killings of the named rare and acquisition of items. However, it is repeatable enough to confirm this is the case with some simple testing. When you finish the island, you roll on at least two loot tables, one for green (transmog armor) and one for blue (weapons/pets/tokens). Possibly a third for epics such as mounts (too low drop chance to confirm).