Island Expeditions Guide in Battle for Azeroth (BfA 8.1)

Last updated on Dec 04, 2018 at 14:44 by Zagam 13 comments
General Information

Welcome to the Island Expeditions guide where we will cover everything you need to know about one of the coolest features in Battle for Azeroth!

Island Expeditions are similar to the scenarios feature that came with the Mists of Pandaria expansion in that they are small adventures that you can queue for with two friends or two random teammates in a race against three members of the other faction (NPCs or actual players, depending on the difficulty) to gather the most Azerite Icon Azerite. Island Expeditions are the most lucrative method of obtaining Azerite for your Heart of Azeroth Icon Heart of Azeroth, so we hope you enjoy them!

1. Out to Sea

The first time you do Island Expeditions, you will do a short tutorial scenario that will teach you what the objectives to completing the scenarios. You can start your Island Expedition in your faction hub in Boralus Harbor or the Port of Zandalar very near where you can do your missions and foothold quests. You will be able to select a difficulty, see your weekly progress of Azerite gathering, and the three islands available for your conquest on any given week. The difficulty is of particular note with the typical difficulty levels of Normal, Heroic, and Mythic plus one additional difficulty level which is Player versus Player (PvP).

Difficulty Objective Gear Requirement Azerite Gain % Increase Enemy Health % Increase
Normal 6,000 Azerite None None None
Heroic 9,000 Azerite 295 Item Level 50% 100%
Mythic 12,000 Azerite Must be in a 3 player team 100% 200%
PvP 12,000 Azerite Must be in a 3 player team 100% 200%

2. Treasure and Azerite!

Each week, Alliance and Horde players have a quest to gather 36,000 Azerite. This quest progress is indicated on the Island Expedition map interface. This should be one of your highest priorities each week as the 2,500 Azerite reward to your Heart of Azeroth Icon Heart of Azeroth is enormous. Completing the objective and winning an Island Expedition rewards the amount of Azerite gathered as progress towards your weekly quest. Therefore, you will need to win:

  • 6 Island Expeditions in Normal difficulty for a total of 36,000 Azerite;
  • 4 Island Expeditions in Heroic difficulty for a total of 36,000 Azerite;
  • 3 Island Expeditions in Mythic or PvP difficulty for a total of 36,000 Azerite.

You also are awarded any Azerite gathered in a losing effort. For example, if you attempt a Heroic level Island Expedition and fail by only recovering 7,000 Azerite when the opponent gathers 9,000, then you will earn 7,000 Azerite. Therefore, there are some other ways to complete the 36,000 Azerite goal and each weekly progress should dictate the path of least resistance to complete your weekly quest. Completing each scenario will also reward a smaller amount of Azerite that is repeatable. The reward scales with difficulty topping out at 250 Azerite for completing a Mythic level scenario.

Our recommendation: With the reduction in the total needed in Patch 8.1 from 40,000 to 36,000, each difficulty can be repeated to complete the exact total needed for the weekly completion. Players can either do 6 Normals, 4 Heroics, or 3 Mythics in order to complete the weekly requirements.

Completing the weekly objective of 36,000 Azerite also awards you a treasure map for your followers in the form of a mission. This mission awards either 5,000 gold or 2,000 Azerite Power with the potential of earning another 1,500 Azerite Power if your followers 200% the mission. This makes this a very valuable source of Azerite Power each week with a chance of acquiring a nice sum of 5,000g.

If you do not complete your Island Expedition weekly quest, the progress will be carried over to the following week and your requirements will be 36,000 Azerite less what you carry over from the previous week, but you will miss out on the 2,500 Azerite reward and the valuable 1,500 reputation with the 7th Legion or the Honorbound.

NOTE: There are two different strategies for completing Island Expeditions. One is based on completing the expeditions as quickly as possible in order to complete the weekly requirement. The other, however, is loot-focused where a unique strategy needs to be employed in order to maximize the drop potential for various mounts, pets, and cosmetic rewards. Both of these strategies are detailed below.

3. Strategy

When an Island Expedition is entered, you will have a short period of time to prepare for battle. Once the scenario is started, you can go anywhere and everywhere and should strive to gather as much Azerite as possible. Doing just about anything on the island will reward you with Azerite including killing creatures and your faction opponents, completing bonus objectives, and opening treasure chests. You can also physically mine Azerite as you find it.

The idea with Azerite gathering is that the bigger it is, the more Azerite it rewards. Larger and more difficult enemies will reward more Azerite. Larger treasure chests will reward more Azerite than smaller boxes. Always be acting like a pirate on these Island Expeditions by looting, gathering, and killing as much as possible!

3.1. Azerite Gathering Tips

The biggest tip we can offer that seems to be largely unknown is that the blue Azerite spheres that drop from rares are VERY powerful! They restore a lot of HP, grant a power bonus, and actually resurrect players that have died nearby. If you have died and an ally is about to kill a rare, do not release!

The primary strategy for your group should be to prioritize rare enemies as they award Azerite in a comparable amount to a large treasure chest, which is 250 on Heroic. Pay special attention when your faction leader tells you that a large amount of Azerite has appeared as this will lead to a large Azerite creature that is worth a large amount of Azerite as well as leaving two large Azerite bags on the ground. Do not skip any Azerite mining opportunities as even the small veins on the ground award an amount that is very valuable per time spent gathering. Loot all treasure chests on the ground and look for things that can be interacted with such as seashells on the beach which, when opened, reward an amount of Azerite equivalent to a rare enemy. The idea is that you want to gather Azerite in a method that is as time efficient as possible to beat the opposition's rate of gathering.

Of special note is the amount of Azerite that is applied to you and your opponents as the island expedition continues. As time passes, you and your opponents are worth more Azerite the longer you remain alive. If killed, your Azerite value will be reset. If you are behind the enemy team in points, make it a priority to kill them once as their value will likely be at the 250 maximum making killing them worth 750 Azerite while also providing the benefit of forcing them to the graveyard and halting their advance and gathering of Azerite. To the same effect, do not continuously engage the enemy forces as their value will slowly rebuild to the maximum, and fighting them without the maximum value is heavily discouraged as they are usually the most difficult encounter on the island due to their increased AI capabilities. Fight them once and then avoid them unless their value builds up to the 250 maximum again.

Your opponents in Normal, Heroic, and Mythic difficulty will be NPCs that have been juiced up when compared to previous PvP NPCs. These AI controlled characters will do things that you would expect real players to do such as use crowd control, swap to low health targets, and be much more difficult than you might initially expect. The Rogue, for example, will Sap a player and attack another. The Death Knight can Death Grip you, and the Priest will be throwing out a lot of healing spells. Prioritize fighting these enemies as you would in real PvP in that you disable or defeat the healer first while applying crowd control to one of the other two players. Always be weary of separating from your team by a large amount of distance as you could be ambushed by a Rogue which would not be fun. These scenarios encounters can be considered as a PvP "trial" that helps non-PvP oriented players learn some techniques that they might not have otherwise employed when fighting normal quest enemies or in dungeons and raids. Just remember to use stuns, interrupts, silences, and dispels to your advantage.

In PvP difficulty, however, you will face against three other real players. This difficulty could prove to be faster if both teams avoid each other and go for gathering Azerite, but do not expect the losing team to not consider attacking the winning team to gain an advantage. This is as close to a PvP type scenario in a PvE setting as we have seen in a long time. If Mythic Island Expeditions start to get too easy, go conquer the real enemy in PvP difficulty! The bonus reward for completing an Island Expedition in PvP difficulty is 50 Conquest Icon Conquest.

4. Special Island Expedition Features: Shrines & Seafearer's Dubloons

Within the Island Expeditions are a couple of notable features in shrines and Seafarer's Dubloon Icon Seafarer's Dubloons and the corresponding vendor.

4.1. Shrines

Shrines and their effects are gained by clicking them similar to the shrines found on the Timeless Isle back in Mists of Pandaria. However, these shrines are not all nice, and you gamble when you find one as you may get a debuff that makes you more susceptible to the many dangers of the island. You may, though, get a big boost, if your class can utilize the buff! Shrines last for ten minutes.

A note about the shrine buffs increasing your stats by a percentage is that the buffs increase your secondary stat rating, not the percentage. For example, if you get the Song of the Sea Icon Song of the Sea Shrine for the +30% Haste buff, your haste will not go from 10% to 40% but instead will increase your rating by 30%. For example, if you have 1,000 haste rating, then your haste will become 1,300. This is particularly important for classes that do not stack certain secondaries as the benefit will not come close to outweighing the negative. Be mindful when picking up a shrine bonus.

Shrine Shrine Spell Effect Positive Effect Negative Effect
Altar of the Sea Song of the Sea Icon Song of the Sea +30% Haste Periodic Frost Damage
Cursed Offering Burned Soul Icon Burned Soul +30% Mastery -50% Maximum Health
Death Ward Shadow-Touched Icon Shadow-Touched +30% Shadow Damage and Shadow Damage Procs +50% Holy Damage Taken
Deepwoods Totem Heart of the Woods Icon Heart of the Woods +30% Nature Damage and Nature Damage Procs +50% Arcane Damage Taken
Moon-Touched Ruins Moon Frenzy Icon Moon Frenzy +30% Critical Strike Chance +50% Magic Damage Taken
Overgrown Relic Unleashed Light Icon Unleashed Light +30% Holy Damage and Holy Damage Procs +50% Shadow Damage Taken
Pillar of the Watchers Light's Zeal Icon Light's Zeal +30% Healing Dealt and Received Cannot Dodge, Block, or Parry
Primal Shrine Primal Rage Icon Primal Rage +30% Physical Damage -50% Armor
Rune-Etched Stone Ancient Arcana Icon Ancient Arcana +30% Arcane Damage and Arcane Damage Procs +50% Nature Damage Taken
Slithering Shrine Slitherskin Icon Slitherskin +30% Movement Speed Receiving or Removing "Buff" deals 80% of maximum HP
Spirit Font Devouring Souls Icon Devouring Souls Retaliation Damage Procs None
Wanderer's Respite Wanderer's Endurance Icon Wanderer's Endurance +30% Versatility -60% Healing Received

4.2. Seafarer's Dubloons

Seafarer's Dubloon Icon Seafarer's Dubloons are lootable currency that can be used for items in Island Expeditions. These can be earned at the end of Island Expeditions as a prize as well as randomly found during the scenarios. Farming these in Normal difficulty to use in Mythic difficulty is a wise strategy! The items purchased with Seafarer's Dubloons are Bind-on-Account and can be sent to other characters. These items can be purchased at the starting location before and during the Island Expedition. They are listed below and cost between 1 and 3 Dubloons each. Note that each island only has certain items available and not all items are available for purchase on every island!

Item Category
A.T.O.M.I.K. Target Painter Icon A.T.O.M.I.K. Target Painter Damage
Blessed Bandage Icon Blessed Bandage Damage/Healing
Bloom Shroom Icon Bloom Shroom Damage/Healing
Flashfire Brew Icon Flashfire Brew Damage/Healing
Forge Hammer Icon Forge Hammer Damage
GG-118 Micro-Jetpack Icon GG-118 Micro-Jetpack Damage/CC Application - Knockdown
Grapeshot Grenade Icon Grapeshot Grenade Damage
Hidden Cannon Icon Hidden Cannon Damage/CC Application - Knockback
Lightprism Icon Lightprism Damage
Netherwind Wand Icon Netherwind Wand Damage
Phasing Stone Icon Phasing Stone Damage
Sanctified Scroll Icon Sanctified Scroll Damage/Healing
Soulbinding Mist Icon Soulbinding Mist Damage
Spear-Mint Gum Icon Spear-Mint Gum Damage
Sun Stone Icon Sun Stone Damage
Thornberry Icon Thornberry Damage/Healing
Trick Vest Icon Trick Vest Damage/Mitigation
Void Wand Icon Void Wand Damage
Arcane Mirror Icon Arcane Mirror Mitigation
Blackrock Plating Icon Blackrock Plating Mitigation
Clashgrain Bar Icon Clashgrain Bar Mitigation
Dark Mirror Icon Dark Mirror Mitigation
Deepforged Plating Icon Deepforged Plating Mitigation
Miniaturizer Icon Miniaturizer Mitigation
Ratwhisker Luckydo Icon Ratwhisker Luckydo Mitigation
Springstep Cola Icon Springstep Cola Mitigation
Healthy Chips Icon "Healthy" Chips Healing
Brainsmasher Brew Icon Brainsmasher Brew CC Application - Stun
Links of Faith Icon Links of Faith CC Application - Root
Root Ball Icon Root Ball CC Application - Root
Signet of Stormwind Icon Signet of Stormwind CC Removal
Signet of Orgrimmar Icon Signet of Orgrimmar CC Removal
Unluckydo Icon Unluckydo CC Application - Disorient
Burstforce Explosive Icon Burstforce Explosive Utility - Launch to Closest Ally
Demolisher Controller Icon Demolisher Controller Utility - Upgraded Demolisher for 20 minutes
Engineered Spyglass Icon Engineered Spyglass Utility - Detects All Azerite Sources Instantly
Rabbit's Charm Icon Rabbit's Charm Utility - Reduces Detected Chance for 30 minutes
Siege Engine Controller Icon Siege Engine Controller Utility - Upgraded Siege Engine for 20 minutes

Our recommendation: We strongly suggest purchasing the Flashfire Brew Icon Flashfire Brew for its 200% increased critical strike damage and healing effect, the Blessed Bandage Icon Blessed Bandage or Thornberry Icon Thornberry for its powerful healing effect, the Brainsmasher Brew Icon Brainsmasher Brew for its incredible 20 second stun effect, and the Engineered Spyglass Icon Engineered Spyglass for its ability to reveal all Azerite locations which should increase your winning chances by reducing the amount of time searching for large Azerite sources. Note that these items will not be available for every island, so be sure to take a look at the vendor and select the items that will help you the most such as healing items if your team does not have a healer or the Spear-Mint Gum Icon Spear-Mint Gum for a flat 20% damage gain for 10 minutes!

4.3. New Patch 8.1 Vendor for Seafarer's Dubloons

Seafarer's Dubloon Icon Seafarer's Dubloons can also be used at a new Patch 8.1 vendor for various items. The Horde vendor is Captain Zen'taga while the Alliance vendor is Captain Klarisa. The new items include purchasable reputation items for each of the faction's reputations that has you trading 100 Dubloons for 250 reputation with one of the faction appropriate reputations. There are also three pirate hats available for 100 Dubloons and are usable for transmogrification purposes. Finally, the vendors have five pets and two mounts available at more expensive Dubloon costs. The Lyrics: Song of the Sea item empowers your Flight Master's Whistle to port back to your ship during Island Expeditions.

4.3.1. Captain Klarisa

4.3.2. Captain Zentaga

The reputation items are exchangeable as often as desired. The total cost for the three transmogrification hats are 300 Dubloons, the total cost for the pets are 300 Dubloons, the total cost for the toys are 650 Dubloons, and the total cost for the two mounts are 1,500 Dubloons for a grand total of 2,750 Dubloons for non-repeatable items.

5. Island Expeditions for Special Loot Acquisition

Island Expedition loot has been a mystery in how it can be acquired for quite some time, but Blizzard has revamped the process in Patch 8.1 to allow any cosmetic item to drop from the island's theme upon completion. This will alter some previous strategies of hunting for rare enemies and will simply allow players to complete the island expeditions as fast as possible to earn cosmetic rewards.

6. Special Loot and Treasure!

On top of the Azerite rewards, special loot is available for completing Island Expeditions or finding special items within them. Let us get right to what we can find in our adventures!

6.1. Five Mounts

6.2. 28 Pets

These pets are part of an achievement called I'm Here for the Pets Icon I'm Here for the Pets.

6.3. 5 Toys

7. Plundered Weapons and Quest Items

There are also a ton of Bind-on-Equip weapons available to be looted within Island Expeditions. The fact that they are Bind-on-Equip will be a quick way to get a weapon in the hands of your new alts as soon as they hit Level 120. These will also be a good source of gold if you are selling and a quick way to get a 325 item level weapon if you are buying.

Along with plundered weapons come some quest items that can be looted after winning an island expedition and turned in for reputation gains and Azerite. Be on the lookout in your rewards after conquering an Island Expedition!

8. Conclusion

Thank you for reading this Island Expedition guide, and we hope you enjoy Island Expeditions!

9. Changelog

  • 04 Dec. 2018: Amended loot acquisition based on Blizzard's forum post about changes in Patch 8.1, and added loot strategy, addon suggestion, weekly cap requirement, and other Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 15 Oct. 2018: Added invasion-type enemy schedule.
  • 16 Sep. 2018: Updated drop rate information and added a note about the percentage increase-based bonuses provided by shrines.
  • 25 Aug. 2018: Corrected item level requirements for Heroic, Mythic, and PvP. Added tips on gathering Azerite in time efficient method and information about the PvP encounters. Added information about items able to be purchased by Seafarer's Dubloons.
  • 10 Aug. 2018: Added Island Expeditions guide.
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