World of Warcraft

Animal Crossing did Island Expeditions Right

wow9 - Animal Crossing did Island Expeditions Right
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For those who haven't played the new Animal Crossing: New Horizons game, it is an extreme casual game with lots of character and charm. The series has existed for a long time, being released in Japan in 2001 and just a bit later internationally. In the latest iteration they added a new feature called "Mystery Island Tours". You spend achievement points called "Nook Miles" on tickets that will take you to a random island. The island layout and items on the island are random, starting to sound familiar?

In the original BlizzCon reveal for Island Expeditions they promised the following:

  • Procedurally generated landscapes, monsters, and objectives
  • Emphasis on exploration
  • "Dynamic Replayability"
  • Variety of features including quest givers, capture points, and mini-exploration areas like caves and ships
  • "Unpredictability", "Strategic Decisions" and "Tactical Ability Use"
  • 15-20 minutes per island

What the promotional material said and what the reality ended up being are quite different. Instead of exploration and a variety of activities to do, it boiled down to "gather up monsters and aoe them down, <5 minutes an island. Repeat until death." So what features did Animal Crossing's Mystery Island Tours have?

  • Different island types that change how you interact with them
  • Random NPC visits
  • Random crafting resources to gather that you can bring back with you
  • Foreign fruit and flowers that you can bring back with you and plant at home
  • Ultra-rare collectables have a higher chance of appearing
  • No time limit

So what are the key differences that make one fun and one tedious? What did WoW do wrong that Animal Crossing did right?

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  • No Time Limit

If the emphasis is exploration, then having a time-sensitive objective ruins that purpose. If the ultimate goal is to collect Azerite, then exploration, not combat, should have been the means of collecting it. Why not get rid of 99% of the enemies and put the azerite in shipwrecks, caves, and with friendly npc villagers?

  • Resources on the island can come home with you

Why was the only purpose of island expeditions azerite? If we indeed found unexplored islands in WoW, wouldn't we be interested in other resources? Skins, minerals, herbs, recipes, mounts, pets, etc. Instead they put random items in a "gift bag" once you collected your 12,000 azerite on the island. Oh wow, I somehow returned from this Island Expedition with 24 coins and a pet…

  • Rare Collectables

Rare appearances, mounts, and pets are a good idea to include in an island expedition. Key words: INCLUDE IN. These items should have been found inside of the event, not given as random rewards after it's over. "Hey what's that glittering object at the bottom of that shipwreck…", "Oh wow, I helped this island villager on a quest and they gave me bad-ass looking shoulders!", "OMG, that scary dragon I could have avoided dropped a mount!"

In conclusion, turning a potentially fun and unique feature into a grind for a currency no one wants was an extremely stupid move. Also, if you want an ultra-casual fun experience to escape from the doom and gloom that is WoW or real life right now, then you should totally pick up Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

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