There are definitely some short-comings in the Timeless Isle, however. Certain mobs spawn on a very rigid timer, and often can be killed before many other players have the opportunity to tag the mob and get credit for the kill. Other mobs spawn extremely rarely and within a large area, so players who are waiting for a specific creature can be left high and dry when another group comes over and quickly kills it. The system also falls short in that once a player has unlocked all of the chests on the Isle, nearly all of the chests permanently despawn. This means that once a player has gone through the Timeless Isle once on a character, there is little reason to venture around a second time. This gives the illusion of timelessness, along with a huge list of potential goals. Once a player determines that those goals have been met, however, the "Time-Sink Isle" quickly dries up.
Players who aren't interested in rewards such as mini-pets or costumes will fairly quickly find themselves tediously hunting for a single piece of gear that they need to finish a set (come on plate shoulders!) or for the rare and expensive Burden of Eternity. The main appeal of the Isle (at least for me) was the idea of constantly exploring and looking for new, hidden rewards for players to unlock, which the current system only fulfills for a certain amount of time. Even an alteration as simple as slightly changing up the roster of rare spawns or chest locations on a weekly basis would make the Timeless Isle truly worthy of its name.
Another facet of the Timeless Isle that bothered me is the final boss of the Isle, Ordos, is kept out of reach of most players, and is only accessible to players who have obtained the legendary cloak earned by raiding. Additionally, there are several chests and rare spawns that don't necessarily require the legendary cloak, but are much easier to access with it. Other options include a questionable exploit involving fatigue and slow fall, or fighting other players to earn a spot in the beak of a large albatross, neither of which is very appealing.
The Timeless Isle is a huge success as an experiment with this style of gameplay, but it is just that: an experiment. The Isle is a great show of this new technology, and the free-form questing style. Simply put, though, I don't think it's enough. World of Warcraft is bleeding money right now, and it is going to need a major facelift if it wants to survive the huge wave of competition coming in early 2014. With some more polish and consideration, the concept the Timeless Isle embodies is definitely one that is good for the MMORPG community. If Blizzard created an expansion oriented around free exploration and player-generated adventure such as the Isle, I think it would single-handedly bring back WoW as the god-king of MMORPGs. With BlizzCon only a short few weeks away and Mists of Pandaria wrapping up in 5.4, I am looking forward to seeing what Blizzard ultimately decides to do going forward. Let's just hope that Blizzard's Detect Profits ability leads them to the right choice on making more content like this.
For more information on the Timeless Isle, check out the World of Warcraft blog.