Blizzard responded to player concerns about the Azerite system earlier today.
Lore replied that the team is discussing availability of Azerite gear in Mythic+.
Holy hell this thread went places. Okay, couple quick things:
1) I’ve mentioned elsewhere that we’re looking at Azerite armor availability. 3 weeks into a raid tier/mythic+ season is a bit early to make hard conclusions of how difficult it will be to acquire alternate sets over the next few months. But we’re hearing that feedback and keeping a close eye on it. Availability in mythic+ particularly is a regular topic of conversation. I’ve talked about that before so I won’t rehash everything here, but we’re looking into it.
2) I noticed a few posts that seemed to believe that Azerite traits are randomized when a piece drops. They’re not; each piece of gear has a preset assortment of traits to choose from. Most of y’all seem to understand that already, I just wanted to toss it out there for anyone who may not.
Targeting specific Azerite traits was merely a symptom of imbalance between traits and recent tuning passes helped bring major outliers back to an acceptable level.
Re-farming traits doesn’t feel great, but they do not have a solution for that. It’s a downside of the system.
They don’t want you to reforge gear all the time which is why reforging cost quickly ramps up. Ideally, you should have multiple pieces /sets/ of gear for different scenarios (tanking/healing).
New traits added in future raids should be more interesting.
You can’t target the gear you want at all.
There are 10 M+ dungeons, all of which drop ~10 different items per dungeon, and are all eligible to be looted from the cache (the only way to actually get the gear). This translates to a 1/100 chance to get the piece that you want, but that’s only one piece. Then you’ve got to get 2 more pieces, each on separate 1/100 “drop” chance. Let’s be lenient here and say we are given 6 months per content patch. This means that the probability of getting the items we want is actually orders of magnitude lower than the probability of getting the ideal legendary items in Legion.
The vast majority of traits are useless and uninteresting.
When all of our abilities were stripped away in 8.0, we were promised Azerite armor that would bring back the gameplay changes that artifacts brought. There are very few circumstances where this is the case, and most of the top-performing traits are just stat-padding, providing no progression or gameplay enhancements.
When we get “upgrades” we have to re-farm the same traits that we have already farmed.
We complained about having to farm traits on Legion Artifacts, and Blizzard’s response was to give us only 1 or 2 traits, but to consistently lose them and have to re-farm them for the whole expansion. How is this an improvement?
Every single gear change or upgrade requires simming.
At no other point in WoW’s history has simming been so required to find out if an item or trait is actually an upgrade. The proc rates, damage bonuses, or other interactions are so unintuitive that we have absolutely no idea what is an upgrade or not. At no other point in WoW’s history has the casual player been at such a disadvantage for being uninformed.
340 traits are out-performing 385 traits. Significantly.
This is just embarassing, and should not be the case. How did this sort of imbalance between traits make it to live?
The reforge cost re-introduces the exact spec-lock problem people had in Legion, but worse.
Oh you want to PvP? Gotta reforge your Azerite! You want to PvE now? Reforge time! Oh, you need to tank this boss? Hearth and reforge your Azerite! People are getting their reforge costs into the thousands of gold, and it doesn’t go down fast enough to allow us to reasonably perform multiple roles. How was this supposed to improve gameplay?
The massive swings in power during “tuning” passes mean we have to hold onto all gear.
We have no idea what is going to be our best trait next week, and what is best today may just be completely gutted tomorrow. Our only option as a player is hold onto every single piece of Azerite Armor and hope we have the right ones when Blizzard swings power in a different direction. Not only that, but when new traits are introduced to replace old traits, per Ion’s comment, we are likely to encounter exactly the same issue.
Few things I’d like to comment on here.
First off, thanks for putting this thread together. Even if phrases like “Worst Itemization in WoW’s History” are a bit hyperbolic (seriously, I can’t be the only one who remembers farming level 30 dungeons for AQ40 resistance gear), you’ve summarized a lot of the discussions we’ve been seeing around the community very well. It really helps us clarify exactly what we need to be focusing on.
I’ll speak to each of your points as best as I can:
Regarding targeting specific traits: I think we’ve said this a few times now, but just to reiterate, we believe that’s merely a symptom of the imbalance between traits. Ideally, the gap between them isn’t so large that you feel it would be hugely beneficial to grind out the perfect set.
The point about traits being “useless and uninteresting” is interesting considering that you also make the point of “every gear change requires simming.” These two points are kind of at odds with each other. The way to solve the simming issue would be to make the traits more simplistic in nature. Similarly, making traits with more outside-the-box designs leads to more complicated questions of “is this better or not,” which in turn encourages more simming. Either way, it’s an interesting challenge, and one we’re taking to mind as we move forward with traits in future updates.
I think we agree that re-farming traits doesn’t feel great. I don’t have a solve for that issue to share today, and to be completely transparent it may be something we simply have to accept as a downside to the system for other reasons. But we agree it can be a bit of a downer.
I mentioned the imbalance between traits before, but just to expand on that: that’s why we’ve focused so much effort into tuning Azerite traits over the past few weeks. With this most recent round of tuning, we think we’ve gotten most of the really egregious outliers dialed in, but please let us know if there are any you still feel are so good that they’re worth huge sacrifices in terms of item level.
As to the point about reforging costs: these costs get so high because we want the behavior you’re describing — reforging constantly depending on what you’re doing — to be unsustainable. Our intention is that you either build out multiple sets of gear for different situations, or you lean towards traits that work in a variety of roles (even if they’re maybe not the absolute best for each in particular). We added the reforging system to help ease cases like, for example, a DPS who suddenly finds themselves needing to transition to being their guild’s main tank, not as a means for constantly re-adjusting traits like a second set of talent points. Maybe the current system isn’t achieving that, but if it isn’t, we’re likely to become MORE restrictive on reforging, not less.
And finally, regarding the tuning passes: like I mentioned, we think we’ve got most of the major outliers dialed in to an acceptable level at this point. There’s likely to still be some adjustments here and there, but we don’t believe we’re going to need another big wave of Azerite trait tuning like you’ve seen over the last few weeks. To put it another way: if one trait is far and away the best compared to every other option, sure, we should probably do something about that, but we don’t expect that to take the form of a widespread tuning pass going forward.
Also, to Ion’s comment about new traits being introduced: he was referring to new traits on new gear added in new content, with higher item level, that replaces your old gear entirely. We’re not planning to add in new traits to existing items, so don’t worry about holding onto old Azerite pieces just in case their traits change.