Azerite - Worst Itemization in WoW's History

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
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Id really like to see a removal of reforging costs until they settle all this tuning. Multi spec classes having to reforge tank/dps/heal azerite pieces due to all of the rebalancing costs a lot of gold. I know it probably wont happen but we are having to pay for them not being able to balance the traits properly in the first place.
09/26/2018 07:58 AMPosted by Pencilvester
Id really like to see a removal of reforging costs until they settle all this tuning.
This would at least lessen the symptoms while they (hopefully) address the root issues.
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


I play Guardian and i can't see one Azerite Trait which would even come in the vicinity of any Artifact Weapon trait. Azerite Traits are all small little buffs i even don't notice while playing since they are completely passive and do add nothing to my gameplay or have an impact on fun or how i play. Slap on a miniscule buff is not fun.
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.
09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
Our intention is that you either build out multiple sets of gear for different situations
With the hundres of thousands of drops locations for azerite gear, building multiple sets it's indeed a valid option here...

If you didn't notice, azerite gear is so damn rare that noone will ever be capable of building multiple sets.
Is there any ray of hope that you would ever allow trait re-shuffling? So we can pay a price to roll the dice and perhaps get some traits we like better on a specific piece of gear?

(perhaps a way to use up Hydrocore or Sanguicell which are completely useless to some people right now)
09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
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.


That's just so sad to read. The whole system is just so horribly designed and that sure sounds like there won't be any major changes to it until it gets scrapped for the next expansion. ugh.
I really appreciate the time you took to respond, Lore. As someone who has been around since 2004, I understand that these systems aren't going to change overnight, but it's also important that we (the customer) make sure that our voices are heard. As Ion said, it's commonly about a signal-to-noise ratio, and consolidating that signal in a concise manner can hopefully help us all out.
09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
"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)
I played a rogue in AQ40, and I definitely remember farming Maraudon for Princess Huhu. Despite the monotony of farming that resist gear for a single fight, I would contend that the gear was obtainable with some level of effort, as opposed to the traits that we are farming today, which simply are not reasonably obtainable at current raiding item levels for most classes. That's a lot of what makes this (and legendary items of Legion) feel so bad. We know the item is there. We see other people using it and outperforming us. We just have no way of actually getting the item.

Food for thought: Getting a single desired piece of Azerite gear from the Mythic+ cache is less likely than getting a Warglaive to drop from Illidan, or Thori'dal from Kil'Jaeden, and all examples have a one-week lockout time.

If the Azerite armor is here to stay, then perhaps we could meet in some middle ground between the community's desire to make the traits more available and more optional, and the design goals to make each piece rare, unique, and different.
I've got an out of this world solution I think people would like if they gave it a try...

We ready?

Stop taking things that should just be part of the class baseline and locking them behind max level grinds on Azerite/legendaries/artifacts, like how it was for the first 12 years of WoW. We didn't need these treadmills back then, why do we suddenly need them now?
So the goal is for traits to be close enough that we don't want to target them? Those sound like completely uninteresting traits.
09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
(seriously, I can't be the only one who remembers farming level 30 dungeons for AQ40 resistance gear)


Or not having Crit/Haste BiS-for-Elemental mail during BC because "if we itemise mail that way it's too good for Holy paladins and they'll take it over plate".

Or Wrath pre-patch gutting 13-14% hit out of Elemental Shaman talents and Draenei racials requiring us to re-gear using spirit gear that IIRC mostly didn't exist during that window (MP5 instead).
09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
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.


This doesn't make much sense to me. Trying to restrict something that the system encourages is weird. I've only actually reforged once, so keep in mind I'm not speaking from the point of view of someone that has seen the cost increase to tens of thousands of gold, but there is a simple logical question that comes to mind:

What is the difference between my first reforge and my 76th reforge? Why does the cost need to be outrageous the 76th time I've reforged, for possibly the same reason I reforged the first or second time when it cost next to nothing?

I kind of get the idea of the cost increasing, but to let it go to absurd levels just because someone felt the need to reforge multiple times vs. once or twice seems pointless. In Vanilla WoW, the respec cost had a cap of 50 gold. I don't see why this shouldn't have a maximum like that system did.

I also get the idea of farming more gear, but not really the idea of farming more gear to keep in my bags just to avoid letting the cost get of reforging get out of control.

That being said, I am probably not the kind of player that will have to worry about this cost too much, but the question was still burning in my mind when I read this.
09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
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).


Because people looooooved being locked into a single spec by Artifact Weapons and Legendaries so much last expansion...

Sometimes I question whether you guys understand the players at all.
09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
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 this and and of itself, it one of the major reasons why Azerite gear sucks. I am getting conflicting messages from this actually. How so? With the last few expansions, you have made gear flip flop depending on the role I am performing(with the exception of trinkets and rings/necklace). As a druid, back in the day, I used to carry a bunch of different sets in my bags. It sucked, I don't want to go back to that. So what if we had to farm resist gear back in the day, farm the crap out of potions so on and so forth. We used to drive around in Model T Fords, does this meant that we should revert back? My answer is no. The reforging cost is to restrictive, and seems to be a step back in the way of things.

Tier gear (which azerite is supposed to replace) also did this as well. I could swap from balance/feral/guardian and the bonuses changed. Now all of the sudden, we are back to changing gear to match the spec that we are in? Yeah, that is more or less a step backwards in game design. Yeah, I had to swap trinkets, and a few pieces hear and there, but not near as bad as it was back in like BC. That's the way the game was, and it has changed, yet Azerite gear feels like a step backwards. It feels the same to me as if the US Navy swapped from the Virginia class boats back to the WWI era S-class boats. We had an F-22 raptor with gear in legion, and now? It feels like an oxcart with square wheels, and two lame oxen. Kill the reforging costs, and make it swap the spec based outer talent depending on the role I am performing. We all know this won't happen, as you guys at Blizzard are to set on your shiny new Azerite toy, BUT I can dream!!! (and others I would assume.)

It could have been a really cool idea, like artifacts 2.0. I think it has failed in what it intended to be, and not sure it could be salvaged. it might be a good idea to have a end of expansion quest where Khadgar summons us to our garrisons, and we burn our Azerite gear as it, and leave it in the garrisons where it belongs, in the ash heap of bad Wow ideas.

The reforging thing is another sore point, with you guys nerfing traits. When you do this, people should get a free respec. Again, doubt you will do this, but I can hope!
09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
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.


Not trying to be a jerk here, but if that's what you believe you're missing the point. It's not *just* that traits are very disparate in performance. It's also that, as an RPG, we expect to be able to farm up items that are better for us than other items. It's been this way since the inception of rpg's even pre-mmo. And now you've given us a system where some items are clearly better than others, there will always be ones that are better than others regardless of tuning, and we have no way to farm for the ones we want. You've intentionally built systems that prevent us from doing just that. If your response even in the best of circumstances post tuning is, "but trait A is only only a little bit better than trait B so it doesn't matter!" then you just don't get it. We want to pick the traits we focus on. We want to actually be able to do try to farm them. It's an activity we want to engage in. All the groundwork is laid for us to actually be able to do that via farming Mythic+ if the end dungeon chest dropped Azerite gear.

09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
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.


Again, no. The problem isn't one trait versus another. It's one trait versus another AND an added layer of another trait versus another together. Is combination A + D better than combination B + C? Add to that that traits are constantly in flux, that it differs from one spec to another or one class to another and we have a silly level of simming going on.

09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
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.


I could list several demo traits that are always going to lose versus other traits (often generic traits). Umbral Blaze, Demonic Meteor, Forbidden Knowledge, etc. Some of these just received significant buffs. And some of them could still receive a 300% buff and not be competitive with Thunderous Blast, Dagger in the Back, or even Supreme Commander (which is one of the better spec specific traits that still loses out to Thunderous Blast and Dagger in the Back). If this is you saying that mass tuning is done, you've left a lot incomplete. Which just feels like the status quo for how Blizzard is doing things this expansion.
09/26/2018 06:32 PMPosted by Divenity
I've got an out of this world solution I think people would like if they gave it a try...

We ready?

Stop taking things that should just be part of the class baseline and locking them behind max level grinds on Azerite/legendaries/artifacts, like how it was for the first 12 years of WoW. We didn't need these treadmills back then, why do we suddenly need them now?


Can't agree with this more. I and imagine many others would be super relieved if this sort of practice was killed off in the next expansion. Give us a sense of progression back outside of gearing out at max level.
09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
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:


I know you say we shouldn't focus specific traits, but what about the problem of getting ANY azerite upgrades? As it is right now, you can easily go 5+ weeks without a piece whatsoever. You get 1! chance a week at a piece above 340, and if you raid you get 3-4 chances.

For most people (at this point), I would assume azerite is their weakest slots. That's a problem that feels terrible.
09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
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 clearly missed the primary argument. He is saying you have taken a system, that worked, being your counter-argument of "repeatably farming dungeons for resistance" and made that 'resistance' gear only drop from a weekly chest which has a 1/100 change to drop. Plainly spoken, Blizzard has removed the WOW out of WOW... Just consider running a level 30 dungeon once a week to hopefully get your level 30 weekly reward that you needed. Not killing the boss 100 times in a week and getting your gear completed in a timely manor to move on your your next personal goal.
My best trait is now dagger in the back. For a freaking warlock. What sort of clown fiesta is going on at blizz hq?
09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
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.


Lack of options past M0 seems to be a huge blind spot of the design team's.

We CANT build multiple sets because only a handful of pieces drop from raiding.

The simple solution is to let M+ drop pieces.

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