Azerite - Worst Itemization in WoW's History

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
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I have never seen a more convoluted and dull system in my 10 and a half years of playing wow than this azerite system. The fact that simming all of these pieces is suppose to be the "interesting" part of the feature already marks it as a failure. The system should be interesting without the help of third party sites, and currently, it fails in that regard. I can't even say it's a carrot on a stick. It's more like running up an endless stairwell, constantly going up but no sight of satisfaction.
I have a lot of issues with Azerite, but I think my biggest one is how the system has affected PVP.

Right now, a lot of specs would be unviable if it weren’t for being able to stack certain Azerite traits. A good example is Inevitable Demise for Affliction. I certainly don’t want the specs to be unviable but it feels like Azerite traits are interfering with class design. And it’s not a good feeling.

If you don’t have the broken traits stacked in PVP, you are NOT doing it right. That’s a huge problem. In some cases, certain specs or just individuals who have the right traits stacked have a huge advantage over those who don’t.

There has been a lot of feedback about Azerite trait stacking and the state of Azerite traits in PVP on the various PVP forums that hasn’t been addressed.

There have also consistently been “broken” traits popping up after every rebalancing session and this is mostly due to the traits being stackable.

Are there any plans to improve on this? Or is Azerite trait stacking in PVP going to remain a giant question mark for the rest of the expansion?
09/27/2018 12:27 PMPosted by Lore
09/27/2018 12:22 PMPosted by Fiascoh
If I wanted to play brewmaster or mistweaver right now, I would be significantly better off by making a 2nd monk. Is this really the design you were going for?

Not at all, and I'm curious why you feel that's the case. It isn't in my experience as someone who is currently playing a tri-spec monk.

It's probably for the same reason as in Legion - inability to acquire gear.

Legion was hindered by farming AP (since solved in cross-spec Heart AP) and by farming legendaries. Legendaries have since been replaced by Azerite armor - and problems haven't improved. We've gone from having to do every bit of content to build our bad luck protection and gain a new piece (most commonly in a cache at the end of the week) in Legion to having to do every bit of content to roll the dice and hope for a new piece (most commonly in a cache at the end of the week).

Do you see yet? Respeccing is an issue, sure, and you could solve it by having the piece adjust to the spec you're in. But it can just as easily be alleviated by building multiple sets (something you yourself suggested). But to do that, we need to gain the ability to acquire pieces and/or to target them. Placing them only in the M+ cache at the end of the week accomplishes neither of those, as I cannot choose the slot of the item that drops nor the dungeon it comes from.
This system is pretty bad in its current state. These blue posts aren't very comforting atm.
As a player that no longer raids, (I decided to give up raiding this xpac when I heard the news that M+ weekly chests would give 1-3 items and was extremely pleased with the great design decision, as it would allow me to maybe keep up with my buddies who still raided, and pursue the avenue of high level play that most interested me without feeling like I would be perpetually behind. WHOOPS.) I have no way to target Azerite gear. The only way I'll be able to get it is from the M+ chest, hope it drops a good piece, and hope it doesn't overlap. Being able to get 370 pieces from end-of-run chests would really help.

I've already given up the option of respecs. There is no way I'll be able to farm a second set of Azerite gear, and reforging the gear I have is designed to be unsustainable. This is a huge bummer. My buddies put together a group on horde side for dungeon running with a few hybrid classes so we could rearrange the group as needed. Clearly, respecs are out of the question in this xpac unless you're spending 2-3 nights a week rerunning the same raid over and over again for months in order to have a reliable supply of Azerite gear from which to build a set. This, quite frankly, sucks.

I wanted to be able to quit raiding without feeling like I would be forced out of the game. I really thought the occasional extra items from beta M+ chest was the big factor, along with the Azerite gear traits instead of raid-tier sets. You guys were SO CLOSE.
I'm really confused at this point...multiple sets to fulfill different roles? Why? I thought, we were meant to always equip highest itemlevel, because the traits are so "balanced" that only itemlevel matters.
I am a paladin...so I can do damage or heal (or tank). When I get one chestpiece for each role, there is (thanks to war- and titanforging) a big chance that one will have a higher itemlevel. Why should I want to equip the lower one by your logic? No, I would constantly have to reforge the better chestpiece, if I change roles.
Sry, but everything on this topic contradicts itself. It's just not logical.
At this point you guys need to realize this system is pretty fundamentally negative to the over all experience to the game. I'm sure plenty of individual devs who didn't consider this failed system their baby have already come to that conclusion.

2 years is a long time. Don't make us stomach another 2 years of this universally hated system, wasting month after month trying to save it with a knob turn here and a knob turn there. It won't make it better.

You need to start working RIGHT NOW on very drastic reworks to the system that will be ready to roll out around 8.2, or at 8.1.5.
So one of my thoughts which I posted in other threads but will post again here is:

What if when a player obtains a full set of azerite gear at the same ilvl, WQs that reward azerite gear then upgrade to provide that ilvl? It would allow us to farm alternate sets and other traits (though not the best ones because those would still be limited to raids) without taking a hit to our ilvl. Plus it's not like these items can forge so there's never going to be a chance we'll end up with a stronger piece of gear than what we have.

Also, as an aside, remember that trait I talked about in my last post? The one that was unclear but I said seemed to buff a random stat including main stat? Well, it now seems like that main stat buff was perhaps something else as I haven't seen it happening again. Or perhaps it's just much rarer than the other banners? It could honestly be either and I can't tell because the trait is so unclear and that's... really bad.
Okay enough of the shaman jokes.

Problem 1:
The system, at its core, is not fun. Simply put, mix maxing exists and the number of people who do it with gear is growing, thanks to the popularity of raidbots and simulationcraft.

People are not after the 2nd best. Basic human psychology, people want the best. With gear its workable, you can balance your secondary stats so getting something not BIS isn't the end of the world. But with these traits, It can be. As so many people here have pointed out - and yeah thats a balancing issue. But even when the gap is closer, there will still be a problem of randomised loot with randomised traits - its RNG stacks on top of RNG. and with the mythic+ cache, its like having to wait for a titanforge, its not likely to happen.

Problem 2:
Dull. Hardly any traits actually impact or effect a rotation and if they do, they've been nerfed into the ground. The system isn't fun because its barely noticable. the entire system has been reduced to numbers instead of feel. That type of thing isn't sustainable and people aren't going to notice it enough to even warrant calling it a system.

Problem 3:
Feedback. You had months of feedback. I myself contributed NUMEROUS times about how bad it felt. Preach made an entire video about it. If we noticed it after a few hours of play, how did nobody in the office notice this at all? Its the same argument as classes, it feels like the players were just told to piss off (that would have required actual communication of course). This is why people are more angry than maybe they should be.

Did you push out content you knew wasn't fun for people? Why?

I'm going to reiterate a point MANY people have made and ask simply why its not possible:

Scrap Azerite gear. Give us secondary stats.
Recreate artifacts on the necklace.
Give us legendaries again, but this time let us work towards it via content (similar to island expeditions meter) triggering a questline with magni etc. (Azerite forged legendary item ftw).

The systems weren't perfect in Legion, but it does honestly feel like legion 0.5
09/27/2018 11:57 AMPosted by Lore
Availability in mythic+ particularly is a regular topic of conversation.


Pleeease do it, it would solve 99% of the problem.

RN i'm doing M10's since week one. Zero azerite armor from the chests.

At this pace I'll be using 355's and 340's (offspec) until the expansion is over.

Let. It. Drop. From. M+

Please, i'm begging you...
Few things I'd like to comment on here.
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.


So you are trying to force us to play only 1 spec because having multiple sets of gear for each spec is simply unworkable. This goal of yours is truly the antithesis of players actually having fun playing wow. Isn't this supposed to be a game? Aren't games supposed to be enjoyable?

Take my situation. I would be hurting my guild's mythic progression to play anything other than affliction for many of the Uldir bosses, and yet I greatly prefer the other two specs and want to switch to them for mythic +, WQs, Islands, etc. Yes at the end of the day this is a class balance issue, but in practice the expense of changing azerite talents forces me to stay affliction for the majority of my playtime.
09/27/2018 12:27 PMPosted by Lore
09/27/2018 12:22 PMPosted by Fiascoh
If I wanted to play brewmaster or mistweaver right now, I would be significantly better off by making a 2nd monk. Is this really the design you were going for?

Not at all, and I'm curious why you feel that's the case. It isn't in my experience as someone who is currently playing a tri-spec monk.


On my character my two best pieces are 370 and my worst is 340. before I got my 370 helm last night,which I can run in dps and tank, I was running a 340head, 340 shoulders, and 370chest for prot and 370helm, 340 shoulders, and 370chest for whichever dps spec I was playing.
The problem I find is that there is no way for me to farm good prot traits(Deafening Crash) and farm good dps traits unless I run normal, mythic, and heroic. Even then I would need to be lucky enough to get the drop or hope that someone in my raid can even trade it and even then I would probably have to compete with other players because despite your best efforts loot council is still a thing and players are still punished in guilds for not trading pieces. And to make it even worse I have to hope I get a good shoulder piece from the weekly cache for at least one of the specs I can play.
Also the amount of gold required to change traits is ridiculous. Isn't that why you took it away from changing specs?
I don't know how you can have good azerite traits in three specs, but you must have been extremely lucky.
Just adding in for the bump - the devs obviously don't play their own game, the only thing that matters in the end is keeping players subscribed by adding in time gate after time gate along with everything being a slot machine with no way to target what you're looking for.
09/27/2018 12:27 PMPosted by Lore
09/27/2018 12:22 PMPosted by Fiascoh
If I wanted to play brewmaster or mistweaver right now, I would be significantly better off by making a 2nd monk. Is this really the design you were going for?

Not at all, and I'm curious why you feel that's the case. It isn't in my experience as someone who is currently playing a tri-spec monk.


Weird, I wanted Uplifted Spirits, Font of Life, and Overflowing Mist on my gear for healing, but instead I have Elusive Footwork, Fit to Burst, and Boiling Brew. As you know, those three do absolutely nothing for mistweaver, while the former three do nothing for brewmaster. It would cost me hundreds to thousands of gold to spec swap even once per day, and since I do m+ as brewmaster and any raiding as almost exclusively mistweaver, that's a pretty frequent occurrence. It would actually save an insane amount of gold to just have a 2nd monk, though I wouldn't do it personally.
The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different grand schemes.

As for azerite traits, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to class tunings before launch. Among other things, we're looking at average per-player fun earned rates on a daily basis, and we'll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have traits that are boring, unrewarding, and of course unattainable via gameplay.

We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.

Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.
In Legion it was "Bring the player, not the class".

In BFA it's "Come play the game, if you don't like it, that's your fault. But we designed a fun game that works the way we want"
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.


This just comes off as extremely tone deaf to player complaints. I don’t mind the Azerite trait system. What I do mind is that that the only way to get Azerite Armor with high ilvl from dungeons is through the weekly mythic cache.

It feels extremely punishing and unfun to get a 385 Azerite gear that has terrible Azerite traits.

I don’t think it’s possible for the balance team to buff/nerf every single piece and trait to keep them in line.

The only solution I have to offer is to make Sanguicells and Hydrocores actually useful. I have roughly 150 Sanguicells in my bags ATM with nothing to do with them.

Maybe we could be an Azerite re-roller from a vendor to get the traits we want for the rotation we want.
09/27/2018 12:27 PMPosted by Lore
09/27/2018 12:22 PMPosted by Fiascoh
If I wanted to play brewmaster or mistweaver right now, I would be significantly better off by making a 2nd monk. Is this really the design you were going for?

Not at all, and I'm curious why you feel that's the case. It isn't in my experience as someone who is currently playing a tri-spec monk.


I have 1 370 helmet, 1 385 shoulder, 1 370 chest. The rest of the gear is 340. If I want to play brewmaster or mistweaver, I either have to reforge the high ilvl gear I have (which is unreasonable, it is just too expensive to reforge consistently), or wear 340 ilvl gear.

You may say, well what's wrong with that? It isn't that much lower? Well it is. I can't realistically do the same content my windwalker can do, I just take too big of an ilvl hit. And that is disregarding traits entirely. The fact that I could get a high ilvl piece with poor traits is bad enough. So if I were running with a group who needed a healer or tank instead of a dps, well they would rather look for a "main spec tank or healer" because I'm just not optimized for either role.

And no matter how much time and effort I put in each week, I cannot optimize either role because you have placed very few ways in obtaining azerite gear each week.

So, I would be much better off playing a 2nd monk if I wanted to, say, go brewmaster. And it really should not be designed that way.

Azerite gear should work within your spec. If you change specs, the azerite gear you are wearing changes to the trait for the new spec. Just like my agility gear changes to intellect if I got from windwalker to mistweaver.

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