Azerite - Worst Itemization in WoW's History

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
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I'm pretty sure that if you, Blizzard, completely scrapped Azerite from BfA you would have a lot less outrage and disappointment in this expansion than if you left it in.

I wasn't a huge fan of Artifact Weapons, but at least those were manageable and you could level it the way you wanted.

Azerite is garbage mechanic. I came back, resubbed with gold[thankfully] and have absolutely no desire to keep my sub up until maybe 8.1 or 8.2 rolls around.

Its not fun. Azerite traits shouldn't be gutted baseline class traits or feel as though they're necessary, but completely rng. Weapons and gear are meant to enhance the spec, not complete it. Thats what Artifact weapons had going for em at least.

Progression feels RNG. Progression should never ever in an MMO feel rng.
09/27/2018 12:48 PMPosted by Lore
And you believe the process of leveling and gearing a 2nd monk would be more efficient than farming those 340s on your main?

To be clear I'm not arguing - legitimately trying to make sure I understand this feedback.


It makes some sense, is sort of the same situation we had in legion where people were rerolling to the same class to get their bis legendary on the first 4 drop on the first tier of Legion.

We have a set number of opportunities per week to get azerite gear with high ilv, 1 per weekly m+ chest and raid bosses lockout(and in a lot of spec they have useless trait). Gearing up is otherwise easy with m+, the only thing that is so heavy RNG is azerite gear.
09/27/2018 11:57 AMPosted by Lore
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.
You may have design goals set out with this in mind, but remember that the next few months are not right now.

Players are forced to play within the design restraints (reforging etc.) and assumptions ('go build multiple sets!') based around content and azerite availability that is months in the future. We are playing the game now.
09/26/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Lore
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.


Gonna comment in this thread about this quote which is ridiculously hyperbolic.

Farming level 30 dungeons for AQ40 was not an example of bad itemization or even hard to access gear. You knew where the resistance gear dropped, you could also buy it off the AH if you had the gold, and some people could craft it.

Either way it could be targeted and obtained.

And in TBC you could farm materials to get your resistance sets. You could TARGET which sets you farmed.

You cannot do that now which is the point of contention. Anyone who thought this system was a good idea should be fired and replaced with one of the dozens of people from beta who said it was a poor idea.
I'd be okay with them scrapping Azerite gear for now and simply going back to Tier sets for Raiding and adding 'set bonuses' onto M+ gear where you have to match up 2-3 pieces for the extra bonuses.

Just wave the white flag and admit it was a bad idea.
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.


Since I can now post this here so you can see this is the problem:

I wanted to point this out in that thread. I pvp as resto, I raid as balance, and because I like helping my guild mates I might be tanking, healing, dpsing through mythic plus, from run to run. So my option is to have multiple sets all the same ilvl all with good traits for everything (not possible since I've got 1 355 1 370 and a few 340s), keep switching my best pieces (can't, already in the 5-10k reforge due to one crazy weekend before I had more smaller peices), be subpar on whatever spec I haven't set my biggest piece to be on, use "hybrid traits" which are just clear garbage and everyone knows it, or never switch and help people/pvp.

The design concept is terrible. Super hard to get any good collection above 340 with any reliability and an ever increasing burden to do anything besides one role all the time.
We've achieved over 1000 posts of Azerite feedback.
Why not take this thread as it is now, comb over it to collect the bullet points of consensus, and beg whoever has the authority to do so to have some sort of emergency meeting about this awful system.
The absolute state...
09/27/2018 02:53 PMPosted by Lore
As a quick aside: I understand and appreciate that many of you are frustrated about the system. That's why I'm here - to get a better understanding of what exactly is frustrating people so I can present that feedback to the development team.

[/quote]

My single biggest gripe is that with this system, if there's a trait I want whether it's for power, gameplay or even just to goof around with I have no way to target it at a reasonable ilvl.

I play a mage, right now I'm interested in trying to stack the Tunnel of Ice trait because I'm interested to see if I could get some rediculous glacial spikes out of it. There are *two* sources of it that I could potentially target farm:
1. Shoulders from Doomhowl available once every ~3 weeks in Arathi.
2. Shoulders from Zek'Voz available once a week.

That's it. After that it's base mythic dungeons for a chest or different shoulders. And even then to my knowledge there's no way to actually farm a head piece with this trait at any ilvl above 300.

The balance was a huge issue that as you say has by in large been addressed, if you had a strong trait it really sucked if you had no way to access it. But the problem lying beneath that is now that if there's a trait you LIKE, for any reason, you still have no reason to target it.

I want to build out a set of tools to play around with, I don't want to have to pay 30+ ilvls per piece to do so. I really, *really* want to either be able to get Azerite pieces out of mythic dungeons, or have way *way* more varied azerite pieces available from Uldir. One reliable *chance* at a 370 Cloth Azerite Chest per week(Heroic Mythrax)? How can I reasonably assemble multiple sets when my choice is between one Mythrax chest which I haven't even acquired yet and literally nothing else?

This whole topic is extremely frustrating because I keep reading the problem is the balance - which I agree was a problem - but in my head every time I read that I just think "No, the problem is I can't get these pieces out of Mythic+"

That is my feedback, I still love this game and I love you for earnestly trying to hear what I have to say. Thank you. Gimme a helm with Tunnel of Ice <3
09/27/2018 04:22 PMPosted by Infernastorm
I'd be okay with them scrapping Azerite gear for now and simply going back to Tier sets for Raiding and adding 'set bonuses' onto M+ gear where you have to match up 2-3 pieces for the extra bonuses.

Just wave the white flag and admit it was a bad idea.


Honestly getting rid of set bonuses was a good idea. If they are trying to push M+ more and more which a lot of players like myself typically enjoy it creates a scenario where M+ players are forced to raid. One will always be better than the other. Then you have a situation where raiders are then mixing in M+ sets with raid sets or the other way around.

On top of that you would have raiders still mixing in previous tier bonuses with current tier bonuses and balancing nightmares. Ya please don't bring back tier.
I miss mop

09/27/2018 04:22 PMPosted by Infernastorm
I'd be okay with them scrapping Azerite gear for now and simply going back to Tier sets for Raiding and adding 'set bonuses' onto M+ gear where you have to match up 2-3 pieces for the extra bonuses.

Just wave the white flag and admit it was a bad idea.


It's too late
It was always too late

We're in too deep and this is what we've got now, unfortunately

Maybe if they had listened to feedback in early alpha/beta stages
Thinking on the differences between Artifacts and Azerite:

With artifacts you had the item, you needed to get the AP. With Azerite, you need to get both the item and the AP, and that feels much worse. Beyond that, gaining a level of an artifact felt good because you were gaining power, even if just a tiny amount and it meant getting closer to big boosts. It reminded me about why I liked original talent trees so much.

Meanwhile, I don't feel compelled to get levels for my neck since I don't feel any stronger when I do. Not even a little tiny bit. And then when I do get a big item upgrade, I can end up losing traits.
So replace azerite armor with tier sets in 8.1. Change all of the current azerite gear into normal gear. Give the neck some proc/ability based on your role. Problem solved.
We need to be able to farm Azerite gear from Mythic + , You say that we should have multilple builds but how can we do that when we can't farm the pieces we need ?

This system sucks , One way to chill people out is let us get what we need from M+
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)


If Lore doesnt understand that this is what targeting gear is he needs to be replaced right away.

Not only that farming lvl 30 dungeons look how long the gear held value

You want to know what holds value now gearwise (nothing)
only 1 item retains its value every patch and thats the waterstrider pretty sad

Like i get it you got diablo 3 team really wanting to make world of diablocraft but its failing over and over can we please get a mmo back.
09/27/2018 02:53 PMPosted by Lore
As a quick aside: I understand and appreciate that many of you are frustrated about the system. That's why I'm here - to get a better understanding of what exactly is frustrating people so I can present that feedback to the development team.

Step 1 of that process is explaining what our viewpoint is so that you guys can present counter-arguments. If your response to that explanation is to roll your eyes and make snarky comments about how dumb I am, that's fine, but it's really not helping make the game any better.

I get the need to vent, but if y'all could keep the personal attacks and memes to a minimum that'd make it a hell of a lot easier for me to actually help make the video game more fun for you.


Venting aside, I think ten minutes browsing through the thread will give you all the feedback you want:

- Regrinding traits NOT FUN. When upgrading from a 325 chestpiece to a 340 version of the same chest piece, it feels abjectly terrible for it to be weaker because I suddenly don't have two tiers worth of traits that I do with the 325. It's even sadder that your response to this last night was "we agree, but we may have to accept it". No. WE have to accept it because we're the players. Devs have the ability to alleviate it through changes. I'm not expecting a complete overhaul of the system but something has to give.

- The traits themselves are incredibly boring. Percent stat increases over time and "chance to do" more damage that, quite literally, I don't notice when they fire half the time because they're miniscule and I'm not watching my meters. And I think part of the frustration with this system is, of course, we were told that Azerite traits would replace our artifacts (which gave so much power and sense of "completeness" to our classes), our legendaries (which were frustrating to acquire but made immediate and hugely noticeable differences in our play when we did), and our tier sets (which usually dramatically alter our playstyle for a tier and helps keep gameplay fresh across an expac). They do not do this right now. I accept that you intended them to be boring now, as Ion said in the AMA, because the first set of tier bonuses were always boring too but I don't find that to be a good enough answer given how Azerite traits are a CORE component of the expac and tier sets never were.

- Percent stat increases and random procs are particularly galling when the devs have told us, repeatedly, that they want us to not have to use external tools to tell when one item is an upgrade over another and then there's very little actual information on the traits themselves? When comparing two traits I have nothing to go on except for the damage and the time. Does that proc once a minute? Four times a minute? How does 12% mastery for 10 seconds compare to 11% crit for 12 seconds? Simming is the only answer we have to this. If the traits actually provided more of a gameplay impact (see Prot Warrior's Deafening Crash for a GREAT example) then the question is much more about personal taste and we're not driven to sim as hard because we're allowed to make a meaningful choice. When the choice is "what form do I want my numbers in?", it's not particularly meaningful.

- It is incredibly frustrating to get these items. Making them drop in Mythic+ dungeons would go a long way towards bandaging a lot of the ire people have towards the system because A: for people like me, who have no interest in raiding, I feel like you're stiffing Mythic+ players, B: without them dropping elsewhere, that means we have only one opportunity a week to get the piece we want at the Mythic cache slot machine. We have to HOPE that we get one and HOPE that it's a piece we want. (And, for the record, telling us that bad-luck protection will make it not feel as bad is disheartening. Bad-luck protection is a terrible system that drives players insane (as it did for Legion). Hidden, behind the scenes roll modifiers that you purposefully obfuscate and don't explain the mechanics of do not feel good. Does my BLP go up with the amount of dungeons I run? Is it per slot (chest, head, shoulders)? Will it reset if I get bad luck that week and get a chest with traits I don't want? RNG is going to be part of MMO gearing: it's part and parcel of the genre. That's fine - but in the past you've had avenues for ameliorating bad luck: rep gear, vendor gear, crafted gear. NONE of that exists in this expac after you reach a certain point (and that point is VERY early in the gear treadmill).

1/2
09/27/2018 02:53 PMPosted by Lore
As a quick aside: I understand and appreciate that many of you are frustrated about the system. That's why I'm here - to get a better understanding of what exactly is frustrating people so I can present that feedback to the development team.


I like Warcraft, I like you and Ion, and I like Blizzard - but I'm genuinely concerned about the seeming institutional amnesia on display recently. The turnaround from WoD to Legion was incredible, but there's clearly some very troubling stuff going on behind the scenes right now expressed in the bizarre and flagrant self-contradictions occurring...

To try to simply lay out these contradictions;

-The philosophy is that players build multiple sets of gear for different situations.

Yet;

-The philosophy is also that Azerite gear not be specifically targetable, rendering it unlikely that anyone will be able to build the intended multiple sets.

Still more puzzling;

-Stats were recently combined on gear, dynamically activating either Intelligence, or Agility, etc, in order to reduce the arbitrary burden of farming and carrying multiple gear sets.

-Resistance gear was removed from the game to alleviate the arbitrary burden of carrying entire sets of gear that were situationally useful based upon specific encounters.

-Reforging costs were introduced to further disincentivize anyone from acquiescing to this recent gear consolidation initiative from Blizzard, returning us to the days where we were penalized via talent respec fees for our enthusiasm to participate in multiple types of content.

Consider;

-Talent trees were redesigned in order to replace passive numerical choices easily solved by simulations and reduced to mathematical foregone conclusions, with genuine and interesting choices based on utility or spec gameplay, which are necessarily harder to quantify via simulation and more engaging to players.

And yet;

Azerite traits are an array of mostly passive numerical choices solved by simulations, reducing them to mathematical foregone conclusions - or - in a dream scenario which is nearly impossible to achieve, balanced to such exacting perfection that the choice between them is completely meaningless as they, for the most part, have zero impact on gameplay.

Players are baffled because Blizzard is, for whatever reason, stumbling face-first into design issues which it itself has already solved, and moved past philosophically.

It is bizarre and frustrating when philosophies already deemed outmoded or non-viable are again thrust to the forefront and defended by Blizzard representatives with a seeming obliviousness.

I listen to every Q&A that you and Ion do together, and I'm consistently impressed by his reasoning and rationale behind everything that goes into the game. Judging from what he says, he's the perfect guy to be directing World of Warcraft - but why is so much of what he says so aggressively contradicted in-game?

It just feels like many of these particular issues in design thought have already been targeted, identified, and aggressively solved by presumably the same set of minds behind the game... and then suddenly we're doing them again.

To summarize - Blizzard has philosophically acknowledged;

-Choices dictated by mathemetical logic are not choices at all - hence the talent redesign.
-Cumbersome and bloated gear management is an unnecessary burden - hence the stat redesign and the abolishment of resistance.

Blizzard then creates a headlining feature which;

-Presents choices almost exclusively based on mathematical logic, to an unprecedented degree
-Engenders an environment which encourages cumbersome and bloated gear management, also to an unprecedented degree

I hope this doesn't come across as disrespectful. I just want the game to be good, yo! Based on the insight and thoughtfulness demonstrated by the Q&As, I know the right director is in place to get us there.
09/27/2018 04:22 PMPosted by Uristä
We've achieved over 1000 posts of Azerite feedback.
Why not take this thread as it is now, comb over it to collect the bullet points of consensus, and beg whoever has the authority to do so to have some sort of emergency meeting about this awful system.


They likely have already done so, and are still doing so. Step one was to give people a reason to sub for 6 months in advance while they quickly figure out what the hell to do, solution-wise. I mean, putting in an incentive to sub for a long time *just* after an expansion launches, a period where people do nothing but play new content? That's kind of telling. :p

I'm not quite sure what the solution to this is. They already introduced a model in Legion where players themselves don't get any new abilities or skills, but have it tied into their equipment they get. When that system itself is fundamentally broken...
- The Azerite system is a step backwards from the natural progression of gear since (I think) Cata. Since Cata, steps have been made to reduce the number of hurdles we're expected to jump over to switch specs. Gear swaps primary stats now, rings/necks don't have primaries, tier sets switch over automatically, we no longer have to visit trainers to reset talents or respec, etc etc. Locking Azerite gear to one spec trait, charging us a fortune to change that as we change roles or situations, and then telling us that that's INTENDED to be exorbitantly expensive is incredibly galling given all these other changes you've done towards making it easier to switch things up. Doubly so when you tell us that the devs would rather make it harder and that they intend for us to farm multiple sets of gear (see the above comments about how hard it is to get ahold of the pieces).

I mentioned this elsewhere in the thread, Lore, but I subscribe to MMOs knowing full well that they're a skinner box meant to keep me engaged in the game with an endless parade of little shinies. Despite having played all sorts of the games over the years, WoW is the one I keep returning to because it's the one I feel that - compared to a lot of your competitors - it doesn't jerk me around as much. It doesn't make the skinner box so obvious that it feels uncomfortable. WoW feels like it respects my time and rewards me appropriately. Everything about the Azerite system feels immensely disrespectful of my time: from making me have to regrind old traits out, to having to figure out which of two boring stat increases or damage procs is better, to grinding out for a chance at the slot machine to get the items, and for expecting us to either farm multiple sets or take mediocre "best in all situations" traits.

2/2
09/27/2018 04:19 PMPosted by Dharyise
I'm pretty sure that if you, Blizzard, completely scrapped Azerite from BfA you would have a lot less outrage and disappointment in this expansion than if you left it in.

As much as I agree that is not really feasible from Blizzard's point of view. This is the flagship feature of the expansion. You do not comprehend the size of the BALLS that it would take for Blizzard to admit it is unfixable and remove it halfway through it. Not only do they not have the courage I doubt anyone of us would.

Beta was the time to fix this. They decided to actively, yes I mean ACTIVELY ignore feedback. Now all we can hope for is a bandaid.

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