Azerite - Worst Itemization in WoW's History

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
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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 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 remove the arbitrary burden of carrying entire sets of gear that were situationally useful based upon specific encounters.

Consider;

-Talent trees were redesigned in order to replace passive numerical choices easily solved by simulations reducing them 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 either 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 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?


!@#$%^-, you said beautifully everything I took 6000 characters to say.
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.


I think the problem here is we, the community, are telling you that it feels bad, and you are telling us "well we understand you say it feels bad, we're waiting for more statistics." That just doesn't really make sense to me, and I don't know if it makes sense to anyone. Statistics won't help you or anyone disprove how the system feels.

Here's why: What feels good is getting upgrades, not waiting every week to see if you'll get ONE upgrade for your special expansion-based system which requires not one but three upgrades. It's not just that there's no way to target azerite traits, it's that there isn't even a way to target azerite armor. I don't want to have to wait for the personal loot gods to be done blessing all of my teammates with upgrades before I even get a chance at a piece. If you run mythic + as your main end-game progression, I can't even imagine how much worse it is.

It just isn't fun. Please let me know if you'd like me to expand on anything I've said.
09/27/2018 02:53 PMPosted by Lore
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'll start by saying that I think the artifact weapons were ultimately a better implementation of this. That I can sort of see what the intent was... but perhaps the original wisdom off putting these things on trinkets would have been better in the end.
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.


I would say one of the key issues has been that the changes are coming in trickles instead of all at once. People see one trait being buffed on one week then they farm gear for that and the following week they the one they swapped to being nerfed while others being buffed. So it sets off this seemingly endless cycle for many people that want to min/max. My reply isn't to blame blizzard but just food for thought. When all the changes are said and done this particular complaint should die.
another thread full of no answers other than we will do what we want and you will like it or unsub... How hard is it to understand we as players hate this Time Gated Trash system that is called azerite.... we give you ideas as players and ITS a MEME what a joke...
Blizzard really needs to just take a Hail Mary approach to Azerite.

Take a risk, scrap it.

When FFXIV went to !@#$, they scrapped it and came back with AR. I'm not saying remake the game, but obviously if your consumers literally ducking hate this system, it isn't because its not balanced or whatever, its because it literally sucks.

Blizzard has retconned or gone through its own lore to make things possible, do the same %^-* to Azerite. Give us back Artifact Weapons. I don't know.

Just do something that shows you're willing to make the necessary changes to fix what is inherently broken.

This expansion came with a level cap but no extra trait line? Why? because of Azerite? You sucked all the work people put into Artifact weapons for Azerite gear?

You killed so much for such a wack system that no wonder people are pissed or done with this expansion. I resubbed 3 weeks ago and I'm already done with BfA. Because Azerite.
Hi Lore I just want to chime in on this part as a I have a very specific trait that was just changed to the point of useless.

Thirsting blade demon hunter increases chaos strike damage every 1.5 second for not using it, stacking up to 40.

Now in PvE of course we only have blade dance and chaos strike as fury dumps so I can't possibly use that trait in PvE.

PvP was just hotfixed to have dimishing returns in PvP to the point where it does literally less damage than blade dance during burst.

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.
It does not take week/months more of seeing how the season plays out to know a 1% chance to get x peice of armor*1 is bad. we all know what 1% odds look like. how many weeks must i be disappointed in this system before its changed? Why not have spec specific azerite options be changed via the transmog npc. so like switch the holy specific option to breaking dawn on any shoulders at a reasonably high cost, like 1k-10k to change it. & make the 4th options be more unique & have all non-spec specific traits like mid/inner rings unmodifiable.

*1 - my own example is shoulders with breaking dawn, there is only 1 viable option with 3 rings.

& just a bonus note, if your going to reduce the number of bonus rolls how about you make them actually work. i would gladly take 1 if it was 100% loot vs this garbage 1/6 i'm currently on now.

Also, RE-ADD reforging, would help with getting a garbage stated pieces from the weekly chest.
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.


Ask for less snark, while being snarky. Good plan!
09/27/2018 04:33 PMPosted by Humanity
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.


It worked for FFXIV. And this isn't even on the same scale as that. Reverting back to the old system while acknowledging that they messed up or at the very least, meeting players halfway would likely be enough to retain players, while giving them a new goal. I know I'd be able to disregard the petty childish action of Lore and Ion in favor of seeing them humble themselves and regroup. It'd show that they actually care and respect their playerbase.
I wondering why the heck I need to pay someone to reforge the gear just so the trait I picked in one spec isn't locked when I move to the other spec.

I wanted to try Assassination, I got a new piece, picked the Assassination trait. Now when I go back to raid on Outlaw, suddenly a backstab trait is doing jack for me and I have to go reforge gear. This is the highest piece I have, should I expect to go try and get the same piece (hopefully) just so I can have two to be able to use them without paying gold? Why can't I pick the spec specific traits in each spec???? Dumb that I actually have to pay to make it even remotely useful, not just deal with less than ideal secondary stats.
Bring back Tier sets.
To Summarize some Community Thoughts:

Azerite Gear kind of works at 340
Azerite gear, as Blue has described it, kind of works at ilvl 340. After a couple weeks I had 20-25 pieces of 340Az to pick from. I made sets for different specs (all 3) and modes (PvE, PvP, Arena). Kind of clunky but ok. Was possible with 15+ pieces. This is because there are many ways to actively collect 340 gear.

Tri Spec at 355+ doesn't work as Bliz has described
What the monk was saying is the main source of 355+Az are from weekly lockouts (M+Chest, PvP Chest, Raid). You have a very limited set of rolls on this gear. If playing multi spec above 340 it could be faster to have 2 characters. (Double chest chance).

Obtaining 355+ Az feels Slow & Random
Personally, doing M+ and Arena only that's 2 chance's a week at 355+Az (plus the odd World Boss). So 3-4 pieces a month? Even at 6/month that's pretty slow if I'm intended to build out multiple sets (as you have described). I'd like to have 6 per spec (3pvp/3pve) at minimum, that's assuming you get the right ones (not all shoulder slots) and the right traits.

It feels like the drop chance was tuned to the old set pieces (best in slot), not the mix and match set building for multiple specs as Blue has described?

Playing Tri spec doesn't feel good
I have 4 pieces of 355+ Az gear. I can only build out one spec/context. Yes I could use Generic traits but they A) Are the most boring B) Are not the best to take C) Don't always work for Healer/Tank D) Are sometimes terrible for the spec (worst secondary stat priority, etc).

I have a single 370 helm (others 340). I leave it on the healing trait for playing Resto in arenas and DPS as Enh/Ele without changing it. This feels silly. If this was for 5 days that's ok... However, I'm waiting an unknown amount of time now for another 370 helm. Not fun. Nothing to do about it. Could be over a month?

Picking Middle of the road traits (As blue has suggested) is not fun.
This straight up feels bad. They are usually X for Y seconds of Z stat. It could just say do 3% more damage instead. Even if they were awesome, I want to play my class traits. RPGs are about playing classes. Picking a class is the first experience you have when you start WoW.

On Trait Balance as a Solution
Tuning could work for some PvE contexts (M0?), but not in others. No matter how much you buff the Healing Rain Az Trait, I'm never using it in Arena (as one example). It's a good trait (tuning aside) in Raid however....which is why I want Raid, M+, and Arena sets.

Bliz already knows this (or I thought they did)
I assume the reason I now get a free re-spec upon entering every Arena, LFR, LFG, Re-entering World, BG is because Blitz knows that you cannot balance interesting traits across vastly different content. (Unless they are just +3% damage). This is why gear now changes Main Stat (Agi/Str/Int) on spec change. OR at the very least, knows that players want to tune their character to the different contexts.

It's like there are 10 systems helping you play multi spec, and Azerite doing the opposite.

The Community would use Advanced Tool-tips
To Ion, yes I open a calculator to "sim" on my own. For many people this is part of playing an RPG. I know it's not for everyone. Put it as an option in the settings (Show Advanced Tool Tips). Shows PPM, spell school, stacking, etc.

Solutions?
Not sure. The "Bucketing" used for PvP traits (and D3 skills) seems to work pretty well. If I could pick from a big pool of traits that might feel nice.

Or as some have suggested, having the options change when you change specs would be a good start.
Azerite reforging is too expensive. It should not cost me that much gold.

What if I wanted to just try some new traits out? I would have to chuck out tons of gold just to find out what traits I liked best.

Right now I need to go to google and find out which ones are best so I dont end up bankrupt instead of finding out and testing myself.

I like experimenting and testing builds out. Right now with the reforging cost we cant do that.

Please make reforge free or something. At least when you get a new piece of gear you get like 3 free referees or something.
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.


One of the reasons you went with int/str on gear was a vision the devs had, so that you would not have a lot of gear in your bags to switch around. Remember the days of having full set of ret gear and holy gear in your bags on your protection paladin.
Having the reforge cost on gear is counter productive to this vision you once had.
It is annoying having to have 9 headpieces, 8 chest pieces and 5 shoulder pieces in my bags just so I can switch around to what is needed.

Another point is that I have to switch out my 370 ilvl azerite pieces for 340 pieces.
09/27/2018 04:31 PMPosted by Sunduster
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 initiative of consolidating gear, returning us to the days where we were penalized via Talent respec fees for our enthusiasm to do multiple types of content - which were removed presumably for that very reason.

Consider;

-Talent trees were redesigned in order to replace passive numerical choices easily solved by simulations reducing them 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 either 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 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?

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.
Quoted for truth. If you take note of nothing else, Lore, take note of this one.
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 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 remove the arbitrary burden of carrying entire sets of gear that were situationally useful based upon specific encounters.

Consider;

-Talent trees were redesigned in order to replace passive numerical choices easily solved by simulations reducing them 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 either 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 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?

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.


This is probably one of the best posts in this thread, and a key problem a lot of us are having. NOTHING about this system jives with anything Blizzard as a developer has learned over the many years. I was in shock when I first got an Azerite piece and realized that switching specs didn't actually give me the chance to pick a different trait. They simplified talent trees years ago because they didn't want people to have to sim talents...and added something you have no choice BUT to sim.

No new abilities, no fun procs, just chances of some random stat or damage to happen, or baseline increases to some abilities we're already using. You don't start a new system with the promise of more fun things later, you need to hook people early, or what's the point? The questing has been great, the story(after the very very rocky start) has been great as long as you ignore the faction based nonsense. The dungeons I find very fun, the bosses very challenging and rewarding.

But there's just no *point* to doing any of it. My friend loves pushing high keys, and struggle doing +9/10s last week. My reward? A 5 ilvl upgrade over something I already had. I haven't run a mythic + this week yet. Knowing I can get a much bigger ilvl upgrade, but if it's an azerite piece with a worse ability baked in? It comes about the same as the 5 ilvl upgrade(if I'm lucky apparently).
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.
Difference there Hoss, at least the older items had set stats. Not this pray to RNGesus for specific traits and hope they don't get rng buffed/nerfed. If you got the resistance gear item to drop, it didn't suddenly have less resistance a hotfix/patch later.

If I didn't know better, I'd swear you guys were still using the dartboard method of choosing what to nerf/buff.
09/27/2018 04:33 PMPosted by Humanity
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.


Screw the bandaid. The wound is necrotic. Its time to amputate.

Blizzard is big enough that they should have the balls to say "Yo, we goofed guys. Sorry. We're gonna scrap it and take a bit of time to to undo it. " and watch the amount of dissatisfaction and animosity wither away.

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