Azerite has failed, for now

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
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09/21/2018 02:58 PMPosted by Lore
Couple things:

We agree that the trait imbalance is a real problem right now. We made a bunch of tuning adjustments last week, and have more planned for the very near future (primarily focused on buffing underperforming traits). We see this as the source of most of the frustrations with the system; if the delta between your best and worst traits wasn't so big, it'd be less frustrating when a piece of Azerite armor doesn't have your best trait on it.

We also agree that the Mythic+ Azerite Armor situation isn't ideal. However, we need to be careful with how we award Azerite Armor through M+. Right now, easier access to Azerite Armor is one of the main advantages that raiding has over gearing exclusively through Mythic+, and we want to keep some additional benefit there as compensation for the extra effort and coordination needed to organize a raid team. That's is why we're hesitant to do something like add a guaranteed piece of Azerite Armor to the weekly chest - it'd be too lucrative.

But like I said, we do agree that the current setup can be frustrating. We're looking for better options.

Taking our best trait and making it not an option any more isn't fun either. Swift Roundhouse isn't worth taking over passive proc dmg traits. Now my fun "don't blackout kick more then twice between RSK" gameplay is botched. Thank god for item restoration.

Curious btw, how much did item restoration usage skyrocket after your "tuning"?
We see this as the source of most of the frustrations with the system; if the delta between your best and worst traits wasn't so big, it'd be less frustrating when a piece of Azerite armor doesn't have your best trait on it.


So, the fix is to effectively delete (via nerf) what meager azerite gear I HAVE collected, and make me farm absolutely impossible-to-obtain drops from Mythic+?

Look at the loot table you f*ing idiots. I have about a 1% chance on a given week of even GETTING a piece of azerite gear. I could literally do M+ for 100 years and NEVER see a piece of Mythic+ azerite gear. And even if I did get it, whatever trait I wanted will surely be nerfed before I get it.

The source of my frustration right now is how incompetent the development team is. Quit reacting to what players are doing by nerfing their hard earned achievements/classes/gear/methods of obtaining gear and instead create newer, better and shinier stuff for us to strive for. Nobody likes FINALLY getting the one piece they've spent months trying to obtain and then have it "hotfixed" (read: nerfed into irrelevance). How can anyone possibly want to keep playing when they know that it doesn't matter because blizzard's just going to nerf it anyways?
09/21/2018 02:58 PMPosted by Lore
Couple things:

We agree that the trait imbalance is a real problem right now. We made a bunch of tuning adjustments last week, and have more planned for the very near future (primarily focused on buffing underperforming traits). We see this as the source of most of the frustrations with the system; if the delta between your best and worst traits wasn't so big, it'd be less frustrating when a piece of Azerite armor doesn't have your best trait on it.

We also agree that the Mythic+ Azerite Armor situation isn't ideal. However, we need to be careful with how we award Azerite Armor through M+. Right now, easier access to Azerite Armor is one of the main advantages that raiding has over gearing exclusively through Mythic+, and we want to keep some additional benefit there as compensation for the extra effort and coordination needed to organize a raid team. That's is why we're hesitant to do something like add a guaranteed piece of Azerite Armor to the weekly chest - it'd be too lucrative.

But like I said, we do agree that the current setup can be frustrating. We're looking for better options.
i think passive traits alone are just underwhelming this do not catch my attention at all and the fact that u guys emphasized it so much just makes my expectation lower .
09/21/2018 02:58 PMPosted by Lore
But like I said, we do agree that the current setup can be frustrating. We're looking for better options.


I think what you're seeing in this thread is a more underlying commonality which is stunning in subtlety and obviousness: There is a massive disconnect between what the developers and community are both experiencing and desiring.

It is very possible there is some rationale which you are aware of behind closed doors which has not been made public yet. For each of you, what you know certainly could make more sense. But, without context and more transparency, that disconnect is only to get more and more pronounced. Dialogs should work with both parties - not one way.

Blizzard has never been traditionally good at communication, but the general trend has not been toward correcting that error. Unfortunately, it tends to keep making the same mistakes and brand new ones, never seemingly learning from the original problem: More communication is necessary - and that must be bidirectional. Social media isn't the right venue for that, your own platform and your own tools to communicate with your players is the right place to start and focus, every other alternative should supplement, not replace or be in exclusion of it.

If you find your tools insufficient, you should improve said tools, not seek someone else's. I say this because I know you're a software company. I know you have the resources available, the money brought in from clients, and 14 years at this point. You're not a start-up. You're not supposed to be making the mistakes that new companies make. Your company is expected to have a certain level of maturity and, in effect, decimate the newcomers and upstart competitors rather than the reverse because of this plethora of homefield advantage. That you are incapable of doing so does not speak well for management of your organization.
The Azerite systems has many flaws but potential so I would like to give my feedback on it:

- Azerite requirements should not scale with the ilvl of the item. Why is a mythic raider penalized for doing the hardest content in the game by having to farm more azerite? Why is a heroic one penalized for deciding to step up from normal? Hell, why does the gear you acquire below 120 even have requirements? multiple times I had to not use my fresh 15 ilvl upgrade azerite piece cause I didn't have access to the 3rd ring of defensive traits which are amazing while leveling.

- Why is it not mentioned anywhere in the game that some components of azerite traits don't stack? Most people know this now, but why would you go this route? why is it so hard for you to simply tell the player how things works and letting them make an informed decision.
The people that don't care much will still do the same thing, pick whatever they think is cool, the ones that do can just think for a moment instead of having to go into a class discord to ask the same question that was answered 50 times in the last two days and that someone had to test because the developer couldn't be bothered to list the traits like this:

- Casting moonfire has a 5% chance to grant lunar empowerment (Multiple ranks of this effect don't stack)
- Increases the direct damage of moonfire by xxxx (multiple ranks of this trait stack)

Whats hard to understand is that you bothered to put this information on some outdoor content buffs in argus but not on something the player is potentially gonna use for months.

- The level of tweaking that was done in one of the hotfixes recently with up to 400% increases makes everyone think you literally threw some numbers up in the air and said we'll fix it later... or the more scary prospect of someone actually thinking those values were fine in the first place. Its hard to believe the information coming from the devs when we know you are capable of missing the mark by this much. More common sense please?

- The 2nd azerite layer or ring is almost impossible to notice. I could choose almost anything in that row and never notice it doing anything. Some of the traits are interesting but they are tunned for their contribution to overall performance be so small that if you introduced a bug that disabled all of them I probably wouldn't notice it for a while.

- Why is my heart of azeroth (Artifact from most powerful titan btw) just a thing with lots of stats that about once a week gains 2 ivls? Why not give us some more customization there. Maybe things that are too powerful to put on azerite pieces that people might not get for a while due to rng?
09/21/2018 02:58 PMPosted by Lore
That's is why we're hesitant to do something like add a guaranteed piece of Azerite Armor to the weekly chest - it'd be too lucrative.


Sure, but there's a few problems with that.

A) Laser Matrix and Archive can simply be tuned to be the best, even if marginal, ensuring that raiding is still better (and you'd want 1 anyways bcuz Ray buff in Uldir). Make the benefit the fact that it's raid gear, not just that it's higher ilvl.

B) How many raiders don't do M+? Anyone progressing at a mythic level will be doing it anyways.

C) There's so many different combinations of Azerite traits and things you want to keep around, I'd argue that Azerite gear should be the easiest to obtain, not the hardest. We want a lot of it to play different specs and try different combinations.

Azerite Armor being more abundant would be a good thing for literally everyone. It's a huge expansion feature. It would be fun. I want to play with Bone Spike Graveyard on my DK, it looks super cool. I want to stack 3 Stronger together on my shaman and be a buff bot for the party. Both of those would add incentive to grind Azerite and make the game more fun.

Right now it's a waiting game with no incentive to play because there's literally no way to actually play with the traits you want.

Edit: I just want to emphasize this part -

Azerite has potential to be fun, even when tuning is off, but only if it's actually available. I'm not saying it should be raining from the sky, but as a major expansion feature it should be more easily accessible than regular gear, not less.
09/21/2018 09:55 PMPosted by Hydroxine
I mean.. if anything It's pretty obvious this expansion is going to be the "milk them for every penny, and bail out" expac, I don't know how most people haven't caught on to this yet...

This is propably the reason why they pushed it out way to early, yes, but I think they have just forgotten what their players deem fun and what motivates them.

This is combined with a questionable level of software development expertise and / or lack of big picture perspective, because otherwise we had a better group finder for keys, auction house, or systems and reward loops that actually work.

I do believe, that they want to create an awesome game, and they do in some areas, but they ruin it with small but impactful ideas that they then spend half a year or longer to fix with some half assed workaround. -- This is not the first time and I am getting tired of it.
09/22/2018 02:09 AMPosted by Stormaker
C) There's so many different combinations of Azerite traits and things you want to keep around, I'd argue that Azerite gear should be the easiest to obtain, not the hardest. We want a lot of it to play different specs and try different combinations.

Exactly. Especially with Ions "meaningful choices" talk all the time.

Right now my only choice is if I keep my 340 with good tanking traits equipped or exchange it for a 355/370 with bad or even unlocked traits. -- This is not a meaningful choice, this is a !@#$ choice.

As long as there are no decent spec-specific choices on the gear itself, they need to come from choices between gear, and for that we need plenty of gear. -- Another reason why it was a stupid idea to put traits for all specs on the same gear regardless of the current spec instead of having separate items or have the traits change with spec like sets did.
09/21/2018 02:58 PMPosted by Lore
But like I said, we do agree that the current setup can be frustrating. We're looking for better options.


Taking two of the worst aspects of Legion (AP grind, NLC) and building an entire expansion on them seems like it wouldn't even be close to a 'good' option.

I understand that mmo's are grindy by nature, but BfA has enough (fun!) content to surely keep us on the treadmill for the next 2 years, without the miserable chore of farming AP and chasing azerite traits.

And frankly, traits seem like they're going to be a nightmare to balance throughout this expansion, which is going to cause headaches for you AND the players.
Please consider hotfixing this and not just adding stuff as late as 8.1.

I have now finished the third week in a row on my rogue hunting azerite pieces that somehow ended up having bis traits for both assassination and outlaw. Gotten none so there is almost no reason for me to play right now, nothing to hunt for.

An easy fix would be to just remove loot save on mythic dungeons now that M+ has opened. Noone would feel wronged by that.
09/21/2018 02:58 PMPosted by Lore
We agree that the trait imbalance is a real problem right now. We made a bunch of tuning adjustments last week, and have more planned for the very near future (primarily focused on buffing underperforming traits). We see this as the source of most of the frustrations with the system


You’re either not paying attention or choosing to ignore other feedback then. I’ll try to sum up some of the problems you neglected to mention:

- Amount of artifact power required to unlock traits seems excessive in some cases
- Getting a higher item level Azerite piece feels punishing because you often have to grind more artifact power to unlock the SAME TRAIT you already have on a lower item level Azerite piece
- Illusion of choice in some cases (really, few people are going to skip a Reorigination Array trait)
- Azerite traits are passive and while they may on very RARE occasion alter priority of abilities, they don’t really add to gameplay in the way our activated artifact weapon ability did
- Some specs/classes badly need secondary stats that they have lost on Azerite slots

I’m sure I’m missing some others but c’mon. People keep saying “this is boring or just plain bad” and Blizzard keeps saying “if we make it do the right amount of damage it won’t be boring”. That’s like a restaurant saying we’d like their food if they just give us more of it.
Trait stacking has to go.
09/21/2018 05:01 PMPosted by Majyka
There are too many azerite traits. They will never be balanced.


There is truth in this. Azerite traits are essentially what glyphs were originally. Glyphs were supposedly changed to cosmetic only because it was too difficult to balance them all.
09/21/2018 11:40 PMPosted by Iamorc
Can we please just go back to a WoW before this whole idea of a meta-ability/talent system existed? No more AP of any variety, please.

For the next expansion just give us regular good ol' stat gear, weapons and tier set bonuses. Add a row or two to the talent 'trees' to give us some post-100 choices. Keep it up with the story and world building, that's spot on.


Simple is better when it comes to gearing and talents.

I agree 100%.
09/21/2018 02:58 PMPosted by Lore
We see this as the source of most of the frustrations with the system; if the delta between your best and worst traits wasn't so big, it'd be less frustrating when a piece of Azerite armor doesn't have your best trait on it.
You guys think the worst part of Azerite is that a couple dozen of the >200 traits need 10-20% buffs? (apropos to the recent healer/tank trait hotfix, a week after a bunch of traits were nerfed by 30-60%)

the current balance path you're taking is only going to result in specs having a dozen more traits in their peripheral vision come forward as more negligible contributions to damage and gameplay. Closing the gap is just added bloat, delete the bad traits.

Get a team and invest in a serious overhaul of the system for 8.1
  • move the traits so they can't be stacked, That way you can make each trait contribute significantly more and players feel like putting on 1 trait has a strong effect (rather than needing 3x). And if you focus ST/AOE/Cleave/Defensive to certain slots, its even better for balance
  • at a minimum double their effective throughput,
  • delete more than half of them to reduce the ridiculous bloat and scrap 90% of the generic traits,
  • redesign a bunch of the existing ones to be mechanical/effect heavy rather than direct throughput-of-ability heavy,
  • drop the trait unlock thresholds from neck levels on all pieces even more I
  • remove the pointless reforge gatekeeper<-If "fun" really and truly was the goal, the person who thought up Tomes of the Tranquil Mind and Azerite Reforgers would have had their wrists smacked.
  • Put 7-8 traits on the outside ring to reduce 'useless' pieces, more opportunity to re-customize and less bag-space bloat.<- this would be a better option to avoid "bad feeling" pieces (two from each spec, instead of 1).


--seems extreme right? that's because that's how far from 'fun' we're at with azerite. The system missed the mark by miles.

09/21/2018 03:30 PMPosted by Koriagosa
Raiding is already the fastest way to get high ilvl gear.
Yea, my failed 9 bonus rolls on two toons, and 0-1 untradable drops per raid, per week have been so much more effective than being able to grind endless +5s before raid even opened, and now grind endless 10s if I had a group who was able to stomach the abysmal fortified/teeming scaling. /s
If azerite was intended to replace tier sets and artifact weapons please at least make the traits on par with the tier set bonuses from past expansion. Right now no traits for my class are interesting it’s either cast x buffs y dmg by a certain amount or some random dmg proc trait
09/21/2018 04:01 PMPosted by Quard
09/21/2018 02:58 PMPosted by Lore
and have more planned for the very near future (primarily focused on buffing underperforming traits).


If you guys are actually trying to balance these traits, then I expect to see a lot of "increased by 100%" or more in these patch notes.

There are very, very few traits that actually alter gameplay, which is bad enough; the fact that they aren't even close to balanced either is just inexcusable. Of course, many of these balancing issues are due to generic, shared traits between classes; had Blizzard put in the effort to give us all unique traits like the Artifact Weapons were, it would probably be a lot easier to balance.


15% to ephemeral recovery, they thought that would change anything.
09/22/2018 12:53 AMPosted by Doko
Why is my heart of azeroth (Artifact from most powerful titan btw) just a thing with lots of stats that about once a week gains 2 ivls? Why not give us some more customization there.


I wish Blizz put a gigantic talent tree inside the HoA (a talent tree like pre-MoP) to customize your characters. Just a huge tree of passives that you can branch out and feel unique. (we didn't get any new abilities at 110 or 120, which was a huge letdown.)
09/22/2018 09:49 AMPosted by Tacotraplord
09/22/2018 12:53 AMPosted by Doko
Why is my heart of azeroth (Artifact from most powerful titan btw) just a thing with lots of stats that about once a week gains 2 ivls? Why not give us some more customization there.


I wish Blizz put a gigantic talent tree inside the HoA (a talent tree like pre-MoP) to customize your characters. Just a huge tree of passives that you can branch out and feel unique. (we didn't get any new abilities at 110 or 120, which was a huge letdown.)


It’s really sad to me that they took the effort to come up with this system that added a massive amount of passives to the game yet they clearly didn’t think the delivery of it through.

And now they don’t have the cojones to just admit the system was a complete failure and work from the ground up to bring us something worthwhile. They’ve said things like “we admit some of it isn’t ideal” or “we’re going to work on new traits” when that completely falls short of what this system needs - a complete, functional rework.
09/22/2018 11:16 AMPosted by Xoja
It’s really sad to me that they took the effort to come up with this system that added a massive amount of passives to the game yet they clearly didn’t think the delivery of it through.

And now they don’t have the cajones to just admit the system was a complete failure and work from the ground up to bring us something worthwhile. They’ve said things like “we admit some of it isn’t ideal” or “we’re going to work on new traits” when that completely falls short of what this system needs - a complete, functional rework.

There's no way they'll completely rework the system. It's likely fundamentally integrated in all their soon-to-be-released systems for the future of this expansion. It's also highly unlikely they'll admit to being "wrong" or give any concrete indication that their system is too flawed to be corrected by tuning and hotfixes -- mostly because any blue text is taken as gospel and when things inevitably need to change, players get fired up about "broken promises" based on something that was officially announced.

Does the system work well for players? Doesn't seem to, at all. But at this point it's going to take the life of the expansion to correct it, and probably will never be what players want it to be.

Sidenote: Cajones = drawers (like furniture). Cojones = what you meant :)

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