Don’t worry! We can fix it! Just put some more stuff in the hole where stuff goes in!
Currently the Azerite system is…a bit unstable, as most of you may have heard or read about.
In case you’re not up to date, let me explain:
Currently there are so called Outliers; traits that are very powerful for a certain spec. These traits, without a doubt, promote using lower ilvl gear with that trait over higher ilvl gear with a different one in certain (not all) situations.
To give an example, this week I found myself doing the weekly conquest cap for a PvP chestpiece of item level 355. The item in question had the Swift Roundhouse trait, which is the Outlier trait for Windwalker monks. It’s very comparable to an Arms warrior’s Seismic Wave trait (which made Overpower hit multiple targets) in the sense that the value of even one trait is off-the-charts high.
This is the current simulation for all Azerite traits, in terms of how powerful they are if you have 1-3 traits, as shown by the legend on the bottom right. Needless to say, Swift Roundhouse is up by miles. Having 2 is already better than having 3 of another trait. Now, me and many other windwalker monks knew it was bound to be nerfed, as you do.
But to see it happen still sucks. We didn’t hunt down pieces that gave this trait for nothing. We did it because we knew it would make us more powerful than the other traits. No one in their right mind was gonna be like: “Oh yeah! Ruinous bolt! That’s okay to keep! It’s a nice item level :)”
As you can see: even a 385 piece of Azerite gear, which is currently the maximum, will not give you enough power to beat a 370 Swift Roundhouse piece.
Now, let’s go back to my example of the 355 PvP chest. As you may have guessed, yes, it was an upgrade over a 370 Azerite chestpiece that came from my mythic+ cache that same day.
I personally think, like many others, that the Azerite system is screwed up in one way or another. However, it’s not something that they can’t fix.
This is my own system that I thought up way back before BfA launched and the Azerite system was fully explained:
Let’s say you loot a 340 piece of gear, or in common terms, a piece of gear from Mythic dungeons:
The moment you get your first mythic dungeon completion on that character, it unlocks the first trait for your Azerite pieces of Item Level 340.
Once you have the Achievement for completing every dungeon on Mythic, all traits are unlocked for the 340 pieces, turning them into 345 pieces, making them more valuable.
Now you grind out some more stuff, and in comes Uldir:
The moment you kill MOTHER on Normal difficulty, the first tier of your 355 Azerite gear unlocks. (This can also be applied to LFR MOTHER, which just makes the first traits for ULDIR Azerite amor of 340 unlock.)
Let’s say you kill MOTHER on Heroic, now both 355 AND 370 Azerite pieces get their first traits.
Once you kill her on Mythic, all Azerite pieces of Item Level 385 or lower get their first traits unlocked.
As you progress through Uldir, and kill bosses like for example Vectis or Mythrax, you unlock more traits like ring 2 and 3. Killing G’huun will unlock the Final trait, given you have the achievement for killing the other 7 bosses.
What does this all mean?
It means that your character progresses through the raid, without the need to loot items at all. If you’re coming into the raid fresh, your character will have item level 345 Azerite pieces from the Mythic Dungeons you did in the weeks before Uldir. Simply killing the bosses on Normal will reward the players with the new traits for higher Azerite armor that they may have looted. Did they not? That’s part of the game sadly, you don’t ALWAYS get the loot that you want, it’s how things have worked for many many years, it’s nothing new.
However, once you do loot those items, they will immidiately be Item Level 360, which is a nice stepping stone up to Heroic.
–More streamlined progression without the need for players to grind their bones to dust for more traits through the Azerite necklace.
–Alt friendly, as the achievements for killing bosses could be made account wide, giving all new characters access to these powerful traits, making them able to step into any level at a faster pace.
–More fun and enjoyment as a result of feeling rewarded for killing bosses of an adequate difficulty. If you find yourself in a guild that does normal, then killing the boss on normal will give you a sense of reward, even if you didn’t receive any Azerite armor. After all, maybe it’ll drop next week!
-This system makes the Azerite Necklace near irrelevant. Grinding AP will only cause the neck to go up item levels, not gain you any traits like it does on live, which punishes those that want to grind towards a more rewarding goal.
-This idea works in a world centered around PvE content. However, with PvP being a thing, are PvP’ers going to feel forced to clear a raid to get traits on their gear? Perhaps it should be locked behind getting higher rating in PvP?
But then how will that overlap with PvE? Will 2400 rated players become more powerful than mythic raiders because they unlock more powerful gear at a faster rate, causing PvE players to feel forced into doing PvP at a high level? Or will it balance out?
My point of this post is that I want to see the Azerite system succeed. It has potential to work in great ways, but currently it feels like the only way to make it fair to people is by nerfing the outliers, causing classes to straight up lose 5-15% of their damage, depending on the scale of the nerf. This causes people to be forced to hope for different Azerite pieces on an almost WEEKLY basis.
I for one now need to hope that my next Azerite piece will have Dagger in the Back as one of its traits, else it might not be strong enough to replace my soon to be nerfed Swift Roundhouse traits. But then what? Is Dagger in the Back gonna be nerfed next week? What’s the best trait by then? With no way to farm high Item level Azerite, it currently feels like we’re being forced to play with the hand that we’re dealt. But if I need to grind another Quazillion AP through island expeditions to get the traits on those pieces, only to replace them with even higher pieces with even higher requirements, then where does it stop? Will we ever press that beautiful middle ring trait? Or will a new tier have released by then?
I never got to touch the inner ring on my mythic dungeon gear, and I’m still ways off to use it on my heroic gear. This week we’re going into mythic! If I loot an Azerite piece, it adds more required traits! Will the carrot ever stop being moved? We can only wait and see.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading my post. I really do want the best for the game, and I’m not one to say I’m gonna quit or reroll in a serious manner. I love this game and its players (well, most of them), and I only wish for it last as long as possible, and stay playable as long as possible. But with the current state, it’s hard to look through the forest of problems that we have to deal with every reset. I only hope that things will improve as time goes on. They usually do, so why not now?
Screenshots of logs are courtesy of Bloodmallet.com, which I use myself to see what items are good for my character. The site is regularly updated, and is worth checking out if you’re unsure whether or not certain things are upgrades.
Until next time, Tasogare signing off. Back to grinding island expeditions!