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Azerite Gear Feedback: September 27th

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38473-pvp-disqualification-policy-update

Blizzard responded to player concerns about the Azerite system earlier today.

Update #1:

Lore replied that the team is discussing availability of Azerite gear in Mythic+.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

Holy hell this thread went places. Okay, couple quick things:

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.

2) I noticed a few posts that seemed to believe that Azerite traits are randomized when a piece drops. They're not; each piece of gear has a preset assortment of traits to choose from. Most of y'all seem to understand that already, I just wanted to toss it out there for anyone who may not.

Targeting specific Azerite traits was merely a symptom of imbalance between traits and recent tuning passes helped bring major outliers back to an acceptable level.

Re-farming traits doesn’t feel great, but they do not have a solution for that. It’s a downside of the system.

They don’t want you to reforge gear all the time which is why reforging cost quickly ramps up. Ideally, you should have multiple pieces /sets/ of gear for different scenarios (tanking/healing).

New traits added in future raids should be more interesting.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

You can't target the gear you want at all.
There are 10 M+ dungeons, all of which drop ~10 different items per dungeon, and are all eligible to be looted from the cache (the only way to actually get the gear). This translates to a 1/100 chance to get the piece that you want, but that's only one piece. Then you've got to get 2 more pieces, each on separate 1/100 "drop" chance. Let's be lenient here and say we are given 6 months per content patch. This means that the probability of getting the items we want is actually orders of magnitude lower than the probability of getting the ideal legendary items in Legion.

The vast majority of traits are useless and uninteresting.
When all of our abilities were stripped away in 8.0, we were promised Azerite armor that would bring back the gameplay changes that artifacts brought. There are very few circumstances where this is the case, and most of the top-performing traits are just stat-padding, providing no progression or gameplay enhancements.

When we get "upgrades" we have to re-farm the same traits that we have already farmed.
We complained about having to farm traits on Legion Artifacts, and Blizzard's response was to give us only 1 or 2 traits, but to consistently lose them and have to re-farm them for the whole expansion. How is this an improvement?

Every single gear change or upgrade requires simming.
At no other point in WoW's history has simming been so required to find out if an item or trait is actually an upgrade. The proc rates, damage bonuses, or other interactions are so unintuitive that we have absolutely no idea what is an upgrade or not. At no other point in WoW's history has the casual player been at such a disadvantage for being uninformed.

340 traits are out-performing 385 traits. Significantly.
This is just embarassing, and should not be the case. How did this sort of imbalance between traits make it to live?

The reforge cost re-introduces the exact spec-lock problem people had in Legion, but worse.
Oh you want to PvP? Gotta reforge your Azerite! You want to PvE now? Reforge time! Oh, you need to tank this boss? Hearth and reforge your Azerite! People are getting their reforge costs into the thousands of gold, and it doesn't go down fast enough to allow us to reasonably perform multiple roles. How was this supposed to improve gameplay?

The massive swings in power during "tuning" passes mean we have to hold onto all gear.
We have no idea what is going to be our best trait next week, and what is best today may just be completely gutted tomorrow. Our only option as a player is hold onto every single piece of Azerite Armor and hope we have the right ones when Blizzard swings power in a different direction. Not only that, but when new traits are introduced to replace old traits, per Ion's comment, we are likely to encounter exactly the same issue.

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.

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42 minutes ago, tkioz said:

So in short... System working as intended and if you're not enjoying it your the one in the wrong?

Basically, yes. It's your fault wanting to have fun in the game, choosing your own path to gear and being able to target specific one. What a preposterous idea. That's not the game plan. Devs know what's good for you, just hand over the money and all will be fine.

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It's just sad that there is no answer to the farming situation and the drop chances from caches 😞

Anyways my solution would be: just make the probability for the loot of the cache being an azerite piece, be the probability for an additional azerite piece, besides the normal items.

Blizzard counter argumented getting azerite AND normal items out of every caches, with getting way to many pieces of azerite. That would be fine, with just a chance of sometimes getting 2 items out of it. no problem, aye?

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2 hours ago, tkioz said:

So in short... System working as intended and if you're not enjoying it your the one in the wrong?

I sincerely hope this guy is a troll and there is no such stupidity in real.

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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.

You

Fuckin

Wot

 

Did I just read "we may have to accept this as a downside" ? On a 2 year-long plan, such a big part of the system "may have to be accepted as a downside" ? Is that a joke ?

And hey, for all the other problems ? It's all your fault, and if blizz does something, it'll be more restrictive, so be happy with what you have, yeah, great.

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2 hours ago, Lentine said:

Basically, yes. It's your fault wanting to have fun in the game, choosing your own path to gear and being able to target specific one. What a preposterous idea. That's not the game plan. Devs know what's good for you, just hand over the money and all will be fine.

The freedom to "choose" your gear has never truly existed to begin with. I'll agree the acquisition of Azerite gear in general they failed to hit the mark with, and it was the same with legendaries in legion, but realistically there has always been a loose path set out for each class for ideal stats and gearing choices.

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2 hours ago, Lentine said:

Basically, yes. It's your fault wanting to have fun in the game, choosing your own path to gear and being able to target specific one. What a preposterous idea. That's not the game plan. Devs know what's good for you, just hand over the money and all will be fine.

I mean, you could just not play the game if it's not fun?

I don't disagree with the sentiment that the gearing process outside of raiding is pretty much garbage (as well as being kinda garbage in raids, thanks titanforging and persoloot!). But if that's the one thing that keeps you from having fun with WoW, then I feel sorry for you.

41 minutes ago, Baguettson said:

Did I just read "we may have to accept this as a downside" ? On a 2 year-long plan, such a big part of the system "may have to be accepted as a downside" ? Is that a joke ?

No, it's not a joke. Here is what it actually means: Something, we as developers didn't see as an issue, has come up as one for many players, and we don't have a fix yet. It does not mean "just deal with it", it means that they just don't know yet how to fix this problem, and might never find a solution without scrapping the system altogether. And if they really have to resort to that, it won't be happening in a hotfix.

There is a very clear disconnect between the developer and the user, doesn't matter if it's WoW or any other software, or if it's even IT related at all. And it's easy to spout memes and say "the developer thinks they know best" as if the player base knows any better. The player base has no fucking clue what they actually want. If there's no progression system, the endgame is boring, If there is one, it's too grindy. If there is a little bit of it, then it's not enough. If it's too impactful, it's bad. If it's not impactful enough, it's boring. 

 

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Dear Blizzard:

4 hours ago, Stan said:

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.

You are notorious for making things not simplistic. "Your attacks have a chance to..." "Your heals have a chance to..." - we don't know these things without simming, datamining or playtesting since day one of the 2004 beta. And we're not even talking about generally obscure ICD's yet. You are mentioning "We could solve this by..." and then provide a very simple solution you haven't tried for 14 years.

 

4 hours ago, Stan said:

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.

And this was completely unexpected over months of playtesting on PTR? "Hey guys, this system may have a few downsides." never occurred in your minds? You felt it was okay to add RNG on top of RNG, and are now disappointed with the results? Hindsight 20/20

 

4 hours ago, Stan said:

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.

Because testing these before and during the PTR is again something you just don't do? All the thousands, ten-thousands, hundred-thousands of willing playtesters doing this for free and providing feedback on the PTR forums since January or earlier regarding concerns didn't raise a flag for you? Hindsight 20/20 again.

 

4 hours ago, Stan said:

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.

It's just going to take you 3-9 months of feedback for you before you actually start implementing a possible solution that may overshoot - or undershoot - it by a large margin regardless; based on results in the past.

 

 

I doubt this'll be read by them, and that's okay. I just felt like sharing my piece.

Edited by Yridaa
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I think the best thing now for itemization will be reintroducing badge system. Like, now you don't have any hard prove that you will get something valuable from m+, thus totally killing the incentive to do it (at least for me). So why not giving badges with help of which you are guaranteed to eventually get something you want?

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2 hours ago, Kurosu said:

I sincerely hope this guy is a troll and there is no such stupidity in real.

So I'm a troll and/or stupid because I don't eat Blizzard's PR horse dung with a smile on my face and pretend it's chocolate?

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6 hours ago, Stan said:

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. 

I just created an account to comment on this because it is just absurd. Remember when they made primary stats automatically switch based on spec to prevent us from having to carry around several sets of gear to wear based on spec or content?

Also, remember when they removed reforging because they didn't want players to have to sim or reforge away from secondary stats once we reached certain breakpoints? All of this to simplify the game, but now they have backtracked. Not only have they backtracked, but they have made it worse in every way imaginable. 

Edited by Malthezzar
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Hahaha nów all the whiners complaining About artifacts can complain more about azerite gear 😄

artifacts were perfect comparing to this shit, and i really liked them. Blizzard should give us the item system from legion back and delete azerite forever

I hope they Didnt abandon sets for classes 

Edited by Dvanom
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So I rarely post at all, but this whole discussion is one of the main issues i have with this otherwise pretty great expac.  

 

I don't know how to quote in sections, lol, but the part about how "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." seems like he missed the point of what it means to be useless and uninteresting.  Most of the traits do nothing in changing your gameplay, rotation, etc. (i play an outlaw rogue and we have 3 traits that do just that, but my other alts do not).  Using simming as something that is "at odds" with being uninteresting is AT ODDS with blizzards very stance on overcomplicating stats, as they demonstrated when they eliminated hit/expertise, eliminated reforging (even though it would have been fine after eliminating hit/exp), what lead them to say during the beta of this expac "we want ilvl to be the main factor in deciding whether or not items are upgrades", etc.  

 

Perhaps add in traits that impact classes in other ways, specifically the inner ring traits that are so pointless "heal when a mob dies".  Make these traits do things similar to the OLD minor glyphs. something like "rebirth is instant while in cat form" for feral, or "a lesser healing rain is autocast when you use shammy wolves" for enhance. These would be useful and interesting, at least more so than throughput increases that take no real effort to use properly. 

 

Moreover, the very idea that they are ok with these huge disparities and with the idea that chasing the RNG dragon to get traits that are not shitty, is crazy, considering it was largely agreed that leggos in legion were not a great system.  Either ACTUALLY tune things to be close enough to each other (with raid traits being slightly better to reflect the increased effort in aquiring them, and since M+ is farmable), or make sure the overall effectiveness of all traits are never greater than or equal to the value of increased item level.  

 

Aside from that, is no one ever going to acknowledge that within a day of trait tuning changes being pushed through, sites like herodamage and bloodmallet already have comprehensive rankings using sims? Is it unreasonable to expect blizzard to have the ability to use these, or perhaps more powerful tools to PROPERLY tune things? Or are we supposed to pretend these resources don't exist or are not effective?  

 

I don't hate the entire system, but I do feel it is being underutilized as an aspect of the game that can be fun.  I also see it as something that has backed blizz into a position they vehemently stated they were going to avoid after last expac.  It sucks that all this dev time is devoted to these things, and not to fixing guild control/UI issues, finding interesting ways to make guilds meaningful again, and other community focused changes that i think would be largely welcomed, but i digress. 

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51 minutes ago, Dvanom said:

Hahaha nów all the whiners complaining About artifacts can complain more about azerite gear 😄

 

I think you discredit people that are trying to provide constructive feedback on how to improve their game here. Most of us have played WoW for years, some for more than a decade. It is very fair for them to criticize changes made on a game they love.

 

53 minutes ago, Dvanom said:

 artifacts were perfect comparing to this shit, and i really liked them. Blizzard should give us the item system from legion back and delete azerite forever

I agree to a certain point. Artifacts were certainly flawed in the early parts of Legion, especially so when rolling alts and having to painstakingly level Artifact Knowledge up on that alt to get even close to the level of a main. (Which you couldn't, because mains always stay several levels ahead because of how long it takes to get AK)

 

They solved that part with account-wide progression and even later with server-wide progression. Something they continued in BfA for the amulet. I agree that this latest installment of this system is the most fair, and while it will still take time to level your amulets with artifact power, it isn't nearly as impossible as it was in early Legion.

56 minutes ago, Dvanom said:

 I hope they Didnt abandon sets for classes 

During the dev diaries/talks/q'n'a they wanted to get rid of sets altogether when they implemented this azerite trait system. So unless they go back on their word on that (More likely in the next expansion, rather than this one), we won't be seeing any sets for a long, long time.

 

59 minutes ago, GorditoLOL said:

Or are we supposed to pretend these resources don't exist or are not effective?  

This is a tricky question. Despite that we can be very certain that they can use similar, identical or even more effective tools; the results that Blizzard provides us with xpac after xpac proves us otherwise...

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2 hours ago, tkioz said:

So I'm a troll and/or stupid because I don't eat Blizzard's PR horse dung with a smile on my face and pretend it's chocolate?

Well you are stupid enough to support this crap they do with traits so dunno

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3 hours ago, tkioz said:

So I'm a troll and/or stupid because I don't eat Blizzard's PR horse dung with a smile on my face and pretend it's chocolate?

 

40 minutes ago, Kurosu said:

Well you are stupid enough to support this crap they do with traits so dunno

You two got off on the wrong foot here. tkioz was being cynical towards Blizzard in his original post. I believe Kurosu interpreted it as if tkioz was in agreement with Blizzard here.

 

You're both on the same side here, the way I'm reading it at least.

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In one paragraph he makes a hipster statement, remembering the days of grinding restist-gear, and how it was one of the worst states of the game.  And then, in a following paragraph, he states that it is an intended goal that Blizzard wants players to carry around different sets of gear in their bags and NOT change the traits on their gear to cater to their playstyle or content that they wish to play.

 

These two statements contradict each other and show that this aspect of the game is reverting to a system that has been proven to be flawed and harmful to the player-base.  I've noticed that many "new" things implemented in BFA are just reskinned versions of systems that they have already tried before (unsuccessfully).  It's a trend that doesn't inspire confidence.

Edited by Ancalagon
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5 hours ago, Yridaa said:

You are notorious for making things not simplistic. "Your attacks have a chance to..." "Your heals have a chance to..." - we don't know these things without simming, datamining or playtesting since day one of the 2004 beta. And we're not even talking about generally obscure ICD's yet. You are mentioning "We could solve this by..." and then provide a very simple solution you haven't tried for 14 years. 

And this was completely unexpected over months of playtesting on PTR? "Hey guys, this system may have a few downsides." never occurred in your minds? You felt it was okay to add RNG on top of RNG, and are now disappointed with the results? Hindsight 20/20

The only thing that Blizz didn't anticipate correctly was that people would be upset about chasing Best-In-Slot pieces over time and maintaining multiple gear sets. I can understand why they are now confused about the negative reaction, as both are talked about fondly out of the other side of the player's mouths in service of WoW nostalgia. In Legion, basically all armor slots were non-spec specific. The rings and trinkets were generally targeted as spec specific gear, without primary stat and distinct effects. As you received Legendary pieces, some would be spec-agnostic and others hyper focused on spec, another piece to the gear set min-max puzzle.

Azerite gear is meant to be the NEW gear-set variable, with light customization. A spec-specific gear set will have certain Azerite gear pieces for those 3 slots, and maybe some situational swaps based on secondary traits and the trinkets/rings that can't be re-used -- additionally, if you DON'T have a specific Azerite gear set for a given situation (switching to a new spec when necessary, PvP), you can still perform at a high level with the provided primary and secondary stats, even though the traits may be vestigial. Anyone comparing it to artifacts betrays their ignorance: unfortunately Blizz did this in the pre-release coverage which I think was a major mistake, but in hindsight they were only drawing the parallels in terms of the customization aspect.

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15 minutes ago, Ancalagon said:

In one paragraph he makes a hipster statement, remembering the days of grinding restist-gear, and how it was one of the worst states of the game.  And then, in a following paragraph, he states that it is an intended goal that Blizzard wants players to carry around different sets of gear in their bags and NOT change the traits on their gear to cater to their playstyle or content that they wish to play.

See my above reply to another post. It is not inaccurate to say "carrying around an entire set of new gear isn't a positive experience for a lot of players", and also that players who want to excel in multiple situations should expect to carry around a few extra pieces. You can't min-max without some effort, dude. The point of Azerite gear is to condense the gear swapping into a 3-piece set to minimize the amount of stuff the players are tracking and keeping in their bags. And if it's too much trouble for you, then you can still perform at a perfectly acceptable level without the optimal traits chosen, because of how those gear pieces are still giving you piles of stats. 90% of the "problems" with the Azerite gear is player perception (and some Blizzard communication errors).

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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.

This is exactly the problem I have with Blizzard as of late.

They go out of their way to dictate how we play the game, while swearing up and down that they actually aren't.

You've got one piece that has both a good tanking trait and a good healing trait, and you want to bounce between different roles to get into different pug groups? Either get good and have 2 sets of gear (that is nearly impossible to farm), reforge at an increasingly large cost, or go into the content with a neutral trait that kinda-sorta works for both specs. No min-maxing for you, because you're going to play our way. Don't like it? Good, because we're going to make it even harder.

Got something in your spellbook that is a niche ability and should be amazing against a certain kind of mechanic, like a snare/root or Blessing of Freedom? Nope, doesn't work against this mob, you have to man mode it. Why? Because we made your class abilities not work intentionally. You're going to play the game our way.

Want to use Mythic and Mythic+ as a way to make money by earning Hydrocores, so people can buy your crafted gear and do the content with you? Sorry, all of the gear you can make with them is BoP, because you're going to play our way. If you want to make a 355, you have to run content that will make it irrelevant within a week for BoP mats that will be obsolete as soon as you get your pieces. Hell, I don't even need to craft 370's and I haven't even set foot into heroic yet. Talk about an utterly broken and stupid system of progression. The only reason for the vast majority of people to craft these pieces is going to be for transmog.

If they would do at least a little bit of catering to us such that we could play our way, we wouldn't be nearly as pissy about their systems.

Edited by Tarazet

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56 minutes ago, Tarazet said:

You've got one piece that has both a good tanking trait and a good healing trait, and you want to bounce between different roles to get into different pug groups? Either get good and have 2 sets of gear (that is nearly impossible to farm), reforge at an increasingly large cost, or go into the content with a neutral trait that kinda-sorta works for both specs. No min-maxing for you, because you're going to play our way. Don't like it? Good, because we're going to make it even harder.

Best-in-slot is best-in-slot, that doesn't mean that the items that aren't BiS are useless. You can push high level content without 100% optimized gear if you know how to play. And if you're pushing that content anyway, you've got about 50 different possible gear sources. It's weird seeing people complain about WoW being simplified, being showered with loot, but at the same time complaining min-maxing requires some effort.

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2 minutes ago, CorneliusBrutus said:

Best-in-slot is best-in-slot, that doesn't mean that the items that aren't BiS are useless. You can push high level content without 100% optimized gear if you know how to play. And if you're pushing that content anyway, you've got about 50 different possible gear sources. It's weird seeing people complain about WoW being simplified, being showered with loot, but at the same time complaining min-maxing requires some effort.

The complaint is that they are actively trying to get in the way of people min-maxing, which is something that has always been part of the experience. Now, there have been times that they catered a little too much to the numbers crunchers - I'm looking at you, reforging and 15% hit/expertise/spirit caps - but this is a first for them actively punishing people for using their built-in systems too much.

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3 minutes ago, Tarazet said:

The complaint is that they are actively trying to get in the way of people min-maxing, which is something that has always been part of the experience. Now, there have been times that they catered a little too much to the numbers crunchers - I'm looking at you, reforging and 15% hit/expertise/spirit caps - but this is a first for them actively punishing people for using their built-in systems too much.

I am just constantly surprised at WoW players. I had thought anyone upon seeing the Azerite gear system's workings, would inevitably come to the conclusion "oh, if I want to play multiple roles extremely optimally, it would be a good idea to keep a dedicated set of these 3 pieces for that specific thing". Apparently that hasn't been the case. Reforging costs are meant to help guide you to this conclusion ("well this isn't something I should do often"), but apparently people are just didn't get that hint and are now outraged. Reforging has always been an "oops I picked the wrong thing" or "I'd like to try a new thing" button.

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    • By Stan
      In this week's 8.3 PTR build, Blizzard's reducing the effectiveness of Deathbolt and buffing Drain Soul and Nightfall. You can find a complete overview of all Visions of N'Zoth class changes here.
      Blizzard (Source)
      I’ve updated the Affliction section in the OP with recent new changes. It now reads:
      Warlock Affliction Deathbolt now deals 20% of the total remaining damage of the Warlock’s damage over time effects on the target (was 30%). Drain Soul damage increased by 50%. Nightfall now increases the damage of Shadow Bolt by 50% (was 25%), and now activates 33% more often. Developers’ notes: One of the key concepts about Affliction Warlock is spreading damage over time spells on a number of different targets. While Deathbolt keys off these types of spells, it provides more-than-expected burst damage and outperforms the other two talents in every situation. In addition to reducing Deathbolt’s effectiveness, we’re improving the other two options to give more options to Affliction Warlocks.
    • By Stan
      Here is a an updated blog post with all Class changes coming in Patch 8.3.
      Check out our Visions of N'Zoth Content Hub for more details!
      Blizzard (Source)
      In our next major content update, Visions of N’Zoth, we’re working on some tuning updates to a few specs that are under- and over-performing in various ways.
      Developers’ notes: Specs which excel at DoTs on multiple targets have, over the course of many tiers of content, generally had very high performance on the average. Their DPS advantage in raid encounters that play into their multi-target strength (which are relatively common) is not balanced by a comparable disadvantage in other areas. A small reduction in damage on these specs will leave them noticeably strong in the situations in which they’re strong (albeit slightly less than before), and give other specs more opportunity to stand out at other times. At the same time, a few of the Essences added in Rise of Azshara are not performing as well as we would have liked, so we’re increasing the effectiveness of some parts of them to help keep them competitive with the other Essences available.
      With the first build of the update on our Public Test Realm (PTR), you will see the following changes:
      Classes
      Druid Balance Moonfire damage and periodic damage reduced by 10%. Sunfire damage and periodic damage reduced by 10%. High Noon (Azerite Trait) damage increased by 11%. Power of the Moon (Azerite Trait) damage increased by 11%. Mage Frost Ice Lance damage increased by 20%. Developers’ note: Ice Lance damage hasn’t kept up with Icicles scaling, making builds that ignore Ice Lance possible. The intent of this change is to give Frost Mages a better incentive to use Ice Lance within their rotation, as a DPS net gain. Monk Brewmaster Stamina bonus reduced to 30% (was 35%). Stagger percentage reduced to 90% of Agility (was 105%). High Tolerance now increases the effectiveness of Stagger by 5% (was 8%). Developers’ notes: Brewmaster’s extremely high effective health against Physical damage meant that they are rarely in danger against spike damage that threatens other tanks. This should still be a strength of Brewmaster, but not by such a wide margin. Fixed a bug causing Gift of the Ox orbs to spawn too often for players with high amounts of Stamina. Mistweaver Rising Mist healing increased 30%, and now extends Heal-over-time effects by 3 seconds (was 2 seconds). [Coming in a future PTR build] Developers’ note: This talent is currently overshadowed on its row, and we want to make sure it’s competitive enough to make its unique playstyle a viable option. Life Cocoon now absorbs for 55% of the caster’s maximum health (was 1100% of the caster’s spellpower). [Coming in a future PTR build] Developers’ note: This ability had gotten weaker compared to player health pools since the start of the expansion, and this will help it better maintain its value. Windwalker Rising Sun Kick damage increased by 25%. Blackout Kick damage increased by 10%. Developers’ note: These changes are intended to help Windwalkers perform better in single-target fights. Paladin Holy Glimmer of Light (Azerite Trait) may now be applied to a maximum of 8 targets. Developers’ notes: Over the past year, builds centered around this trait have steadily pulled ahead of all other Holy Paladin playstyles, and to some extent all other healers in high-end content. This change is meant to preserve the gameplay of the trait, but limit the ability to increase its value drastically by stacking every possible bonus that reduces Holy Shock cooldown. Priest Discipline Atonement healing reduced to 50% (was 55%). Mastery: Grace effectiveness increased by 12%. Developers’ notes: Discipline’s ability to contribute both damage and healing is slightly too high for what one character can bring to a group composition. At the same time, we’re making their Mastery stat slightly more attractive. Schism now increases damage done from Priest spells and abilities only. Developers’ notes: This is intended to be consistent with other class cooldowns. Shadow Auspicious Spirits damage bonus reduced to 25% (was 50%). Fixed a bug causing Spiteful Apparitions (Azerite Trait) to be increased by 75% if you do not have Auspicious Spirits talented. Developers’ notes: The multiplicative interaction between Auspicious Spirits, Spiteful Apparitions, and Chorus of Insanity has specifically been a big part of Shadow’s damage scaling somewhat out of control at high target counts. Chorus of Insanity critical strike bonus reduced by 25%. Shadow Word: Pain damage reduced by 8%. Vampiric Touch damage reduced by 8%. Warlock Affliction Deathbolt now deals 20% of the total remaining damage of the Warlock’s damage over time effects on the target (was 30%). Drain Soul damage increased by 50%. Nightfall now increases the damage of Shadow Bolt by 50% (was 25%), and now activates 33% more often. Developers’ notes: One of the key concepts about Affliction Warlock is spreading damage over time spells on a number of different targets. While Deathbolt keys off these types of spells, it provides more-than-expected burst damage and outperforms the other two talents in every situation. In addition to reducing Deathbolt’s effectiveness, we’re improving the other two options to give more options to Affliction Warlocks. Essences
      Worldvein Resonance Major rank 1, when used, now additionally causes you to gain +50% bonus to stats from Lifeblood Shards for 10 seconds. Vision of Perfection Proc rate increased by 12%. Unbound Force Major rank 1 damage increased by 40%. Minor rank 1 duration increased to 4 seconds (was 3 seconds). Minor rank 3 increase of duration increased to 2 seconds (was 1 second). Purification Protocol Major rank 1 damage increased by 15%. Major rank 2 now has the potential work on targets that are part of raid and dungeon encounters. Vitality Conduit We’ve rebuilt the way this Essences works, and it should be visually more impactful, as you will now see healing on your targets. As always, changes like these are a work in progress. We are likely to make further adjustments for testing throughout the PTR.
      Thank you very much for your testing and feedback!
    • By Stan
      Patch 8.3 comes with a new Essence which allows you to borrow the currently slotted Essence of your target, even if it's not available to your current role. It doesn't work with passive Essences and requires coordination to ensure the cooldown incurred doesn’t interfere with whatever you're doing next.
      The Essence can be obtained from Ny'alotha, the Waking City. Blizzard explained how the targeting works and shared more information about the Essence. The Formless Void is a general Essence, meaning it's available to all specializations. Tanks, for instance, will be able to borrow Healer Essences, and so on.
      The Formless Void
      Rank 1
      Major Power: Replica of Knowledge - Replicate the energy in your target's Heart of Azeroth, gaining access to rank 1 of their currently slotted Major Essence for the next 15 sec. The Formless Void will go on cooldown for 50% longer than the base cooldown of the Essence you replicated. Does not work on passive Essences. Minor Power: Symbiotic Presence - Each time any ally within 40 yds uses an Azerite Essence, gain 89 pri for 20 sec. Unique: Corruption reduced by 10. Rank 2
      Major Power: Replica of Knowledge - Replica of Knowledge can now copy up to rank 2 of your target's current Major Essence, and the increased cooldown is lowered by 10%. Minor Power: Symbiotic Presence - pri bonus increased by 25%. Rank 3
      Major Power: Replica of Knowledge - Replica of Knowledge can now copy up to rank 3 of your target's current Major Essence, and the increased cooldown is lowered by 10%. Minor Power: Symbiotic Presence - When an ally within 40 yds uses an Azerite Essence, you and that ally gain 0 Haste for 20 sec. Check out our Patch 8.3 Content Hub to learn more about Visions of N'Zoth.
      Blizzard (Source)
      So, I guess the question is, what type of scenarios might unfold that would be appropriate for this essence?
      What would you consider the use case for it, and how will you react when its obviously either too strong or too weak for that use case?
      The Formless Void mostly exists for the purposes of flexibility, which is why all roles can use it. It requires a lot of planning, it requires you to coordinate and know who you plan on borrowing what Essence from, and for what situation, and make sure that the cooldown incurred doesn’t interfere with whatever the next situation you have to manage is.
      As a note, you can also borrow something from a player of the enemy faction. The targeting is very unrestricted other than the obvious - it has to be a player, they need to have an Essence currently slotted that is valid to copy (fully passives Major Essences are ineligible).
      Does the “Formless Void” essence require the correct role to copy an essence. For example, could you copy the tank Azshara raid essence as a dps to gain access to a defensive cooldown for a particularly nasty damage taken check, or could you copy a dps essence as a tank or a healer in order to push a particularly challenging dps check.
      You can borrow any eligible Essence, even if it is not normally available to your current role. For example, a Protection Paladin player can borrow a healer specific thing such as the new Spirit of Preservation, or a DPS specific thing such as Essence of the Focusing Iris.
    • By Starym
      It's back! The Recruit A Friend system has now officially returned, with many new features and goodies. You can get game time,an enchant, a pet and a mount and armor set! Blizzard have re-explained all the details below, but the big news is that it's live right now!
      Recruit A Friend (source)
      Ready to make memories with your friends and share fantastic adventures with them across Azeroth and beyond? The new Recruit A Friend program is the perfect way to show them the ropes.
      What’s New?
      The new-and-improved Recruit A Friend (RAF) program retains fan-favorite features, and it introduces a bounty of new rewards—because Azeroth is best experienced with friends at your side. Just like the previous program, you can teleport to each other with Friend-to-Friend Summoning (which works on a 30 minute cooldown) and receive 50% bonus experience when partied together.
      More Recruits, More Rewards
      The new Recruit A Friend program allows you to be linked with up to 10 friends, and earns game time and other unique rewards—like mounts, pets, and more—the longer they play. Players new to WoW and veteran players who have not purchased game time on their account in the past two years can be enlisted in this program. Each time one of your recruits adds game time to their account, you’ll earn progress toward a new reward. The more friends you invite, the faster you’ll earn the rewards, as one friend adding multiple months of game time earns the same rewards as multiple friends adding one month of game time each. See all the rewards you can get below!*
      Rikki - 1 Month Game Time – 2 Months Explorer’s Dunetrekker – 3 Months Title: Renowned Explorer – 4 Months Game Time – 5 Months Enchant: Stinging Sands – 6 Months Renowned Explorer’s Tabard – 7 Months Game Time – 8 Months Explorer’s Jungle Hopper – 9 Months Renowned Explorer’s Rucksack – 10 Months Game Time – 11 Months Renowned Explorer’s Attire – 12 Months Rewards shown from left to right: Renowned Explorer’s full set as shown (Attire, Tabard, and Rucksack), Rikki, Renowned Explorer’s Jungle Hopper, and Explorer’s Dunetrekker. Not pictured – Enchant: Stinging Sands. Rikki—This curious monkey is ready to see the world at your side. Explorer’s Dunetrekker—Traverse deserts, jungles, tundra, and beyond on this two-seater mount. Renowned Explorer Title—Distinguish yourself with a unique title. Enchant: Stinging Sands—Enhance the appearance of your weapons with swirling sands. Renowned Explorer’s Tabard—Don this rugged tabard to show off your adventurous streak. Explorer’s Jungle Hopper—Soar through Azeroth’s skies on this mount for two. Renowned Explorer’s Rucksack—Always be prepared for adventure with this bustling backpack. Renowned Explorer’s Attire—Look the part of a grizzled outdoorsperson with this rugged appearance. Game Time
      Every 3 months after your 12-month reward, you’ll get a game time reward.
      Hover or tap on the image above to see the Renowned Explorer’s Tabard and the Renowned Explorer’s Tabard Rucksack isolated from the Renowned Explorer's Attire. Go it Together
      Time flies when you’re having fun, and it goes even faster when you and your recruits play together. Conquer Azeroth alongside your friends and you’ll both receive a 50% bonus to experience for faster leveling when partied together. You can also summon each other once every 30 minutes. Furthermore, our new Party Sync feature makes it easier than ever to level with friends. When activated, everyone in the party becomes aligned to the same quest state and phase. You’ll also have access to a “replay quest” feature that allows players who’ve already completed certain quests to replay them with their friends for rewards that are appropriate to their current level, regardless of the quest’s original level. Quests can be replayed for rewards once per day.
      If you’d prefer to play with your friend using a current character rather than starting a new one, you now can. By using Party Sync, you can choose to have your level adjusted so you can quest and experience outdoor content with your friends as they level up. And, If you want to queue for instanced content (such as Battlegrounds and dungeons) in their level range, you can choose to join them by having your level scaled down.
      Lead with Confidence
      To help you help your friends, we’ve created a brand-new RAF panel in-game to help you know when to expect your next reward and given your access to Party Sync. The RAF panel also lists special activities available to players who participate in the program. Complete these in-game challenges with your recruits to earn even more rewards.
      Start Your Journey
      The new Recruit A Friend lets you generate a custom link in-game that you can send to your friends. This link will help you and your recruit connect in-game, and you’ll be able to see if they’ve purchased game time, which will lead to rewards for you! For each month your recruits have active game time, you’ll earn a new reward, such as unique pets, mounts, game time, and more. These rewards unlock each month and scale with the amount of time your recruits have subscribed for. And, of course, with Party Sync, you’ll be able to journey with your friends on any of your characters.
      Adventure Awaits
      Recruit A Friend returns to World of Warcraft in the next few months. When you’re ready to bring your friends to Azeroth, simply log in to WoW and generate an invite link through the Recruit A Friend interface, then send that link to your friends. Up to four friends can use it to link their accounts to yours. To recruit more friends, you’ll need to generate a new link, which you can do once every 30 days.
      *In-game rewards are available to use in World of Warcraft, but not in World of Warcraft® Classic. Free game time earned through Recruit A Friend provides access to both World of Warcraft and WoW Classic.
    • By Starym
      Here come today's BfA hotfixes, featuring the already announced raid nerfs (and the Palce opening to cross-realm groups on Mythic), with lady Ashvane and Queen Azshara getting significantly easier, mostly on Mythic. We also get a change to how the Battle of Nazjatar works, as it is no longer on a fixed delay, and we get some Mechagon quest and world changes as well.
      October 22 (source)
      Dungeons and Raids
      Azshara’s Eternal Palace The Eternal Palace is now available for cross-realm groups on Mythic difficulty. Lady Ashvane Lady Ashvane’s health reduced by 5% in Mythic difficulty. Rippling Wave damage reduced by 10% in Mythic difficulty. Waterlogged periodic damage reduced by 10% in Mythic difficulty. Queen Azshara The "Stand Together!" and "Stay!" decree combination is no longer possible in Heroic difficulty. Overzealous Hulk and Tidemistress health reduced by 10% in Mythic difficulty. Draining Azshara’s Ancient Ward now reduces its energy by an additional 5 points in all difficulties. Empowering a Ward of Power now increases its energy by an additional 5 points in all difficulties. Healer-specialization characters are now less likely to be targeted with decree combinations that include “March!” in all difficulties. Short Circuit now drains 10% less energy from the affected Ward in all difficulties. Essence of Azeroth now has an increased duration if there are fewer than 20 players in the raid in Normal and Heroic difficulties, and lasts 30 seconds (was 25 seconds) in Mythic difficulty. Developers’ note: These changes were made to smooth out the difficulty curve of the instance as we transition into the next raid tier, something we often do after all Mythic Raid Hall of Fame slots have been earned. Player versus Player
      The start time for the Battle of Nazjatar is no longer fixed to a 3-hour interval. The delay between events now has random variance. Developers’ note: As players have learned the timing of the event over the course of Rise of Azshara, increasingly the perceived optimal way to participate is to camp the control points in advance of the start time. By adding some variance (which still averages out to a 3-hour interval), we hope to make the Battle for Nazjatar more dynamic without reducing the overall frequency of the event. Quests
      "Energy Cells for Everyone " now resets daily (was weekly) and will be automatically removed from players’ quest logs with the daily reset. World
      The Charging Station construction project in Mechagon now appears significantly faster after the Charging Station is destroyed.
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