Wednesday, October 10, 2018

An Alternate Azerite Design

I've been musing over ways that Azerite gear could have been improved. As I've said before, it falls a bit short, but doesn't seem like it is that far from a good system.

For me, the biggest flaw is the link between the Azerite item and the Azerite necklace. It seems kind of awkward that your necklace level determines the power of the item you just got. I suppose it makes sense as a catch-up mechanic, but it still seems not quite right.

Here's my proposal for a different, but similar, design:
  • Azerite gear has the current ring and trait structure.
  • The first ring is always unlocked.
  • Each Azerite piece has an independent AP bar and levels.
  • When you earn AP, each piece you are wearing gains the same amount of AP separately.
  • When a piece's AP hits the next level, the next ring unlocks.
  • The weekly AP requirement for level reduction applies to the gear pieces.
  • The amount of AP required to level an item might vary with the tier. I.e. i325 gear would level up faster than i355.
Basically, Azerite items have levels, and they level up as you earn AP while wearing them. They always start at level 1, and you always have to level them up. At some point, though, they will hit max level.

I think this mechanism, having to level up Azerite items separately, is more obvious and intuitive. It fits in with all the fantasies of levelling up and improving gear. It kills the awkward tie in between the necklace level and the gear level, which behaves oddly when the two are not in sync.

It also gives you many smaller goals, as you try and level up specific items.

There are three problems I see. First, having to wear the item might be harder for specs you don't play a lot. Personally, I'm not too fussed about it. I don't think it's wrong for you to have to tank to improve your tanking items. You could always reforge the piece to your main spec, level it up, and then reforge it back.

The second problem is that this does require more data. Each Azerite piece needs to store the current AP, as well as a level scheme. I don't know if requiring this extra data would have performance implications. This may have been the reason that Azerite gear levels were tied to the necklace in the first place.

The final problem is that the hardcore might insist on having every Azerite piece and levelling them all up. My inclination is to let them. Stopping the hardcore from being hardcore is not worth the effort.

I think this scheme preserves a lot of what is good about Azerite gear, but makes it work in a more consistent and intuitive fashion.


  1. Got to admit, this sounds pretty horrible to me.

    While it does eliminate the awkward interaction with the ring, I don't see how it eliminates any of the issues azerite has at the moment. The only thing this does is make everything more tedious by adding individual leveling to gear.
    Every time you get an azerite item, which is supposed to be cause for happiness you get depressed due to having to start a new leveling cycle to grind exp for that. (doubled up by the traits still being bad as it is now)
    Also, in many cases getting a new azerite item will be a big downgrade. Just as it is now, you can have a fully unlocked 340 item, and a partially unlocked 355. At this time we can at least just continue playing till our global AP catches up and the new item over powers the old one. With this system we would have to equip the worse item for a certain amount of time and be weaker till we catch up. And god hope we don't get a new azurite with higher ilvl or better traits, in which case we were playing weaker for literally 0 gain, as the grind starts from 0 with the new item.

    Also, just let people freely offspec, why does it have to have a cost. If people already make the effort to learn an OS, don't throw up arbitrary barriers.

    Personally, while clunky, leave azurite as it is, tune the neck levels required a bit better andlower the amount of traits to increase chance of getting a good one. With those two changes on top of the emmisary cache, most of the issues would be sorted to me. I can live with a clunky looking neck, it doesnt hurt at all.

    1. Really? I don't think that would be a big deal as the first ring is where most of the power resides and that starts unlocked. So you're comparing a fully unlocked 340 item with a 355 with the first ring unlocked.

      I honestly expect 15 ilvls to outweigh the contribution of those inner rings unless the first ring trait is terrible.

    2. People have massive issues with your example, as we can see from live right now.

      Also, We are also comparing 355 with suboptimal traits but fully unlocked vs 355 with better traits and nothing unlocked. That is the worst part of your suggestion.

  2. I think this ignores the problem where a new piece would be a downgrade until you fully level it up. This would be extremely annoying since you would have to actually wear the piece to level it.

    1. You bring up an interesting question. Does gear always have to increase in power, or is it acceptable to have a small decrease in power in the short term in exchange for more power in the long term?

      Perhaps I'll make a post to discuss this with graphs to illustrate the problem.