A couple of days ago, Blizz published a fairly comprehensive guide on what to expect with Azerite gear in Battle for Azeroth. It was nice to finally have the information collected in one place, and for anyone trying to plan out a gear strategy for BFA it seems like it is a useful post.
That said, I realized I am just plain weary of complicated gear in WoW. I spent nearly all of Legion running super-computer level simulations of various gear combinations, and I did this almost every time I changed a talent or a legendary or a trinket or got a decent loot drop. I spent countless hours chasing gear with the “right” secondary stats, only to have to start all over again whenever Blizz gave us a patch that changed them for my spec. I grinded away (that doesn’t sound right, but neither does “ground away”) for days and weeks and months just to unlock new traits and new levels on my artifact weapon, then did it again just to get the “right” relics for it.
And all the time I never really knew if a new piece of gear — regardless of its ilevel — was an upgrade for me or not. And there were many, many days when I bitterly recalled Mr. Game Director Hazzikostas (though he did not hold such a lofty title at the time) superciliously Blizzsplaining to us, when they removed reforging, that the reason they did so was to save us from having to bother our dear little heads with “too much math”, or subjecting ourselves to the indignity of having to consult a web site to configure our gear.
The irony is almost too much to bear. And no one at Blizz seems to have the slightest inclination to be embarrassed or even a tad sheepish over this real whopper of hypocrisy.
The whole gear mess is one part of Legion I am not sorry to see go.
Unfortunately, it feels like we are getting ready to do it all over again in BFA.
We are switching out an artifact weapon for what amounts to an artifact-like neck piece. True, it does not have traits and such on its own (yet), but it is a single piece of gear we will keep for the entire expansion. We will need to keep empowering it with a collectible currency (still called Artifact Power!). This empowerment will apparently continue throughout BFA, it will be part of the reason to grind and grind and grind some more. Gotta keep those MAU metrics up!
But now instead of just one piece of gear with traits like we had in Legion, we will have three pieces to maintain and switch out and spend currency customizing. (Yet another great Blizz hypocrisy: currency for gear is bad! Except when Blizz says it is not, and when they can control how and when and why it may be spent.)
The sheer number of Azerite gear traits is already overwhelming, we can only imagine how complex they will be by the end of the expansion. There will certainly be tables and spreadsheets and Raidbots simulations for players to decide which traits are best selected for which talents and which situations and which other equipped gear. Add in the vast array of trinket special effects, and we in fact have Legion gear complexity on steroids.
I will not even get into the inevitability of Blizz once again using gear traits and bonuses to slap bandaids on class and spec imbalances.
Would it really be so bad to expect Blizz to design good baseline class and spec abilities, to balance them across the game, and to just go back to gear that doesn’t have its own talent trees? Gear that you could look at and immediately decide if it is an upgrade or not, and that you could equip right away without having to first sim it and go someplace special to select the “right” trait?
It is the weekend, and I have had a complicated week. As you can probably tell! The thought of more intricate gear and grinds to continually enhance it is too much for me just now. Almost certainly, a nice simple beer is the answer.
See you all on the other side of the weekend. 🍺