Today Blizzard announced some big changes to the Azerite armor system. The Azerite system has many flaws, but chief among them is the RNG surrounding obtaining them. There are multiple pieces per slot, and only some of them you want. Obtaining them is an absolute chore right now.
Much of that is going to change.
First, we’re adding a new (as yet unnamed) currency, which you’ll earn from your weekly Mythic+ chest as well as from scrapping (or disenchanting) epic-quality Azerite Armor. This currency is rewarded in addition to the item in the chest (which can no longer be an Azerite piece), and the amount you earn will scale up based on the highest level Keystone you’ve completed.
This pleases great greatly.
I'm a huge fan of the token system from the Wrath of the Lich King days. If I didn't get the gear I wanted, I got tokens. That way I could eventually add up my tokens and buy the items I want.
What's really cool is the scrapping system is going to be useful now. Instead of scrapping gear for mats that I don't need, I can scrap gear I don't want to get tokens to spend on gear that I do.
To spend that currency, we’re bringing back an old friend: Thaumaturge Vashreen. He’ll have two main types of items for sale. The first are caches that reward a random dungeon Azerite Armor piece for a given slot (helm, shoulders, or chest). They’ll be separated out by item level as well (at 355, 370, and 385), with higher item level caches requiring significantly more currency to purchase.
This is great. If I run a Mythic+ a bunch and can't seem to get the gear drop I want then I can accumulate tokens and spend them for more chances at those items.
But we recognize that with six or more options per slot, this may still not be enough control for high-end players who want to be able to work towards a specific piece that perfectly complements their build. Thus, Vashreen will also offer Item Level 385 versions of the specific dungeon Azerite Armor pieces for each class, sold at a premium.
This is where things get really interesting.
Being able to buy the exact item that I want at a significantly high item level is exactly the token system I'm looking for.
I imagine the cost will be huge. It'll take maybe even a month of constant dungeon runs to accumulate the tokens, but for me that's not a bad thing. I can work towards something knowing that I am always making real progress and not just fighting RNG.
Overall, we believe that this change will improve things in a lot of different ways:
- Mythic+ players of all skill levels will now have a clear path to upgrading their Azerite slots
- High-end Mythic+ players will have a way to target specific Azerite pieces to optimize their setups
- Duplicate or unwanted Azerite pieces from other sources (such as raiding) now have some additional value
- The piece of gear in your weekly chest will have a more reliable item level
That's a good summation right there.
Does this solve every problem with Azerite gear?
No, not at all. I think the traits themselves still leave much to be desired. The traits aren't balanced and for most classes dictate what gear you use even at a 40 item level difference.
The traits themselves don't feel like good gameplay, and are most uninteresting.
It's flawed gear, but at least it'll be a little easier to get that flawed gear. As someone who is growing increasingly interested in doing M+, this is a change that brings a positive feeling to the game for me rather than more negative.