How Better Gear in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Makes You Worse

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is seeing players punished for grinding some of the game's best gear; many are losing access to Azerite traits.

on September 10, 2018 1:23 PM

I’ve been covering two grind-based games in the MMO genre lately. Destiny 2: Forsaken is having me gear up for the raid this Friday, but with World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth‘s raid already out, players are finding that the higher item level (ilvl) gear they’re getting, the less powerful they become.

Battle for Azeroth introduced a new system to replace Legion‘s Artifact Weapons called Azerite Traits. They appear on the head, shoulder, and chest armor and have a set of powerful traits that can be activated to make you more powerful.

The expansion has also introduced a legendary necklace called the “Heart of Azeroth” which powers up as you unlock artifact power. This may sound confusing for those who aren’t playing, but essentially, the longer you play–the higher the level of your Heart of Azeroth.

A 340 ilvl piece of Azerite gear may require your Heart of Azeroth to be level 15 to unlock all these traits. Players are noticing, however, that that requirement continues to scale with the ilvl of the gear. For example, a piece of gear that drops from Uldire, the game’s newest raid, may be 360 ilvl, but all the Azerite traits might not unlock until your Heart of Azeroth is level 28.

This means that gear that is, in theory, stronger than your previous pieces is actually weaker because it means you lose access to these strong Azerite traits. This notion is frustrating especially because the raid is particularly challenging this time around in terms of mechanics.

All of this will be resolved over time, as players slowly rank up their Heart of Azeroth, but for now even the most elite players have one over level 25. If you’re not putting in more than 60 hours a week of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, then you’re probably not going to be happy about the current state of affairs.

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Noah Buttner is a staff writer at Dualshockers. He specializes in textual and visual analysis and is based in New York, where he recently obtained a degree in Journalism from Stony Brook University.