Very little has been going on in terms of 8.1 PTR. I didn’t get to preview the things I wanted to for the next part in the 8.1 overview posts. Instead, I’d like to have a word about playing different specs. In particular I’d like to have some strong words about Azerite Traits and Reforging and how I feel about them. Spoiler alert, I don’t particularly care for it.
A Little Bit of History
I started playing my Hunter as main in Legion, shortly before Antorus was introduced. Before that, I played a Vengeance Demon Hunter. I had always been Beast Mastery and I was damn good at it. In Battle for Azeroth, I decided I wanted to explore the different specs a bit more. In Legion, that was difficult, cause of Artifact Relics having to be exactly right and then when I did get a good one for Survival, it was also an upgrade for Beast Mastery.
So with those limiting factors gone in Battle for Azeroth, we’d have a much easier time to play multiple specs, right? Right!? Right, I’m not going to start ranting at the very beginning of my blog post. I’ll save the drama and the rant for later. First, the good stuff.
Last week Thursday, we were clearing towards Vectis in Uldir Mythic. After killing Zek’voz, I had the urge to change my loot spec to Survival and bonus roll. My impulsiveness was rewarded with a Void-Binder polearm! Finally I had a weapon for Survival!
At that point, I started planning everything out. Icy Veins for the talents and the rotation. Bloodmallet for the Azerite Traits. Raidbots and Pawn for the stat weights.
I was working on a to-do list while clearing trash, but I couldn’t get too distracted. Progress on Vectis was tough … he’s a tough cookie, but he will fall!
The Azerite Shuffle
After a bit of prep work, I had my stat weights, talents and rotation sorted. Now I just had to take care of my Azerite traits. I was pretty lucky to find out my Azerite items for Beast Mastery were also pretty damn decent for Survival. So I paid a visit to Razzi the Shaper <Azerite Reforger>.
Believe it or not, it was the first time this expansion I needed his services. I went back and forth between different traits, generic and spec specific. As I was testing out different combinations, something dawned on me. Somehow, I had lost over 30K gold! All of a sudden, I remembered guildies talking about how Azerite Reforging prices double every time you do it. I went back to Razzi to check and to my amazement, the next reforge would cost me 40960 gold! That’s 41K for reforging a single piece of Azerite gear!
Immediately, I understood why the hybrid classes were in such an uproar about the whole Azerite Trait system. Basically, if your generic trait isn’t good for the multiple specs you want to play, you’re screwed.
The Azerite Hussle
Now I know Ion Hazzikostas promised to look into it during the latest Developer Q&A. But let’s be honest, this isn’t something that should be addressed 2 months into an expansion. This is something that should have been addressed 2 months before the expansion was released. Myself and many other people were quite vocal about this on the Battle for Azeroth Beta. Many people predicted this exact situation months in advance.
What ticks me off even more is that by the time this issue will be resolved, it won’t be relevant anymore.
The reason why people are so upset about the whole Azerite situation is because they hardly have any Azerite gear at high item levels. By the end of the year, we’ll all be swimming in 370 and 385 pieces so we’ll have options coming out the wazoo. But right now, our pool of Azerite pieces we can choose from is extremely limited, which makes reforging a necessity. An insanely hyper-inflated necessity.
Oh yeah, the cost for reforging goes down one notch every 3 days. So if I don’t want to spend 41K on reforging an Azerite piece, I get to change to my off-spec every 9 days. And I would have to wait that same period of time to go back to my main spec again as well.
Void-Binder is sitting very pretty in my bank right now, with little to no chance of it getting any proper use anytime soon …
It’s not all doom and gloom by the way. A while ago, an update was implemented to remedy some of the existing issues with Azerite gear shortage. World Quest Emissaries that reward Azerite gear will now scale up to item level 370. I also believe they increased the frequency of getting Azerite gear from Emissaries.
Like I said earlier, Blizzard is aware of the issues, it’s just that they have been aware long before Battle for Azeroth launched and only chose to do something about it very recently.
Not considering the immense cost of having to reforge my Azerite gear several times, I really love Survival. The concept of a melee hunter is quite recent and still a bit strange to me. However, the rotation is fluid with multiple reactive procs to weave into it and even anticipate.
I did a couple of Mythic+ runs as Survival and it seems to be a lot more single target focused that Beast Mastery. Once I get separate Azerite gear pieces or when they do something about the reforging costs, I will shuffle between the two specs a whole lot more.
Beast Mastery has amazing cleave and AoE, while retaining strong single target DPS. The best part is, you don’t even have to swap talents for it, making it the perfect Mythic+ Hunter spec.
Survival is a bit more talent dependent. You can have either awesome single target with good cleave or amazing AoE and cleave with only decent single target.
The ultimate plan is to have Beast Mastery for Mythic+ and AoE/cleave raid bosses and have Survival for pure single target raid bosses. Having options is awesome, and as a Hunter, I have those options. Having the ability to freely choose between those options is even better, and right now, we’re too held back by the whole Azerite Trait system to fully take advantage of the individual strengths of our different specs.
I kinda want to apologize for going off on a rant in this post, but it felt damn good to get it out of my system. We’ll just have to wait and see how this whole issue evolves and if it improves enough to make off specs more viable. I might even revisit the subject in a future issue of the Battle for Azeroth Bulletin!