Earlier you mentioned how this system is similar to the past where we had to have different sets for different roles (such as with tier sets being spec-specific) and asked how this feels different from that. That’s a valid question and I wanted to address it openly and honestly in hopes that it will be a bit clearer and maybe something can be fixed or, at the very least, we don’t have a repeat of this in the future.
I main a healer, I have since around ICC. It’s what I prefer doing most of the time, but I do enjoy the other roles. Both my main (this character, my monk) and one of my other 120s, a Paladin, is able to play all three roles, and it’s something I take advantage of. During Legion, I only really had to worry about swapping trinkets and legendaries, both of which I feel are entirely reasonable. My tier bonuses would swap automatically, my gear set would swap and I’d be good to go.
Now, I have to worry about:
Weapons, trinkets, head, shoulders, chest.
It’s basically doubled the slots that I need to adjust every time I choose to play a different role. Which means that I need to keep:
Head, shoulders, chest, trinket(s), weapon(s) for Mistweaver, Brewmaster, Windwalker.
Except it goes further. As a Mistweaver, traits that I use in mythic+ often aren’t nearly as good for raiding and vice versa. For example, I never really want to use the Essence Font trait in mythic+, but it’s good to have for raiding, which means if I want to perform optimally, I need to keep pieces with those traits available. Which means I also have another gear set to manage and keep updated.
This goes for basically every spec. I remember it being mentioned that it’s expected we’ll hold onto different sets to swap between for different encounters and situations, so now those of us who play all three specs have to keep sets for each of those different scenarios in addition to trinkets and weapons.
As someone else mentioned, this frustration is further exacerbated by the limitations on the availability of high ilevel azerite gear. If I get a 385, I have to either decide to use it for only a single spec in a single build, or I have to be willing to pay every single time I want to change the traits, and I have no guarantee when I’ll get another piece to help manage that.
Basically the issue is that if you want to play your character optimally, you have to hold on to so many pieces of gear. Getting an upgrade can start to feel like more of a chore and a burden when you have to go reforge other pieces so that you can move your replaced pieces to fit into different roles, and it’s incredibly frustrating when you get that first high ilvl piece (whether it be your first 340, 355, 370 or 385) and want to use it for your main spec, but it has traits that are optimal for your other, less played spec(s).
I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent here, but bear with me. You know what’s frustrating as a healer? Seeing the Call to Arms bonus for random heroic or LFR, queueing to get the satchel and then… waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Despite the Call to Arms being active, you’re stuck in the queue for 10+ minute as a healer because there are no tanks queueing. The same goes for other roles, I’ve been stuck in queue for over 15 minutes as a tank before.
We’re seeing a real shortage of tanks and healers right now, and I can’t help but feel like this is being compounded by the frustration of azerite traits. People who would otherwise play multiple roles are being disincentivized or discouraged from doing so because it’s such a hassle to juggle all of these traits and sets. Maybe as a tank/DPS player you can get away with taking a generic trait in the outer ring, but not as a healer most times. The majority of those generic traits are damage based, or procs on damage done - difficult to consistently benefit from as a healer, unless you’re disc.
Not to mention, it’s really, really frustrating to get a few drops and have to go through each of your many gear sets and make sure every single one is set up correctly. It’s incredibly aggravating to be midway through a fight and realize that you have the wrong piece(s) equipped because you have so much to balance, so many items in your bags that it’s impossible to keep everything organized.
It feels bad this time because it feels arbitrary and unnecessarily restrictive, and it’s exacerbated by the lack of availability of gear and high costs. I WANT to play multiple roles, but managing multiple sets for my main spec AND at least two more sets on a single character is frustrating and exhausting enough. Having to do so on multiple characters, I’m at the point where I just don’t want to do it anymore. And that hurts, because otherwise I really enjoy the game, I’m having fun. It just feels like the devs are actively trying to restrict me from fully enjoying the character I’m working on, and it’s leading to real discouragement and asking myself why continue if I’m just going to keep feeling this way.
I don’t mean to say that I’m quitting if this isn’t changed. But I don’t want to continue trying to balance 2+ sets for my main spec, at least 1 set each for my off specs, keeping every item in every gear set properly saved, finding the best or at least decent traits for each one, reforging potential upgrades for off spec sets when I replace a piece from my main spec and all of this stuff. So I’ve already started doing what I suspect most people have started doing and only play the role I want - which means that there’s yet another potential tank or DPS not queueing anymore, because this system is unfriendly to any who want to get the most out of their characters.
I know that most or all of this was true back in BC and Wrath and so on. But the game has come a long way since then, the developers put in the time and effort to create mechanics that allow bonuses to easily switch between specs. There’s a reason they did that, and it was well received by all. So throwing those mechanics out and saying “well, this is how it used to be” isn’t enough to convince me, nor the majority of the playerbase it seems, that I should continue putting in the effort.
I guess the best way to describe it is it feels like you guys just don’t want us to play more than one role, so you’ve made it as burdensome as possible to actively dissuade us.