Ok, maybe not so quick.
Previous post regarding money… the upwards scaling of respecing gear is both a problem and not a problem. The odds of 1 piece of gear having more than 2 skills that you want to use are very low. In the case where you would want to use the same piece of gear on another spec, with a different skill loadout are also quite small. Let’s say that’s even the case… you’re likely better farming another piece of gear and keeping it in your bag, rather than having to return to town and respec.
Maybe this would be the case for specific raid gear items, but that gets into the next point.
There are clearly better skills than others. As a tank, I much prefer a healing buff, or shield than something like a haste on kill. I’ve tried swapping out higher level gear with worse skills, and my survivability drops.
The core effect of this is that people will hunt specific item drops, as the skills are non-random. For example, the ideal head piece is going to come from Mogul in the MOTHERLODE!!! I will not want to use the helm pieces from say, Tol Dagor, regardless of the item level.
I clearly recall one of the drivers of this expansion’s itemization that increases in item level be a clear power increase. For 3 gear slots… that is not the case. It’s a better system than legendaries for sure, but it is a poor replacement for artifacts.
The core issue to me is that there are some skills found on azerite gear that should just plain be part of the core class toolkit.
Remember reforging? The only reason it exist was so that you remained hit-capped? I remember it being removed and being ever so happy that I didn’t need to use Mr Robot everytime I got a new drop.
Azerite skills do not overlap. If you have 2 copies of the same skill, only 1 of them actually takes effect. This is the only practical use case I see for respecs, where you need to change the selection based on new pieces of gear. I need to have Boiling Brew on my monk, it’s an insanely good skill. I’ll need to reset my skills on new gear, and keep gear in my bag that I will only use when I get an upgrade, just to make sure I always have it available. So while I may have 3 pieces of 3 slots for each spec (tank/heal/DPS), I may also have more spares around with the “good” skills to avoid losing access to them when I get an upgrade. May is the wrong word – I am doing this now.
I am curious as to the long term plan for this system. It’s arguably worse than artefacts since there’s no clear upgrade path, just a bunch of bad options. It is a horrible feeling to see a large boost in ilvl on a piece but also realize that the skills on that piece are a direct nerf to your overall abilities. Honestly, it almost feels like seeing a cloth piece drop for a leather wearer. You can see it’s neat, and know someone can use it, but not you!
I’m sure there’s a tweak somewhere in the plans on this. It’s better than the random hunt for legendaries, granted. It’s also better than the netherlight crucible, since you can target your actions for a specific drop. But it’s worse than the artifact skill system in that your core skill package is dependent on gear. Maybe a skill system integrated into the heart for core skill choice, then flavor skills on azerite gear? Right now it just feels cumbersome, and a step back from the “cleanliness” of Legion.