World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the long-running MMORPG’s seventh expansion, and with it comes a new type of progression and artifact system that changes things up significantly.
The previous artifact system has been altered so that, instead of progression being limited to one item, a new artifact known as the Heart of Azeroth will level up as you work your way through the game and power special Azerite Armor, imbuing it with Azerite Traits, which you’ll earn depending on which class you’re using, among other details.
How does the new Heart of Azeroth work, and what can you expect from levels earned with it?
What is the Heart of Azeroth?
The Heart of Azeroth is a new artifact that’s introduced in the first few moments of Battle for Azeroth. You’ll first earn it after you complete the quest “The Heart of Azeroth,” following “The Battle for Lordaeron.”
Without spoiling too much for those who have yet to jump into the new content, there’s a couple short scenarios to play through before it’s bestowed upon you. They’re not optional, so you can’t miss them. The Hearth of Azeroth is an important item that’ll regulate what type of Azerite Armor you end up with.
It’s your key to earning Artifact Power by way of Azerite while completing quests, raiding, exploring dungeons, or simply taking in the sights of the new expansion. When you stumble on Azerite, it’ll simply be added to your Heart of Azeroth instead of taking up precious inventory space.
What is Azerite?
Azerite is the crystalline form of the blood of Azeroth (yes, the planet), which began to bleed out after being pierced by the sword of the leader of the Burning Legion, Sargeras. As such, it’s a new resource, according to Blizzard, that anyone of any faction can claim. It’s extremely powerful, and you’ll need it if you want to power your Heart of Azeroth up to its full capacity.
How do you earn Azerite?
You can earn Azerite from almost anything that’s part of the expansion. That includes quests, dungeons, mythic dungeons, world bosses PvP, Island Expeditions, Warfronts, world bosses, and even treasure chests scattered throughout the zones. However, Island Expeditions seem to be the best repeatable way to earn Azerite.
What is Azerite Armor?
Azerite Armor is a special set of armor that’s powered up by the Azerite you’ve collected for your Heart of Azeroth. You’ll find it in the same areas you would normally find gear available for the taking, such as at the completion of quests, raids, dungeons, and just about everywhere else.
Some will only be available, depending on the item level, after completing special prerequisites, so keep in mind special item lockouts that will prevent you from obtaining all pieces of an armor set until you’ve reached the required level.
Azerite Armor will drop for three different slots: Chest, Helm, and Shoulders, each dropping at the base item level. There are several different rings with Azerite Traits available for each piece. You can check out your Azerite Traits via the in-game Dungeon Journal for more information on what you’ve found and how they can be used.
It’s important to switch up your gear for Azerite Armor as soon as you can, even if you have an older piece of gear (like a legendary item from Legion) that has a higher item level.
How do you power up Azerite Armor?
Simply work to collect as much Azerite as possible, which should be one of your goals for Battle for Azeroth anyway, being that it’s such a valuable resource. The aforementioned rings in each piece of Azerite Armor are your key to unlocking its potential.
Each Azerite Armor’s progression is represented by 3 rings for any item under level 340, while 4 rings will be available for anything above item level 340.
Rings are unlocked after you reach the corresponding level with your Heart of Azeroth. The item level of your Azerite Armor will raise the required amount of Azerite from the Heart of Azeroth as well, so you’ll need to continue grinding as you power up your Artifact the higher its overall level raises.
You can select one Azerite Trait, which will rotate the ring around like that of a puzzle to display your chosen trait. The better the quality of your Azerite Armor is, the more powerful it will be. As you earn more Azerite, you’ll unlock additional parts of the rings, until you reach the middle of the rings. The outside ring, denoted by a navy blue, will contain Spec Traits dependent on you class as well as a Location Trait, which will be different according to where you picked the item up.
The next level, or the green ring, will only be available on items that are over level 340. You’ll see three Role Traits here. Next is the yellow ring, which features your choice of two different Defensive Traits
Finally, the center of each Azerite Armor piece is always the same — it simply offers a +5 to the armor’s item level, instead of your choice of a Trait.
Can you change your Azerite Armor if you choose the wrong trait?
You can, and you’ll want to make use of this feature if you end up with a combination of augments that just aren’t working for you. To do this, you need to visit the Azerite Reforgers. The Reforger can essentially “reset” your armor to where you can start fresh. However, you will have to spend Gold every time you pay the Reforger a visit.
The Alliance Reforger, an Ethereal, can be found in the Tradewinds Market in Boralus Harbor in Tiragarde Sound. He resembles a mummy with pink and purple accents and is named “Razzi the Shaper.” Horde players will need to seek out their Reforger in the Grand Bazaar in Dazar’alor. Look for a similar Ethereal to the Horde Reforger named Nudara the Shaper to take care of all you Reforging needs.
This starts out cheap, at 5 gold, but you’ll continue to pay double the price each time you return with more. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on a completely different item or the same one you’ve reworked 5 different times – the price continues to go up, likely as a deterrent to keep you from blindly choosing traits and coming back to pay to “reset” things without worrying about the consequences.
Luckily, there’s a bit of a reprieve from the high gold costs if you end up waiting a little bit between visits. You can wait three days for the cost to be reduced by half, so it pays for you to be patient and work with what you’ve chosen for your selected Traits.