World of Warcraft's latest expansion, Battle for Azeroth, has arrived! Gone are the Artifact weapons and Legendary items of Legion days. Instead, the focus this time around is on an all-new Artifact necklace, the Heart of Azeroth.
At the very beginning of Battle for Azeroth, you’ll receive a quest from the dwarven king Magni Bronzebeard, requesting that you travel to Silithus and check out what’s happened since Sargeras thrust his massive sword into Azeroth at the end of Legion. This massive wound caused a new material called Azerite, the “blood of Azeroth,” to bleed into the world. In this latest expansion, the Alliance and Horde are once again embroiled in a massive war, and both sides believe that control of the Azerite is key to victory.
In order to receive this quest, you'll have to have completed the Battle for Lordaeron scenario, available just prior to Battle for Azeroth's launch, which can be started in your faction's capital. If you've already done the scenario, you'll receive Magni's quest instantly upon logging in. If you've done it on your main and just want to get your alt started on the new expansion's content, don't worry. Upon taking the Battle for Lordaeron quest, you can speak to the quest NPC and select an option to skip the scenario, allowing you to move on automatically to Magni's request.
Obtaining the Heart of Azeroth
A few short minutes of questing, you’ll receive your very own Heart of Azeroth, which is essentially this expansions version of Legion’s Artifact weapon. This time, it takes the form of a necklace that you’ll be powering up over the course of the expansion. You’re still gathering Artifact Power, only this time it will be automatically added to your Heart of Azeroth whenever Azerite is obtained. No more clicking on countless consumable items in your bags.
Leveling up the Heart of Azeroth
The Heart of Azeroth starts at item level 280 and will gain item levels (and stats) as you earn more Artifact Power. The necklace features a power level which is used to track Artifact Power required to level up. Similar to Legion’s Artifact weapon, the amount of Artifact Power needed to increase the Heart of Azeroth’s level will increase drastically as it reaches a higher level (in this case, after level ten).
As you complete quests in Battle for Azeroth, you’ll earn reputation with a new faction, the Champions of Azeroth, led by Magni Bronzebeard and based at the Silithus camp. You’ll earn reputation with this faction by completing World Quests, just like in Legion, and at each reputation level you’ll be able to complete a quest that increases your necklace’s item level by 15 levels.
How to obtain Azerite
As leveling your Heart of Azeroth is crucial to your character’s growth, you’ll earn Azerite from almost every activity in Battle for Azeroth. You can farm Azerite by completing quests (including story quests, dungeon quests, and World Quests), by defeating dungeon and raid bosses, winning PVP battles, completing Island Expeditions, and more. Just play the game and you’ll pretty much always be able to earn Artifact Power.
Obtaining and powering up Azerite Armor
In addition to featuring incredibly high stats, the key purpose of the Heart of Azeroth is to awaken latent powers in special pieces of gear referred to as Azerite Armor. You can obtain Azerite Armor for three armor slots: Chest, helm and shoulders. Azerite Armor pieces can be received as quest rewards while you’re leveling up to 120.
Once you’ve reached the max level, you’ll be able to obtain higher item level pieces of Azerite Armor the same ways as you would any other armor: Through dungeons, raiding, and World Quests. There’s also a purchasable piece of armor that can be obtained once reaching Exalted reputation with the aforementioned Champions of Azeroth faction.
Azerite Armor does not feature secondary (stats such as Critical Strike or Haste) and instead features a number of Azerite Power slots. You can view the the Azerite Armor interface by Shift + Right-clicking on the armor piece. The interface is a bit strange, but if you played prior to Legion you can think of it like the game’s old Major Glyph system.
Azerite Armor features either three or four rings, and each ring offers your choice of specific Azerite Traits. Azerite Traits are powerful, class-specific bonuses that enhance your character’s overall ability, buffing stats, individual skills, or overall output. Unlike Major Glyphs, you’ll have only a limited selection of options for each slot.
The Azerite Traits available on each piece of Azerite Armor are predetermined for that piece of armor. Two identical pieces of gear will offer the exact same Azerite Traits. This can make it easier to seek out specific pieces for desired bonuses, since you can check the piece beforehand to see which traits are available.
Unlocking Azerite Traits
You’ll unlock rings on your Azerite Armor by leveling up your Heart of Azeroth. Each piece of gear features a specific level requirement to unlock each ring, which is based on that armor piece’s item level. The armor piece’s tooltip will show what necklace level is required to unlock the next Azerite Trait. Once your Heart of Azeroth has reached the required level, you’ll be able to select an Azerite Trait for that ring. Each different ring will offer your choice of one of multiple Azerite Traits, and the center trait will grant a five item level increase.
The traits available will depend on that specific piece of gear as well as your class, specialization and role. For example, if you’re a healer, you’ll be able to choose from healing-centric traits, but may not be able to choose a damage-increasing trait on that ring. This can make choosing traits annoying. If you’re someone who changes roles often (for example, to take advantage of those quick tank queues), you can expect to have to have multiple pieces of gear for different roles based on available traits.
How to reset your Heart of Azeroth traits
If you’re unhappy with an Azerite Trait you’ve chosen or even misclicked, don’t worry! Ethereals are back and ready to reforging your Azerite Armor (for a price). You can easily change your Azerite Traits by visiting an Azerite Reforger and handing over some gold. However, it’s best not to do this too often unless you have lots of gold to spare, as the cost starts at only five gold but will double every time you reforge. Thankfully, the current cost will be reduced by one half every three days, so if you’ve really screwed up, a little patience will smooth things out.
Alliance players can reforge their Azerite Armor by visiting Razzi the Shaper in Boralus, and Horde players visit Nudara the Shaper in Zuldazar. Now you’re ready to go forth and save the world (of Warcraft)! (Again!)