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After releasing a couple of fairly minimalistic World of Warcraft animations (Jaina, Sylvanas), the Blizzard Entertainment team treats us to one of their signature cinematics centered around a legendary Horde warrior, Varok Saurfang and his young Troll sidekick. Check it out:
The fires of war rage across Azeroth, but legendary Horde warrior Varok Saurfang wants no part in the fighting. After a lifetime spent on the front lines, he has outlived most of those closest to him, even his own son. On the eve of a battle that will determine the Horde’s fate, the old soldier must choose whether to finally lay down his axe for good.
And while you're at it, you can visit the game's official website for an overview of the Heart of Azeroth, the latest expansion's new progression mechanic. An excerpt:
Recently in Silithus. . . .
Aided by the heroes of Azeroth and their powerful Artifact weapons, Speaker Magni Bronzebeard was able to stabilize the planet’s grievous wound. For now, Azeroth is stable, but the road to healing her fully will require much more than a temporary bandage.
The Road Ahead. . . .
The events in Silithus were just the first step in aiding the planet. The path to restoring her continues in Zandalar and Kul Tiras as you seek out Azerite to aid the Horde or Alliance. Speaker Magni has a way for you to help Azeroth and empower your armor at the same time—the Heart of Azeroth. By utilizing this powerful Artifact, you’ll be able to harness Azerite to “awaken” pieces of armor that possess astounding latent powers.
CLAIMING THE HEART OF AZEROTH
After completing the Battle for Lordaeron, you’ll be directed to meet Magni once again in the deserts of Silithus. He’ll present you with the Heart of Azeroth, a powerful neck piece that you’ll take with you on your new adventures in Kul Tiras and Zandalar. The Heart of Azeroth will allow you to siphon the power of Azerite as you continue to heal the planet, and once it’s empowered, it will level alongside you. As this Artifact increases in power, so too do its stats. It will also help you empower special helms, chest pieces, and shoulder pieces.
Each piece of Azerite-empowered armor has anywhere from three to four rings of Azerite traits available to unlock as you level up your Heart of Azeroth. As it increases in power, you’ll unlock more rings on your Azerite-empowered items. You can—and should—equip Azerite-empowered armor pieces in all three of the available slots, and you can view and change their associated powers by using Shift Right Click to open the interface.
Each ring of traits provides a specific type of benefit for you to choose from.
Epic-quality gear, such as are rewards from raid dungeons, can have a fourth power tier available, which appears as the armor piece’s second ring. Lower level gear will generally only have three rings available, and won’t include this second ring.
- Outer Ring: Powers that reside on the outer ring will often be influenced by where you collected the piece of armor they’re found on. These powers can also be associated with specific class specializations.
Pauldrons of Vile Corruption
Your damaging abilities have a chance to invoke a tainted swamp beneath the target, siphoning 8,628 health from them over 6 sec.
- Second Ring: These powers generally benefit the performance of your in-game role—they’ll provide damage increases for DPS classes, increase damage mitigation for tanks, or bolster healing output for healers.
Example: Savior: Your heals on targets below 35% health have a chance to heal for an additional 942.
- Third Ring: These are defensive or utility-oriented powers for your class.
Example: Azerite Fortification (Passive) When stunned, immobilized, or knocked back, you heal for 1,852.
- Fourth Ring: Azerite Empowerment is the power that resides on the central fourth ring, and increases an armor piece’s item level by 5.
If you change your mind on any of your power choices, you can always visit the Azerite Reforger in Boralus or in Zuldazar. While the cost is relatively low at first (5g), it will increase in cost the more times you reforge. The cost won’t stay that high forever— every two days, you’ll see your reforge cost decrease.