Patch 8.2’s Customizable Pocket-Sized Computational Device could give trinkets new life and more options
In patch 8.2 we’re getting a new piece of gear, one that’s supposed to give players control over how they play. Among the revisions to the Heart of Azeroth and Azerite system, Blizzard revealed a customizable trinket that lets you socket different punch cards with different effects.
The trinket comes from Mechagon Island, one of the new zones in patch 8.2, and it works in a similar way to how Artifact Weapons operated. You unlock the base trinket pretty early in questing on the island and then can unlock upgrades to socket into the card slots as you go. Punch cards are unlocked through a variety of ways, such as from quest rewards, reputation vendors, and loot in Operation: Mechagon. The three sockets for punch cards — red, yellow, and blue — are similar to the relic slots we had with Artifact Weapons. The punch card colors also serve different functions. Red cards seem to be a performance increase, yellow cards give a choice between various secondary stats, and blue cards have utility effects.
Looking at the punch cards that we know of, I can’t say I’m excited. The effects look pretty similar to Azerite Traits, which have been very underwhelming. When it comes to increasing numbers, the community is always going to math out the best option. This never gives real customization, because why take a subpar option when you can take the one that helps you out more? True customization happens when you can make a choice about what impacts your play in a meaningful way, without downgrading your performance. There are likely more cards that will be revealed and hopefully they have more interesting options. What remains to be seen is how the trinket will handle multiple specs. If it locks the punch cards into all your specs, then it falls into the same trap as Azerite gear and starts to limit play again — the opposite of customization.
Adding more customization is a step in the right direction, but hopefully it offers us better options than we have seen so far this expansion. Azerite gear, our replacement for class tier sets that was supposed to give players options, hasn’t really lived up to expectations. I look back to the days with tier sets or even Legion’s legendaries that offered us interesting interactions with our classes. I can’t say I’m ever excited to get a new piece of Azerite gear, not like how I felt when I completed my two or four piece tier bonuses. And even the biggest complaint about Legion Legendaries had to do with the way they were acquired, rather than the Legendaries themselves.
However, the trinket offers promise. Trinkets haven’t fared well this expansion, and tend to be “fire and forget” anyway. Adding options to trinkets gives us a degree of control and the utility punch cards are particularly intriguing to me. Most players enjoyed the Legion Legendary effects and how they interacted with class toolkits. The trinket looks interesting, but I’d like to see more of class-changing effects rather than the generic effects we have seen with Azerite.
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