Saturday, November 13, 2010

Requirements for Cataclysm Chaotic Metagem

Note to new readers. Blizzard is changing these gems in a future patch. You may want to hold off before spending a ton of money on regemming.

Suicidal Zebra and Graylo have commented about the meta-gem requirements for the Chaotic meta-gems.
New: Requires more Blue Gems then Red Gems.

In my opinion, they are both using a sub-optimal gemming pattern to take advantage of these gems, and as a result, their valuation of these meta-gems is lower than it should it be.

This is what I think the optimal gemming method is:

Assumptions

1. I assume that our goal in gemming to maximize our Red primary stat (Str, Int, Agi) while still activating the meta-gem. We can always fiddle around with the secondary stats with reforging.

2. I assume that we will hit the socket bonuses. Since we're already messing around with red and blue gems, it's a small step to get the yellow sockets too.

Description of problem

Let each gem have a "meta-score". This how that gem affects the count for activation of the meta-gem. For example, red gems are -1, and blue gems are +1. The end goal is to have a net meta-score of +1, as that is exactly the minimum to activate the meta-gem.

Socket ColourGem ColourMeta-scoreRed Primary Stat Amount
RedRed-120
Orange-110
Purple010
YellowOrange-110
Yellow00
Green+10
BluePurple010
Green+10
Blue+10

As you can see from the table the best gems to maximize both Meta-score and the Red Primary Stat are Red, Green, and Purple. You want to put Red gems in Red sockets and Purple gems in Blue sockets. That leaves Green gems in Yellow sockets as your method of balancing the Red gems.

The second tier of Orange and Blue are last resort gems, only to be used when the number of sockets doesn't work out nicely.

Algorithm

(Note: for the purposes of this algorithm, prismatic sockets count as Red sockets. You will also need to keep track of your current meta-score as you are gemming.)

1. If half or more of your sockets are Red, put Purple gems in Red sockets until the number of empty Red sockets is just less than half of the number of total empty sockets.

2. Put Red gems in the empty Red sockets.

3. Put Green gems in the empty Yellow sockets until your meta-score reaches +1 or you run out of Yellow sockets.

4. If there are empty Yellow sockets remaining, alternate Orange and Green gems until you run out of Yellow sockets. (If you don't care about socket bonuses, you can use Red gems instead of Orange gems in this step.)

5. If your meta-score is 0 or lower, put Green gems in Blue sockets until your meta-score reaches +1. (You can use Blue gems in this step if you still want more of your Blue stat.)

6. Fill the remaining empty Blue sockets with Purple gems.

Basic Idea

That looks a little bit complicated, but the underlying idea is fairly simple:

You use your Yellow sockets to balance your Red sockets (Green gems against Red gems), and then you zero out your Blue sockets using Purple gems.

The extra steps are just to compensate for cases where the number of sockets doesn't easily match the basic idea.

Example

My character right now (in DPS gear) has 9 Red sockets, 1 Prismatic socket, 9 Yellow sockets, and 2 Blue sockets. Remember that Prismatic counts as Red.

1. My Red sockets are less than half of my total sockets (10 out of 21) so I move to step 2.

2. I fill all 9 Red sockets and 1 Prismatic sockets with Red gems. Meta-score is -10, with +200 primary stat.

3. I put Green gems in all 9 Yellow sockets. Meta-score is -1, with +200 primary stat.

4. I don't have any Yellow sockets remaining so I move on.

5. Meta-score is 0 or less, so I add 2 Green gems to 2 Blue sockets to bring it up to +1. If I needed more hit, I could use 2 Blue gems instead. Meta-score is +1, with +200 primary stat.

6. I don't have any remaining Blue sockets, so I am finished.

Net result: Meta-gem activated, +200 primary stat, all socket bonuses. If I have excess hit rating from the Green gems, I can use reforging to convert the extra hit rating into another secondary stat.

1. This comment has been removed by the author.

2. My intent was not to present an algorithm for gemming in order to fulfil the Meta requirements, but rather to present the idea that the Meta bonus has a set value for Ret (~1% at Tier 11) and a much more stringent set of requirements. Disregarding socket bonuses, gemming all purples + 1 blue is always going to be the most optimum configuration for satisfying the Meta requirements if your primary stat (Agi/Int/Str) and Hit Rating are your two 'best stats'.

Unfortunatly, gemming for this optimum will represent a loss when compared to just gemming straight Red. For a Meta bonus to be worth it, the loss represented by gemming to satisfy the requirements must always be less than the value of the Bonus. In the case of Chaotic Metas, 12 sockets and Retribution, the bonus is worth it. Just.

From a socket bonus standpoint, Blue socket bonuses are going to reduce the loss represented by the Meta requirements. Yellow bonuses have to be addressed on a case-by-case basis based on the value of the bonus itself and your best Yellow stat.

The issue with a general algorithm is that it assumes your best Yellow stat (Expertise/Crit/Haste/Mastery) AND the Yellow socket bonuses are strong enough stats to not represent a DPS loss over the 'no-socket-optimum', an assumption I wasn't willing to make given the state of flux of the class skills and the potential variance in equipped gear between characters. Additionally, attempting to adhere strictly to the algorithm could result in significant regemming of gear following a single upgrade, something which I feel most of my readers wouldn't appreciate.

3. You're discounting reforging. If the Yellow stat is not as valuable as Hit, reforge that stat to Hit after you finish gemming.

That way, you get all the socket bonuses, maximize your primary stat, and still have the Hit you need.

As for having to regem your gear, when every you get a new piece, that's unfortunate, but it's reality in a world with stats with discontinuities in their value. You have to do it now with hit caps and haste softcaps, so what's one more thing to juggle?

4. I'm with Graylo on that. The new meta gem requirement is crap.

You described how to find the best way to gem your gear. But you'll have to do that for every item you replace, unless it has the exact same amount and type of sockets. That's something the top 2% will happily do but it's not at all "casual friendly".

And it gets worse. If you have multiple sets, you also have to fix your gems whenever you switch your gear set. That will not only affect hybrids which use the same gear for healing and casting, it will also affect every DD who has to have multiple sets for multiple tiers as different tiers will require different amounts of hit rating. (And will probably have different sclaing values because of changes crit suppression or stuff like that.)

It's just not reasonable to expect from people that they'll regem their entire set for every new drop. I'll tell you what will happen. Today you see a lot of people who don't enchant or don't socket their gear. Now you'll also have people in your raid without an activated meta gem. Or with a crappy meta gem with more relaxed requirements.

This is just not fun but tedious math. If it's not fun it shouldn't be in a game.

They should just cut the requirement of the meta gems and readjust their power to the lowered cost. Or otherwise, change the meta gem to something like this:

If you have more red than blue gems, for every excess red gem your is reduced by <50% of red gem value> and your hit rating is increased by <50% of blue gem value>. That would have the same effect but would adjust it automatically.

5. "Disregarding socket bonuses, gemming all purples + 1 blue is always going to be the most optimum configuration for satisfying the Meta requirements if your primary stat (Agi/Int/Str) and Hit Rating are your two 'best stats'."

This is wrong.

If you have x red and x yellow sockets it is always better to socket x red and x green gems instead of x purple and x yellow gems. Red + green provides you with 40 primary and 40 secondary stats while purple + yellow are 20 primary and 60 secondary. You have to remember that Hit and your best yellow stat are of equal worth in regards to gemming due to reforging. Remember the more Hit you socket the more you will have to reforge away later on. Unless of course you need all the Hit you can get in which case you'd still be better of just reforgin for it.

That said I think this new Meta requirement is the best thing Blizzard has come up with in a long time. It promotes thinking and analysing and rewards the sophisticated player while putting a hard time on the lazy and bad.