Monday, June 28, 2010

Single-Colour Gems

It occurs to me that gemming has become very boring these days. It's pretty much choose the best stat for your class and stack it.

When jewelcrafting was first released, it seemed much more exciting. There were all these colors of gems, with different colours of sockets, different socket bonuses, and meta-gems with interesting requirements.

Pretty much all of that has been bled from the system. Socket colours are pretty much ignored. The different types of socket bonuses have disappeared, replaced for most classes by a single stat. For example, on plate DPS armor, the socket bonus is always strength. It's the only stat that can possibly tempt someone away from mono-coloured gems. Meta-gem requirements have been reduced to the bare minimum. And even that is not enough. The meta-gems which require 1 of each color are considered much better than the meta-gems which require 2 blues, because you can use only 1 Nightmare Tear and meet the meta-gem requirements.

As well, I'm not sure being able to focus so much of your item budget on your single-best state is good for the game. It allows for an extremely wide range of that one ability. For example, the health difference between a tank stacking all stamina gems and one matching socket colors is very noticeable.

Is there a way to make gemming interesting once again, and maybe also rein it in a bit?

My suggestion would be to remove single-color gems. If all gems are dual-colors, then it might be easier to hit the socket bonuses. You can't focus so much in the same way. The choice becomes not so much between best stat and second-best stat, it's between second-best stat and third-best stat. Oftentimes, that's enough wiggle room to make decision-making interesting again.

In my opinion, sometimes offering the best possible choice as an option is not the best way to go. Making a decision between two flawed choices can be more interesting.


  1. Oh I really like that. Sounds very similar to what they are trying to do with medium sized glyphs.

  2. When I look at the "EH" gemming strategy for tanks I get really sad. It seems really boring and unoriginal.

  3. I actually disagree with the statement that gemming has gotten boring.

    It is only boring because players don't want to tweak gems once they got it ... 80% there.

    Same goes with Inscription. Very few players actually switch glyphs between encounters. Why don't they? a stack of glyphs only costs 10g in raw materials.

    Tanking gems are extremely fun. When you get a new piece that has extra defense on it, do you re-gem and put the extra stats somewhere else?

    When ICC buffs increase yet another 5%, do you switch gems to have higher threat?

    When RET paladins get their 2pT10 bonus, do they switch over to haste?

    If players are too lazy to actually tweak their gems - it's not the system's fault.

    Oh another thought:

    1 Runed = 23 Spell Power
    1 Quick King's Amber = 20 haste

    For the same two slots:

    2 Reckless Ametrine = 24 Spell Power, 20 haste.

  4. I don't see how that will change anything. There will still be an optimum gem to use, even if it is less of a dps increase than the current ones used. The only way I can see a way to change it is by increasing the socket bonus you get by fulfilling the socket requirements.

  5. Yeah I like that. It does seem to trivial to gem "properly" nowadays, especially for Holy paladins. There are exceptions of course, but still.

  6. Well, there is a "the best" dual-color gem too, in most cases.
    For now, shadow priests gem Runed Cardinal Rubies, Reckless Ametrines (when socket bonus is profitable enough) and Purified Dreadstones (exactly 2 to activate the metagem).
    If Cardibal Rubies would suddenly disappear, there will be Reckless Ametrines all over with a pair of Purified Dreadstones.
    No other type of Ametrine will be used, and Eyes of Zul will not appear at all.
    This is DPS gemming for you. More DPS = better gem.

    Of course, healer gems will be more varied. But they already are.

  7. The problem isn't single color gems, its that either the socket bonuses aren't good enough by themselves, or your lose more gemming for them then just using a single color.

    As an example, on my ret pally, if an item has a blue socket in it, but the socket bonus is good, I'll either use a nightmare tear, or just ignore the socket bonus. If the item has no blue sockets but red and one yellow, I might gem str/crit or str/hit if the bonus is 4str or higher. This depends on my current gear though.

  8. As for choosing between two suboptimal choices. This is worse for an average player then choosing between one optimal and one bad choice. This is because the choice is usually unintutive, and usually requires use of a spreadsheet to determine the best solution. An example of this would be a plate piece with armor pen on it. or a leather piece. Both have suboptimal stats, but its difficult to tell in a qualatative manner. This requires a spreadsheet to make the determination in a quanatative manner.

  9. I think the solution here is to remove socket bonuses entirely and just require the correct colored gem for the socket. No red gems in blue sockets for instance. They could make meta-style sockets in regular equipment that take any gem color for some extra variety.

  10. I 100% agree that stacking a single gem regardless of socket bonus is boring. So I don't do it.

    My Warlock has more Purified gems than Runed gems. My Warrior has Dodge + Stam and Defense + Stam (even though I'm over the Defense cap). My Paladin has Stam + Str gems!

    In all, though, I'm happy with the system the way it is now. Players have a choice of what gems to use. Those that insist on min-max-or-die can stack one gem in all slots and get an extra 20 strength on their gear. Those (like me) who would prefer to not see those greyed out bonuses get to match colors.

  11. Johnliu, just thought I would mention that no, we ret paladins do not switch over to haste for our T10 2P bonus, because in all frankness its a terrible bonus unless we want to focus on really taking down that trash mob fast. It provides little to no advantage on bosses - as a matter of fact, it can occasionally LESSEN our DPS.

  12. They could make the same change if they increased the stats by a small amount on the multicolored gems.

    Right now, solid colors are +20 and mixed colors are +10/+10. If you just made it +20 for solid and +12/+12 for mixed color you would mtake a much larger bite out of the strat for stacking a single stat.

  13. Am I the only person in the world who is so anal retentive that I can't not get the socket bonus for my gems? I know it's crazy and probably counter-productive insofar as min/maxing goes, but it troubles me to see socket bonuses not utilized. I'm the crazy fool buying the green and purple gems for my blue sockets. Stupid blue sockets.

  14. I don't think that would help at all. For healadins, instead of all yellow INT gems, we'd just move on to all green INT/MP5 gems. It wouldn't make gemming something else more viable, it would just change the optimum gemming strat to a specific two color gem.

  15. What I'd like to see in terms of gem changes is reducing access to the Epic gems. On the three servers I'm on, the difference between the raw epics and the cut ones is about 10-30G, not really enough to make JC a skill. Maybe alchemy plus JC, so that you buy the rare gems (or the ore and prospect) and convert them to epics, but that's about it.

  16. This could make things more interesting, but I fear we'd just establish a new standard of boring once we've theorycrafted the second best and third best. We'd be more colorful, but would we really be more interesting? What's there to tweak? Few tanks need to gem for defense, so getting more defense on an item isn't going to make them change any gems. Whatever marginal gain they get won't be worth the 100-200g per gem. As for 2t10 or similar 'transformative' bonuses, how many yellow gems is the average ret using that could be replaced anyway?

    @Christian Griffin: How would getting our second highest damage attack reset lower our DPS? As long as we're still keeping up judgement for regen and not letting the CS libram buff fall off, how could more DS be worse?

  17. Oh I can attest to this. My Holy Paladin has +Intellect gems socketed to the rafters, regardless of which color the slot is. I think part of the problem is that the socket bonuses are incredibly weak. If I have the choice between the most important stat for my class, and +3 to mp/5 for socketing a "proper" color, that isn't even a choice for me. I will sacrifice the underwhelming socket bonus without second thought.

  18. Christian Griffin:

    Consult a spreadsheet or theorycrafting source before passing around faulty information please. 2t10 is an substantial dps increase on a single target, something on the order of 4%, which is actually significantly higher than many other classes' 2t10. You can easily see the effects by building a rotation simulator and a priority list and watching how many more DS hits you get in.

    I recommend Redcape's Retribution Spreadsheet (largely because I am the author), but Exemplar's sheet or Rawr will back my claims up. You can find the information and links at

  19. I'm with Klep - if you take out single-color gems, each spec will simply switch to stacking the optimal multi-color gem. This might make items with fewer sockets more viable, but that won't make gemming more interesting. Nor will improving socket bonuses or making more powerful meta gems. In the end, there will always be a best option.

  20. Lanashara of Khaz'Goroth2:22 PM, June 29, 2010

    I agree with Mike...

    "I think the solution here is to remove socket bonuses entirely and just require the correct colored gem for the socket.

    That would handle it. No need to even remove the single colors. More fun that way.

  21. Maybe the socket bonus could scale with the quality of gems socketed? It seems like the socket bonuses atm are only too low because they're being compared with epic gems... compared with uncommon gems they are quite decent.

  22. Given the high level of stats on gear, and the ICC buff, gemming and enchanting is becoming less and less of an issue then it was when Wraith forst dropped.

    All it is now is an indication that you know what you're doing. If you don't stam stack and instead go for hit/exp to get your threat up to out-compete meter hungry dps, you miss maybe 100-150 stam? Given the icc buff, why do people still stam stack?