Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jewelcrafting: Cuts, a Comment on Variety

  Jewelcrafting is one of the more lucrative professions, and though most gems sell in varying amounts, many patterns seem useless. Also, there's a very uneven spread across the ROYGBP spectrum. Primary stats as well as Mastery for tanks becoming so much more powerful than other options has further reduced the effective variety to cuts.

  These are the cuts considered ideal, not counting Resilience gems, with just a bit of my own commentary:

Strength (Strength DPS)
Agility (Agility DPS, Druid tanks)
Intellect (Intellect DPS, Healers)

  The red gem slot is straight forward for most players. Just gem your primary stat. Some Resto Shaman prioritize Spirit over Intellect (SS Resto), and non-Druid tanks stack Mastery instead.

Strength/Haste (Unholy, Frost)
Strength/Mastery (Ret)
Strength/Crit (Fury, Arms)
Agility/Haste (Sub, Combat)
Agility/Mastery (Enhance, Assassin, Feral DPS)
Agility/Crit (Hunters)
Agility/Dodge (Feral Tanks)
Intellect/Haste (Destro, Afflic, Elemental, Shadow, Holy Pally, Fire, Arcane, Balance)
Intellect/Mastery (Demo)
Intellect/Crit (Frost)
Parry/Mastery (non-Druid tanks)

  Non-Pally healers gem either for Intellect/Haste or Intellect/Mastery (or Intellect/Crit for Resto Druids) as their playstyle dictates. For DPS, however, there's a lot less flexibility. There are Haste caps for some specs, where gemming for Haste to reach a cap is preferred, but for the most part this list shows the ideal option for each spec.

Mastery (non-Druid tanks)

Mastery/Stamina (Druid tanks
Spirit/Mastery (SS Resto)

  The green gems fill niche spots, but like yellow, most are useless.

Spirit (SS Resto)
Spell Pen (PvP)

  Blue gems fill a niche spot as well, but mostly are used for Spell Pen gems.

Strength/Hit (Strength DPS)
Agility/Stamina (Druid Tanks)
Agility/Hit (Agility DPS)
Intellect/Hit (Mages, Warlocks)
Intellect/Spirit (Healers, Elemental, Shadow, Balance)

  There are a small variety of purple gems, but many are eschewed by DPS in favor of a red gem if the socket bonus in question is less than 20 Strength, Agility, or Intellect.

  The dominance of Strength, Agility, and Intellect (Mastery for non-Druid tanks) is the fundamental problem. The relative weakness of secondary stats has caused most yellow and blue cuts and even some red cuts to become worthless.

  What is the difference between gemming two red sockets with 40 Agility for a 20 Agility bonus or just having 100 passive Agility baked into the item? Using gems is supposed to be an opportunity for customization, but it's now simply an opportunity for failure.

  This is a similar problem addressed by the Talent redesign in Cata and further redesign in MoP, where passive bonuses are made baseline. Perhaps this issue can be addressed in a similar way.

*edit* I use The Undermine Journal and WoW Popular as general guidelines for crafting. I assigned orange gems to class/specs according to the guides on Noxxic. My first reaction on visiting Noxxic was "This is newbie crap." After a moment of reflection, I realized that's the whole point. It's no EJ by any means, but it'll answer the most basic questions of how to spec, gem, enchant, reforge, and the basic rotation. "Noxxic is for Newbs" isn't a bad thing to say after all.


  1. I sell a few green gems, but I sell a bunch of the Puissant version. I also sell a decent number of Quick Amberjewels.

    1. If I find myself in excess of Amberjewels, I'll have to give that cut a try. I'd guess that a player trying to reach a haste plateau would be the buyer there, but a 20 primary stat loss? I can't really imagine where it's be big enough and reliable enough of a performance increase.

      For me, any Amberjewels that don't end up as Fractured or Mystic get used up fairly reliably with Vicious gear.

  2. I wrote a longish comment but then it short version:

    Gems confer a numerical benefit that combines in some mathematical way into another meta-number of interest (DPS, HPS, EH, etc). Without changing this, there is no way to make gems interesting in the way that the talent system is--there will always be a right choice and many incorrect wrong ones (enchanting is the same way, but with fewer wrong choices). They can alleviate the red monopoly problem by just removing gem colors, which are currently like an idea that was never fully developed.

    Gems are just like leg armors. find the right one and slap it on and never think about it again. I prefer it this way--I don't really find the gear metagame that exciting.

    1. I'll agree that gemming is certainly very passive and very boring by nature, but my concern is the lack of real variety to gem choices that drives the red and orange markets, purple less so, with others falling away to near uselessness. Perhaps if red=strength, yellow=agility, blue=intellect, with secondary stats adjusted to compensate, we could have a more varied market.

      I guess what I'm really lamenting is how boring the crafting is. Jewelcrafting in Cata started off great with a bunch of 346 BOE's, but those became obsolete right after ZA/ZG dropped. Now we're down to a half dozen PvP pieces (Upgraded, thankfully) that still use only red, yellow, and blue. There's nothing to do with excess greens.

  3. Honestly, I always felt that the gems could have gone a completely different route. Have them deal out different types of damage independently of others. Have red gems deal a set amount of fire damage to attackers or something like that.

    The numbers, while easier to simply apply a formula, removes a bit of the fun from what the gear could be.

    Imagine a tank who stacked all blue gems, and they all had some varying effect with regards to the frost element. Say, this "Solid Blue Gem" offers a 2% chance to deal 1000 frost damage on weapon swing, while this "Radiant Blue Gem" has a 2% chance to cause a 10% reduction in melee attack speed to any attackers.

    Then the gem game becomes more about playstyle and such, and would offer more customization. In my opinion, of course.

    You could have tanks stacking Attack slows, or tanks stacking frost-procs, etc. This is just a short comment, but you get the idea.

    The numbers are just... boring. Numerical. Static.