[Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond]: I detailed the math on the Chaotic Meta gem in a post a couple of years ago. The theory behind the Chaotic meta gem hasn't changed in those two years. While the 54 crit rating isn't that attractive, the 3% increase to crit damage is easily still the best Meta gem buff. The question now is if it's worth the increased cost imposed by the new meta gem requirement.
Intellect Gems ([Bracing] , [Ember]): The Int gems are just the opposite of the Chaotic meta. Picking up an additional 54 Int is very attractive but the meta buffs are situational at best.
I've seen a couple of people advocating the Bracing meta because they are uncertain about threat in Cataclysm. Personally I have a hard time buying that argument. A 2% threat reduction shouldn't be much of a DPS increase. In most cases, if threat is really an issue then either you or your tank is probably doing something wrong.
The Ember meta gem would have been a much more attractive option a couple of months ago, but mana no longer seems to be a huge issue for Moonkin. If you're not running Oom, then an additional 2% mana is useless.
There are other meta gems that provide Int, but I believe them to be more PvP oriented since they provide bonuses that reduce stuns, silences and such.
[Fleet Shadowspirit Diamond]: I'm a little hesitant to list this gem at all but it provides a unique opportunity. If you've read my blog for a while then you probably remember threat I am a big fan of the Minor Run Speed Increase bonus. I like the additional utility it provides, and I've traditionally picked it up as a boot enchant because the other enchant options are relatively weak. However, in Cataclysm things seem to be changing a little bit. Minor Run Speed Increases don't stack, so it doesn't make sense to have both the gem and the boot enchant. Therefore, if you decide to use the Fleet meta, you can choose a different boot enchant. Most likely the 50 hit rating enchant. These means the Fleeting Shadowspirit Diamond provides you with 50 hit rating and 19 mastery mating if you assume that the Minor Run Speed increase will be picked up in either the boot slot or with the meta gem.
Other Options: There are other options that provide Crit rating and what I think are PvP bonuses. None of these are worth considering in my opinion.
Hamlet recently posted an updated version of the level 85 WrathCalcs, and I'm using that evaluate the different options. It works a lot like the old El Jefe spreadsheet which will make some of you happy, and I used it to evaluate the Chaotic Meta and the Bracing Meta.
The gear I chose is all ilevel 359 epic gear. I didn't always make the optimal choice and favored pieces that were easier to obtain when possible. The gear set I used is very plausible at least in the early raiding of this tier. I did make the optimal gem, enchant, and reforging choices, and I used this talent spec.
The Cost: To use the Chaotic Meta gem I have to make some gem choices that would not be optimal without the meta requirement. When compared to the Int gems, I lose 154 Int as a result and gain 100 Spirit/Hit, 54 Crit rating, and the 3% increase to Crit damage. The cost of using Int gem is the exact opposite.
The Results: When I plugged these numbers into the spread sheet these are the numbers I got:
|Chaotic Meta:||20,663 DPS|
|Int Meta:||20,468 DPS|
|Fleet Meta:||20,319 DPS|
As you can see the Chaotic Meta was still the clear winner even with the suboptimal gemming requirement.
The Gemming Strategy:
How we socket our Meta socket may not be changing but it does require a change in how we socket our other gem sockets. It's a lot more confusing then how we've done it in the past, but I will try and outline it as simply as possible.
Simple Version: This version of my strategy makes an assumption that should be true most of the time, but probably not always. That assumption is that you have more Yellow and Blue sockets then you have Red and Prismatic sockets. This assumption isn't true for our T10 gear, but it looks to be true for T11, and think it will be the norm through out Cataclysm. I hope this is the case because it makes the gemming strategy a lot easier to explain.
Red/Prismatic Socket: [Brilliant Inferno Ruby]
Yellow Socket: Socket a [Lightning Dream Emerald] until you have no yellow sockets left or until you have one more green gem socketed then you have red gems socketed.
Blue Sockets: If the number of green gems you have socketed is less than or equal to the number of Red gems socketed, then socket your blue sockets with [Sparkling Ocean Sapphire] until you have one more green gem socketed then you have red gems socketed. At this point your meta requirement is met.
Other Sockets: Now you need to balance the rest of your sockets to make sure the meta requirement is still met. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- For every pair of yellow sockets you have left socket one with a [Reckless Ember Topaz] and a [Lightning Dream Emerald] until zero or just one yellow socket left.
- If you have one yellow socket left and at least one blue socket left, then socket the yellow with a [Reckless Ember Topaz] and one blue socket with a [Sparkling Ocean Sapphire]. If you have one yellow socket left and no blue sockets left socket the yellow socket with a [Lightning Dream Emerald].
- Socket the remaining blue sockets with [Purified Demonseye].
Advanced Version: Hamlet made a much more mathy explanation of the system on his Elitist Jerks blog which you can find here. This post and another one of his EJ posts led me to creating another explanation of the strategy using math expressions. Some of you might find it easier to understand.
- Let R be minimum(number of red+prismatic sockets , blue+yellow sockets - 1 ).
- Put R red gems into red/prismatic sockets.
- If there are still red/prismatic sockets left over, put purple in them.
- Let Y be minimum(R+1, yellow sockets)
- Put Y green gems into yellow sockets.
- Put R-Y+1 blue gems into blue sockets -- Meta requirement now satisfied.
- For each remaining pair of blue/yellow sockets, socket one blue and one orange gem.
- If yellow are left, fill with half green and half orange, favoring Green if odd number. If blue are left, fill with purple.
The Chaotic Meta gem is still the best meta gem choice by far. The DPS benefits of the other meta gem options just don't measure up even when you take the new Chaotic Meta gem requirement into account.
However, the new Chaotic Meta gem requirement does make our gemming strategy much more complicated then it has been in the past. The strategies I've outlined above will make sure your gear is gemmed optimally while still meeting the meta requirement. That said, you should be extra vigilant when making gear changes to make sure your gemming is still optimized.