With the Mists of Pandaria expansion getting closer I've been thinking a lot about what I would like to see in it from multiple points of view. While we already know more about MoP then we have known about the other expansions at this point in their development, we are also still at a very early stage and have an opportunity to shape it's development, with some good suggestions. So, that's what I'm trying to do in general with these posts. Not all of the suggestions are serious or incredibly significant. At least one of them doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of actually happening, but the are things I would like to see. So, on to part 1.
A Gem Overhaul:
Last week, I made a post about how I felt the Cataclysm implementation of epic gems has been a failure, and it looks like I am not alone in that sentiment. In that post I made several suggestions that Blizzard could implement to ease the situation, but none of them addressed what I consider to be the biggest underlying cause of the situation. The unbalanced demand for the different gem types, due to how the gems are currently organized by color. One of the changes I would like to see in Mop is for Blizzard to reorganize the system to make the other gems more desirable. Here are a few scenarios thought of or heard from others:
I'm listing the current scenario, because despite it's flaws, it also has some significant advantages.
The advantage of this system is that it isolates the primary stats from most of the secondary stats. It's actually very smartly designed, from a stat accessibility point of view. Think of every Primary/Secondary stat combination a player might want and almost all of them are possible in this scenario. Parry is fine as a red because DPS don't want it. Spirit and Spell Pen are fine as blue because tanks won't want those. The only accessibility issue you could have with this design is that melee can't realistically gem for Expertise in this system and tanks can't gem for hit, both of which I think are minor points.
As I said last week, the main problem with this scenario is that it creates a huge imbalance in demand for the different gems. 90+% of the players in the game want red gems, and the other gems are at best situationally desirable.
Suggestion #1: Gem Redistribution
The advantage to this scenario is that it keeps primary stat gems in the game and it spreads them around the different colors to create a more balanced demand. The red gems will still be the most popular since there will likely be more Int users in any group then there are Agi or Str users, but the green and blue gem type drops won't be the trash that they are today.
Unfortunately this scenario has a huge problem. It blocks a lot of Primary/Secondary stat combinations that players will want. Just one example is that Mages and Warlocks would be giving up a lot to gem Hit since it shares a gem color with Int. While it would balance out the demand for the gem types, I think this is to high a price to pay.
Suggestion #2: No Primary Stats
As Rohan suggested in the comments of my last post, it might be a good idea to eliminate primary stats from the system all together. Currently, primary stats are universally every players first choice when trying to pick a gem or enchant for their gear. How players value secondary stats is much more diverse however. Some prefer haste and others want mastery. If implemented this suggestion should lead to more balanced demand because of the more diverse interest in secondary stats. That said, I'm sure there will still be favorites and least favorites, but hopefully it wouldn't be as extreme as the current situation.
The down side to this suggestion is what it means for profession bonuses. The profession bonus for both Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing is based upon gems, and altering which gems are available will have an impact on which professions are most desirable. However, this concern is manageable. The JC only gems could still provide primary stats and the BS gem sockets could be converted to enchants that provide a set amount of stats rather then a socket to be defined by the user.
Suggestion #3: No Pure Secondary Stats
This is by far my most radical suggestion, but I have to ask the question. What's the point of having pure secondary stat gems anyway? As far as I know almost no one uses them, because the primary stats are so much better. So here's the radical suggestion: Get rid of them.
The table above gives you and idea of that I'm thinking about, but by no means includes all the combinations that would be necessary. Each of the Primary stats would have it's own primary color gem, with Strength and Stamina sharing blue. The hybrid gem colors would provide two stats just like they do now, but they would always be a combination of a primary stat and a secondary stat, and the secondary stat wouldn't be tied to a particular color like they are now (ie: Resilience =/= Yellow). Also, if having no pure secondary stat gems is a real deal breaker, who says you can't have pure stat gems in hybrid gem color.
The advantage of this system is that it should broaden the demand for the different types of gems and should allow for every primary/secondary combination desired by players.
The disadvantage to this system is that it is less intuitive than the current system and since it's a fairly radical change, it may confuse a lot of players. I also worry that it may not broaden the demand for other gems enough. Reds would still easily be the most popular gems with blues and yellows coming in second and third. The hybrid gems on the other hand could still lag significantly behind.
While the current gem structure has it's advantages, it's led to an extremely lopsided market for gems in WoW where Reds are valued significantly more then all of the others. There are several ways that Blizzard could modify the system so that the gem valuations are more balanced across the different types.
1. Blizzard could just reassign a lot of the gem types to different colors but this would cause situations where some players couldn't get a hybrid gem combination that they found desirable.
2. Blizzard could also remove primary stats from the gem structure and reassign some of the secondary stats to different colors. This should balance the demand for gems, but would cause issues with profession bonuses.
3. In a fairly radical move, Blizzard could also eliminate pure secondary stats gems because very few people use them anyway. This would allow Blizzard to create hybrid gems that weren't as reliant on gem color and could allow for all the combinations a player might want.