Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My MoP Wish List - Part 1: A Gem Overhaul

Quick Note: This is part one of three(ish) posts I am planning on making regarding what I would like to see happen/change in the upcoming Mists of Pandaria expansion. I say three(ish) posts, because what I had originally planned to be just one post has grown in to four so far. Last weeks post on the current epic gem situation grew out of his idea, and became too big not to be it's own post. Today’s post was also meant to be apart of another post but grew to big as well. Who knows, maybe this idea will keep me posting into March.

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:

Current Scenario:

ParryResilienceSpell Pen

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

ParryDodgeSpell Pen

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

ExpertiseDodgeSpell Pen

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

Int/Spell PenAgi/ExpStr/Resil

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.


Matticus said...

You got my support for a gem system overhaul. I'm actually partial to the third one myself. With the introduction of Reforging in this expansion, the need to gem for secondary sets has waned somewhat.

Anonymous said...

Your second solution would remove jewelcrafting and blacksmithing as viable professions without some hacky patch. It would also make gemming as a whole less powerful and thus less relevant as a money sink. I do like the idea of making other gem colors more viable though.

Graylo said...


I don't think #2 is as bad of an option as you make it out to be.

The JC and BS professions could easily be modified. For example, JCs could still get JC only gems that had pure stats, or create a "perfection" process that adds 40 Int to an existing gem. For BS, they could create sockets/or enhancements that already come with the 40str that would have come with the thing that is crafted.

Also, this wouldn't make gems less relevant. Players would still socket them with the best gem available, and it doesn't have to be weak since you can always have the gems provide a little more stat then it would otherwise.

I don't know which option I would prefer between 2 or 3, but 2 is definately do able.

Anonymous said...

Suggestion #3 would be the best options if you drop out stam. No tanking class at the moment will gem stam over any other stat.

Arielle said...

I like the idea of a Gem overhaul, but unfortunately all of the options are rather harsh on Bears.

#1 puts Crit, Expertise, and Hit (which are likely to be our most valuable secondaries) on the same gem. So we're forced to go Dodge + X since Dodge > Mastery. This may also be the same for Monks, but we don't know yet. Whereas all of the other tanks can pretty much choose whatever they want since Dodge is much less valuable for them.

#2 Has the same problems as #1. Other tanks can just go Exp/Hit + Mastery, whereas we have to look at Exp, Hit, and Crit - 2 of which are on the same gem.

#3 No Agi/Crit or Agi/Dodge combination is pretty crippling when all of the STR tanks can have whatever combinations they want.

While I agree that Reds (and Oranges) are too valuable now, you shouldn't be removing possible combinations in order to achieve the goal.

Tinderhoof said...

Graylo did say this about #3:
"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."

Gevlon said...

The third suggestion is really good. But the table has mistakes, it has int in the Str column.

Imakulata said...

@1st anon, viability of JC and BS as self-buffing professions is balanced around blue gems which means JC is not a viable profession while BS is mandatory (for the high end who can afford purple gems of course).

Similar thing happened with Leatherworking which provides primary stat bracer enchant in the beginning of Cata when the bracer enchants only had secondary stats.

I assume Blizzard would either make all professions grant secondary stat bonuses or do something like what Graylo suggested.

@2nd anon, what about block capped paladins?

Graylo said...

@Pretty much everyone

I want to clarify something. The tables I used in my post are not inflexable. I only created those tables to illustrate the suggestion and I am not suggesting that Blizzard would have to implement them exactly as I listed them.

Obviously Blizzard has a lot more experiance and data regarding gem usage and could structure them in a way that makes the most sense.

In short, try not to get to caught up in the details of the tables and please focus more on the concept rather then exactly how it's implemented.

Abyori said...

A large part of this is that primary stats are just so much stronger than secondary stats. I believe they've said they want to fix that; making it so that secondary stats are as desirable as primary stats. So there is a potential that will changing things up.

The question will be if they up the power of secondary stats enough to make non red gems feasible in the end game min/maxing.


Worried Jewelcrafter said...

I have a gem question ... What about the gap between the JC gems and epic gems? ... Will we see a new set of JC gems or are we stuck with the limited increase ... eg. 50 intellect vs 67 intellect = only a bonus of 17 as opposed to the bonus of 27 previously granted ...

Anonymous said...

Another option is to do nothing and just increase availability of red gems isn't it? Balance drop rates to match usage percentage? Add alchem xmute patterns, etc that you mentioned in your first post? Seems like this is still a viable option without overhauling something that works aside from red gem availability. Just a thought you made initially that I'm not seeing in options.

Anonymous said...

Another alternative would be to keep the current gem colours and limit the number of pure primary gems in gear via the meta.

Eg: Let's look at our current meta. "Requires at least 3 Red gems"

Why does it need to be that? Why couldn't it be "Requires no more than 3 Pure Red gems" or "Requires exactly 3 Pure Red gems"?

By hard capping the number of pures we can have in our gear, Blizzard is forcing value into the hybrid gems. People may complain of a dps nerf and the loss of monetary value of the pure reds, but at least we now have a reason to use more hybrids. In fact, the hybrid gems would probably become much more valuable than the pure reds as they stand.

With the massive number of red sockets (including prismatics) in my gear, I can afford to gem for a hybrid stat instead of reforging out of one since there's no point to having so many reds.

Option 4

Heezashee said...

here's an idea that i was thinking about....

what if gems that dropped already had stats on them? for instance, red gems always had strength, yellow always had agility and blue always had intel. orange would have haste, green would have crit and purple would have spirit. mastery could be a new gem like a diamond or something that could be found through prospecting. so basically, JCs wouldn't be able to cut pure gems but would be the only people who could get them via prospecting.

considering this, JCs would be able to cut those pure gems into hybrid gems...ie, take the red strength gem and cut it to any hyrid like str/hit, str/stam, str/mastery etc....and the the same for all the other gems.

also, let JCs get some epic patterns like the other professions like necklaces, rings, trinkets and wands.

in any case, this would spread the value of the most desirable primary stat gems across three colors, and the seconday gems across the other colors. also, i think they need to rethink meta gems, they're a bit lackluster in my opinion and need to be more compelling cool and fun...

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