Problems With the Current Gem Colour Arrangements

My apologies for the length between posts, my new schedule has kind of thrown my in a tizzy and I’m still adjusting. Never fear, I’m still alive and kicking!

One of the largest problems with the shuffle is the huge difference in demand and price between the red gems and the lesser used colours like green and yellow. The biggest factor of this is the huge affect primary stats have on a player’s performance ingame, and how 3 of the 4 (Agility, Strength, and Intellect) are on red gems as of Cataclysm. When Blizzard removed some stats from the game such as Attack Power and Armour Penetration they also shifted Intellect from being a yellow gem, to a red gem. This was a huge mistake in my opinion, it shifted what little demand yellow gems had to the already in high demand red gems.

When Mist’s of Pandaria comes along Blizzard should distribute Strength, Agility, and Intellect across the three main colours, and put stamina with the weakest of the three (off the top of my head, my guess would be with agility). If you open up any guide for any class in any role, in their gem section they will tell you to gem for meta, and then stick red gems in everything. Primary stats right now are simply to powerful to place all onto one gem colour and not expect the markets to be wonky.

Unfortunately the huge dependency on red coloured gems comes not only on the raiding quality gems (rare and epic) but uncommon gems as well. Carnelians are not only used to transmute up to Inferno Rubies but are also one of the best sources for Greater Celestial Essence which is a highly used material for most enchants. Add to this the need to include them for meta gem transmutes, and you end up never having enough Carnelians to go around.

Blizzard should have seen this coming. Before Cataclysm, we already had a huge reliance on red gems, but mana users would but demand on the yellow gems as well for our Intellect. What did they think would happen when they switched intellect to the red gem? Yes I know they added Mastery to the yellow gems, but as we’ve seen the demand for yellow gems is one of the lowest of all gems. Why? Players simply don’t stack mastery because primary stats are too strong.

Now I can understand that Blizzard couldn’t change this mid-expansion, which is why 5.0 will be an excellent time to fix the arrangement of stats across the gem colours. When you have most colours going for over 10 times the cost of only one of the colours, you’ve got a seriously unbalanced system here, and unbalanced systems can only hurt the system.

I guess the biggest issue here is, does Blizzard really care about this? History tells us Blizzard really doesn’t care unless something is being exploited, so we will most likely see this imbalance continue throughout WoW. but a goblin can dream can’t he?

About the author

Eric Dekker

Gamer. Student. Nerd. Author of The Golden Crusade. Find him on + and Twitter.


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  1. Joe

    I’m not sure if you missed the way gems work but you can’t do what you suggest wihout gems becoming very messy.

    Red being primary stats, Yellow being secondary stats, and blue being stamina and “other” allows for every combination of gem you could want.

    If the primiary stats were split between colors then the secondary stats would have to be split also. If you did that however, you would run into combinations of primary and secondary stats that would fall under the same color. What would you do then? Having a primary color gem with 2 stats wouldn’t seem right and would limit those gems when dealing with item socket bonuses.

    Untying secondary stats from gem color also wouldn’t work. That would just make things messy and it wouldn’t be as simple and elegant as it is now.

    There is the option of creating a 4th color to hold the secondary stats with the three current colors each holding one of the three major stats but again you’d have to expand the simple to remember color wheel that is currently in place.

    1. Eric Dekker

      You make some very good points, and short of a complete reworking of the gems (oh please Blizz no) it doesn’t seem any real way to fix it. Was just trying to bounce around an idea or two

  2. kkronc

    while i agree with the base point of red gems be way over demanded in everything else, I would slighty disagree, as resil and mastery gems still sell better then blue/green gems (at least on tortheldrin). Point aside, if there was a way to split up int back to yellow (stam is still blue, they made stam/secondary stat’s work). Also, why they didnt do anything with zepheryites is beyond me. They should have made zephyerite fists instead of carnelian for your point about GCE’s. This late in the xpac, i reallly doubt blizz will do anything, hopefully they will see this and fix it for MoP.

    1. Eric Dekker

      What pissed me off a lot for some reason is in the last patch they added Stardust you can craft, and they made it use nightstone. Now obviously this won’t alleviate the difference in demand, but it would be nice to have *something* you can craft zephyrites into. Plus, purple stardust? really?

  3. Jane Gray

    Ultimately a better solution is to make the gems with the off-stats more powerful and thus an interesting choice.

    20 int is always more powerful than 20 mastery. But what about 30 mastery? Rather than juggling the stats around in the way you suggest, they should actually make the choice of stats a viable decision. (as we currently see between mastery, haste, and crit).

  4. Kenshunter

    There are three primary colors and then there are three mixed colors (fits in two color slots)… the primary stats should be spread amongst the three primary slots granted… In most specs, there is a major secondary stat… these should be spread out amongst the mixed colors…. stamina was not the king for tanks early in this expansion, thus blue gems stunk on the ah sales… now it is making a comeback, if only slightly… so, three recommendations: 1. spread out the goodness of primary and secondary stats across all six colors…. or….. 2. change the proc rates to match reality…. getting a blue, yellow or green gem (purples seem to sell ok of late even for a mixed color) is like getting a rotten nut after spending time opening it up… or 3. make the slot bonuses worthwhile to take the ‘other than primary’ gems… i.e., +20/+30 agi slot bonus for a mixed gem slot other than red…

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