Did Blizzard Balance Gem Colours Properly in Mists of Pandaria?

Back in January of this year I wrote about how the colour arrangements for gems needed an adjustment. Seems the folks at Blizzard must be on the same wavelength because when Mists of Pandaria rolled out I was thrilled to see many more options for using up those pesky gems that just never seem to sell. But did Blizzard really fix the problem? Lets take a look at the current demands on gems so far in Mists of Pandaria.

Typically the most trouble comes from the blue colour gems, which in Mists of Pandaria are Lapis Lazuli and River’s Heart. In Cataclysm blues were only good for meta gem transmutes, cuts, and vendor. In Mists of Pandaria Lapis Lazuli, the uncommon gem, can be used for

  • Cuts (including Perfect procs)
  • Mirror Scope
  • Transmute: River’s Heart
  • Ornate Band

Alright, so not too good so far with the Lapis Lazuli. With the availability of Golden Lotus the transmute won’t see much use, and mirror scope will see limited sales as well. The saving grace is that Ornate Band will be crafted often as an easy way to get Spirit Dust and Mysterious Essence and that Perfect Cuts can sell quite well since they have the same stat value as rare gems.

Lets look at what the rare blue gem for Mists of Pandaria, River’s Heart, is used for

  • Cuts
    • Rigid
    • Solid
    • Sparkling
    • Stormy
  • Reflection of the Sea
  • Enchant Weapon – River’s Song
  • Sapphire Cub
  • Sapphire Panther


Alright so not a bad showing at first glance, certainly a larger spectrum of uses for the gem. There are some limiting factors first of all. The pet and mount that uses the gems, Sapphire Cub and Sapphire Panther respectively, are locked behind Golden Lotus and Cloud Serpents dailies and won’t be cheap to craft so demand will be low for these with such huge demand and such limited supply on Golden Lotus. How well Reflection of the Sea does will vary from server to server but even on the fastest moving servers it won’t make a huge dent in your supply of River’s Heart. So far River’s Heart cuts haven’t been moving well on my server, I don’t think I’ve sold one in over 48 hours (and I have all four cuts for it). The only possible saving grace is when the Enchant Weapon – River’s Song (hello sweetie) become more widely available as it’s likely going to be the weapon enchant of choice for tanks so hopefully with all the other ways to use it you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting rid of your River’s Hearts.

Alright so theory is all well and good in theory, but what about in practice? Right now after about 2 weeks of shuffling I’ve got a significant backlog of River’s Hearts, but also Sun’s Radiance, the yellow coloured rare gems. Lets see what those are used for shall we?

  • Cuts
    • Fractured
    • Mystic
    • Quick
    • Smooth
    • Subtle
  • Lionsfall Ring
  • Sunstone Panther

While there is one more cut available to Sun’s Radiance it doesn’t have the pet available to River’s Heart, and it’s not used in any enchants. It’s not surprising Sun’s Radiance cuts aren’t doing too well, while secondary stats are weighted much better now and some classes and specs should be gemming some secondary stats, they operative word there is should, many players are stuck in the old ways of stacking primary stats, so it might be some time before this is corrected and demand for gems balances out.

Now lets take a look at the traditonal best sellers the red coloured gems. Skipping right to the rare gems Primordial Ruby we find the following requires these gems

  • Cuts
    • Bold
    • Brilliant
    • Delicate
    • Flashing
    • Precise
  • Lord’s Signet
  • Lord Blastington’s Scope of Doom
  • Ruby Panther

Not only is the Primordial Ruby used in 5 cuts, 3 of which are amongst the most popular cuts, it’s also used in an important scope (which doubles as a regent for a gun Engineers can also make), a ring, and one of the best looking mounts added yet to the game.

Female Pandaren Monk on Ruby Panther

Why does Blizzard continue to do this? Admittedly on paper the spread of gem uses is much better, but in practice it seems to be failing yet again.

Of course we’ll just adjust, I suspect many blue coloured gems will face the vendor fate before this expansion is over, it’s just disappointing to see so many gems go to waste that could actually be contributing to the games economy.

About the author

Eric Dekker

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


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  1. Chris AKA StupidGoldTweet

    Just dawned on me while reading this…Now that I have almost all of the rare cuts i wanted (and have no problem covering the rest with perfect uncommons) I can just use the blue research to get the rest of the cuts in a random fashion.

    I actually move some Stormy cuts so it’d be 3 wasted days of research, but save the gems I actually use as I fill out my recipe book. Thanks!

    1. Eric Dekker

      I actually forgot about that, and that’s actually an excellent use for backlogged gems, but unfortunately it’s only good so long as you have cuts to research

  2. Ennui

    I really disagree with this whine, especially since rubies aren’t clearcut best gems anymore for most classes (unlike in Cata and other previous xpacx you get double the secondary stat now! For example; reckless cut (orange gem) was +20 int and +20 haste. Now it is +80 int and +160 haste, actually superior to some casters than a straight +160 gem (plus, the orange cut fits in a yellow socket too).
    Anyway, I think your arguments are poorly outlined, especially the laughable “best looking mounts”. Eye of the beholder, man. I think the red panther is the worst of the 4 inferior ones. The only was to go is the jewelled one. :)

    p.s. Sorry for any mistakes. Reply written on a bus :S

    1. Eric Dekker

      “It’s not surprising Sun’s Radiance cuts aren’t doing too well, while secondary stats are weighted much better now and some classes and specs should be gemming some secondary stats, they operative word there is should, many players are stuck in the old ways of stacking primary stats, so it might be some time before this is corrected and demand for gems balances out.” What players should do and what they actually do are two different things unfortunately, many are stuck in the old ways of primary stat stacking.

      Pffft who doesn’t like red? Red’s sexy, it’s the colour of power :P

  3. Butterbuns

    Just one little thing: the sapphire panther mount is actually gotten from Cloud Serpents rep, which really *isn’t* that hard to get.

    1. Eric Dekker

      Ooops sorry I’ll make the correction. And anything the requires rep is hard to get in my mind, I hate dailies haha :P

      1. Butterbuns

        Well on the upside it only takes like 5 days or something? Less if you get the eggs which are pretty easy to find. Better than freaking weeks with GL.

        1. Eric Dekker

          I haven’t even had time to get my first character to 90 yet so I wouldn’t know haha >.>

          1. Apathi

            How can you make these accusations and assumptions if you haven’t even gotten a character to 90?

          2. Eric Dekker

            Because you don’t need to be 90 to make gems and see market trends

  4. Tirke

    The red cuts on my server move well, but at very low prices. More often than not, the cuts are not profitable.

    The yellow are also very, very low, which is a little surprising considering the change in secondary stats.

    Stormy sell really well, at decent prices, but the other blues are not worth it.

    Orange/Purple are the big moneymakers. I have 5 JC’s so have all the cuts and doing fairly well in the market.

    There is still quite an imbalance though, but hopefully it can smooth out some as we move forward.

  5. Kronor

    Missing from these considerations are the changes to PVP mechanics. It seems that for PVP purposes, Stormy blue cuts are ranked above Bold/Delicate/Brilliant reds. It may take time for PVP the player base to learn that, but it should reduce a significant part of the red market in favor of a blue one.

    1. Eric Dekker

      I didn’t know this, I don’t PvP so PvP considerations often slip by me, thanks for the info!

  6. Mogram

    Once tanks hit their Exp and Hit caps, the blue gems are actually quite a good option for them (stat wise) as well.

    If you run your tank toons through Mr Robot, once you can hit your soft caps you’ll see a lot of the follow up recommendations will be Blue Stam based gems for Blue sockets.

    Not enough to change the scope of Blue weighting in a big way, but I suspect as the Xpac moves along, Blue gems will become more popular (especially now that River Song is starting to hit the market too) and once the backlog for many JCs is cleared out, you might see more balance between gem cut values.

  7. scottiegazelle

    I think part of the reason you’re sitting on a stash is because you aren’t looking at the uncut market, which is where I sell pretty much all of my blue-quality gems. My server is down atm, but per UJ, I’ve sold 71 auctions in the last 96 hours. Admittedly, this is not high-price, in the 60-100g range, depending on how many people feel the need to undercut me, but they *are* moving.

    And a friend of mine clued me in on why this works for now, at least (how well it will hold out long term, idk): discovery. Once you learn the gem patterns on one color, continuing to discover patterns will randomly proc other colors. Not good if you’re looking for a specific cut, but if you’re like me and have all the cuts you need, then it’s a cheap way to get through the process.

    1. Eric Dekker

      I do sell raw gems from time to time but I cringe every time I do cause I’d rather be selling a cut gem for a markup, but sometimes it’s the only way to clear the backlog

  8. Kurzaa

    For the most part, I think blizzard did an adequate job of balancing the gems. There are uses for all of the uncommons in making DE fodder, so no waste. With the changes in secondary stats, non-red cuts should be in more demand, though there will continue to be pointless worthless cuts in each hybrid combination. And as already mentioned, PvP Power should keep you from groaning whenever you get a blue gem.

    The only thing I don’t like is that the pendulum swung to far the opposite direction. Double the itemization for secondary stats makes yellow gems far to powerful, simply replacing red gems for dominance. I think 1.5x times the value, like with stamina, would have justified occasionally matching socket bonuses.

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