Time for the next installment in my series of ‘How To Gear Your Paladin In WotLLK’ posts: Holy Paladin Gem Choices. This is an issue that’s been somewhat complexified by the mountain of new gem cuts in WotLK.
Updated 1 Feb 09 to include the Reckless orange cut and adjust recipes based on 3.0.8.
In general, I will be talking about gemming for maximum effect (for PvE), not ‘how to use up your stockpiles of old gems’. Therefore, the first lesson:
- Do not use TBC-era gems! No, not even epic gems. Even uncommon-quality WotLK gems are better than the very epic-est of TBC gems. Compare, say, Runed Bloodstone and Runed Crimson Spinel if you don’t believe me.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to look at each type of gem in a little more detail. I’ll list the gems of each color that are appropriate for paladin healers, and then we’ll look at the pros and cons of each gem.
- Runed Scarlet Ruby: +19 Spellpower
- Luminous Monarch Topaz: +9 Spellpower, +8 Intellect
- Potent Monarch Topaz: +9 Spellpower, +8 Crit Rating
- Reckless Monarch Topaz: +9 Spellpower, +8 Haste Rating
- Brilliant Autumn’s Glow: +16 Intellect
- Quick Autumn’s Glow: +16 Haste Rating
- Smooth Autumn’s Glow: +16 Crit Rating
- Dazzling Forest Emerald: +8 Intellect, +3 mp5
- Energized Forest Emerald: +8 Haste Rating, +3 mp5
- Sundered Forest Emerald: +8 Crit Rating, +3 mp5
- Lustrous Sky Sapphire: +6 mp5
- Royal Twilight Opal: +9 Spellpower, +3 mp5
- Beaming Earthsiege Diamond: +21 Crit Rating and +2% Mana
- Bracing Earthsiege Diamond: +25 Spellpower and -2% Threat
- Ember Skyflare Diamond: +25 Spellpower and +2% Intellect
- Insightful Earthsiege Diamond: +21 Intellect and Chance to restore mana on spellcast
- Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond: +8 mp5 and 3% Increased Critical Healing Effect
Choosing the Gems
So, that’s a lot of gems to choose from. When you’re making these choices, you really have to consider four major factors:
- Mathematical advantage. Some stats are just stronger than others for holy paladins, because of the nature of our game mechanics. See this post for a discussion of why gearing (and gemming and enchanting) for Intellect is better than mp5, for example.
- The stats you need for the content you’re doing. Mechanical advantage aside, nobody knows your gear better than you. If you need more healing output, gem for spellpower. If you’re PvPing, gem for crit and haste, for mobility. If you’re running out of mana, gem for Int/mp5/Crit.
- Socket bonuses. As I’ve said before, many people get tunnel vision, and pick gems based on socket color regardless of how good the socket bonus is. Others ignore the socket bonus and gem for one stat with no exceptions. Neither choice is necessarily the wisest.
A piece of gear with two blue sockets and a 3 mp5 socket bonus? I’d ignore that, and stick two red spellpower gems into it. A piece of gear with a red and a yellow socket, and a 5 spellpower socket bonus? That’s probably worth sticking to.
- Meta gems. All other considerations aside, sometimes you have to socket a slightly sub-optimal gem for the sake of activating your meta gem.
Now you know the factors involved, let’s look at what to socket where.
Runed Scarlet Ruby, no question.
In fact, if you’re not constricted by meta gem activation or an appealing socket bonus, this gem is arguably stronger than any other color gem and you can use it comfortably in any socket. However, if you need to socket other colors too, read on:
You’re really choosing between 9 Spellpower (Royal Twilight Opal), 8 Intellect (Dazzling Forest Emerald), 8 Haste Rating (Energized Forest Emerald) or 8 Crit Rating (Sundered Forest Emerald). All other factors being equal, I’d go for the Royal Twilight Opal again.
Yellow has better choices than blue; none of these gems are really bad to socket, and depending on the kind of content you’re doing and the role you’re playing in your team, they often make for a more well-rounded gear set than pure spellpower gems anyway.
Avoid any of the green gems for this socket, and look at yellow and orange gems. Pretty much any of the orange or yellow gems I listed above are acceptable, in fact â€“ although make sure you’re not needlessly piling on auxiliary stats like Haste at the expense of your mana pool or crit rating. Int and Crit are both multi-purpose, improving throughput and mana longevity; by comparison, Haste only improves throughput.
My personal preference is the Luminous Monarch Topaz or Potent Monarch Topaz for the balance of stats they provide. The Reckless Monarch Topaz is also acceptable if you’re trying to build up your Haste rating, but I generally feel that there’s more than enough Haste directly on gear and you’re better off gemming for Int or Crit.
Of the options I listed, the Insightful Earthsiege Diamond is the strongest choice; +Int has come into its own as a stat for paladins, and the proc is very powerful: +600 mana, 5% proc rate, possibly with an internal cooldown of 15 seconds.
Elitist Jerks has a comparison of meta gems in this thread and the IED comes out far ahead. The next best choice is the Ember Skyflare Diamond. Really crit-stacked healadins may also like the Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond but it’s still probably not strong enough to compete with the IED.
Also note that there are a few PvP-oriented meta gems that may prove very useful in specific content, such as those with reduced Fear/Silence/Stun duration, or improved run speed. You can see a complete list of jewelcrafter-cut WotLK meta gems with this WoWhead filter.