Gemming Your Holy Paladin

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.

The Choices








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.

Red Sockets

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:

Blue Sockets

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 Sockets

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 – 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.

Meta Sockets

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.

19 thoughts on “Gemming Your Holy Paladin”

  1. Right now I’ve taken EJ advice and just socketed int into everything, regardless of socket color, and so far it’s been working great. They have some math there that explains why int gives more bang for the buck than most other things to socket.

  2. Actually all int is not the only choice discussed but people seem to pick up on it, The theory is its the best choice for 3 drake sarth and Malygos and everything else is easy ,so it doesnt matter if your not gemmed optimally. Personally I have found from wws that I am by far the most active in using Sacred sheild in my guild so I am stacking spell power while leaving the int stacking to them.

  3. @Ascian – Yep, but the raw gem (Siren’s Tear) is mega expensive (600g on my server’s AH) and +6 Int is inferior to the other blue socket options (+9 Spellpower, +8 Haste, +8 Crit, or +8 Int, all with +3mp5 as a side dish).

  4. If you don’t want to drop the G on a Siren’s Tear you could go farm 100 clams in the tundra and buy it from the murlocs. It only took me about 30 minutes to get enough to get my first for my Deathchill Cloak.

  5. I assume you meant +19 spellpower?
    As you can tell from my post, I disagree with you; I think gemming for other stats can be an excellent way of compensating for some shortfalls in gear.
    Significantly, refusing to socket any blue gems means you can’t activate the Insightful Earthsiege Diamond, which is insanely better than the Ember Skyflare Diamond; that’s a huge handicap to impose on yourself just because you don’t want to socket a blue gem.
    Socketing a single blue gem instead of one of your red gems would cost you 10 spellpower, and net you the IED activation, which is a far better tradeoff.

  6. I know I will get flamed for this, but I disagree on the meta recommendation. I prefer the ESD for 2 reasons:

    Once you get to 1100 int unbuffed, the +2% int becomes better. Any holy paladin who runs 25 mans in Wotlk should have no trouble hitting 1100 int…

    Next, while the 5% 600 mana gain is a very cool effect, let’s face it; holy paladins never run out of mana. Between illumination and divine plea you can last a long, long, long time before you’re in danger of being oom… personally the extra little bit of SP helps me more.

    Lastly, even though i said two reasons and this one doesn’t really count, it seems easier to meet the gem req. for the ESD. /shrug

  7. Great article and I largely agree, although I’m going to play with +haste since of all my stats, that’s the current lowest and I’m curious to see how it helps my throughput.

  8. Well, I got the mp5 gem with 3% CRIT HEALING… and to be honest it is not worth it. Rather than just talking about which is better than which I have actually had this gem for a couple weeks now.. and I regret it. I have the second best helm so I’m thinking of waiting to get the best one to get 25sp and 2%int because in the end, the crit & sp bonus you get is more than you would expect while my 8mp5 and % crit healing isn’t as beneficial as the other gem.

  9. I’m a jewelcrafter, and since the jewelcrafter gems are prismatic, i socket them so my IED works, and i only socket int in my gear. Holy light spam ftw, but it’s true, that if you got the trinket “Soul of the dead” which gives a chance to restore 900 mana, you should go something else in your gems.

  10. I personally use the Timeless Forest Emerald as my blue gem. The 8 int is obvious, but the 12 stam is a nice little boost. More health = less heals that other healers or myself have to waste on me that can be applied to more critical classes, ie. tanks.

  11. Speaking as the best holy pally on my server in the best guild on my server, I have stacked nothing but Int and Crit since entering lvl 213/226 gear. My gear is entirely BIS, and the difference between my 2200 unbuffed SP and 2400 unbuffed SP is almost ALWAYS overhealing. Why stack more sp? Because of a paladins job, most of their healing is keeping the tank topped off, or overhealing. So if I was slamming a tank with 10k heals repeatedly, it is much more important for me to be able to throw a few extra then to have them hit for 10400 instead. Speaking from experience healing sarth 10 man 3d, you can NEVER have too much mana. In my full int gear with all raid buffs I nearly hit 30k mana. Int gives you crit, sp, and mana. EJ lists this as the way to go, because it IS the way to go. Any pally that has mp5 in ANY of their gems is a noob.

    Now that divine plea has been nerfed, its better to not use it at all unless you are at a break in healing or its an emergency. If you want to be a rape holy pally, stack everything, everything, EVERTYTHING INT! Even blue slots, stop being cheap and become a JCer, 27 or whatever # int gems are the hottest thing in the game right now imo. I put them all in my blue slots. I also use the insightful meta. its the best one hands down.

  12. “Best holy pally on my server” is a big and unprovable claim, you know. :)
    And I agree; once one’s farming the content, stacking spellpower is a waste of time. *However*, there are plenty of paladins out there who are still struggling with heroics, or trying to get through Naxxramas, and their gemming needs are quite different. I credit experienced raiders with the knowledge to gear the best way for them; newer, less-well-geared paladins are often the ones that need pointers like these. EJ’s list is fine for guilds plowing through 25-man content, but there are plenty of people out there in quite different situations. “Gem for int in all sockets all the time” isn’t going to help a fresh 80 struggling to heal heroics with an undergeared tank.
    (That said, I’m planning on updating the post soon, to clarify the stages of gearing – first throughput, then longevity – and the gems that best suit these stages.)

  13. I don’t say that im the best, others tell me I am :P

    Figure its a good thing to point out though when talking about this kinda stuff XD

  14. @Holyflash

    I agree that stacking Int is the way to gem. But if you are at 30k mana buffed, I would use the Ember Fire Meta for 2% Int. That is what I am doing, and I’m getting a nice Int buff compared to the Insightful 21 Int. You can pick up an extra 15 to 20 Int from that meta.

    And I always use the Int Flask.

  15. hey, so i dont have the greatest gear yet cuz all the raids i do are for dps an whatnot.. anyways i did a mix of 20 int and haste. i flash heal alot so it helps alot. when i did have all 20 int for all my sockets it was ok but not the greatest. my holy light took so much mana it was horrible.

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