Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cataclysm Miscues: VIII: Gems

This is the eight in a series of posts about the little things that cataclysm messed up on this expansion.  These little things are things that mostly go unnoticed or are easily overlooked because they are usually not game breaking but they do leave you having that feeling of something being off.

Past posts:
Cataclysm Miscues: I: Healing & Mana Potions
Cataclysm Miscues: II: Hemet Nesingwary
Cataclysm Miscues: III: Targeting
Cataclysm Miscues: IV: Professions
Cataclysm Miscues: V: Flow
Cataclysm Miscues: VI: The Gap
Cataclysm Miscues: VII: Stats

Why? Because it's Red:

Although most of my posts are things that are not game breaking some people might consider this one a little bit game breaking.  I don't.  I consider it a little bit annoying maybe.  A little bit off focus maybe.  A miscue of cataclysm definitely.

Where should we start with the problem with gems?  There are so many miscues this expansion related to gems.  Lets start where the expansion started.

When the expansion first came out you could become an instant billionaire with gems.  While I loved it to make some money it was definitely a miscue.  Did no one at any point in the development of the game ever realize that people where basically creating gold by prospecting gems?  Sure, you can still prospect to make some decent money but now it makes more sense.

At the start you could prospect, cut, vendor, and make gold hand over fist. Even if you went out and spent tens of thousands of gold you could easily quadruple it in a matter of minutes.  It added a huge influx of gold to the game for anyone that was smart enough and had enough free time to take advantage of it.

As the expansion went on and we all started to realize what we would be gemming for best results it started to become apparent that everyone and their mother would be using basically straight red gems 90% of the time.  With the exception of tanks wanting heavy mastery and fresh healers maybe considering spirit at the start everyone else was left with one gemming option, whore your main stats.  Agility, intellect and strength.  All red in case you did not notice.

The design basically made it that if you gemmed for anything other then your main stat you would not be getting the most out of your character and no one purposely gimps themselves like that.  There was something that they could have done to fix this but they went the opposite way instead of the fix it way which brings us to the next point that shows it was a miscue.

No one was gemming for the bonus so instead of making the bonus more attractive, so people would be forced to gem for it, they decided to make nearly all gem slots red to start with.  Where they could have made a new hunter piece one blue and two yellow and made the bonus 100 agility, thus meaning it would be worth matching colors and making the other gems useful, they just gave the new hunter piece 3 red slots or 2 red and one yellow at best.

They basically designed the game with having so many different gem patterns, six different gem colors, so many combinations that it boggles the mind and then made only one gem useful 90% of the time.  A miscue of epic proportions.

Which brings us to more gem miscues.  Blizzard apparently noticed that everyone wanted red and red only, that is why T13 has so many red slots for us.  So why are red gems still nearly  impossible to get when compared to other gems?

Any jewelcrafter that took advantage of the money to be made at the start of the game can tell you they prospected countless numbers of ore and all came to the same conclusion.  How come you get the red uncommon gems less then all others?  I am not talking a little less, I am talking leaps and bounds less.  Whatever of the other 5 you got the least of, the red one is 50% of that.

Blizzard, as I mentioned, apparently knew that everyone would be using red gems only yet they made red gems the least available gem in the game.  Another miscue there.

Gem miscues do not stop with everything being red.  It flows over to all the other gems.  The red/yellow and red/blue have some market even if minimal, but blue, yellow, and blue/yellow are usually better off being sold to the vendor.  On most servers the sell price for gems of those types would be a loss if you consider the cost it takes to list them.  The mastery/stamina one is the only one that has any market out of those other ones. It just does not feel right.

This goes into the way they added epic gems.  Having epic gems come from raiding is not the problem.  Having them come randomly is.  Instead of making it that people buy something and play the lady luck game they could have sold the rares for those same tokens directly.

There are more than a few people I've heard complain they have been raiding since DS was released and still have not gotten an epic gem.  In my guild only one person has even gotten a red epic gem and that is after many weeks.  I personally seem to get at least two shadow spirit gems per run but that seems to be the only one I get and I seem to be the luckiest person when it comes to pulling epics gems out.  The way epic gems where instituted is another miscue.

The gem miscues do not stop there however.  Jewelcrafters losing the full profession bonus because of epic gems was another miscue.  Alchemists not being able to transmute them is another miscue.  Not being able to get them from prospecting is another miscue.

No matter how you cut it, no pun intended, gems just never felt right this expansion.  From the get go there was always something off with them.  Off with the money that could be made from them.  Off with only one gem being really useful.  Off with the only useful gem being the hardest to come by.  Off with it screwing with other professions. Off with the way epics are attained.

Many professions felt a little off in one way or another but none so badly off like the one that is in charge of our gemming needs, jewelcrafting.

So while this whole thing might not be game breaking it sure does feel a little off.  All my characters, except tanks, have the same gemming priorities, red, red and more red.  It just does not feel right.

So if you are playing cataclysm, like it or not is irrelevant, and you ever felt like some things just did not seem right then perhaps this is one of those things you subconsciously noticed.  While not game breaking, gems and gemming in general is one of the miscues of cataclysm.


  1. An interesting side note to the fact that the main stats are so powerful compared with every other secondary stat for non-tanks in PvE:

    This creates a bit of a problem that is not unlike the ones they have with talent specs, glyph choices, etc. In these cases, while the nature of these types of games is to provide compelling choices for the player - with different choices giving different outcomes - many of the choices in Cataclysm boil down to one of two things: the best choice, or not-the-best choice.

    While I totally understand why Blizzard did away with things like Armor Pen at the end of Wrath (and overpowered the main stats), in some ways I miss the fun I had and the time I spent weighing and testing the options: Do I go straight Agility, straight Armor Pen, or something else? What if I stack Haste when the set bonus calls for that color gem - is that going to benefit me on this or that fight, or be more beneficial to my playstyle? etc. Right there... the choices were compelling. That rarely happens now, and most of the time now, if I ask myself those types of questions, it's when I'm deciding whether or not to reforge for one of the less desirable secondary stats over the other, and even then the results are rarely definitive, from what I'm finding.

    Great post, great points, and I'm totally following what you're saying.

  2. Great Post / Series of posts. I never understood why all main stats are red. I think it would improve things to split Str, Int, Agi to Red, Yellow, Blue personally. Although moving to more off color slots with bigger bonuses would help some as well. I made a ton of gold early on doing the prospecting shuffle these days I don't even bother with all gems being worthless except for red.

    Anyway just want to give you props on your blog. It's a fairly new addition to my reader, however I think it's my favorite on the list these days.

  3. Even though I agree with this post completely I want to play a little "devils advocate." By making the red gem the "only" choice it has made everything else a LOT cheaper, and in turn anyone with an alt or gearing up really has not excuse to fill up their gem slots. Even on good gear, if cannot afford all read gems, you can still afford mixed gems with some great results still.

    1. It is true that a mixed gem is better then no gem it still does not feel fair. A casual gamer that does not know how to make money can easily gem now with 20/20s really cheap but that just makes the casual gamer look like the bad gamer.

      We all know how people look at others when they see their choices. It is right or wrong. If they are wrong, they are bad and that reinforces the concept that some people have that casual equals bad. In a way they are forcing the casual players to look like bad players because they can not afford the real gems.

      On some of the servers I play on red gems are 500g+. It is insane.