Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Mailbag: Gemming and Socket Bonuses

Tomas writes:

Hey Josh,

I was looking at your best in slot guide and noticed that Bold Scarlet Ruby was listed for the majority of gem slots... Problem is that many of the gem slots were Blue or Yellow... Thus you need to put something else in for the socket to work properly.

My response:
The only gem slot that requires a gem of that type be socketed in it is a meta slot. You can socket a red into a blue, a green into a red, and a purple into a yellow to no ill effect. The only thing that is effected by mismatching gem color to socket color is the acquisition of the socket bonus.

For example, I have a Bold Scarlet Ruby in my Spiked Titansteel Helm. The ruby is a red gem, but the socket color is blue. I still get the 16 strength bonus from the gem. However, if I were to socket, say, a Sovereign Twilight Opal (purple gem, counts for both red and blue) into that socket instead, I would gain 8 strength and 12 stamina from the gem AND 8 crit rating from the socket bonus.

I assure you, you can put a red gem into a yellow or blue socket and still benefit from that gem's effects.

Tomas' rebuttal:
Thanks for the reply, I was probably a bit unclear. What I meant was that if you put a Bold Scarlet Ruby into a non-red slot you're not going to get the socket bonus, missing out on the free stats even though the gem itself will work properly.

So what you're saying is that a paladin should forgo the socket bonus and always gem STR? Looking at your example of the Spiked Titansteel helm; is loosing 12 stamina AND 8 Crit worth the extra 8AP? In essence you're saying STR is so good you should gem STR exclusively regardless of slot color and missing slot bonuses?

My riposte:
8 strength is not 8 AP.

First, 1 point of strength is 2 points of AP.

Secondly, Divine Strength and Blessing of Kings combine to make 1 point of strength worth more than just 2 AP. 1 point of strength, after Divine Strength, is 1.15. Then after BoKings it's 1.265. So that 1 point of strength after talents and buffs is actually 2.53 AP.

So, what I'm saying is that the 20.24 AP you'll get from those extra 8 points of strength outweighs 8 crit rating and 12 stamina. You get enough stamina on your gear to survive any raid splash damage you'll encounter, so the 12 stam from another purple gem is moot, it doesn't do anything for you. The 8 crit rating pales in comparison to the 20 AP you could get instead.
Hopefully that clears up any questions regarding the current state of ret gemming. Most people are hard-pressed to find a socket bonus worth gemming for, since it'll have to be worth more to a ret paladin's DPS than 20.24 AP, which is the amount that can be expected 8 strength will add to a ret paladin's AP pool in a raid by using a Bold Scarlet Ruby instead of an Inscribed Monarch Topaz or Sovereign Twilight Opal.

Let's look at a comprehensive example. Using the Spiked Titansteel Helm, adding a Bold Scarlet Ruby would give us 40.48 AP and would not activate the socket bonus. Adding a Sovereign Twilight Opal would give us 20.24 AP and 13.2 stamina (modified by Blessing of Kings as well) and would activate the socket bonus, giving us a "free" 8 crit rating. So, the options here are:
  • 40.48 AP
  • 20.24 AP, 8 crit, and 13.2 stamina
Stamina isn't a DPS stat, so we ignore it for our purposes in this exercise. So, you're comparing +20.24 AP to +8 crit rating. The differential is heavily in the AP's favor.

"But Josh, you used a biased example! Purple gems are inferior for DPS stats because of the stamina!"

Fine, let's pretend our Spiked Titansteel Helm were the same except the socket is yellow instead of blue. So, we'll compare an Inscribed Monarch Topaz to the Bold Scarlet Ruby. The options:
  • 40.48 AP
  • 20.24 AP and 16 crit (8 from the gem, 8 from the socket bonus)
+20.24 AP for the ruby, +16 crit for the topaz. I'm still going with the ruby, since a point of AP is worth more to a ret paladin than a point of crit you're getting more AP bang for your buck. For me to consider gemming anything other than pure strength aside from meta gem activation, I need to get a return from the socket bonus that is flat-out greater than something like 16 AP better than 80% of the AP I would gain otherwise. It'll have to be one whopping socket bonus - 8 rating of any secondary stat or 6 of any primary stat is the highest socket bonus I've seen on gear to date.
EDITS: Thank you to Zebra for the clarifications in comments, the above passage has been edited in accordance with his notes.

Of course, this could all change in 3.1. Depending on how things shake out with the mana situation and the redistribution of ret damage sources, I might be recommending Etched Monarch Topaz, Accurate Monarch Topaz, or, hell, maybe even Rigid Autumn's Glow in a few weeks. As for right now, though, strength is the way to go.

Thanks for the question, Tomas!


Suicidal Zebra said...

Agreed apart from one factor: 1 point of crit rating is worth more than 1 point of AP. 16 points of Crit however is not worth more than 20.24 points of AP (or more precisely 8 points of Strength). Crit rating is about 20% better than AP generally.

That aside I agree totally, especially with the note that things may well change quite significantly in 3.1. Even so, the socket bonuses for blue sockets would have to be absolutely stonking to make recommending a blue gem a viable option.

(minor note, the Obsidian Greathelm has a +8 Strength socket bonus, making it one of the few times that socketing a Sovereign Twilight Opal provides a net benefit over a Bold Scarlet Ruby.)

Josh said...

Thanks for the notes Zebra, i made changes above. I knew AP and crit were about the same, I just couldn't be arsed to look up the actual numbers.

Chrom said...

as arguably the best scaling stat for ANY class in the game, strength cannot be taken lightly by paladins, regardless of the socket bonus(if blizz made more impressive socket bonuses that might change) . when the socket bonus provides strength or crit then a little more math becomes involved. but a good rule of thumb for some one with not alot of time on their hands should be to gem Bold Scarlet at all costs.