It was recently announced that when Patch 4.3 is released we once again gain access to some new epic level gems. While many players have been expecting this and trying to get ahead of the curve by stocking up on ore to prospect, Blizzard has thrown us all a curve ball in how these gems will become available.

Important: Keep in mind that many details discussed below are subject to change, and possibly extreme changes at that since this is only talk so far and subject to PTR testing.

Blizzard Announces Epic Gems in WoW Patch 4.3

Let’s start with what we know so far, based on this quote from Ghostcrawler in an online interview over at TankSpot:

Ghostcrawler - Epic Gems

L: Will we be seeing epic gems in 4.3?

GS: Great question, and yes, you will! The way we're hoping to set it up, and we kind of have this working but things could change before we go live, is when you kill a boss on normal or heroic mode, each player gets a geode, and when they open the geode there's a chance they may find an epic gem inside. If not, it'll have blue gems or something like that. We really want it to feel like an individual reward, and not something that the raid leader gets to have fun in deciding who gets the gems, or they all go to the guild bank or something. We really want it to feel like an individual reward.

They'll be somewhat rare. It may take the entire content cycle before someone has replaced every red gem they have, but they won't be so rare that you won't see them.

L: How is that going to work with profession bonuses? Blacksmithing with its extra sockets, assuming that you could get ahold of a full set of epic gems, seems like it would all of a sudden become the best profession.

GS: I think the epic gems are like 10 stat points over the current ones, so it's a nice boost, but hopefully it won't push everyone towards Blacksmithing.

What I really want to look at however are those set bonuses and how they will affect the Paladin class. Before looking at the specific set bonuses and how good or bad they are though let's look at what the bonuses are currently set to be, remembering that they are still in flux as this is from the announcement and still not fully tested on the PTR never mind released to the production servers.

What We Know About WoW Patch 4.3 Epic Gems

From the above quote and other information that has come out online, we can tell a few things and make some educated guesses at some other things regarding epic gems.

First off what we know pretty much for sure:

  • Epic gems will not be prospected from ore (sorry to all those that stocked up on pyrite)
  • Epic gems will be available only in regular and hardcore raids
  • Epic gems will be roughly 10 stat points better than rare (blue) quality gems
  • Epic gems will be awarded per player and the raid leaders will not have control over their distribution

Some implications of the above are as follows:

  • Even though more players will be raiding, via the Looking for Raid tool, they will not have access to Epic gems since they will be in an easy mode raid and not in regular or heroic.
  • Epic gems will be available only to raiders directly.
  • Everyone else will have to spend a lot of gold to buy them from raiders.
  • Raiders will be able to make a lot of gold when these gems first come out, and for the next few months while they are extremely rare.

What We Don’t Know Yet about Epic Gems in Patch 4.3

At this point there are a few big unknowns still regarding the gems. First up, it is unclear where the patterns will be available from. Will they only be available in the raid, or through dailies of some sort, or straight from the trainer? Currently on the PTR they are available from the the main city vendors for the daily quest tokens. Is the is real method that they will be purchased in game though? This is unknown, although my guess is that they will be tied to reputation in the new raid somehow, and not just bought for daily quest tokens, that would just be too simple.

Next up, will Jewelcrafters be able to profit from these gems? Since they will likely be very expensive to begin with, will there be room for mark-up, and if so, how much? This gem distribution method could really hurt Jewelcrafters since they will not be able to get their own raw materials other than through raiding.

How will the Epic Gems in WoW Patch 4.3 Affect Players?

There are a few ways that these new epic gems can dramatically affect the game and its players.

The first way these new gems will affect new players is the addition of stats. Most players in raid gear will average someplace around 12-15 gems in their gear. This means roughly 120-150 more stat points on most characters. This is significant as higher stats = better overall performance. To players playing in high end raiding guilds these points will be must haves.

The second way is that by having better gems available, it makes Blacksmithing a better profession. Yeah, you heard that right. Because blacksmiths can add 2 extra gem slots to their gear it means they will have access to 20 extra stat points over anyone else. Not a huge deal, but it is significant to note.

Next up and maybe most significantly the rich or “have” players (raiders) will get richer and have more than the non-raiders. This is because the gems will only be available in raids, and therefore they will sell for big amounts of gold, especially early on. Just take a look at the Raid BOE items to see what I am talking about here. Many Fireland raid BOE’s are still going for 10-20k on my servers, and I am pretty sure that is common across the board.

Lastly, all the players that have been stocking up on Pyrite are now going to be dumping it at a huge loss back onto the auction house. If you tried to get ahead in that way, you probably lost big time.

The Word of the Messiah on Epic Gems from Patch 4.3

Having said all of the above I have to also give the warning that for the most part I believe that these new gems will not affect most players significantly.

The simple reason is that they will only be about 10 stat points higher per gem. Meaning that most players could get about 150 more stat points by switching all their gems over to epic gems. While significant, it isn’t nearly as big an increase as the normal tier level increase in stats. For example the core stat on most tier 11 items went up roughly 50 points per item to the tier 12 set. Also all the other secondary stats go up as well. This means that to get the same benefit as replacing all of your gems, you simply need to upgrade 2 items one tier level.

Given the projected cost of the epic gems near launch, I just can not see how many players will care. You would be far better off to save the gold that you would spend trying to buy epic gems and instead buy better crafted gear or BOE items.
Even if you are a hardcore raider, I am not sure about using the gems, for 10 stat points, I think I would rather have the 6-10k gold that I could get in the first few weeks after they are released than the points. Then wait and buy them later once people have calmed down and prices have dropped a lot. I don’t think you will be hard done by without those few points.

Overall I’m a bit disappointed that they will not be that easy or worthwhile in getting. However I can see why, since they are epic, and should be difficult to some degree. I just hope at some point they become available for valor points or something.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.