Mail Call: Gem Choices

Reader mail call!


I have a question about Gems, specifically, what are the best gems to socket for a bear tank. In BC, I pretty much went with all +Stamina gems, but that
doesn’t seem the case now.

Should I;
a) socket to get the gem bonuses, or
b) socket with all Stamina again, bonuses be damned, or
c) socket with all +Agility Gems for the same reason as B?

If you could talk about this in a blog, that would be awesome.*

~ Norith the Wanderer (Aka. Puck in R/L)

Thanks for the email, Norith!

As far as gems go, it’s pretty situational.

If the socket bonus is something that benefits tanking, like Agility, Stamina, Hit Rating or Expertise, then I’d say go with a gem that gives you useful stats and keeps the socket bonus at the same time. There are lots of stats you can choose from.

For gems, any combinations of Agility, Hit Rating, Expertise and Stamina are all excellent split gems, and will also help to meet many of the new Meta gem requirements.

For blue sockets I’ve been putting the +24 Stamina just to stack Stamina in my early Heroic tanking days, and for yellows and reds I’ve been putting in the Agility/Hit Rating Monarch Topaz because early gear is naturally heavy on Stamina and very, very light on Hit Rating.

The more comfortable you are with your Healer, the lower max Stamina you can get away with, and the more valuable pure Dodge becomes, and the more you will want to get Hit Rating and Expertise to get your threat generating attacks to strike home.

Likewise, if you are comfortable with your Stamina, change those blue sockets from +24 Stam to the combo Agi/Stam purples.

I hope this answers that question, and it’s a good one. We get to be a lot more varied in our gem choices now compared to the old days, and I am grateful for it.


11 thoughts on “Mail Call: Gem Choices

  1. I am guessing you meant the Agi/Stam blues – but those don’t exist yet either.

    The best is a Perfect Shifting green gem. Blizzard forgot to put in the Blue Agi/Stam ones. They are being added in 3.0.8 from what was seen on the PTR.


  2. Yeah Bob… they should be coming very quick. I can’t see it being more than another week before the patch finally hits.

    Are they really blue? I thought they were purples… hmm, lemme go check.


  3. Well, the actual color of the gem is purple, but it is a blue “quality” gem. I’m guessing this is where the confusion comes from.


  4. Ah, thanks Endas, yeah I was talking about socket color matching, not gem quality.

    I pertty much assume that everyone uses rare quality gems or better, on gear they intend to hang onto for a while.

    Maybe that’s not normal, but I got a JC so I roll my own.


  5. I love the blog BBB but I have to disagree with you here. Don’t bother with hit for bears, and expertise is well below Agi or even Stam. Threat is not an issue. If you are losing mobs during swipe AOE it is much more efficient to tell your group to wait a few sec or actually use CC than to waste stats on Expertise or Hit. I tank all heroics and do it in my sleep as well as MT many bosses in Naaxx. Most of the gear has plenty of stamina on it. If you follow the gear recommendations on this and other blogs for pre-naaxx you will be fine for stamina. I have one stam gem and that is only for activating my meta gem.

    Most of the socket bonuses are pretty useless, stacking agility will be much more effective. Stack agil till 50% then use defense or dodge rating.

    The stats I work for with gems and enchants are in order of importance:

    Dodge Rating
    Def Rating
    Attack Power

    Mitigation is our primary issue with armor nerfs and not having parry or block. Agil is still our magic stat, threat since the patch is rarely a problem for myself or any of the other bear tanks i’ve talked to. Since 3.0 tanking has gotten a hell of a lot easier, i worry a lot more about positioning than i do my attack rotation to keep threat.


  6. It feels like everyones crowding at a door, watching for that patch to creep in.

    I think Blizzard is gonna wait for us to lose interest, then stealth patch. Along with the stealth nerf of Fear.


  7. Loquat, I’ll say that you are absolutely correct that if you are working at maximizing your three key tanking goals, health, armor and dodge, then taking tons of nothing but Agi is the best way to gem.

    Personally, much like health, I like to guage where the group I regularly run is at, compared to my gear, and then buff what I feel is lacking.

    After tanking Heroic Nexus and Utgarde Keep like it was a summer fair, I decided I’d like to increase the likelihood of my Mauls htting home, and my Swipes causing hits. That’s all.

    Cannot agree with you more that taking solid agi is a more effective way to maximize dodge.


  8. From what I’ve found on Elitist Jerks strict Dodge rating per point and Agility both equal essentially the same number, except that Agility will benefit from Kings and talents.

    Do you have any other numbers to change my mind? 🙂


  9. Stacking only Stam/Agi is fine for when you’re just getting started. But as your gear improves via raiding/heroics etc, you’re going to start suffering from diminishing returns in how much actual dodge you’re going to get for each point of agi/dodge rating. At which point, it’s a good thing to start working on maxing out your expertise, so as not to get penalized by the parry haste mechanic almost all bosses/mobs in game currently have.


  10. I have been tanking on my druid for a while and my experience has started to show as i am often beating some of the dps in heroics pulling 4k+ dps at times. The best way i can simplify it is stack stamina until you have 40k hp in bear form unbuffed after that i started changing out the +30stam gems for hit and stamina (yellow sockets) and expertise and stamina (red sockets) so that now i have set bonuses on all my gear, so something like this

    40k hp > 263 (8%) hit > 40% dodge > 150 rating (7%) expertise, this is the soft cap for expertise

    after obtaining this you can choose to increase you health pool for those hard hitting boss fights or top up your expertise to reach hard cap, which stops enemies from parrying your attacks and increases your threat something chronic, the hard cap is 443 rating.
    As a miner jewlcrafter my druid tank is currently sitting at 39250hp, 43% dodge, 7% hit and 7% expertise this is all obtained without and icc gear, simply gemming with expensive epic gems and enchants that are fitting for the class, these stats have proven time and time again to be plenty for tanking VoA ToC and Ony i am yet to try out Icc.

    -Cheers Nelf


Comments are closed.