Monday, November 1, 2010

How to Become a Raider - Part 2: Gemming and Enchanting

[Serenitysaz] has come online.

Liltimmy: Saz! Saz! Help me!!
Serenitysaz: What's wrong Timmy?
Liltimmy: Oh, it was horrible! I was in a heroic, and the tank yelled at me! He called me bad and told me to go gem and enchant my gear, and then I got kicked out of the group!
Serenitysaz: Well that wasn't very nice of them to kick you out of the group just because of that! Calm down Timmy, today I'll teach you all about gems and enchants.
Liltimmy: *Sniffles* Okay...

Perhaps you're like our friend here and you're just starting out. You're doing your heroic grind and you're starting to get some of that wonderful heroic gear everyone has been talking about. Hurray for you! Now, you may be wondering what those red/yellow/blue holes on your new chest piece are, or what an enchant is. Simply put, those holes are for gems, and enchants are what you put on your gear to make it even better. Yes, your gear can become better with well placed gems and proper enchants! Of course, better is always a good thing!

First, let us talk a bit about gems. There's many different types of gems. They come in a wide variety of colors, stat combinations, and varying degrees of how many stats they hold (+14 Agility vs +20 Agility, for example). You must be aware of which stats your class typically stacks, or of which stats you may be lacking (Hit, Expertise, etc). If you're unsure of which stats your class stacks, ask your guild, a trusted friend, or do some research online. Here is a very short, general guide on  the colors at least to help you for now.

Agility - Base stat for hunters, enhancement shaman, feral druids (cat, or a bear going for more dodge), and rogues
Strength - Base stat for DKs, Ret Paladins, DPS Warriors
Intellect - Base stat for all healers and casters
Expertise - A stat mainly used by dual wielders but also used by those who wield two-handers so something or someone cannot dodge them. Also a sought after tank stat.
Parry Rating - A stat that tanks collect unless they're a Bear tank...Feral tanks cannot Parry.

Resilience - A PvP stat. Do not gem resilience if you're using that gear to raid!

Generally orange hybrid gems are placed in these socket to achieve socket bonuses. Agi/Crit is a common orange Druid DPS/Hunter hybrid for example. Very rarely will you see someone use a pure yellow gem in their gear.

Stamina - A stat mainly used by tanks to increase their health pool.
Hit - This stat should be stacked until you've met your spec's particular cap.
Spirit - This stat is mostly a healer stat, and is a caster/healer's regeneration stat. A select few specs will also convert Spirit into Hit for them through talents.
Spell Penetration - This is a PvP stat! There is no use for Spell Pen in the PvE world, so please do not gem this into your PvE gear.

Blues and blue hybrids (purples and greens) are usually only used if the gem socket bonus is worth going after. Unless you're a Tank stacking Stamina, or a Healer in dire need of Spirit, only use hybrid gems to get the socket bonus.

A common mistake often made by first timers is that they often only match the gem colors to the gem slots. A red gem can and will go into a blue slot! It's okay NOT to match the gems in their slots, unless the slot bonus is really worth going after. Not sure what I mean? Here, let me give you an example.

Say, an Enhancement Shaman gets a new pair of pants that are iLevel 232. These pants have two sockets, one red and one blue. The socket bonus is +12 Attack Power. This is a socket bonus that this little Shaman definitely wants! So she puts in a +20 Agility gem in the red socket, and a +10 Agility/+10 Hit gem in the blue
socket (if she didn't need the Hit, she could have placed an Agility/Stamina gem in the blue slot), and wahlah! She has her shiny new +12 AP socket bonus.

Now say our little Shaman got a new neck piece, and it has a blue socket. The socket bonus is +6 Agility. This bonus is not really worth going after, so instead of placing a blue or purple gem in that socket (assuming she doesn't need the Hit...if she does need a little more, she could go after the socket bonus if that was the case) she instead places a +20 Agility gem, which is red, into that socket. She may not get the bonus, but the stats she gained from the gem out weigh those that she would have gotten had she gone after the bonus.

Most classes follow the example I just gave, though casters tend to use many more hybrid gems and typically go after most of their socket bonuses simply because they often benefit from all the possible gem stats (Spirit turns into regen and Spell Power for most casters, thus increasing their DPS, while melee gain no DPS benefit
from Spirit or Stamina).

Serenitysaz: Clear as mud?
Liltimmy: I...I think, I just need to find out which gems my spec usually uses!
Serenitysaz: Correct.
Liltimmy: So, which are more important?
Serenitysaz: Well, your caps are always the most important stat to worry about. These stats are Hit and if you're melee, Expertise. You always gem to cap these first! Then you worry about your primary stats, which is your Agility, Strength, Intellect. After that, you start working on your secondary stats, which are Haste and Crit (these are generally gemmed in as orange hybrid gems, and paired with Agility, Strength, and Intellect).
Liltimmy: Cool, I'll get some gems then. Now...I'm kinda scared to ask...what about enchants?

Enchants are magical effects that an enchanter places on your gear to improve it. These enchants will give you more of the stats you want, thus your gear should always be enchanted, at least to some degree. Most enchants are gained by giving an enchanter the proper materials (mats) for the desired enchantment, and then
they place the enchant that you want onto your gear for you (often for a small fee if they're not a guildy, or they may do it for free if they're leveling up their enchanting). Some enchants, such as leg enchants, are crafted by either Leather Workers (melee DPS leg enchants, Tank leg enchants) or Tailors (caster DPS leg enchants, Healer leg enchants). Other enchants are aquired through reputation gained with certain factions. In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, the head enchant is gained through either Kirin Tor (casters), the Wyrmrest Accord (healers), the Ebon Blade (melee DPS), or the Argent Crusade (Tanks). Shoulder enchants for WotLK are purchased through Sons of Hodir.

Liltimmy: That doesn't sound too bad. Kind of expensive though, ain't it?
Serenitysaz: It really is quite easy, so long as you know what you're looking for. Yes, it is a bit pricey, but it's very worth it if you want to raid and do well!
Liltimmy: Then I'll work on getting enchants too. So, tell me about reputation.
Serenitysaz: Reputation is how much favor you have with a certain group of people, better known as a faction. The more reputation you have with a certain faction, the more likely they'll give you access to the goods they can provide. If you're revered with a faction, you have access to more and better items than you would if you were only friendly. Being exalted with a faction enables you to purchase any of their available goods.
Liltimmy: So reputation is a good thing, huh?
Serenitysaz: It is indeed.
Liltimmy: Is it hard to get?
Serenitysaz: Depends on the faction. Getting reputation with Sons of Hodir for example was a rather lengthy process, but there are many factions, like the Kirin Tor, that allow you to puchase a tabard. If you wear this tabard in your heroics, your reputation with them increases with everything you kill! You can also do dailies to earn gold and reputation at the same time.
Liltimmy: Boy, this sure is getting expensive! Good thing I'm making money from doing dailies!

Tips and Tricks from Saz - These are just a few ways to help you save some gold while still improving your gear.
1) Bargain shop. Watch the Auction House for cheap deals on enchanting materials and scrolls. It may take you a few days to enchant your gear this way, but if you're patient, this can really save you some gold.
2) Collect the materials from heroics! A good chunk of heroics these days usually contain an enchanter. On the gear that you don't need, hit the disenchant button. If you win the roll, you get the enchanting material produced from the unused item. Use these materials gained to better your gear!
3) Make a friend. Friends often do gem cutting and/or enchanting for free, so long as you have the mats handy. Be sure to always thank them! Every once in a while do something nice to show your thanks as well.
4) Buy raw gems and have someone cut the desired gem for you! This can save quite a bit of gold in the long run. Don't forget to tip though!
5) Choose your professions wisely. Sometimes being a Jewelcrafter or an Enchanter can come in quite handy when it comes to improving your new gear. While these professions are both pricey to level, in the long run they more than pay for themselves through personal savings and through selling the goods you can craft. Mining and Alchemy can help get aquire raw gems (You get raw gems through prospecting with Mining. Alchemy allows you to transmute raw materials into raw gems, has the potential to proc extra gems if you're specced into Transmutation)
6) You don't always have to have the best! Generally, if the gear piece in question is a green or blue, I don't enchant it. If it's a heroic purple or an equivilant, I'll enchant it, but not necessarily with a top of the line enchant (unless I plan on using that piece to raid in!). If it's a green or blue item with gem sockets, I'll generally put in something that's a step down from the current BiS (best in slot) gem. Epic items typically get the best kind of gem that's currently available. Raiding gear should ALWAYS get the best types of gems and enchants available.

Liltimmy: Gee, thanks Saz! My gear is pretty shiny now!
Serenitysaz: That it is Timmy, you're starting to look pretty good!
Liltimmy: Yeah, I look pretty good, but DPS is horrible, what should I do about that?
Serenitysaz: Let's go over rotations and strategies tomorrow. For now just go gem and enchant that new chest pieces you just got!
Liltimmy: Okay Saz, I'll see you tomorrow then!
Serenitysaz: /waves cheerfully

Serenitysaz: You are now AFK.

World of Saz 2011

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