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Black Iron Ore, Pyrite Ore and the Truth About Epic Gems in Cataclysm
That seems to be where many players thoughts begin and end on the subject. It's understandable. That method seems quite obvious and logical. I don't believe it's that simple.
I don't believe Pyrite Ore is how epic gems will initially come into the game. I believe Blizzard will make epic gems scarce by intially placing them behind 24-hour cooldowns.
In this article I will explain where I believe gems will from and what I am doing to prepare.
I was happy to see the speculation about Black Iron Ore this last week. It got many gold-makers stopping for a second and thinking about the possibility that epic Cataclysm gems may not come from Pyrite Ore.
Black Iron Ore was datamined during beta and is now theorized to be a potential source of epic Cataclysm gems. This may be true I don't think players are thinking far enough ahead. What if Black Iron Ore is introduced in 4.3? 4.4? I think Blizzard has things mapped out much further than players give them credit for.
(For more on Black Iron Ore see:
- "Pyrite Ore, Black Swans, and Risk", "Pyrite Ore, Black Swans, and Risk Part II", and "Epic Gems to Come From Black Iron Ore! Maybe." at Bangkok Bill's World of Goldcraft
- "Black Iron Ore – Whats the Fuss ?" at Trading with Zoxy
- "And So The Pyrite Ore Debate Comes to and End? Black Iron Ore Datamined!" at The Consortium Forums
- "Woah.. Woah.. Woah.." on Just My Two Copper
- Amidst April Fools at The Vayaz)
The Black Iron Ore debate got me thinking of how else Blizzard might introduce epic gems into Cataclysm. The more I thought about it the more I realized that making epic Cataclysm gems easily prospectable from Pyrite didn't make sense. It is too easy. What is epic about prospecting such a common ore?
The other catalyst for my ideas was the great post "Epic Gems From Transmutes: But Not How You Think...." by Bones on Alto's Goldish Advice. The part of this post that sparked my interest were the images showing the patterns for the current rare gem alchemy transmutes.
The fact that every color of gem has a corresponding herb that even has the same color scheme is no coincidence. The symmetry is just too perfect to deny. I believe Bones is correct that epic gem transmutes will require herbs. Lots of herbs.
|Image taken from Alto's Goldish Advice.|
The New Directions
To unlock the riddle of how Blizzard will introduce epic Cataclysm gems I believe we have to look much further than the current (or future) ore types.
We have to look at the changes in Blizzard's over all design philosophy for Cataclysm. We have to look at design trends and how they could be impact the implementation of epic Cataclysm gems.
Epic Needs to Feel Epic
One of the largest changes that the Cataclysm brought was a massive increase in the difficulty of acquiring epic items. Blizzard believed that epics items had became too easy to obtain in Wrath of the Lich King.
Because of the ease of acquiring them, epic items had lost much of the cache. Epic items didn't end up feeling "epic". What's epic about an item you get from your first very first heroic?
This isn't a mistake I think Blizzard wants to make again. Currently in the game epic items are much more difficult to obtain. They are either placed behind expensive crafting materials, long reputation grinds, Valor point farming or raiding.
I believe they have succeeded in restoring some of the luster epics lost ine Wrath of the Lich King. Epics feel epic again.
I believe that Blizzard will continue this trend with epic Cataclysm gems. Epic gems will feel epic. You will make a choice and sacrifice to fill your gear's slots with epic gems. (Think of the cost involved in getting all top-shelf enchants on all your gear now. Do you have the absolute best wrist enchants? If not why?)
You Are Not Prepared
Recent statements by Blizzard stated that one of the major reasons the Firelands raid dungeon was pushed from 4.1 to 4.2 is that they believe that the players aren't progressed far enough in the current raiding content. (See "Firelands raid will not be in WOW patch 4.1" on Eurogamer.net.)
"We feel like the player base isn't really ready for the next raid yet,... And that led to some changes where Firelands is now actually going to be in 4.2."
-J. Allen Brack, Lead Producer, World of WarcraftBlizzard is slowing down the content being released to the players. I think this will also be true for epic gems. I believe epic gems will be introduced in 4.2 at the absolute earliest.
Blizzard has said that each raid tier will require more and more hit, crit, expertise (etc.) to stay capped against higher and higher raid bosses. I believe Blizzard may hold epic gems until the third tier of raiding (after 4.2 and The Firelands) and will utilize the epic gem stat budgets to help players reach these new caps.
I don't think Blizzard is in any hurry to get epic gems into the game. There release of content has slowed more and more as Cataclysm has gone on. Whether this is Blizzard trying to "stretch" content or they truly believe that it is best to hold off content due to player's "skill lag" we may never know.
Slow and Steady
Blizzard will restrict the flow of epic Cataclysm gems by placing them behind 24-hour cooldowns. This will be done to help maintain the epic feeling of gems.
I believe the two professions that will initially be able to create epic gems in Cataclysm will be alchemy and jewelcrafting.
Alchemy will most likely produce epic gems via a new 24-hour transmute cooldown which will require rare gems and herbs.
Jewelcrafting will likely produce epic gems via a small chance to be looted from the Fire Prism (24-hour cooldown) and/or a new epic Fire Prism-like recipe with a 24-hour cooldown (perhaps taking 1 of each color of rare gem).
I believe after the epic gems are utilized by the highest level or players they will be made much more accessible to "regular/casual" players via Justice/Honor points, cooldown removals, etc.
We will continue to see a lowering of difficulty as Cataclysm goes on. It needs to happen in order for Blizzard to maintain its subscription numbers.
Out-dated content is perfect for casual players. They can out-gear it. It tends to require less player-skill. It is enjoyable for those not on the "bleeding edge".
We saw this at the end of Wratch of the Lich King and I believe we will see it again in Cataclysm. Things (whether it be acquiring materials or doing heroics) always get easier over time. Acquiring epic gems will be no different.
Put Up Or Shut Up
What am I doing to prepare for epic Cataclysm gems? The answer is centered around in two main areas: cooldowns and primary stat strength.
I am adding one more transmute specced alchemist which will bring my total to 4. This along with my jewelcrafter should provide me sufficient cooldown bandwidth to maximize mt epic gem making potential.
All my alchemists will be level 84 and have already done the lead-in quests to be able to access the Twilight Highlands vendors as I believe this is where the new epic gem transmute recipes will be purchased.
I should be able to produce 5 epic gems every 24 hours. That is a lot of epics. Lots of epics require lots of mats which leads me to stat strength.
The strength of all of the primary stats (strength, agility and intellect) so far outweigh any secondary stats that very rarely will a player socket anything but a pure primary stat gem. Pure stat gems are red. Any jewelcrafter will tell you red gems always sell for the most.
I am planning to stockpile all the materials that may be involved in red epic gem transmuting. These include Inferno Rubies, Carnelians and Heartblossom.
Inferno Rubies will almost certainly be involved in the epic red gem transmute. They will also be the choke point for any new Fire Prism-like jewelcrafter cooldown that may be introduced.
Heartblossom is used in transmuting Carnelians into Inferno Rubies. I believe it will also be used in the red epic gem transmute.
That is how I'm preparing. Red gems will account for the majority of profit when epic Cataclysm gems are introduced.
I believe that by paying careful attention to how Blizzard has adjusted its design philosophies (more difficulty, epics need to feel epic) is a much better compass to point us towards their epic gem implementation decisions than looking to the past (prospecting epic gems from ore).
- How do you believe epic Cataclysm gems will introduced? Why?
- What is your plan of attack for epic gems?
- Assuming Black Iron Ore is introduced how and when do you think it will be implemented?
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