Breaking Down The Datamined Epic Gem Information

World of Warcraft Patch 4.3 is now available for testing on the Public Test Realm (PTR) and with new PTRs comes people who "mine" the data contained in these new patches to bring us lots of new and exciting information.

In the last few days there has been a flurry of new information about the profession changes and additions that will most likely be introduced in Patch 4.3. The two most thorough are "Patch 4.3 - PTR Build 14732 - Spell Changes, New Items, Maps, and More!" at Wowhead News and "Patch 4.3 on PTR" at MMO Champion.

After the jump I'm going to be doing my best to break down the epic gem information which was recently made available via this datamining and analyze what it could mean to us as gold-makers. I'll also be giving a few ideas on how the datamined information matches up with epic gem information given in recent interviews.

Stop. Break It Down.

What can we learn about epic gems from the datamined items and spells? What follows is our take on what we know for sure about epic gems. What we can fairly strongly inferred from the datamined information along just a little bit of wild speculation thrown into the mix to keep you on your toes.

From looking at the data, the key to how epic gems are ultimately fall into the grand scheme of gold-making rests a lot on how Blizzard wants epic gems to be perceived. Are they "exclusive" or are they a commodity. Will raiders be the only/first players to obtain epic gems or will they simply be able to obtain them faster than the rest of the population? All interesting questions we hope to shed some light on below.

Epic gems will be cut using jewelcrafting designs.

This was something that we were uncertain of from the little information we received in previous interviews. (See "Ghostcrawler: Epic Gems To Be Individual Drops From 4.3 Raid Bosses".) While we initially believed there may be a chance to have the gems drop pre-cut we know now this is most likely not the case which leads to our next point.

Epic Gems will most likely drop raw from "geodes".

There is no datamined information on the "geodes" that Ghostcrawler spoke about in the previous interview. This could mean one of two things: A) The "geodes" (and their associated loot tables) have not been datamined yet or B) Blizzard is dropping the idea of gems coming exclusively from geodes all together and/or "geode" gems will simply be an additional reward to raiders to help them fill their own epic gem slots.

If you look at individual "geodes" (which will drop from raid bosses and which include a chance to contain raw epic gems) as simply a more "fair" way to help raiders obtain gems without interference of raid leaders and/or guild leaders it makes a lot of sense. This isn't Blizzard trying to mess with gold-makers it is Blizzard trying to help raiders obtain their epic gems in an easier way.

We still don't know exactly how the epic jewelcrafting designs will be obtained (but we have an idea). 

One of the items datamined was the Tome of Burning Jewels. This one single item should send chills down the spine of any jewelcrafter who was planning on making money cutting epic gems. While the following is still speculation and may turn out to be wrong it is important to understand what the Tome of Burning Jewels could mean for epic gems.

Tome of Burning Jewels "Binds when picked up" and on use "Discovers a random Cataclysm epic gem recipe." According to Wowhead comments this items may drop off of bosses in the "Dragon Soul" raid instance. Could the Tome of Burning Jewels be a jewelcrafting specific drop that will only show up for/be able to be rolled on by jewelcrafters?

While much is still unknown about the Tome of Burning Jewels there is a good chance that (at least initially) this is how epic gem cut designs will come into the game. This is good news if you are a gold-maker who also happens to be a jewelcrafter as well as a raider. This also means that (at least initially) those who get the more highly desired cuts designs as drops will have a chance to make decent gold buying, cutting and selling those cuts.

If experience has taught me anything about "rare" designs (like the world-drop wrist enchant formulas from earlier in Cataclysm) is that over time the number of sellers increases to the point that the raw prices start to even out with cut prices. Still, if it is true that only raiding jewelcrafters will be able to obtain cuts then there will be many many jewelcrafters who will be left out in the cold.

Hopefully there will be multiple ways to obtain epic jewelcrafting designs and the Tome of Burning Jewels will simply allow raiding jewelcrafters to obtain the designs faster (similarly to how epic gems from "geodes" will allow raiders to obtain epic gems faster).

Alchemists will most likely be able to transmute epic gems.

Alchemy recipes to transmute all the epic gems were datamined. This is should be very welcome news to those of us who run multiple alchemists. The idea of pumping out epic gems day after day is certainly  attractive. At first blush this would seem to be the answer to the age old question of what to do with all the rare gems gold-makers may have stored up but first there are a few things that we still need don't know.

How are the recipes obtained? At the moment the recipes are "Binds when picked up" which seems to rule out world drops as a possible recipe source. If there is anything to be learned from what we discussed about jewelcrafting above is that (at least intially) Blizzard may make the transmute recipes exclusive to raiders. If this is true than all my non-raiding alchemists will be sad pandas.

This would cut the non-raiding alchemists out of the loop. Now again it is important to state that at this point I am speculating based on what we are (and are not) seeing in the datamined information. I think a large part of what will determine where the patterns come from will be what the cooldown on epic gem transmutes will be.

If the cooldown for epic gems is twenty four hours (similar to the current Cataclysm/WotLK "transmute" cooldown) than I would lean towards the transmute recipes coming from raid drops similar to how Tome of Burning Jewels may work.

If however the epic gem cooldown is one week (similar to the current Dreamcloth cooldown) then I can see Blizzard making obtaining the epic gem transmute recipes fairly simple.

Whether the cooldown ultimately ends up being twenty four hours, one week or something else entirely if epic gem transmute cooldowns lock us into making one epic gem per day/week we will only be making the epic red gem Queen's Garnet. It would be foolish to waste a epic gem transmute cooldown on anything else.

To me this is an important thing to keep in mind. While we don't know exactly what materials the recipe for transmuting Queen's Garnet consists of I would be shocked if it didn't at least include Inferno Rubies. Perhaps some herbs such as Heartblossom as well.

This is pure speculation but there is also a chance Blizzard may include some material which is only obtained from raids such as Essence of Destruction. This would make the epic gem transmutes a bit more exclusive to raiders. The only reason I say this is that epic gems only requiring something like (3) Inferno Rubies and (9) Heartblossom seems a little bit boring. Perhaps a long cooldown will make it more "exclusive".

A matter of exclusivity?

For me it always goes back to something Ghostcrawler said in his Tankspot interview with Lore. In discussing epic gems being possible drops from "geodes" he said:

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. 

If Blizzard is following the spirit of this statement then I could see why they would do things like make the epic gem cut designs come from random drops (similar to Book of Glyph Mastery except BOP) as well as making alchemy epic gem transmutes have a one-week cooldown.

If, on the other hand, they have abandoned the "exclusivity" doctrine (or it never existed outside my own head) and they are wanting epic gems to flow into the game like a river than I can see epic gem cut designs coming from multiple sources with Tome of Burning Jewels simply allowing raiders to get more designs faster. I can also see "geodes" simply being Blizzards way of making sure raid and guild leaders aren't "stealing" or "hording" all the epic gems for use on a few individuals over everyone getting individual rewards for their efforts.

In this scenario alchemists getting easy to obtain epic gem transmute recipes with twenty four hour cooldowns would let gems flow into the game very quickly. As more information and news is datamined and reported by those playing on the PTR we should be able to get a more clear idea which direction Blizzard is leaning.

Red is where it's at.

All else aside I feel strongly that no matter what else might be true about how or where gems or designs come from there is one underlying principle that gold-makers should follow: Red gems will always be king. If epic gem transmutes have a cooldown you will most likely never use it for anything other than transmuting a red gem.

I am going to be stockpiling Inferno Rubies in preparation for epic gem transmutes. Until we know more about the exact details of how epic gem transmutes work stockpiling any other rare gem for the purposes of transmuting into epic gems seems like a waste of time.


So what did we learn by sifting through the datamined epic gem information? Epic gems will most likely not be soulbound in any way. There is a chance Jewelcrafting patterns may only come from Tome of Burning Jewels which is likely dropped in raids. While we are almost certain epic gems will be able to be transmuted by alchemists in 4.3 the details surrounding it are still uncertain.

How will the above information affect my preparation for patch 4.3? I am going to double or triple the amount of Inferno Rubies I was planning to stockpile (from 200 to 400-600). I am also going to continue to stockpile Heartblossom. Even if the alchemist transmute recipes turn out to be locked behind raids somehow I should still be able to turn around and sell my transmute mats at a profit to those who can do the transmutes.

I will be sure to keep you updated as more epic gem information comes from the PTR via datamining and players. The more clear of a picture we can have about how exactly Blizzard is implementing epic gems the more we can properly prepare to take advantage of the opportunity.

If you find additional or breaking epic gem information be sure to let us know in the comments.

Further reading on the recent datamined epic gem info:

UPDATE 1: Tome of Burning Jewels "Refundable"?

It was noted in the Tome of Burning Jewels Wowhead PTR item page comments that (at least right now) it is marked as a "Refundable" item. This could indicate that it will be purchasable somehow in patch 4.3. One speculative comment suggested that these might be purchasable with Essence of Destruction from the Demon Soul quarter masters.

While we're pretty much grasping at straws at this point we'll take what we can get. If the Tome of Burning Jewels were purchasable that might be the way blizzard intends players to learn all the patterns. This might work similar to how the Books of Glyph Mastery currently work.

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1 comment:

  1. If the patterns are raid gotten only then raider jc'ers have a small window for profit cutting. Definitely not a huge maker though. If they are off the token vendor then it's useless- people will be cutting in trade free hours after the patch. This is why I have not and will not change my opinion on tokens - keep enough to get cuts you'll use and dump the rest fast before it falls.

    There isn't alot of evidence out that would convince me theyve dropped the rarity of epics to wrath levels. The transmute is the lone oddity. Even if it's a month cd if people can outfit their armies of alchemists wit them then the 'takes all patch to upgrade gems' rarity is right out the door.

    I disagree about reds tho atleast on my server. Everyone follows the same advice - don't waste cd on anything but reds. What happensis immediately there are dozens of red epics up selling for less than some of the popular hybrid cuts. In wrath I transmuted purples because here it was double the daily profit of reds.