The value of a Gem Socket
Every class seems to have a rough ‘rule of thumb’ when asked what a socket is worth. Ask your friend what a socket is worth for them on say, a helm. What did they say? 5-10 ilvl? Let’s get a little more precise.
Calculating the value of a socket in ilvl is actually quite tough. There are some challenges:
- Some slots naturally have more stats
- Different specs value secondaries differently
- Stat growth is exponential, while gems remain a static +150.
The table above is an average over the 865-925 ilvl range. The columns represent the stat weighting of the secondary stat you would place in the socket. If you don’t mind losing a little bit of accuracy to have one easy to remember number for each slot then you can stop here.
Let’s look at a quick example.
Voulk is a Resto Druid. His best secondary stat is crit and 1 point of crit is worth 0.9 intellect for him. He got this number from a spreadsheet, but could have sourced it from a good pawn string. Voulk looks at the 0.9 column to find out the ilvl value of a socket for him. He finds that a socket is worth 5.5 ilvl on a helm slot, and 8.8 ilvl on a jewelry slot.
Breakdown by Gear Quality
Next, we’re going to look at each slot at a few different ilvls in order to fine tune our numbers. Remember, as our gear approaches a higher ilvl we start to gain more stats per ilvl. If you upgrade an 840 belt to an 845 you will gain 45 primary stats, however if you upgrade a 920 belt to 925 you will gain 94 primary stats. This exponential growth devalues gem sockets as we gear up since sockets don’t scale.
In the range analysed the value of a socket plummets by up to 40%. Now that 930+ gear is available sockets have dropped below 10 ilvl (in some cases below 5), making them the ‘nice bonus’ they were probably intended to be instead of being such a big part of gear selection. In 7.3 we are likely to get Epic Gems to counter this comparative drop in value.
- All calculations are based around +150 secondary stat gems. You can add 10-50% to the ilvl of your first socket to account for the unique +200 primary stat gem.
- All numbers are accurate to +-0.2 to account for the occasionally inconsistent allocation Blizzard gives to some items.