The value of a Gem Socket

With 7.3 epic gems were added to the expansion which invalidates some of the numbers here. Hopefully it’s still an interesting read.

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 Averages

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.


8 responses to “The value of a Gem Socket”

  1. Tobi says:

    I would like to compare secondary stats as leech or avoidance with gemslots/item levels. Can i compare them with crit? Ratio 1/1?

  2. Tobi says:

    How does it look now as we have epic gems, can i ad about one item lvl, the numbers anouve?

  3. Sassy0518 says:

    Thanks so much for the advice and tips! I’ll start with what you’ve suggested. I look forward to the guide!

  4. sassy0518 says:

    I love the blogs and guides you have available here. All very helpful! One thing I have felt very hesitant about is dpsing as a resto druid in mythic+ and raid content. I’d love to see a guide about this! When is it appropriate to dps? Which affinity should I choose for which situations? Is there a basic rotation or spell priority? What exactly is weaving? I’ve look around for a compilation of information but haven’t really found anything. Thanks!

    • Arne says:

      To be honest I go with bear affinity for “high” M+, survive-ability is almost always whats worth the most. Keep sun- and spamfire up and wrath. If in mana-problems, just wrath. Try to throw up dots before pull on tank and dps during fight. Whats most important in order to increase dps is to know when you need to hot up during fights, and when you can just keep spamming while the tanks keeps himself up.

    • Voulk says:

      I am a huge Feral Affinity aficionado, and stick with it in M+20 and beyond. The DPS boost it gives you when mastered is very hard to compete with. The playstyle is a little trickier than just healing but that’s part of what makes it exciting – you’ll learn something new almost every instance.

      I’ve actually been working on a proper Catweaving guide and should have it out this week but to get you started, this is the basic DPS rotation:
      – Keep Moonfire / Sunfire on all targets that will live longer than ~10 seconds.
      – If one target: Cast Rake, and then Shred until 5 combo points. Use Ferocious Bite as your finisher for now.
      – If more than one target: Cast Swipe.
      – Use time when you’re out of energy to heal. Any bleeds you cast in Cat Form (Rake, Rip) do significantly less damage when in caster form so keep that in mind.

      Once you’ve got that down you can introduce more complex stuff like keeping rake up on multiple targets and when to cast Rip instead of Ferocious Bite. To ‘weave’ is to switch between Cat Form and caster form as necessary to keep energy DOWN, and DoTs/HoTs UP. Usually you are looking for periods of low damage (like easy bosses, and when you’ve killed all but 1-2 mobs in a pack) to DPS but as you become accustomed to the incoming damage you’ll find opportunities everywhere.

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