Primordial Gems: Everything you need to know (updated)
Updated for the massive set of changes last week. Reviewed 27 March.
In patch 10.0.7 we’re able to return to the Forbidden Reach for story and world content. The proverbial carrot for your hard work is the Onyx Annulet – a fancy new ring that has three unique slots for the new Primordial Gem system. The timing here is a little awkward since Blizzard would prefer the rings not be best in slot in patch 10.1 / season 2 which means they only have a small window of potential viability.
Big Note: There’s a long history of systems like these being weak on the PTR and then getting buffed either briefly before or even after they go live. This was also a difficult to test system with suspect spell data which will need double checking on live. Blizzard have already tuned them multiple times after release.
The ring is better than any other option currently in game. Your specific value will vary, but there aren’t many scenarios where it loses to even high ilvl alternatives. This section will continue to be updated as in-game changes come through. As always, you can compare it to other gems you own in QE Live.
Updates so far
- Morning after release: The DPS gems have been buffed by 25%, 1 healing gem got a 15% buff and absorbs got a 25% buff. There is a chance more changes are still coming. Numbers in the article have been updated but some in-game images haven’t been.
- 23 March: DoT / HoT stones can now crit. Wild Spirit Stone buffed by 70.4% and then nerfed by 10.7%. Exuding Steam Stone buffed by 68%, then nerfed by 25.6%.
We don’t have a ton of options to use to maximize healing. Most of them are also just forms of self-healing and the ones that aren’t are mostly a few different kinds of HoTs. Let’s check them out:
Cold Frost Stone
- School: Frost
- Scales with Versatility.
- The shield refreshes every 20s regardless of whether you’ve used the previous one or not.
- Might have niche value in high keys where a predictable damage shield can be used to buffer against one shots. You notably give up a potential Versatility ring to take it so it’s a bit worse than it looks.
Exuding Steam Stone
- School: Frost
- Scales with Crit, Versatility.
- 3 procs per minute on average.
- It’s assumed that the bounce will hit any injured nearby targets rather than being a form of smart healing.
Wild Spirit Stone
- School: Nature
- Procs every time one of your other Nature or healing stones procs but does nothing if socketed without them.
- Does not scale with haste despite being a heal over time effect. Also does not count as a HoT for Resto Druid mastery but this is expected. Can now Crit.
- This is by far the best healing stone and honestly carries the ring in general. Your absolute priority is grabbing one of these and it’s even ok to use it with a Nature DPS stone at first.
- Does not proc off Absorbs.
Deluging Water Stone
- School: Frost
- Extremely dumb and will happily go on full health allies.
- Can crit. Does not scale with Haste.
Sparkling Mana Stone
- Procs every time a Frost stone does. That makes it a good pairing with Exuding Steam, Deluging Water and / or Cold Frost.
- This was an ok stone but unfortunately got left out of the stone buff wave entirely. You can expect to get ~40,000 back over an 8 minute fight when combined with two Frost stones.
- Unfortunately doesn’t combine well with Wild Spirit – the other good stone.
As you’ll have seen above, gems mostly play off each other. You’re not so much just equipping stellar options X, Y and Z because they are individually strong, but instead focusing on the best overall set. There are about 2000 of these so we’re not going to list each but here are the top few. These numbers will all vary a little bit based on specific overhealing values.
A regular 418 crafted ring offers around 6000 HPS on a typical heroic or mythic fight. Post-buffs these are very wearable and I’d recommend them in all scenarios.
Using the Ring Offensively
So after a few days of buffs the rings are now good for healing, let’s look at it’s potential offensive ability too. DPS procs like this are usually tuned for DPS players but there’s no reduction in strength for healers. That tends to mean they do a lot more compared to stat alternatives for us than they do for DPS. The Onyx Annulet is so powerful for Healer DPS that it might be relevant for quite a few tiers.
The Storm Infused does assume some degree of AoE above. For pure single target you’d swap it out with Freezing Ice Stone. A regular ring tends to add only 1000-1500 DPS (though with healing benefit too). I’d only wear this for damage if you are extremely comfortable with the healing requirement of your key already. It won’t apply to most people but if you’re looking to trade healing for damage then this does a ton.
- Some gems have been seen ninja pulling extra mobs in dungeons. It doesn’t happen ultra frequently but it’s something you should be aware of.
- Pestilent Plague Stone can be ahead in heavy AoE scenarios. I’m leaving it out of recommendations for now since even the most dense dungeons rarely benefit from adding that form of damage. It’s an option though and should perform well in overall DPS.
- Don’t worry too much about your crit chance while using Storm Infused. The ppm system should mean you get fairly consistent procs regardless.
- Echoing Thunder Stone has very high potential DPS but involves a lot of movement. It’s much worse in practice and doesn’t make it to any recommendations.
In addition to the combos listed above, the ring offers a way for specs that do not have Fire damage in their kit to get it here instead. That’s particularly valuable this tier since Seal of Diurna’s Chosen is a very powerful, full budget ring and being able to bring it is fantastic.
You’ll get your new ring a few quests into the patch’s main story quest – a few seconds after you first step foot in the Zskera Vaults. You’ll also get your first 6 keys and you can start opening vaults right away. Be careful here since you’ll want to grab the quest to unlock the Primordial Anvil and Primordial Jewelcrafters Kit, both of which are hidden behind doors. You’ll need these to be able to remove gems from your ring and craft new stones. Overall acquisition isn’t too bad and you should naturally collect the ones you’re interested in a few days into the patch. The content itself though has been somewhat middling on the PTR – it should suffice as something to do until patch 10.1 but there was maybe potential to make the vaults themselves much more interesting and in some ways it feels like a missed opportunity.
Each key you obtain can be used to open one door of the vault. There are four floors worth and they reset every week so you have a near infinite number you can open. Behind each door is a very small room that can contain minor enemies, lore pages, chests and sometimes a puzzle. Chests sometimes contain full gems, but in my experience I only got a gem from about half of the rooms I opened. Others contain smaller rewards like gem fragments (10 of which will let you craft one) and dust.
Trap Rooms and Immunities
Some rooms are difficult to interact with. They might be on fire like this example below, or they might have an Arcane sentry in the middle that stops you from looting. These rooms require you to find Arcane / Fire immunity crystals that’ll make you immune to the rooms damage and let you loot. These rare crystals can be found in other rooms, so if you open a trap room you might have to come back to it later in the week after you’ve opened an immunity crystal.
Each room requires a Zskera Key to open and you’ll find these by doing basically any content in the forbidden reach. Rares, Storm-bound chests and Forbidden Hoards all have decent droprates. They’re all technically soloable but you might feel more comfortable in a 2-3 person team. You’re also able to trade in excess Elemental Overflow in for Sack of Oddities from Cataloger Daela in Morqut village. These contain keys very often.
Other Acquisition Methods
You can also craft gems by collecting 10 Gem Fragments from the vault or from breaking down other gems you’ve gotten. You get to forge a gem from a specific school which means the odds of getting the one you want are 25-50% instead of 1 in 24. There’s also a Primal Storm event in the Forbidden Reach that’ll give you a guaranteed stone on completion.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I’m seeing 440+ item level Annulets on the armory. Is this real? No, this is just an armory bug that might also pop up on sites that use that data. 424 is the maximum.
- Can I wear two Annulets at once? They’re unique equipped so one at a time. You can own more than one if you want separate Mythic+ and Raid setups.
- Is there any point upgrading the level of Prophetic Twilight Stone? Yes, gem power is based on the average level of gems inside.