New Gem Madness Perks Curiosity

EDIT: Don't forget, the Create a Monster Contest ends the 25th at midnight, make sure you get your submissions in!

Remember gems? You know, those highly under-powered, easy-to-find sparkly things that made that pleasant PING sound when they dropped? In case you haven't been around for the last two years, gems are making a comeback in Diablo III, but with a major twist. Instead of the old set of five gem grades, Diablo III will feature a jaw-dropping fourteen grades of gems, not to say all the different kinds of gems that will be featured in the game.

Sounds impressive, eh? However, considering that only the first five grades can actually drop in the game, that leaves more than half of them just out of our button-mashing fingertips. A fan over at the official Diablo III forum board decided to do some simple calculations, and, if his math is anything better than his spelling ("monsereus"?), this is what he got:

Quote from Qayin »
it takes 3 gems of each level to create one gem of the next level... that comes to 19,683 level 5 gems of the same type to make just one level 14 Gem, assuming you get all gems of the same type...

The concern that follows is not without merit, I'd say. He came up with a few answers to why we may not have to worry, or solutions to what may be a daunting system (paraphrased:

  • Simply increasing the grade drop by one tier (from five to six) would decrease the number of required gems by more than half (19,683 to 6,561).
  • Allow higher-end items to be salvaged for these higher-end gem grades.
  • Combining gems of different levels could result in a higher-grade gem.
And, of course, there's always the boring way it was done in Diablo II: combining three of the same grade of gem for a higher-grade gem of the same type. However, Bashiok came to the rescue, once more stating how impermanent systems are at the moment, how large the online player base will be (not to account for single player, though), and so forth:

Official Blizzard Quote:

Yeah, that's about right. I mean keep in mind none of this has been proven through actual testing but the current design is that yeah, it's going to take a lot of lower level gems to reach the very highest high end.

The gem-to-gem upgrade intent is not to have these huge gaps where you feel like you're lame unless you have level 14 gems in every slot, but as a long term goal for the hardcore min/maxers and PvPers who are going to be playing for a long time and be able to work toward those goals. It's something you can put a little time into just by upgrading the gems you pick up during normal play, so you're constantly able to keep working toward the goal of crating a level 14 gem.

Also the trading game and millions of people playing for months is going to make them a lot more attainable than they may seem when throwing out numbers like 19,000. :)

It's possible it may feel crappy or we need to add something to help jump gaps, or, who knows. It's all very unproven at the moment, but we think provides a nice long term goal anyone can work toward just by killing monsters and picking up gems.

So, there you have it: the conundrum of the gems in a nutshell. What do you think could help alleviate the enormous gaps between lootable and unlootable gems? Is the system fine how it is? Other thoughts?


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