You're over level 60 now, and you're pretty hot stuff. You've ridden through the Dark Portal the old-fashioned way, swaggering into The Burning Crusade content in style. You'd done your reading; you knew these mobs were going to hit a lot harder, and you came prepared. You ran a few last dungeons before you shipped out, and you're respectably outfitted in BRD and URBS blues, along with a heady mix of new gear that appears to be dropping like candy.
And then you looted a piece of armor with crazy-hot good looks but an odd, blank box among its stats – and the stats, strangely enough, appear to leave something to be desired. Nonetheless, your groupmates applauded your luck and seemed genuinely pleased for you. What in Outland have you gotten into now?
My dear WoW rookie, you've just looted your first socketed item. Sockets allow you to truly customize your gear to either augment your strengths or brace up your weaknesses (or both). Whether you just want to get down the road with a decent set of gear or you enjoy endlessly tweaking your armor's performance, we'll help you fill your first sockets and make your character stronger than ever.
First off, these recommendations are aimed squarely at non-jewelcrafting characters leveling their way through Outland and Northrend. Just the basics – that's what WoW Rookie is here for. That said, the best place to start is our Insider Trader guide, A diamond is forever: a consumer's guide to gems. You'll learn:
- What are my choices in gems?
- What does each gem color do?
- Where do I get gems?
- How do I get my gems cut, and how do I know what type of cut I need?
- How do I put gems into the slots?
- A fourth type of gem (and gem slot) has been added. Prismatic gems and sockets accept (or "match") gems or sockets of any color.
- Blacksmiths can add a socket to their own one-handed weapons, bracers or gloves. They can create an Eternal Belt Buckle for other players, which adds a Prismatic socket when applied to your belt (and accepts/"matches" gems of any color).
- Being dual-specced has no effect on your gemming. Purchasing dual specialization does not grant you additional or secondary gem slots. Dual spec has no impact on your equipment at all; it changes your talents, your glyphs and your action bars. (You'll probably want to assemble two sets of gear and use the new Gear Manager to keep them straight.)
- When to gem and enchant Lengthy reader discussion
- WoW Gem Finder helps you find the right gems
- My teenaged son (every writer needs a back-seat DPSer) reminds me to restate the obvious: fully gemmed, socketed items may look like hot stuff -- but they may not perform like hot stuff for your particular character and gear mix. Try things out before getting rid of older pieces.
BIGGAH! Stay tuned – and keep on enjoying those levels.
WoW Rookie feeds you the basics to get you off to a good start in the World of Warcraft. We'll walk you through all sort of new-player concerns, including game lingo for the beginner, joining your first guild as a mid-level player and on to what to do when you finally hit level 80.