Attention: The following info is pretty ancient, but I’ve left it available on the site for those of you that wish to wax nostalgic or are perhaps running an old version of WoW.
In order to keep this guide as relevant and succinct as possible, I’m only going to focus on the current best available epic gems. The guide only pertains to standard gems available to all hunters, so Jewelcrafting-only gems are not included.
If you’re leveling or planning on burning through upgrades pretty fast, then the blue or green downgrades of the gems listed would be practical choices in those cases.
- Delicate Cardinal Ruby (20 agility) – The best DPS gem for Marksmanship * and Survival hunters.
- Bright Cardinal Ruby (40 attack power) – The best DPS gem for Beast Mastery hunters.
* For most MM hunters the Delicate Cardinal Ruby is the best choice for red gem sockets. However, once an appropriate level of Armor Penetration is reached (~850) the Fractured Cardinal Ruby can Trump the 20 agility gem. To see if your hunter can benefit more from the Fractured Cardinal Ruby than the Delicate Cardinal Ruby, go to http://femaledwarf.com, import your character, plug in all armor pen gems and see how it shakes out. 🙂
Unless hit rating is needed, hunters should socket orange gems into yellow slots. In rare cases, sacrificing a socket bonus by putting a red gem in a yellow socket can yield slightly higher DPS depending upon the quality of the socket bonus.
For the most part though, orange gems are the way to go…
- Deadly Ametrine (10 agility and 10 crit) – Best for Marksmanship and Survival.
- Glinting Ametrine (10 agility and 10 hit) – MM and SV hunters that need some added hit.
- Wicked Ametrine (20 attack power and 10 crit) – Best for Beast Mastery.
- Pristine Ametrine (20 attack power and 10 hit) – Beast Mastery hunters that need some added hit.
If 20 hit rating is needed…
- Rigid King’s Amber (20 hit rating)
- Nightmare Tear – This gem adds 10 to all stats. It also meets the meta requirement for the Relentless Earthsiege Diamond. This is typically the only blue gem needed for DPS builds. Since blue socket gems are itemized with non-DPS stats, it’s typically advised to sacrifice the item socket bonus by placing a pure-DPS red gem into a blue socket.
Alternatively, if you’re into maximizing stats for PvP, or if you’re really into socket bonuses and/or survivability, like I am, then here are some options…
- Shifting Dreadstone (10 agility and 15 stamina) – Itemized for MM and SV hunters.
- Balanced Dreadstone (20 attack power and 15 stamina) – Itemized better for Beast Mastery hunters.
- Stormy Majestic Zircon (25 spell penetration – PvP only) For information on its use and effectiveness, please see the Spell Penetration section of this guide.
Meta Gem Socket
Meta gems appear in helmets and have a requirement in order to activate.
- Relentless Earthsiege Diamond – This is the best meta gem for any and all hunter builds. It provides 21 agility and 3% increased damage from critical strikes.
These are sockets created either via an Eternal Belt Buckle or through Blacksmith-exclusive socketing. These should be treated as a red socket always.
- Delicate Cardinal Ruby – MM and SV
- Bright Cardinal Ruby – Beast Mastery
- Fractured Cardinal Ruby – MM hunters with a high armor penetration rating.
Well, that’s about it for hunter gems. Now it’s time to see what sort of enchants you should get for your hunter.