So, in this first part, I will explain all the calculations that I'm doing, and I'll give you precise value of sockets in the second and third parts. First, let's explain something, you probably have a favorite secondary stat (usually mastery), that is better than others, but to what point is it better ? For example, assuming you have 0% haste and 0% critical, then, a +200 haste gem will give you 1.754% haste, when a +200 critical gem will only give you 1.600% critical, so you might think haste is a better choice. But to which point is it better ? If you have already 20% haste (and still 0% critical), a new gem will increase your haste by 1.754% but this now only increase your dps by (120+1.754)/120 = 1.462%, so it's now better to take a +200 critical gem that still increase your dps by 1.600%, right ? In fact, staking a stat is (almost) never good, because for example, having 20% haste, 20% critical, will increase your dps by 1.2*1.2 = 1.44, ie 44%, while having only haste or only critical will only increase your dps by 40%. That's why I recommend you (you can compute and check for yourself if it's better or not) to stack your main stat only to a certain point, then focus another one (for ex : mastery ring, then haste ring, then critical sockets, so no stat is too much stacked) Also, it's good to know that it's not good either to stack primary stat (intellect, strength and agility), unless that's the only possible way. Now, I can explain some of the computations that I've done so far on my characters (they are all geared with average 860-870 gears) : On my Balance Druid, a critical gem gives 1.600%, haste gives 1.754%, versa gives 1.351% and mastery gives 3.600%. Since he already has 51.50% critical, 25.25% haste, 30.31% versa, 197.71% mastery, and 23.911 intellect, a +200 gem in either primary or secondary stat will increase his dps by : 1.056% for critical, 1.400% for haste, 1.037% for versa, 1.821% for mastery, and 0.836% for intellect. Mastery doesn't boost every spell, so I think it's safe to say that 1.821% on only some specific spells is worth ~1.400% (like the haste gem). Conclusion : The best gem increase his dps by 1.400%,that means it's (1.400/0.836) = 1.675 times more effective than intellect !!! (yes, intellect sucks). Doing this for Affliction Warlock, Frost Dk and Elemental Shaman, I can see that best gem gives : for Warlock : ~1.400% dps, that's 1.561 times more effective than intellect for DK : 1.396% dps, that's 1.269 times more effective than strength for Shamy : 1.425% dps, that's 1.483 times more effective than intellect Conclusion : the best stat you have is, in average, 1.5 times better than your primary stat, so it means that if for example haste in your current (depends on what you already stacked) best stat, 100 haste will be worth 150 intellect (or strength, or agility) ! That's crazy, no ? --- Double Post Merged, Oct 15, 2017, Original Post Date: Oct 15, 2017 --- Now in this part, I will enter more in details about how much a gem is worth in terms of Ilvl. The tool we'll use is what we computed in part 1 : the ratio of how much your best secondary stat is worth in term of primary stat (so 1.5). Furthermore, we can also compute a ration between a randomly taken stat (because 200 of your best stat is probably better than +80 haste +120 critical that you'll get by increasing an item ilvl) and your primary stat, this coefficient is, on my own example, approximately 1.25. Keep in mind (it's extremly important), that these ratio are class / spec dependent. As we've seen, the 1.561 of my Warlock and the 1.269 of my Dk are really not the same coefficients !! So you'll kinda have to adapt the following arguments for your own character, even tho you can simply think about it this way : If you have high primary stat (so typicaly using 840+mace, or using 810/910 relics on intellect characters, or leggendary trinket), intellect is stacked, and is becoming less and less usefull, so gems are even more important. Also, if one secondary stat is really good, gems matter more too. Now, I've made computation (see part 3), and here is how we'll work this out. I'll do three typical item level (840, 860 and 880), and for every item for every ilvl, I'll tell you how much a socket is worth. Here is how I proceed (I show you in an example) : Cyno (840) gives 930 intellect, and 989 random secondary stats (the randomness is important, because it would be better if the 989 stats where the one you need, so 989 random is less than 989 of your best stat). Cyno (860) gives 1121 intellect, and 1067 random secondary stats, so in 20 ilvl you've won : 191 intellect, and 78 random secondary stats (worth 78*1.25 = 98 intellect). Conclusion : 20 ilvl gives worth 191+98 = 289 intellect, while a gem, gives you 200 of your best stat, so approximately 200*1.5 = 30 intellect. Then, we can see that a socket on a 840 Cyno gives approximately 21 ilvl (in term of dps, we forget stamina here). 21 might seem totally crazy high, but it's mathemiticaly the increase it's worth in term of dps. --- Double Post Merged, Oct 15, 2017 --- Now, I've shown you an example about how much a socket is worth on Cyno 840 shoulders. I'll do all the computations for other items now (knowing that I won't consider rings and necklace as "random stat", because we obviously choose the one we need for those items, something that is not the case for other items). I consider in the following that you're equipped with approximately everything in 860 ilvl (because I compare to myself), and now you add one last item. Then depending on this item's ilvl : For 840 items, a socket is worth : Rings / Necklace : 15 ilvl Wrists / Cloak : 27 ilvl Shoulders / Gloves / Belt / Boots : 21 ilvl Helmet / Chest / Legs : 16 ilvl For 860 items, a socket is worth : Rings / Necklace : 14 ilvl Wrists / Cloak : 24 ilvl Shoulders / Gloves / Belt / Boots : 18 ilvl Helmet / Chest / Legs : 14 ilvl For 880 items, a socket is worth : Rings / Necklace : 12 ilvl Wrists / Cloak : 21 ilvl Shoulders / Gloves / Belt / Boots : 16 ilvl Helmet / Chest / Legs : 12 ilvl These results are kinda strange because no one would expect a gem to be worth that much, but all of that is true Again, this is VERY important to acknowledge that these numbers change from a character to another. On my DK, all the number above would be overrated (by maybe 20%) and on my Warlock, they would be underrated (by maybe 20% also). Also, the 1.25 coefficient obviously depends on if your item is giving you your best stats or not. Remember what I told earlier (in second part) so you can adapt these results for yourself : "If you have high primary stat (so typicaly using 840+mace, or using 810/910 relics on intellect characters), intellect is stacked, and is becoming less and less usefull, so gems are even more important. Also, if one secondary stat is really good, gems matter more." Also, these results don't take in account defensive characteristic : Stamina is worth 0 here (so realistic for dps, not realistic in general), and in Versatility I counted the "reduce damage by..." part as useless (realistic for dps too, not in general). I hope you'll find this usefull, that might seem a little tricky to understand, but you can just focus on the table above, and on adapting it for yourself.

I know they are worth a lot as you can put 200 gems in them now. I run a BM hunter, so stacking mastery just melts things. I don't really need leech for what I do either, so for me having a gem slot is key. What I have noticed is it is really hard to get 855-860+ gear with a gem slot on it. Rare and if they do go up, either sell fast or put up for super high prices. I am curious what 1 point of agility is worth compared to 1 point in mastery for BM hunters I recently bought a piece of 885 gear without a socket, but it has 500 more agil and 1000 more stamina than the previous piece which makes it worth the 50 mastery loss of losing the socket IMO.

I'm not so good with theorycrafting, perhaps why i'm lacking a bit in understanding. I'm taking versa as this example, as it's the stat i'm stacking as Vengeance DH. A versa gem gives you 1.351%, then later you convert this to 1.037% of damage. However, versa % increase is 1:1 with dmg increase. (in my case +200 versa is 1.36% increase versa, and 1.36% increase dmg done) What is the resulting measurement units? 14 points, 14%, 14 ilvl? I did not understand how to convert the numbers into some useful weighting to decide on the actual increased value of a socket. If i look to Pawn addon, for example, i see it states 4% increase for a socket. Again, this means nothing to me in reality, as i fit a 200 versa get, i know i will get 1.36% increased dmg - not accounting for any mitigation or healing done. This leads me then to question exactly which stat would be more effective to stack for increase in dps. I might be better off to stack crit to 90% and hit higher with every attack, but then how to weigh against versa. In your calculations of increase % to dps, i did not know where the 120 comes into play. Is the your dps? Do you know some way to compare the effectiveness of crit, mastery and versatility (specifically for a vengenace DH)? Thanks.

To Zarthenniz : 1) I do not know what is the best for DH as I don't play this class, you would have to calcul it yourself 2) In my table, numbers denoted ilvl. For example, a socket on a 860 cloak is worth 26 ilvl (so as good as would be a 886 cloak) 3) Why 1.351% = 1.037% damage increase, and where does the 120 comes from in my formula : Given you're doing 100.000 damage with a spell, with 0 versatility, then a socket will give you 1.351% versa, increase your dps by 1.351% (as you would guess), ie your spell now deals 101.351 damages, so that's indeed a (101.351/100.000) = 1.01351, ie a 1.351% damage increase. Now assume you're doing 120.000 damage with your spell, cause you now have 20% versatility. Then adding a versa gem will give you 1.351% versatility, ie you gain 1.351 damages on your spell (as before), so your spell goes from 120.000 to 121.351, ie your dps was increased by (121.351/120.000) = 1.01126, ie 1.126% (and not 1.351%) The whole argument here is to say the most you stack a stat, the worse it usually gets. Imagine a gem was giving you 50% versa (just imagine), then your (wrong) argument would be to say that each gem increase your damage by 50%, but then, your 100.000 spell would become 150.000 with first gem, and 150.000 would become 225.000 (=150.000 x 1.5) with second gem. My argument is to say that 100.000 becomes 150.000 with first gem, which becomes 200.000 with second gem. Therefore, second gem would only inscrease your damage from 150.000 to 200.000, ie a (200.000/150.000) = 1.333 so a 33.3% dps increase, instead of 50%. --- Double Post Merged, Oct 30, 2017, Original Post Date: Oct 20, 2017 --- I've made a slight mistake on computing my warlock's mastery (because he has 250% mastery so I said it was a 2.5 times inscrease dps, but it's a 3.5 times increase.... (sorry I'm bad)) Nothing crazy, but it lowered a little bit (from 0 to 2 ilvl) the ilvl that I've put above (how much a socket was worth). I've put the new estimations, it doesn't change by a lot, but I think it's more accurate this way !

tldr However answering the title name, sockets outweigh I believe 10 item levels higher depending on item. However if your trying to decide how to spend your gold to gear a toon, I’d recommend finding 840-850 both leech AND socket items over say a 860 just socket or something. Will make for a better enjoyment of too and leech really can set the bar on how much more you can do. I did mythic SOO last night and I can say if I didn’t have at least a little leech it woulda been kinda shakey. Leech -> Socket -> leech warforged -> socket warforfed -> leech socket As far as titanforged use your best judgment.

The fact that leech weights a lot is pretty obvious, but as long as you have 5-10% leech, only ilvl and sockets will increase your dps and survavibility in PVE (as 10% is enough I believe for almost everything in PVE). You need 20-30-40% leech only if you plan to do PVP imo. Having 40% leech and low ilvl / sockets won't push you very far in PVE, as you'll have maybe 20% less dps than a 10% leech with better ilvl / sockets. And I'm not saying that trying to lower the usefullness of leech, because all my chars have 20-35% passive leech (I sometimes even use a 62% leech set on Boomy against 110's tanks).

Yep I saw your leech set, good job for the sockets too I loose an average of 15-20% dps on my Druid when using full leech gears (and my "usual" gears alerady give me 27% so I stay with that xD)