New World Mechanics: Gem Conversion
This is a guide from a series of guides about core New World mechanics. First Guide was about critical chance and critical damage. The second Guide was about buffs, debuffs, and crowd control. In this guide, you will find information on how gem conversion works. Clarification on how this system works was made by MorrolanTV.
You’ve probably heard over and over again that T2 conversion gems are “bugged” to be stronger than T5. This is one of the most widely misunderstood mechanics in the game.
Gem Conversion, including T2 and every other tier, is not bugged – it just has an unintuitive design and a vague tooltip that doesn’t fully explain what’s going on.
Take T2 Aquamarine for example:
A key piece of information that is left out here is that the INT portion has hidden scaling that is different at each tier:
|Gem||Scaling (INT)||Scaling (FOC)|
The second sentence in the tooltip is also misleading. What this actually means is that the gem is taking whichever scaled portion of the damage is higher, not whichever attribute is higher.
Let’s say I have a Great Axe with a T2 Aquamarine slotted. My stats are 30 STR and 25 INT. Even though my STR is higher, the weapon is going to use 25 INT for the converted portion of damage, because the damage from 200% scaling at 25 INT is higher than the damage from 100% scaling at 30 STR.
Note* Baseline weapon attribute scaling is 100% for single attribute weapons, or 90% primary attribute / 65% secondary attribute for dual attribute weapons.
Why Did They Do This?
The goal seems to be to keep total damage similar across all tiers. This actually works in many cases.
Here’s the damage on Maelstrom with 5 STR and 149 INT (avoiding the elemental bonus we get at 150):
|149 INT Maelstrom||Regular Damage||Converted Damage||Total Damage|
|T2 INT Gem||524||362||886|
|T3 INT Gem||459||428||886|
|T4 INT Gem||393||493||886|
|T5 INT Gem||328||559||886|
As you can see, the total damage remains the same across all tiers. The “benefit” of using a higher tier is that more damage is converted. It is then up to the player to look for ways to take advantage of the higher portion of converted damage.
For example, once we get above 150 INT, the higher tier gems start to outperform because the 15% Elemental Damage perk benefits a larger portion of the damage:
|150 INT Maelstrom||Regular Damage||Converted Damage||Total Damage|
|T2 INT Gem||524||418||942|
|T3 INT Gem||459||493||952|
|T4 INT Gem||393||569||962|
|T5 INT Gem||328||644||972|
Other ways to take advantage of having a higher portion of your damage converted include choosing a damage type that a mob is weak against, or using an Ice gem and then boosting your damage with Ultimate Chill.
So on paper, as confusing as this is, it actually seems to be fairly balanced. Until…
INT To INT Conversion
What happens when you put a T2 Aquamarine into a Void Gauntlet? The Void Gauntlet, which normally has 90% INT scaling, will now have its damage split into two portions: 80% normal scaling (90% INT) and 20% gem scaling (200% INT).
So… that’s just a bunch of extra damage since you were already using INT in the first place. The higher your INT, the more extra damage you get.
This is what causes people to believe T2 gems are bugged, but if you’ve been following the explanation so far, you can see that this is working the way it’s supposed to – it’s just a strange system overall, and there’s a looming balance question of whether “double-dip” conversion should be allowed, or whether it should follow a different formula.
This works for FOC to FOC conversion as well. Using a T2 Amber, you can convert 20% of your Void Gauntlet damage to scale with 160% FOC instead of the regular FOC scaling of 65%.
So What’s The Best Gem For INT Weapons?
Any T2 INT gem will provide a consistent 10-15% multiplicative increase to your damage (depending on INT) without any other conditions being met.
Aquamarine is particularly good because it can be combined with Ultimate Chill from Ice Gauntlet for an even bigger increase. So, for PvP:
- Void Gauntlet: T2 Aquamarine is hands down the best option;
- Fire Staff: T2 Aquamarine is the best option if you are not using Fireball. Fireball damage conversion is bugged, but once it gets fixed, T2 Aqua will be the way to go;
- Ice Gauntlet: Conversion gems are not recommended because the increase you’d get from double-dip scaling does not outweigh the damage you lose from converting to an element other than Ice, since you lose the benefit of Ultimate Chill on that portion of your damage. Best to use a gem like T5 Malachite for bonus damage against slowed/rooted opponents.
Due to mob weaknesses, T2 is not always the best case for PvE, but it’s usually pretty close. Sometimes using a T5 to convert 50% of your damage to an element that the mob is weak against will outweigh using a T2 to get better scaling on 20% of your damage. To play around with the numbers, check out the Damage Calculator.