I know lots of you are waiting to find out about Zen Jewelcrafting, so I've tried to dig up as much as I can. The trainer is mostly offering uncommon gem cuts, a handful every 5 points up through 575. Right now there are no recipes on the trainer beyond that. Here's a sample recipe for a green gem from the trainer:
The uncommon quality gems will give you one skill up per cut when crafted. Currently the Cata epic gems are listed as yellow in the tradeskill book, so they could potentially be a source for easy skill points early on. You can see a sample image here:
Bear in mind that this may be changed before launch, so stockpile at your own risk :)
We are also getting a new [random] necklace recipe, although I noticed there was no ring equivalent. I posted in the Beta forums about this, because I rather liked having the random jewelry recipe as a way to use up extra gems. Especially the occasional rare proc! But even without that, it's a handy way to get extra enchanting mats for my enchanter. You can see in this pic:
that the new recipe uses three different gem colors (huzzah!). If we get a ring recipe that uses the other colors, we'll have a reliable way to use all six gem types. I don't know about you, but I am constantly running out of red/green/purple and yet swimming in yellow/blue/orange.
A big change for Jewelcrafters is our next set of recipes: River's Heart and Sun's Radiance:
These two recipes are learned right off the bat at 525 skill. Then at 535 you learn two more: Vermilion Onyx and Wild Jade. At 545 you learn Imperial Amethyst and then at 550 you finally get Primordial Ruby.
You can see from the description here that you'll learn a new gem recipe when you use this recipe. You are unable to use this (or any other recipe in this group) more than once a day. You get three skill points each time you do it, which is nice but probably won't be too helpful to Realm First seekers. So it appears that in MoP we'll be moving away from the daily quest/vendor method of acquiring recipes and toward a discovery mechanic.
I did one test with this today (Sun's Radiance) and learned the recipe for the Smooth (+320 crit) cut. It's my understanding that each discovery recipe will teach you a gem cut within the same color family, based on Beta commentary. I will continue to test this each day and confirm that information. Once you start learning the rare gem cuts you'll get 2 skill points for each one you make.
Crafting the research items also creates a Facets of Research object which contains cut gems inside. In today's cache I got two rare Sun's Radiance gems, one with +320 Resilience and one with +320 Dodge plus some junk. So the gems you use to do research aren't completely wasted, apparently you'll get some back as cut gems.
I'm already seeing some angst on the forums about this situation, but honestly I don't expect Blizzard to abandon gating anytime soon. There are also folks complaining about the fact that this recipe uses 3 blue gems for each discovery, but I don't have a problem with that either. In Cata we waited 3+ days per recipe, now we are sacrificing 3 rare gems but can learn a new recipe once a day. And with the Facet cache we actually get some of those gems back in cut form. IMHO the rare gems were a bit too free-flowing in Cataclysm and I think we're gaining ground in MoP. I still remember BC when a blue quality gem was worth something, so seeing our rare gems slumming at 10-20g makes me kinda sad. I don't mind using some of my rares to learn recipes and that gem sink may even cut down on the glut we have currently.
Moving on! There's another recipe you'll learn at 550 skill which gives you a way to speed up the discovery process somewhat:
With this recipe you can learn a rare gem recipe off the daily cooldown by farming Spirits of Harmony. This will be great for folks who play their JC as their main, but could be frustrating for those who don't. Either way, it provides an alternative to the daily gating mechanic if you want to utilize it. I think this is a nice compromise solution and I'm glad the developers included it. Those who want to learn recipes quicker can work for it, those who don't care can use the daily cooldown.
I also found a new item type on the trainer which you guys may find interesting, it's called a Scrying stone:
It uses a roguestone (personally I'd prefer we stay away from purple gems for novelty goods) and it makes a limited use item. I'm not exactly sure what it does to be honest, but I'll play with it when I have a better supply of gems.
I discovered another new item while I was prospecting Ghost Iron ore that I think is much more exciting:
If my guess is right, these will be used to make our new JC-only gems. I haven't actually found any recipes for Serpent's Eye to confirm this. But I got four of these from prospecting stacks of ore. They seem to drop around 1-2 per stack. I'll try to do some volume tests with prospecting to get you guys some reasonable numbers for this as well as the gem drop rates. From what I've seen so far, the drop rate for rare gems is fairly high at this point (6 rare vs 9 uncommon gems in my initial prospecting sample).
Finally, I lucked out while I was farming ore in Valley of the Four Winds and someone linked a JC recipe in general chat. I took a screenshot for you guys:
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and hypothesize that the new JC meta gems are zone drops. From peeking through Wowhead, they all bind when picked up. Given that someone looted one of these in VotFW, that would seem to support the zone theory. Some of these may end up being faction or dungeon drops, that's hard to say at this point. But if they all remain BoP then they are likely to have a pretty reasonable drop rate in their respective locations. I'm actually happy to see this because I did not enjoy paying 5000+ gold for the Cata recipes.
That's all I have for now, you other Beta folks are welcome to share additional information in the Comments. And you non-Beta peeps can shout out some questions if you like!