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Middle-earth: Shadow of War guide: Gems and how to use them

What they are and how to use them

Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

In Middle-earth: Shadow of War, gems work a lot like runes did in the first game — they basically add a little extra oomph to your gear. But like most of Shadow of War, they’re never really explained, and you’re left to figure out how they work on your own.

But you’re never alone with Polygon guides. Here’s your crash course in gems and what they do.

Gems and how to use them

You can fit a gem to each category of gear (not each individual item), but you’ll have to unlock the gem slot first for 1,000 mirian.

There are three types of gems: potency (damage), vitality (health) and wealth (wealth). Their exact effect depends on what type of gear they’re attached to, but that’s the basic premise. Add a potency gem to a sword and you’ll increase the damage. Add a vitality gem to a cloak and you’ll increase your max health.

The gem inventory screen.
Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

There are five qualities of gems: plain, carved, polished, refined and perfect. You’re not stuck with just the gems you pick up or earn from side quests, though. You can combine three identical gems into a gem of the next-higher quality — three plain become one carved, three carved become one polished.

A gem’s efficacy increases as its quality increases. A plain warrior gem, for example, will add 10 percent to a sword’s damage, while a perfect warrior gem will add 30 percent.

A gem is attached to the category of gear, not the items themselves. so:

  • You can swap and destroy gear without effecting the gem.
  • You can remove gems from slots without penalty, so it’s a good idea to periodically check to see if you can remove and combine a few gems at once to get a much better gem.

And remember to come back and check on your gem inventory periodically because it’s really easy to inadvertently end up with lots of them (which isn’t a problem, but it means you’re leaving benefits unused).