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For my Templar follower, does it improve his stats/damage to equip his weapon with an emerald, for increased critical strike damage? Or should I equip all his slots with rubies? Likewise for the Scoundrel and Enchantress, is there any reason to try gems other than the ones that boost their main stat?

8

Yes.

Items equipped on your followers do benefit from socketed gems. The wiki entry on followers doesn't go into detail, but followers do benefit from equipment and gems just like your character does. You can test this by letting your follower attack enemies with and without emeralds, and counting the damage of criticals (which I have done, sadly).

Your play style, and that of your follower, depends on the gear you and your follower use, and vice versa. E.g., rubies will always increase strength (which is useless for say, a wizard), and emeralds will always give critical damage (which is great for everyone, unless you want to focus on something else). In my experience, critical strike chance gives you the highest damage increase, pound for pound, even more than critical damage. If your follower dies a lot though, maybe go for vitality, life on hit, etc (or opt for a legendary follower accessory with "Your follower cannot die.")

It should be noted however that for followers, the critical hit damage bonus is capped at +100% (beyond that natural bonus), so if you have a follower accessory with high CHD, a ruby in the weapon socket will result in higher damage.

  • Your follower should not die on 70 anymore. All it takes is to throw a yellow relic into the cube and upgrade it to legendary. The chance to get the one with "Your follower cannot die" is pretty good. – user28015 Sep 7 '15 at 4:31
  • This is plain wrong. There is no indication ever that emeralds increase critical hit chance, in any slot. – Svj0hn Sep 7 '15 at 5:35
  • @Svj0hn you're right, emeralds is critical damage, I got mixed up. Editing now. – Dpeif Sep 7 '15 at 5:37
  • @Dpeif You still have the "You can test this by letting your follower attack enemies with and without emeralds, and counting the frequency of criticals (which I have done, sadly)." suggesting that emeralds give critical hit chance (and that you tested it)... Edit: Fixed! – Svj0hn Sep 7 '15 at 5:41
  • Definitely tested this the first time I ever gave a weapon to a follower. Just mixed up the nomenclature. – Dpeif Sep 7 '15 at 5:44
3

Yes... but not very much

First of all, an emerald in a weapon does not increase anybody's critical hit chance, but merely the critical hit damage. This is the same for you and your follower.

For the other slots (shield/jewelry), you should stick the one that gives a bonus to their primary stat, as it is the only one that will increase their damage.

However, it's not strictly true to say that there is no benefit from using the other gems, as strength and dexterity still increases armor for an intelligence-based character, and intelligence increases all resist. But since the primary stat has both the offensive and defensive perks, you should go with that one.

Ideally though...

Apart from the weapon (which is debatable), you shouldn't really be using socketed gear on your followers, since they benefit more from other stats (cooldown reduction, for example), unless this is all you have to give to them. Sockets in jewelry are only good if you can use legendary gems, which followers unfortunately cannot.

  • I may be dense, but I don't follow -- how does giving socketed gear preclude you from benefiting other stats? I guess I should ask, how do you bump their other stats, since I don't know how to do that in the first place. – user1359 Sep 7 '15 at 16:59
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    @user1359 I believe that he means that if you are better off using items with five bonuses than four bonuses and a socket. I.e. that on average, non-socketed items will give better bonuses than a gem in the socket can. Note that this is end-game thinking. It assumes that you've seen so many items that you can afford to put best-in-slot equipment on your follower. Before that, a great socketed item might well be better than a mediocre non-socketed item. But eventually you should expect to find a great non-socketed item that will be better than your socketed item. – Brythan Sep 7 '15 at 17:33
  • @Brythan Correct. What I stated below the Ideally though... is indeed for the ideal case, so only applies when you're min-maxing your follower effectiveness. At first, you should instead just try to make them survive so you can benefit from their skills all the time (also, see Unity with follower immortality) – Svj0hn Sep 10 '15 at 5:37

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