My head is not in the past. My head had wrapped around how much of a pain it is to drag something into the cube combine it and keep doing it and having a single gem taking up one inventory slot. Which if this was how it functioned few people would ever want to touch high end gem crafting because of how much space you would have to devote to it.
Clearly its not the case as I just read that link.
That being said your comment that you would like a player to spend 2 months putting the highest tier gem into the slot of a highest tier armor that took them 3 hours of boss killing for to get is not going to feel like an upgrade at all unless it practically out powers the socketed item by itself.
When what is supposed to be a reasonable upgrade requires such a drastic time consumption the reward for it has to be proper.
If the reward is not proper few will participate in the system because the system is then broken.
I'm not saying it won't be worth it to upgrade all the way to gem level 14, I'm saying the process should not be so substantial a time frame that it is not worth the reward.
2 months for 1 gem for example, is an example of potentially not being worth the reward. Think about that for a second, you are devoting a good portion of your life on that upgrade if it takes that long, it has to be worth it. If the upgrade is marginal, or not very substantial, no one would feel rewarded for the effort, and people would quit.
If it's going to be ridiculously time consuming the reward should be worth the effort put into it. That's all I'm saying. The time investment however looks too large on paper to be worthwhile for something that is essentially a marginal upgrade. Though it could also be entirely worth it as well.
Like when I'm going into a battle, and I hit something, or take a hit, that particular gem should have enough noticeable impact that every one can see the difference it makes. If the time investment is really that long, the difference should be nearly night and day.
If an upgrade takes me two months to get a single piece of my upgrade, it better be like adding another 50% to what that original weapon or armor could do. If not more.