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Item Generation v1.09

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v1.09 Item Information
This page was written during the v1.09 patch, and is accurate for that version of the game. The theories and principles remain unchanged, but many of the calculations were slightly altered in v1.10, so the figures are no longer all correct.

Item drop selection is complicated in Diablo II. This page should explain it completely, but you must read it carefully so you understand the terms and odds. This page will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about how items are generated in Diablo II, and probably far more than you ever imagined anyone knew. If you aren't good with formulas and figures it will make your head hurt.

The majority of players don't care at all about knowing every little quirk or bug in Qlvls, Mlvls, Ilvls, gambling item generation, etc. If you don't, then just read this intro, the terminology and the summary, and skip the rest. Further down this page the details grow more technical, and if you read carefully you'll know everything about how items are created, but you don't really need this info to play the game or enjoy it. You've done okay thus far, right?


  • Item Type: This is the actual type of item. Rune, Jewel, Charm, short sword, amulet, leather armor, etc. Not effected by Magic Find.
  • Item Quality: Unique, Set, Rare, Magical, Normal, etc. The quality of a given item, selected after the item type. Effected by Magic Find.
  • Qlvl - Quality Level: This is a fixed number for every base Armor and Weapon in the game. It is always the same for that Item Type, regardless of what type of monster drops an item, what modifiers are on the item, etc.
  • Ilvl - Item Level: This is a variable number that is set based on what monster drops an item on which difficulty level, or the level of the character that spawns (first talks to) the items on an NPC. Various Cube Recipes are based on Ilvl, and some change the Ilvl as well.
    • What is now called "Ilvl" was originally called "Qlvl" in D1 and early in D2, but they've been switched in usage since then, so you'll find occasional references to these two backwards. Yes, it's confusing.
  • Mlvl - Monster Level: A fixed value, set in the game code for each monster on all three difficulty levels. These go from 1-90 for normal monsters, with bonuses for champions and bosses and SuperUniques. You can see a listing of these here.
  • Alvl - Affix Level: Number assigned to every Prefix and Suffix in the game, which determines which monsters can drop them. All Affixes have item types they may and may not occur on as well.
  • TC - Treasure Class: A game code term for a group of similar items, which is used to determine drops. A TC is made up of around half a dozen items, with Qlvls in the range of the TC. TC 12 has all items with Qlvl 10-12. TCs are used for everything that can drop, but most often when they are discussed players are talking about the weapon and armor ones. There are 30 TCs each for weapons and armor, 3-90, going by 3's. You can see Armo/Weap 78-90 here, and we'll be posting a full listing soon.

The actual TCs the game sets for monsters to drop can be far more complicated.

Item Drops

The item type and all stats are set at the instant the item is generated. An unidentified item will never change any properties; it doesn't matter who holds the item when it is identified.

1) When a monster is killed or a chest opened, the game first checks to see if it will drop anything. This is determined by the monster type and the number of players in the game. More players = more drops. Check below for details. Magic Find has no effect at this point.

2) Once the game determines that a monster will drop an item, it then checks to see what type of item. All items are considered at once, with a % chance for each of them. There are dozens of Treasure Classes in the game, 30 each for armor and weapons, and numerous others for charms, jewels, runes, etc. Every monster has a maximum possible TC it can drop from, and the higher TCs are lower odds of being selected. This is why you so seldom find high level Elite items, the highest Runes, etc. Magic Find has no effect on this process.

Certain item types have a penalty to their drop rate.

  • Asn claws are 2/3 as likely to drop as normal items.
  • All other class specific stuff is 1/3 as likely to drop.
  • Rods (Wands, Staves, Scepters) are also 1/3 as likely to drop.

3) Once a particular item type is picked, the game checks to see what quality (Rare, set, unique, etc) of item it will be. This is where Magic Find comes in. It makes "higher quality" items more likely to drop. The game checks Unique first, and then on down. Higher MF always helps you find more higher quality items.

Higher Quality Lower Quality
Unique > Set > Rare > Magical > Superior > Normal > Low Quality

Bosses will always drop at least a magical item, unless they drop a Rune or Gem.

Ethereal is added last, and occurs on about 5% of all items, but never on Sets.

Uniques and Sets

Can every monster that can drop the white (normal) version of an item can drop the Set and Unique version of it? No. Most can in hell difficulty, but earlier in the game, especially in normal, this is often not the case. For example you will find heavy belts (Ilvl 20) by Act 2, but since Goldwrap's Qlvl is 36, the first monster that can possibly drop it is Diablo.

This is true with Set/Unique rings and amulets as well. There are lots of those, with all different level requirements. You'll see rings dropping very early in A1/Normal, and could find a Nagelring early in Act 1, but no monster is high enough Mlvl to drop the Ilvl 66 Bul Kathos Wedding Band until NM/Diablo.


Sockets occur naturally on about 1/3 of Normal and Superior items (not low quality). Shields, all weapons (other than throwing), body armor, and helms may be socketed. Nothing else can.

The maximum number of sockets in a given normal/superior item is set by the Ilvl of the item (determined by the level of the chest or level of the monster that dropped it) and the type of item. You can find items with their maximum possible sockets by mid-A5/Normal, and all through Nightmare and Hell. See this page for a quick list of maximum possible sockets per item type, and these figures are also listed for every type of item in the Armor and Weapons portions of this Items Section. If an item can have 5 sockets, you'll find it with from 1-5 randomly.

Sockets can also be found on Magical and Rare items, from suffixes. Rares (and Crafted) can only get one socket (Suffix: of Mechanics), but Magical can have up to 4, again depending on the item type. Numerous Uniques and Set Items occur with sockets as their basic property, and these are fixed, you'll always find the sockets and the same number of sockets on the same set/unique item.

Larzuk's quest reward gives Normal/Superior items the maximum number of sockets possible for that item, which depends on the Ilvl of it, and the base item type. Larzuk adds 1 or 2 sockets (randomly) to magical items, and adds 1 to Crafted, Unique, Rare, or Set items. It will never add sockets to an item that has them already, or items that can't be socketed, such as throwing weapons, boots, gloves, etc.


Prefixes and Suffixes are selected once an item type is picked, and it's selected to be magical or rare. Which affixes can occur on an item are listed in the game code and on this modifier page. How high the Alvl can be is determined by the Ilvl (set by the Mlvl or the level of the chest that you got the item from, or the Clvl of the character that spawned the item if you bought it from an NPC).

Various types of items get a bonus to their potential Alvl, most notably Circlets.

NPC Items

NPC sale items are set by the first player to talk to a given NPC. NPC items reset once everyone leaves town, or if anyone is in town if they remain totally motionless (no stash, cube, etc) for 5 minutes.

NPC sale items are your Clvl + 5. There is a cap on the maximum level in normal, but not Nightmare or Hell. In Normal it is:

  • Act 1: 12
  • Act 2: 20
  • Act 3: 28
  • Act 4: 36
  • Act 5: 45

This level determines what types of items are offered, and also what modifiers you can find on those items.

Exceptional and Elite items are offered to higher level characters, with the odds depending on your Clvl. The best odds possible, with a Clvl 99 character are:

  • NM Excep: 10.7%
  • Hell Excep: 18.3%
  • Hell Elite: 2.7%

In simplest terms, the higher your level the more Excep/Elite stuff you'll see. Your Clvl needs to be about equal to the Qlvl of the item you want to see Elite to have any chance of seeing it for sale. There is no change from one character class to another, all that matters is your Clvl.

You never see any Elite items for sale in Act One or Two, due to a bug.

Gambling Items

Items to gamble are set individually for each character. They reset each time you close and reopen the gambling window, as long as another player doesn't have it open as well. When gambling, there is some chance in the maximum Affix level; it's your Clvl -5/+4. This gives you some chance of gambling affixes that couldn't normally be on items at that Ilvl.

This randomness has no effect on the items that you are offered to gamble on, those are strictly set by your Clvl. The randomization comes in only in determining the maximum possible affixes you might get on something you gamble.

There are a few bugs with gambling: Boots are offered less often than they should be for higher level characters, and it's impossible to gamble any Elite belts or the Elite version of the Bardiche and Great Sword. You'll only get exceptional or normal versions of those items.

Item Type Determination

When a monster is killed or a chest is opened, the game selects what to drop based on two factors: The number of players in the game and the specific monster that was killed/chest that was opened. Who killed/opened it matters in terms of Magic Find, but this has nothing to do with the type of item that is dropped, just the quality of the item. To repeat, since this is a common misconception, all item stats are set when it's generated/dropped, and the Clvl of the killer/opener has no effect whatsoever on any part of the item drop.

Every monster has an Mlvl, from 1 to 98 (Hell Nihlathak is the highest, Hell Baal is 95). Chests all have levels set as well, but exactly how these are calculated isn't known, though it's assumed they work basically the same as monster drops. There are some very few item modifiers that can only be found on items from chests, never from monsters, mostly the highest +hps on charms.

Every monster on every difficulty level has a range of TCs it can drop listed in the game code. Nothing can change this, not Mlvl or players in the game, etc. Monsters are very unlikely to ever drop anything from their highest possible TCs, and the odds of them dropping from a given TC increase as the game checks lower down their possible TCs

When a monster dies, the game first checks for "no drop", which means, you guessed it, nothing drops. The "no drop" odds are determined mostly by the number of players in the game. If "no drop" isn't selected, then game then rolls to see which TC it will drop from, starting with the highest possible TC that monster/chest can drop from. Hell Baal can drop something from Armor 87, but has only a 0.0010116% chance of doing so on a given item drop. This is why you find so many more low level items than high level ones, even from hell bosses.

When the highest TC fails to be selected, the game rolls for the next one down, and so on, until a TC is selected successfully.

When a TC is selected, the game then looks at the items in that TC, and rolls among them for what is dropped. All items are evenly-weighted in a given Armor and Weapon TC with the exception of class specific items.

  • Asn claws are 2/3 as likely to drop as normal items.
  • All other class specific stuff is 1/3 as likely to drop.
  • Rods (Wands, Staves, Scepters) are also 1/3 as likely to drop.

So if a weapon TC had 6 items, 4 normal, 1 claw, and 1 Amazon spear, the four normal items would all have a 1/5 (or 3/15) chance while the claw would have a 2/15 and the Amazon spear a 1/15 chance of being selected.

esides the 60 Armor/Weapon TCs, there are others for all other items in the game. Runes are in their own TCs, 17 of them, 2 in each with Zod by itself in the 17th. Charms, Jewels, keys, potions, etc are sorted into different TCs of their own, mostly "Act # Good" or "Act # Junk", with the Act 1-5 for the "#".

No Drop

There is always a good chance of "no drop" being selected on kills of normal (non-boss) monsters, as well as chests, urns, barrels, etc. When you get this you get, guess what, nothing.

Figuring "no drop" is complicated, since it factors in number of players in the game, in the area, in the party, and in the party + in the area.

  • 1 for the player making the kill
  • +1 per partied player in the same area
  • +1/2 per party member in other areas
  • +1/2 per player in the game and not partied (area does not matter)

Therefore there isn't any simple way to figure the exact no drop as you are playing, unless you are very good with figures. Generally speaking, more players in the game will always raise the number of items dropped by lowering your "no drop". Ideally you want the other players in your party, in your area, but not so close that they snap up all the items before you.

Some no drop figures:

  • Most chests: 100/140=71.4%
  • Normal monsters: 100/160=62.5%
  • Act end Bosses (e.g. Diablo, Baal): 15/80=18.75%
  • Champions/Super Uniques/Random bosses: 0%

More players in the game will make a bigger/more noticeable difference on things (like chests and normal monsters) that wouldn't drop that much normally.

Random Bosses always drop one item, at least magical, if it's not a non-magical item such as a gem or rune. SuperUniques always drop 4 potions and 2 items, both at least magical, but both can be gems or runes as well.

Act Bosses do have a no drop possibility, so more players in the game will boost the number of items they drop slightly. SuperUniques and random bosses are not effected.

The most items any monster can drop is hard capped at 6. Only Act Bosses ever drop this many. You will sometimes get more than 6 drops, but only when several of them are gold; apparently the game counts one gold drop, but it might appear in several piles for unknown reasons. The Town Portal Duriel always drops does count for this max half dozen. Chests can drop a lot more than 6 items, they aren't held to the same limits as monsters. Some of the golden chests can drop dozens of items, or half a dozen Rares at once, etc.

Item Quality Determination

The game only checks for item quality after determining the item type, as described above. The order of checking item quality is the same as checking for TCs; the least likely to occur is checked first, and then on, getting more and more likely to be selected as it goes. The game rolls for the following in this order.

Higher Quality Lower Quality
Unique > Set > Rare > Magical > Superior > Normal > Low Quality

Note that Normal is not checked after magical. Superior is checked, then Normal, then Low Quality.

Bosses will always drop at least a magical item, unless they drop a rune, gem, etc.

There are substantial diminishing returns in MF's effectiveness as you raise it higher and higher.

Magic Find Magical * Rares * Set Items * Uniques *
0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
250% 250% 220% 215% 193%
500% 500% 340% 322% 253%
750% 750% 412% 382% 280%
1000% 1000% 460% 421% 295%
  • The actual % that is applied towards finding each type of item. Magical is full, Rare/Set/Uniques are less.

More Magic Find always = more Uniques, Sets, etc. However the increase isn't very high. As you can see, going from 250% MF to 1000% MF only boost your Uniques MF by 102%. You want as much MF as possible, without slowing your character down greatly, since if you are going half as fast for 10% more Uniques MF, you'd be getter off just doing twice as many runs in the same amount of time.

There are numerous item types (Elites especially) that have no Unique or Set items. If the roll for Unique or Set succeeds and there is not one of that base item, a lower quality item of the same type will be generated, and this item wil have higher than usual durability. This phenomena is described in more detail further down this page.


Ethereal is checked last, and occurs on slightly less than 5% of all items, though never on Sets (or Crafted items, though you make those, rather than finding them). It is not a prefix or a suffix, it is an item flag. See the Ethereal Items page for more information.


Full info about Sockets.

Socketed is checked last, and can only apply to normal or superior items. About 1/3 of Normal/Superior items are socketed. The maximum number of sockets possible on an item is set in the game code for each type of item. The "break points" in number of sockets are at Mlvl 25 and 40. Below 25 is one group, 25-39 is the second, and 40+ you can get the maximum sockets an item type allows. Every item has a different maximum number of sockets, and many types of items can have more sockets with Elite items than with normal or exceptional. A quick list can be seen here.

Socketed items are sometimes sold by the NPCs, but only when your character is much lower level than you "should be" for the area you are in.

Sockets in Magical/Rare/Crafted items are always due to the various suffixes that add sockets to such items. Magical items can have 1-4 sockets from a suffix. Rares and Crafted items can only get "of mechanics", which adds 1 socket at most. Some Sets and Uniques occur with sockets in them as part of the item's properties. These never vary in number; an Ali Baba always has 2 sockets, for example.

Larzuk's quest reward can not add sockets to an item that already has some. It adds 1 or 2 sockets to magical items, randomly. It adds 1 socket only to Crafted, Rare, Set, and Unique items.

Monster Weighting

A major factor in item quality determination is monster weighting. In simplest terms, Act Bosses have better odds to drop Uniques and Sets than normal bosses, who have better odds than champions, and so on down.

Item Quality Weighting

The figures in the full table below are for Qlvl 1 items, the lowest quality items in the game such as caps, short swords, clubs, etc. The odds of higher quality items drop as the Qlvl of the items increases. This change isn't enormous, but it is noticeable, and this adds to the difficulty of finding Elite Uniques and Sets. You are much more likely to get a Long Sword to be Set or Unique than a Colossus Blade, even if both are dropped by the same monster.

400% MF Unique Set Rare Magical
Qlvl 1 Item 20.41% 49.45% 19.28% 10.84%
Qlvl 45 Item 18.82% 45.37% 20.73% 15.06%
Qlvl 89 Item 17.13% 41.11% 21.37% 20.37%

This small table to the right compares the odds for an Act Boss dropping Qlvl 1, 45, and 89 items, all with 400% MF. As you can see, at Qlvl 1 (dagger) you have almost a 70% chance the item will be Set or Unique, but at Qlvl 89 (Giant Thresher) you've only got a 58% chance. Not that there's a Set Giant Thresher, but just or the sake of comparison.

There's nothing you can do do about this, it's just how the game works. More MF will help to offset it somewhat. Subtract somewhat from the odds in the large table below, or just use the script on our stats site to see the exact figures for any monster, any MF, and any Qlvl.

Qlvl 1 Item odds.
High quality is less likely with higher Qlvl.

Item Quality with 100% MF
Item Quality with 400% MF Item Quality with 800% MF

Monster Killed Unique Set Rare Magical Normal
Act Boss
Cow King
Countess 4.01%
Random Bosses
Champion 2.22%
Council Members 1.33%
Normal Monsters 0.48%

As you can see, going from 100% to 400% makes a huge difference on your Unique and Set item finding, despite the diminishing returns, especially on Act Bosses.

With 800% MF you get at least half your items Unique or Set on a normal Meph run. This depends on the item types of course, since there are so many items that have no Unique or Set version, so if you want an accurate accounting, you need to check for 3x durability rares (failed Uniques) and 2x durability magicals (failed Sets).

Uniques and Sets

The game only checks for item quality after determining the item type, as described above. The order of checking item quality is the same as checking for TC, the least likely to occur is checked first, and then on down. The game rolls for:

Unique > Set > Rare > Magical > Normal, in that order.

So if you find Bramble Mitts, the game will check to see if they are Unique (whether or not there is a Unique of a given item type doesn't matter at this point), if that fails then Set, if that fails then Rare, and so on. If the roll for Unique or Set succeeds and there is not one of that base item (which happens quite often with Elite Uniques, and can happen with Elite, Excep, or normal sets) a lower quality item with bonus durability will be generated. Details:

  • If you roll a Unique when one of that type does not exist or from a monster not high enough to drop it, you'll get a Rare of that type item with 3x the normal durability.
  • If you roll a Set when one of that type does not exist or from a monster not high enough to drop it, you'll get a Magical of that type item with 2x the normal durability.
    • Both of these can also happen when monsters aren't high enough to drop the given set or unique.
    • This also happens with Uniques, if the same one is selected to drop more than once in a game. Since it can only drop once, the 2nd, 3rd, etc times it will drop to a 3x durability Rare.

Jewels don't check for Unique or Set, just Rare or Magical (Not that it would matter if they did). Charms are always magical. Items that can't be magical, such as Runes, Keys, Potions, and Scrolls don't check for anything.

For a monster to drop a unique or set item, the monsters' level, (Mlvl) must be equal to or higher than the Qlvl of the Unique and the Qlvl of the set.

You can only find a given Unique once per game. Uniques on characters in the game do not factor into anything anymore, but for actual drops/gambles, one of a given Unique per game. In theory this could help with finding Unique rings/amulets, since each time you found one it couldn't drop again that game, but the odds of actually finding 4 or 5 unique rings or amulets in one game is extremely remote, and it

Uniques it's straight forward, you can see the Ilvl of every Unique on the items pages.

If a Unique is Ilvl 50, like Skullder's Ire, a monster must be Mlvl 50 or higher to drop it. It's not guaranteed that a monster over Mlvl 50 can drop that item though, since you need to check the TCs also. And remember that monsters very very seldom drop anything from their highest possible TCs; the odds of them dropping from a TC increase as you go down.

Sets are slightly more complicated. The monster must be high enough level to drop the base item, and its Mlvl must also exceed the Ilvl of the Set requirement.

In some cases one or two items in a set will be much lower or higher level than the level of the whole set, and therefore harder to find. Sander's Cap is one example, since the cap is a very low level item, but the set is Qlvl 20. Most monsters over Mlvl 20 don't often drop caps, and the monsters that do often drop them aren't high enough level to drop Sander's Cap.

This isn't the same thing as a set item that's just a very rare base item. The IK Armor, for example, is virtually impossible to find, but that's because it's in Armor 90, which very few monsters in the game can drop.

  • According to Blizzard, you will only find one of a given Unique per game. Uniques you might be using or have in your stash don't matter for Unique dropping anymore, though they did in D2C v1.07 and earlier. (This rule is debatable, we've had many reports of people finding two or more of the same Unique in a game.)
  • The Cow King's Leathers can only be dropped in the Secret Cow Level. It's not a great set anyway, mostly a curiosity, though the boots have some popularity.

Unique and Set Jewelry Odds

Here is a list of the rings and amulets (set and unique). The Item Level is the minimum ilvl need to spawn that item. The rarity is the relative rarity of the item. The total rarity is a cumulative total, the sum of all rarity levels up to that point. The odds of a particular item dropping is it's rarity divided by the total rarity of all the like items a given monster can drop.

For example, a lvl 14 monster can drop only a Civerb's Icon amulet, while a lvl 20 monster can drop Civerb's, Cathan's, Angelic, Vidala's, and Arcanna's. The odds of any particular ring/amulet being dropped decrease as you kill higher level monsters.

This info courtesy of Ruvanal.

  • Ilvl: The Item Level. A monster's level must be equal to or higher than this to drop that item.
  • Rarity: A number in the game code that determines how likely that item is to drop.
  • Total Rarity: A number that is the sum the Rarity of all types of that item.
  • Odds: The % chance of a monster of that level dropping that item. Rarity divided by Total Rarity.
  • Final Odds: The % chance of a monster that can drop every ring/amulet dropping that particular ring/amulet. Rarity divided by Total Rarity for every item of that type. (These are the odds past mid-Act 3 Hell.)

Set Rings Ilvl Rarity Total Rarity Odds Final Odds
Cathan's Seal 15 7 7 100% 70%
Angelic Halo 17 3 10 30% 30%

Set Amulets Ilvl Rarity Total Rarity Odds Final Odds
Civerb's Icon 13 7 7 100% 15.6%
Cathan's Sigal 15 7 14 50% 15.6%
Angelic Wings 17 7 21 33% 15.6%
Vidala's Snare 19 7 28 25% 15.6%
Arcanna's Sign 20 1 29 3.4% 2.22%
Iratha's Collar 21 7 36 19.4% 15.6%
Tal Rasha's Adj. 26 1 37 2.7% 2.22%
Tancred's Weird 27 7 44 15.9% 15.6%
Telling of Beads 39 1 45 2.22% 2.22%

This is why your best bet to find an SoJ is to kill monsters that are lvl 39-52, since they can't drop Dwarf Star or Raven Frost, which would cut your odds of a SoJ considerably. You have a 1/31 chance of a unique ring being an SoJ from Normal Diablo (40) or Nightmare Andariel (45), but Normal Baal (60) or Nightmare Mephisto (59), your odds are only 1/51. You never have better than 1/52 odds of a Bul Kathos ring, and only monsters in late Nightmare and Hell can drop it at all.

Unique Rings Ilvl Rarity Total Rarity Odds Final Odds
Nagelring 10 15 15 100% 28.8%
Manald Heal 20 15 30 50% 28.8%
Stone of Jordan 39 1 31 3.2% 1.9%
Dwarf Star 53 10 41 24.4% 19.2%
Raven Frost 53 10 51 19.6% 19.2%
Bul Kathos 66 1 52 1.9% 1.9%
Constricting Ring * NA NA NA % %

  • The Constricting Ring has never been enabled in D2X. If it were it would be a 1 on Rarity, with an Ilvl of 95, so virtually the same odds as Bul Kathos, but only findable from Hell Baal/Nihlathak. </nowiki>

Unique Amulets Ilvl Rarity Total Rarity Odds Final Odds
Nokozan Relic 14 20 20 100% 28.6%
Eye of Etlich 20 5 25 20% 7.1%
Mahim-Oak Curio 34 10 35 28.6% 14.3%
Saracen's Chance 55 5 40 12.5% 7.1%
Crescent Moon 58 5 45 11.1% 7.1%
Cat's Eye 58 5 50 10% 7.1%
Atma's Scarab 60 5 55 9.1% 7.1%
Highlord's Wrath 73 5 60 8.3% 7.1%
The Rising Sun 73 5 65 7.7% 7.1%
Mara's Kaleidoscope 80 5 70 7.1% 7.1%

The hardest to find Unique Amulets are still much more common than an SoJ or Bul Kathos ring, though you have to kill things in late Hell to possibly find Mara's.

Misc Item Selection

Misc items are all items besides, weapons, armor, and Runes. Runes have their own treasure classes, 17 of them, 2 each in the first 16, with Zod solo in 17.

Potions and gems and the qualities they drop in are easy to observe just by playing. You get little ones early in normal, and almost all supers/flawless in hell. Check the Potions page for more details.

Charms and jewels are relatively common drops by all sorts of monsters. Small are a bit higher level than medium, which are a bit higher level than grand, but this isn't noticeable past act 2 normal or so. In nightmare and hell you should get even numbers of all charm types. The big factor with charms and jewels are their modifiers, and higher level mods are dropped by higher level monsters; easy enough.

There are several Charms mods (2 biggest +hps on grands, and biggest +cold damage on smalls) that shouldn't be possible to drop, since they are higher than any monster can drop. These charms are thought to come from chests, but in the game code chests are said to be maxed at Ilvl=75, which would be much too low. This shot is of a charm I found myself, from the chest in the left side of Durance 3, by the High Council guy. So there is some sort of bug it would seem.

Affix Selection

Prefixes and Suffixes are relatively simple. The maximum level of possible affixes is set by the Ilvl of the item. This is usually equal to the Mlvl of the monster that drops the item. Items sold by NPCs obtain their Ilvl based on the Clvl of the character that spawned them. See the NPC Item Generation section on this page for more details.

There are of course strict limits as to which modifiers can occur on which types of items, as well as which can be found on Rare/Crafted items. These are detailed on our modifier pages.

The highest Alvl that can occur on an item is determined by the Ilvl and the Qlvl of the item and is usually lower than the higher of the two (Alvl = Ilvl only when the Qlvl=1 for items without a magic bonus, such as weapons or circlets.)

Affix levels aren't of that much use to many players, since it's not like you're going to kill specific monsters based on the prefix or suffix you want to find. Item type is more important than affix in most cases, and most players want elite items with high quality affixes.

The reason you need to know the Ilvl of something is mostly for use in cube recipes, especially the 3 perfect gem + 1 magical item = new magical item. This one is Ilvl = 100 for the mods, which means the Ilvl remains constant each time. So if you have an Ilvl 50 item it will stay at that level, and not be eligible for higher level modifiers.

When an item is generated that has affixes the Alvl is calculated* from Ilvl and Qlvl as follows:

if (Ilvl>99) then {Ilvl=99}
if (Qlvl>ilvl) then {Ilvl=Qlvl} ;** see note below
if (magic_lvl>0) then {Alvl=ilvl+magic_lvl}
if (Ilvl<(99-qlvl/2))
then {Alvl=Ilvl-Qlvl/2}
else {Alvl=2*ilvl-99}
If (Alvl>99) then {Alvl=99}

* all calculations use integers so there are no fractions at any step.

** this new Ilvl value is only used for the duration of this calculation. The Ilvl value that is stored in the items data file will remain unchanged.

To quote Ruvanal:

To determine the affixes available use the level column in automagic.txt, magicprefix.txt and magicsuffix.txt files as the minimum alvl required. Filter the version (1 for D2C games, 1 or 100 for expansion games), spawnable (1=yes, 0=no), maxlevel (a few cannot appear on higher alvl items), and the appropriate itypes and etypes (excluded item types). For rares and crafted items you will need to select only the affixes with rare=1 and need to exclude any affixes that have the same group number as an already selected affix. Then to determine the chance of getting an affix you will need to sum the frequencies for that particular type (automagic, prefix, suffix) and get the chance of that particular affix by affix_frequency/frequency_sum.

The biggest difference between Affix selection and TC selection is that there's far less weighting for higher or lower level affixes. You are extremely unlikely to get an item from the highest TC a monster can drop, but an Mlvl 50 monster is as likely to drop a lvl 48 affix as a lvl 14 affix in most cases. (There are some weighted affixes, making them more likely to occur. There are also some low level/junky prefixes with max level settings, which means you won't see them on very high Ilvl items at all. Most players would like this max cap added to far more of the low level/crappy mods.)

One well-known quirk of Alvl selection is on Circlets. These items have what is called a "magic level", which is actually a bonus to the Alvl that can occur on them. Circlets: +3, Coronets: +8, Tiaras: +13, Diadems: +18 (All Diadems are always Alvl 99, so can always get any mods.) This is for the mods found on that item only, it's not a bonus to all items while you are wearing the Circlet. This means that if you gambled a Tiara at Clvl 77, or had an Mlvl 77 monster drop it, the potential max Alvl would be 90, due to the Diadem bonus (before other adjustments, such as the -5/+4 to your Clvl on gambling.) See our Circlets Page for more details. Normal/excep wands, all staves and orbs have a +1 magic level as well, but no other weapons or armor. Amulets had +2 in earlier versions of the game, but not after v1.09.

NPC Item Generation

This refers to items offered for sale by NPCs. Gambling is different, see below.

The items you are offered are determined by the Clvl of whichever character in a game first talked to that NPC since the last time the items were reset. Items reset when everyone leaves town, or if anyone is in town they must not move or interact with anything for 5 minutes.

Items offered for sale are set by the following: Ilvl = Clvl + 5. There are hard caps on this in normal, by Act: Act 1: 12, Act 2: 20, Act 3: 28, Act 4: 36, Act 5: 45.

The items offered by NPCs are not truly random, and they do not follow Treasure Classes. There are specific families of items that each NPC can choose from and they have a chance to upgrade to the Exceptional and Elite versions of those items on Nightmare and Hell. The higher your Clvl, the better your odds of seeing more Exceps and Elites. This is why you always see nearly a full window of Great Swords and Flamberges from Larzuk, along with their Excep and Elite versions.

There are bugs in this system; you hardly see any Excep or Elite stuff in Act One, no matter how high your Clvl. And some types of items get crowded out entirely at higher levels. You see nothing but Great Mauls and some Mauls in A4 or A5 hell, and never any one-handed maces, while in Normal you see plenty of War Hammers. Since the 2H maces are higher level, they take precedence for higher level characters.

Higher level characters see more Exceptional and Elite items offered for sale.

Exceptional: (<100*(Ilvl-Qlvl)/2>+1)/100 %
Elite: (<100*(Ilvl-Qlvl)/4>+1)/100 %

Which works out to about:

Exceptional: (Ilvl-Qlvl)/2 %
Elite: (Ilvl-Qlvl)/4 %

In this formula, Ilvl = (Clvl - 5 + Rnd<10>), Rnd<10> is 0 to 9. Qlvl is the level of the base item picked (that is of the exceptional/elite item we are checking to upgrade to).

In terms more people can deal with, you have about a 4% base chance on NM, plus 1% per 16 Clvls. Actually 15.6.

On hell there is a 1% plus 1% per 63 levels and if not, 5% plus 1% per 8 level. For a Clvl 99 character, the best odds you'll ever get are:

  • NM Excep: 10.7%
  • Hell Excep: 18.3%
  • Hell Elite: 2.7%

In simplest terms, the higher your level the more Excep/Elite stuff, and you need to be about the level of the item you are trying to see to have any chance to see it for sale. I.E. Qlvl 75 Colossus Sword, you need to be Clvl 75ish to have any hope, and higher is better. A quote from Ruvanal:

To determine what the exceptional or elite item is the game looks up the corresponding code from the ubercode and ultracode columns in the appropriate files. Note that there are 2 typos that dectgap found in the weapons file. The first is they are caused by someone who accidentally wrote "7b7" (Champion Sword) instead of "7o7" (Ogre Axe), and "7fb" (Colossus Sword) instead of "7gd" (Colossus Blade). The first does not matter for store sales (but will in the gambling section) as the Bardiche is upgraded by the first method to Halberd in nightmare and a War Scythe in hell. The second though means that whenever a Great Sword would have been upgraded to an elite version you will get a Colossal Sword instead of a Colossus Blade.

Gambling Item Generation

Gambling items are reset each time you open the window, and they are set just for you, with their levels and affixes determined as soon as you open the window. Only the item types are sent to the client, not the mods. (This wasn't always the case, if you remember the packet sniffing gambling cheats from the past, when players could see which items were Unique or Set before gambling.)

Multiple players can gamble at the same time, but your display of items will not reset as long as another player has the window open. So if you are gambling at the same time as another player, you should try to gamble and close the window quickly, so they can do the same.

There is some randomness to the highest possible Alvl when you gamble. This works out to be your Clvl -5/+4. (Actually: Clvl -5+Rnd[10] for the gamble Ilvl of the item generated. "Rnd[10]" returns 10 numbers, 0-9. Which is a complicated way to say -5/+4)

For example if you are Clvl 60, your potential maximum level affixes will be 56-65, randomly selected. So if you really want an affix that's lvl 62, you will only get it available 40% of the time. There is no way to know what level bonus or penalty you have on a given gamble, so if you really want to be sure you have the chance at a particular level affix, you need to be at least 4 levels over it. To always have a chance at gambling +2 skills on amulets, you must be Clvl 94, for example. (Note that this means you might get that affix, since you are at least high enough level to get it. There are dozens and dozens of possible prefixes and suffixes on most items, just because your effective Alvl on a particular gamble is 91 doesn't mean you'll get any +2 to skills, which is Alvl 90.)

Items you see to gamble have minimum Clvl requirements to become available to gamble on. A list can be seen here. These are fixed numbers, the -5/+4 only applies to the affixes on items you gamble.

The items you see to gamble on are randomly-generated, with a few bugs. One well known one is that you get fewer boots than you should at higher levels, since boots are checked last in the item selection sequence and often there aren't any spots left by then. You always see a ring and amulet to gamble.

All gambled items can generate as Exceptional or Elite, though they always show as normal in the window, only going to Excep or Elite once you gamble them. The higher your level the better your odds for this to happen.

To quote Ruvanal:

ilvl = clvl - 5 + Rnd(10)
if ( ilvl < 5 ) { ilvl = 5 }
if ( ilvl > 99 ) { ilvl = 99 }
where Rnd(10) is a random number from 0-9, with uniform distribution
chance of exceptional = (100*(ilvl-qlvl)/2+1)/100 %
chance of elite = (100*(ilvl-qlvl)/4+1)/100 % * ( 1-chance of exceptional )
Where the qlvl in question is for the item to upgrade to. This means that you cannot get an exception upgrade unless the ilvl generated is equal or greater than the qlvl you are testing for.

Info from dectgap

This is what really happens when you are gambling:

1. The game checks for an item. Normal, exceptional or elite versions of the items are ignored (all items are counted seperatly). The only columns used in this step are "normcode", "ubercode" and "ultracode" (AK, AL and AM).

2. When an item is picked, the game find its entry in the "name" column. For example, if a Hatchet is picked, the game looks at row 95.

3. The game uses the "normcode" used for this item, and this is the item showed in the gambling screen (this is normally a normal item, but you could enter the code for an elite item here if you'd like to).

There are some bugs:

All normal belts have elite boots as their ultracode.

normcode ultracode
Sash Wrymhide Boots
Heavy Belt Mirrored Boots
Belt Boneweave Boots
Plated Belt Myrmidon Greaves

And these are the weapons with odd ultracodes:

normcode ultracode
Bardiche Champion Sword
Great Sword Colossus Sword

This doesn't mean you'll get elite boots if you gamble a belt and it goes elite. This means you'll just never get elite versions of any of these "Normcode" items from gambling, just normal or exceptional of that item type. So give up on light belts if you are trying for a VampireFang.