Some Diablo II items have sockets, in which magically infused gems, jewels or runes can be inserted to induce their magic powers to that item. These items will on themselves not provide any bonuses to a character.
Socketed Items can be complicated, mainly in the number of sockets and how to add sockets to existing items. There are three Cube recipes to add them, as well as the socket quest in Act V. Also items can generate with a variable number of sockets, and how many depends on the monster that drops them, the item type, and much more.
You can never add a socket to an item that already has one or more sockets, with any recipe or the socketing quest reward. The only partial exception is the 3 chipped gems + 1 magical weapon recipe, which will create a magical weapon with new properties and 1-2 sockets. This doesn’t add sockets to the existing weapon though, since it is rolling new mods on the weapon, so is essentially random.
Rare, Set, Unique, Crafted Items
The Socketing quest adds 1 and only 1 Socket to any of these types. Rares may spawn with 1-2 sockets from the Mechanic’s prefix, and some sets and uniques have 1 or more sockets inherently, and can’t have more added. You will never get more than 1 socket added using the socketing quest on any of these items.
Rare items can also have a socket added by a Horadric Cube Recipe. This requires 1 Stone of Jordan + 3 Perfect Skulls + One Rare Item. It’s basically the same as putting that Rare item in the socketing quest reward. It can’t be used on an item with sockets already.
Magical items can have 1-4 sockets, depending on the prefixes and the item type, and you can never add more sockets to an item that already has one or more. For magical items without sockets, using them in the socket quest reward will add 1 or 2 sockets, selected randomly.
There is a recipe for magical weapons.
- 3 chipped gems + 1 magical weapon = magical weapon of the same type, with 1-2 sockets and an item level of 25.
This results in a magical, socketed weapon that can be rerolled again with chipped, normal or flawless gems as many times as desired. Weapons which cannot have sockets (like throwing weapons) won’t get any socket and those with a maximum of 1 socket (like a few daggers and wands) have no chance for two of them. The issue of possible affixes (or bonuses to single skills on wands, orbs etc.) is beyond the scope of this article. It follows the normal rules for the generation of magical items, see the Item Generation Tutorial for details.
Normal items can have from 1-6 sockets. How many a given item can get is random for most item types, but the maximum is always limited by the mlvl of the monster that drops the item, item type and in the case of naturally spawning sockets the difficulty level. Items can only naturally spawn with a maximum of 3 sockets on normal difficulty, 4 sockets on nightmare and 6 sockets on hell. This limitation only applies to sockets that are spawn naturally, not ones which are added through the cube recipe or socket quest. Check the master table below, or the individual Armor and Weapons pages for info on how many sockets are possible on given item types.
The number of sockets from the socket quest is not affected by the difficulty level, only by the ilvl of the item, which is based on the mlvl of the monster that drops it. Your Clvl and the difficulty level of the quest reward has nothing to do with the number of sockets you get. You can use the Normal quest reward on a Crystal Sword and get 6 sockets, or the Hell quest reward and get 3, depending on the ilvl of the swords used.
There are rumours of the quest reward varying the number of sockets further but these rumours are completely unfounded. Its likely that minions on a borderline area level dropped a white item that was thought to have a lower ilvl. The number of sockets from a quest reward is always the maximum possible based on the ilvl and item type (assuming its a white item).
If you need a number of sockets that Larzuk won’t provide, then you’ll have to try the cube recipes which adds a random number of sockets or find that item with the number of sockets you want. The cube recipe has equal chances of adding 1 to 6 sockets on an item, with any socket count exceeding the maximum sockets available being bumped back down to the max. You cannot use the socket recipe on low quality items.
Trade for it if you have to, or ask in games, most people don’t save socketed items, so you might ask as soon as you join, say you’ll make 100k for a 5-socket Ogre Maul, for example, or trade more if someone drives a hard bargain. If they aren’t keeping it, they’ll only get 35k at most for the sale, so shouldn’t be too greedy.
How to Obtain Socketed/Socketable Items
The key is to not have any Magic Find, since the more of that you have the more likely items dropped will be magical or better (Rare, Set, Unique). Zero MF is best for finding socketed items, but if you can’t avoid a small % bonus, it won’t make much of a difference. The best characters for this are probably Sorcs for the high-level areas in hell mode and Javazons for the Cow level, where each can kill at a tremendous pace.
You want to be in as big a multi-player game as possible, so more items will drop, though this can be taken too far. If you don’t have a power character and it’s taking you much longer to kill in an 8-player, you could drop down to a 3-5 player and still have lots of items dropping, while killing so much faster that you actually get more items than you would taking twice as long in an 8 player game.
How to Unsocket an Item
There is good news and bad news. The good news is you can remove gems, runes and jewels socketed into an item. The bad news is that you will lose the gems, runes and jewels but you will not lose the item so you are free to socket it again.
To remove items from sockets place the following in the Horadric Cube:
1 Hel Rune + Scroll of Town Portal + Your Socketed Item
Several Cube Recipes were added in v1.10 to make socketed items. Players can now turn low quality items into base quality (white) items which can be socketed via the socketing quest, or via a cube recipe.
Sockets by Number
The master list, with items sorted by Ilvl and alphabetically.