Diablo 2 Guide: Crafting Cubing and Socketing

Crafting Cubing and Socketing Guide Introduction

Diablo 2 Guide: Crafting Cubing and SocketingThis guide covers the following:

    • Socketing Items
    • Cube Recipes
    • Rerolling Strategies
  • Staffmods and how to get the wanted ones

I will be going over different methods and way of manipulating items in the game mainly using the cube. Some of the terms and definitions are fairly indepth and I would not expect a beginner to understand so I will define some key terms.

Key Terms

Ilvl – “Item level” each item in the game has an ilvl it’s a value associated with the item that allows the item to have different abilities or commonly called affixes. This ilvl is based on how the item was created by the game or how it has been manipulated in game as explained later in the guide.

Item type – The main item name an axe or dagger are item types a buckler, defender, and luna are the same item type.

Item quality – A buckler, defender, and luna are the different qualities of a buckler item type each item has a normal, exceptional, elite item quality.

Affixes – Prefixes and Suffixes, the properties that are mentioned in an item such as +life, +resist % +light radius. They appear as “sharp small charm of life”

Qlvl – “Quality level” each item type and item quality has a quality level it’s a given number that can not be changed in the game. This number is used to find affixes. An example of this is the small charm its qlvl is 28 no matter where you get the small charm. All small charms have a qlvl of 28.

Alvl – “Affix level” it’s the item property that identifies what abilities are allowed to spawn on each item. Alvl is a number created from a formula of ilvl and qlvl.

Rerolling – When you attempt to change the affixes of an item without changing the base item type you are “rerolling” the item. A good example is the 3 pgem recipe where you “reroll” the affixes.

Staffmods – The common term for +a specific skill affixes on items only certain item types can have these types of affixes.


Normal items (grey colored), there are 3 basic methods to get normal socketed items:

  1. Find it
  2. Use the socketing quest
  3. Use cube recipes

Finding items in the wild is always possible and will not be mentioned after this in the guide. If you wish to know more about finding items you can read through the pages on the Arreat Summit, or Diabloii.net websites.

Using the socketing quest, throughout the game you get 3 quests that allow you to socket items. Since you only get 3 chances to do this you may want to use these chances wisely when playing untwinked. Typically one uses this quest on a normal item when they wish to use runewords. Runewords do not replace staffmods or superior affixes on an item, so having these affixes appear on a white item will encourage you to socket the item for using a runeword.

The quest always gives the maximum sockets allowed on a normal item. Maximum sockets allowed in an item are dependent on the item and the ilvl. These maximums are applied at ilvl 1-25, the next 26-41 and the last 42+. Values for these socket maximums can be found on the item pages of Diabloii.net or Arreat Summit.

Using cube recipes this is used when you are out of quests and need sockets for runewords or when your runeword does not require the maximum sockets available to the item type.

Socketing Recipes

  1. Tal, Thul, Ptopaz, normal body armor
  2. Ral, Amn, PAmethyst normal weapon
  3. Ral, Thul, PSaphire, normal Helm
  4. Tal, Amn, PRuby, normal shield

Low quality to normal quality

  1. Eld, chippy, low quality weapon
  2. El, Chippy, low quality armor

Using the low quality to normal quality recipes changes the ilvl of the item to 1. From the above comment about maximum sockets and how they are related to ilvl, one could use this to their advantage. They could get an elite item, such as a phase blade, and use the recipe to make it a normal item then socket it to only have 3 sockets. One would want to do this in order to create runewords needing smaller number of sockets. “Malice” IthElEth would be an example of one such runeword that may be desired in a phaseblade, but 3 socketed phaseblades may be hard to come by. By finding a low quality one, using the recipe and then socketing with the quest someone could create the 3 socketed phase blade.

The socketing recipes for normal items give a random amount of sockets. Each recipe rolls a number from 1 to 6 and gives that number of socket(s) to the item. When items have less maximum sockets they have a better chance of getting the maximum number of sockets from these recipes.

An example, claws can get up to 3 sockets in them so if one would use the recipe for a claw they would have:

  • 1/6 chance to get 1 socket.
  • 1/6 chance to get 2 sockets
  • 4/6 chance to get 3 sockets


You will need to find Els, Elds, Rals, Tals, Amn, Thuls, Pgems and chippies to socket “white” equipment. Typically socketing white items is used for making runewords since normal socketed items (grey colored items) are specifically needed for runewords. The socketing methods mentioned are mostly used for hard to find item types and staffmodded items.

Rare items

There are 4 methods to get rares with sockets:

  1. Find a rare with mechanics prefix
  2. Use socketing quests
  3. Use recipes
  4. Reroll (replace the affixes of the item, using a cube recipe)

Using quest is the same as above. Socketing rares using recipes is much more costly than socketing normal items using any method, using the quest here may be a wiser move. The quest will always give 1 socket to rare items. Unique items and set items will also only get 1 socket with the quest reward. Also unique items and set items can only be socketed by using this quest.

There is one recipe for socketing rares and it’s expensive:

  1. 3xPskulls, SOJ, rare item

The recipe only adds one socket to the rares exactly the same as the quest.

Rerolling is like getting another item with completely different affixes, but it shares the same item type and quality. I will talk about it later in this guide.


Socketing rares is mainly used to make them better placing a rare jewel, specific rune, or gems in order to gain a specific affix on that item. Ptopaz and Ist runes for MF are common place with better rares. Eth’s and Shael’s are used in PvP to aquire breakpoints.

Magical Items

There are 3 methods to socket magical items

  1. Find them
  2. Use quest
  3. Reroll (replace the affixes of the item, using a cube recipe)

Using the quest on magical items will give that item 1-2 sockets, with equal chance of getting 1 or 2 sockets. This method can be used when desired affixes appear on magical items. Some affixes only appear on magical items and socketing such items will allow them to get more affixes from runes, gems, jewels. One such prefix is the +3 skill tree affixes.

Rerolling is like getting another item with completely different affixes, but it shares the same item type and quality. I will talk about it later in this guide. The magical rerolling recipes are kind of interesting and can be used creatively.


Using the quest reward here is up to the player. I tend to have better control using the rerolling methods with getting a socketed item with the affixes desired.

Cube Recipes

In this section I would like to discuss cube recipes that alter the type of item with respect to the items placed in the cube. I would also like to give a brief how to use crafting example.

Recipes (Full list of Cube Recipes.)

Rings Amulets

  1. 3 rings/amulets = 1 amulet/ring: ilvl =.75 clvl (rounded down)
  2. Ring, Pemerald, antidote potion = Jade ring: ilvl =30
  3. Ring, Psaphire, thawing potion = Cobalt ring: ilvl =30
  4. Ring, Ptopaz, rejuv potion = Coral ring: ilvl =30
  5. Ring, Pruby, exploding potion = Garnet ring: ilvl=30
  6. 6xPgems (1 of each type) amulet = prismatic amulet: ilvl +50

Rings and amulets are used for +skills and resist for the most part.

Since the prismatic amulet is magical and has a constant prefix it will not get you any +skills.

Since the alvl requirement for +2 all skills on a amulet is alvl 90 the 3 ring recipe will not get you +2 skills, but you can use it to try for +3 skill tree prefixes. The +3 skill tree is alvl 60 a character with a high clvl can create them. 4/3 * 60 = 80 so clvl >81 can create +3 skill tree amulets from this recipe. Also this recipe is good for creating resistance rings early to mid game.

Dispensable items

  1. 2 quivers = opposite quiver
  2. spear, arrows = Javalins
  3. axe, dagger = Throwing axes
  4. strangling potion, healing potion = antidote potion

Other items

  1. magical shield, spiked club, 2 skulls = magic shield of spikes
  2. diamond, staff, kris, belt = savage polearm

One use for these recipes is equipping a merc in the early game. You can buy nearly all of the ingredients for the savage polearm fairly cheaply. With this recipe you get an even chance of getting any regular or exceptional polearm except for the grim scythe and Bec-De-Corbin. Other uses are dependent on the player and their gameplay, live off the land barbs may find these recipes very useful.

Upgrade recipes

There are far to many of these to list so I will give you this link.

  1. gem upgrades (just getting better quality gems)
  2. rune upgrades (commonly called cubing runes)
  3. Rare item upgrades
  4. Unique item upgrades

Rare and Unique upgrades add a hidden affix to the item used the affix is a +level required. The recipe adds +5 for upgrading to exceptional and +7 for upgrading to elite. The affixes added in such manner are additive. So a normal Rare/Unique item upgraded to an elite Rare/Unique item will have the requirements of the elite item type and level requirement of the items affixes + 5 and +7. The total level required will be rlvl + 12 to use that item. It is possible to upgrade an item to an unusable state with these recipes so know what the new requirements will be before upgrading. “Worth upgrading?” threads are common and are sometimes needed since the recipes are expensive and the results can be harmful as well as good.

WARNING etheral armor rares and uniques are bugged (v1.10) when using the upgrade recipe. the etheral property adds 50% base defence to an armor, how ever when upgrading this added bonus no longer applies for some reason so you end up with a rare that has no bonus to being etheral but still has the consequences.

This bug has been fixed in version 1.11.


New item types can be created from old item types but the usefulness of such recipes is user dependent. Some people find that using these recipes is helpful other find them to be wasteful. I find the prismatic recipe to be very benefical. Others have their personal favorites among these recipes.

Crafting Recipes

Full list of Crafting Recipes.

I will explain here the most common mistakes made with crafting and a little background on how to get the # of affixes and requirement levels for your character.

Common Mistakes

1. Using the wrong recipe – often people can not get the recipe for the item type correct. Make sure that you look up or memorizes recipes before you use them. The crafting recipes always follow this form: 1 Pgem, 1 Jewel, 1 rune, 1 magical item.

2. Using an item type other than magical – I see this all the time “why won’t this rare chain glove work in this recipe?” You need to use blue items known as magical items when crafting that is a specific factor in crafting.

3. Using the wrong character to craft and getting upset at the results – In crafting character level is important as it gives the affix levels (alvl) possible with that craft. Using the character level you can control crafts to give a specific required level or less, chance at specific affixes, and # of affixes on the craft.

4. Expecting a craft to retain affixes – simply put some people expect a craft to just gain affixes. Like a reroll (see later section) crafts get rid of the affixes on an item and roll new affixes, a craft is specific in that it contains certain affixes and adds additional ones.

5. Looking for Etheral crafted items – Many as of late have been asking about getting Etheral crafted items. As I have been informed they do not exist. If you use an ethereal item in a craft it loses its etheralness. However, I would not be surprised if the 5% chance for an item to roll etheral is applied and once in 20 or so crafts the craft becomes etheral, but don’t hold your breath.

Character Level and affixes dealing with crafts

Clvl effect how many affixes can spawn with a craft. This chart explains what chance you have of getting what number of affixes:

  • At ilvls 1-30, there’s a 40% chance of 1 affix and a 20% chance each of 2, 3 or 4 affixes.
  • At ilvls 31-50, there’s a 60% chance of 2 affixes and a 20% chance each of 3 or 4 affixes.
  • At ilvls 51-70, there’s an 80% chance of 3 affixes and a 20% chance of 4 affixes.
  • At ilvls 71+, there’s a 100% chance of 4 affixes.

clvl and ilvl control alvl of crafts by controlling the final ilvl that the craft receives. It follows this formula. ilvl = int(.5 * clvl) + int(.5 * ilvl).

the int() means that you round down before pluging through the equation.

Affixes control the required level of the craft. The formula is rlvl = rlvl(of highest affix) +10 +3x (#of other affixes). So if you have a craft with 3 affixes and the highest affix has a required level (rlvl) of 12 your required level for that craft is 12 + 10 + 3*2 = 28. Since character level controls affix level and the # of affixes that can spawn it also controls the rlvl of the craft.


With crafts you want to have a range of characters at different levels in order to control affixes. Work out what rlvl and affixes you would like and use an appropriate level character to craft your items. Gambling or buying items guarantees initial ilvl (within reason) so it is usually the best way to get your base item. Otherwise check ilvl with ATMA or any other method before crafting it. Doing this can save you some heart ache (crafted chain gloves with a rlvl of 80?). Crafts can not be rerolled and are pretty much an end result. They are treated as rares by the socketing quest. On a further note they can not be upgraded; at this time, perhaps in some future patch it will be possible, I speculate that if they become upgradeable they will use the rare upgrade recipe.

Rerolling and Techniques

There are a lot of arguments about how useful rerolling is and whether its worth the gems. There are only 5 recipes for rerolling. The imbue quest reward really isn’t a reroll but it will be included as another method. I don’t consider imbue as reroll since it changes a normal item into a rare item.


Imbuing is the act 1 quest reward that charsi gives. It takes a normal quality item and makes it a rare quality item. The imbue quest can not be used by a char with a level lower than 8.

The imbue quest sets the ilvl to character level plus four. In equation form

  • clvl + 4 = ilvl

Once you get your item level your not quite done. The alvl needs to be determined so that you can get your affixes. From another thread RTB posted this:

Originally Posted by Hammerman

You need the quality level (can be found in the armor.txt / weapons.txt / etc.) and the magic_lvl to determine the affix level (alvl) with the following algorithm:

If (ilvl>99) then {ilvl=99}
if (qlvl>ilvl) then {ilvl=qlvl}
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}

I only mention this here because it needs to be introduced and this is the first section of rerolling.

There are varying views on the imbue quest do you just use it immediately or do you hold it. I have seen both ways used and have my own opinion of it but I don’t feel its right to express that here.

Using it right away guarantees you a rare of your choice of item. This can be beneficial when playing untwinked. However, that item will be based on your current character level and thus the affixes allowed will be lower than they could be.

Saving the imbue quest for later allows you to get better affixes at the character level you desire. However, often people forget about the quest or they already found rare/unique/set items that can be greater then the imbue so they feel it’s a waste to get the imbue.

On a personal note I like to use my imbue with exceptional belts such as demonhide sashes I tend to find a lot of the normal quality exceptional belts in act 5 normal and tend to see a rare belt stay with my characters for a long time. I also use it to gain hard to get staffmods (see staffmod section).

Magical item rerolling recipes

  1. 3 chipped gems, 1 magical weapon = 1 magical weapon with 1-2 sockets; ilvl 25
  2. 3 regular gems, 1 socketed weapon = 1 magical weapon with 1-2 sockets; ilvl 30
  3. 3 flawless gems, 1 magical weapon = 1 magical weapon with 1-2 sockets; ilvl 30
  4. 3 Perfect gems, 1 magical item = 1 magical item; ilvl=ilvl (here the item level won’t change.)

One look at the above list should be raising red flags in everyone’s mind. What weapons only, does that mean that other magical items can not be rerolled? No it means that only weapons can be rerolled and have their item levels controlled by the reroll recipe. The perfect gem recipe is dependant on the initial ilvl. It is important to remember that 3 pgems is the only way to reroll magical items other than weapons and that the ilvl does not change. Since the ilvl and item type do not change the item will be able to get the affixes that it could get before the reroll only.

If one uses the 3 chippy recipe then the 3 pgem recipe they end up with a magical item with 0 sockets and an ilvl of 30. Yes the 3 pgem recipe does not carry over the sockets from the other recipes, that is why one should keep with the chippy recipe when rerolling weapons. That recipe always has 1-2 sockets in it, with a 50% chance of 1 or 2 sockets. The extra sockets can be filled with jewels in order to make the magical item a custom rare item.

Please notice that the regular gem recipe uses socketed weapons. It doesn’t matter what type of weapon it is as long as it has sockets from any method of socketing. Even uniques and sets with sockets will be rerolled as base items with this recipe.

Grand charms often rerolled using the 3pgem recipe. The grand charms are typically rerolled to gain the +skill tree prefix. Since that prefix occurs when grand charms have an ilvl of 50 or more one should make sure that the grand charm they are rerolling has an ilvl of 50 or more.

Small charms are rerolled for all kinds of prefixes and suffixes, +life, +resist, MF, whatever desired. One should check the prefix/suffix required ilvl and make sure the small charm is that ilvl or greater. On a further note the qlvl of small charms is 28 which by the equations above that in general ilvl has to be 14 greater then alvl desired.

In general use the pgem recipe to reroll magical items and you get an item with the same ilvl. Using the ilvl and qlvl of the item you can determine the alvl using the quote in the imbue section. With the alvl you are able to spawn any affix that has an equal or lower alvl. Only those affixes will be able to spawn on your newly rerolled item. Using pskulls for this recipe is wasteful since pskulls are a required gem type in other recipes like the reroll for rare items.

A trick, you can use the chippy recipe with high qlvl items and still get alvl’s in the 60 range for the +skill trees, cruel prefix, and other higher level affixes. Also with a set lower ilvl you can get low tier staffmods (I will explain this in the staffmod section) with this information you can make some really powerful weapons for 4 out of 7 character classes, for the other 3 classes of characters you can use this to manufacture rares to your taste.

The reason this trick works is that when qlvl > ilvl the qlvl controls the equation. From the above equation set: “if (qlvl>ilvl) then {ilvl=qlvl}” this says that if the qlvl is greater then the ilvl used in the equation will be the qlvl. This is the whole reason your able to find small charms of life in the blood moor. The small charms have a qlvl of 28 thus even with an ilvl of 1 they have an alvl of 14 after following the algorithm.

A reroll recipe gets rid of all affixes on an item, this includes staffmods, placed gems, placed runes, and place jewels. Better be careful not to place your uberly manufactured rare (adjusted magical reroll with jewels) in with 3 gems of any type. The results can really make one upset.

Rare item rerolling recipes

There are 2 recipes for rerolling rares. Both I consider expensive. One of which I have never been able to try do to not having the ingredients.

  1. 1 pskull, 1 SOJ, 1 rare item = 1 rare item; ilvl = 0.6 ilvl + 0.6 clvl
  2. 6 pskulls, 1 rare item = 1 rare item; ilvl = 0.4ilvl +0.4clvl

These recipes have their limits. The 6 pskull recipe after about 5 iterations will take the ilvl to 0.66 your characters level rounded down.

This can be used in your favor. Say you wish to have an ilvl of 1 you can mule the pskulls, the item you wish to be at ilvl and a cube to a newly made character. Within 30 pskulls you have a ilvl 1 item. But, why would you want to do that? See the section on hard to get staffmods and it will explain why.

On the other hand the 1 skull 1 SOJ recipe will not always increase the ilvl of the item. In fact the function is quite odd. Take for example a ilvl 20 rare, if you have a clvl of 13 or less you end up lowering the ilvl of the rare. If you have a clvl of 60 your ilvl will max out at ilvl=90. So one general rule, the recipe will max out at 1.5 times the clvl value. This means constant rerolling with the pskull, SOJ recipe should be done with a character that is 2/3 the level of the desired ilvl range.

Again, knowing how this formula works can control what ilvl the rare you create will be.

Over all rerolling rares can be expensive, so much so that most beginner players don’t consider doing it. Even experienced players avoid relying on it. It can be the only way to get certain combinations of affixes and staffmods though which makes for an ideal use of this type of reroll (I will explain in the staffmod section). Like drops however, it is all a matter of luck. A simple equation for estimating amount of gems needed to reroll a specific affix is 3 * (the denominator of the chance to spawn a specific affix) = #of gems provided that the alvl will be high enough for that affix.


From the assassin forum a thread on why someone never saw +3 Tiger Strike.

Originally Posted by Ruvanal. . . Claws with staffmods are (itemtype=h2h2)

1st tier skills

2nd tier skills

3rd tier skills

4th tier skills

5th tier skills

6th tier skills

Base tier to use for an item is determined by the ilvl as
tier:ilvl range

  • 1: 1-11
  • 2: 12-18
  • 3: 19-24
  • 4: 25-36
  • 5: 37+

then there is a random adjustment made for which tier to actually use when selecting the actual skill:

  • 20% chance to add 1
  • 50% chance to stay unmodified
  • 20% chance to subtract 1
  • 10% chance to subtract 2

Low quality items have their max tier capped at 4.

The game will then randomly select among the 5 skills at that tier.

The +X bonus is set by a RND[100] (this will give a range of values from 0 to 99) and if the item is an imbue it will add ilvl/2 (drop fractions).

  • If 90 or above, +3
  • Between 60 and 89: +2
  • Lower than 60: +1

The total skills on the item will have been set by a RND[100] and if an imbue add ilvl to that random number.

  • If 91 or above: 3 skills
  • Between 71 and 90: 2 skills
  • 70 or lower: 1 skill

This is an example from the assassins point of view but it very fully explains staffmods.

Staffmods are broken into tiers, each tier is typically all skills available at a given level.

All staffmods are randomly created by a function of RND[100]. Basically a number is generated between 0-99 then the if and rules above apply to determine if and when +skills are given. Then another RND[100] is ran to determine the magnitude of the +skills given. Imbuing increases the RND[100] number so you have a better chance of getting the +3, 3 different skills.

The following item types can get staffmods:

  • wands
  • scepters
  • staves
  • claws (only as listed above, lower claws can not have staffmods)
  • class specific items (claws separated because not all of them can have staffmods)

Of these items all but druid pelts, barb helms, paladin shields, necro heads appear on weapons. This will intuitively make one think I can reroll using the chippy and such recipes. You can and it will set your ilvl to 25 or 30 respectively, that means a base tier of 4.

Wait a minute a base tier of 4 with the chippy recipe but that means that you can get tier 2 staffmods from the subtract 2 clause. But what about the tier 1 staffmods like tiger strike.

Before I mentioned that some staffmods are extremely hard to get. Low level assassin staffmods are the prime example. You can not get a low ilvl/qlvl claw to drop with low level staffmods, you also can not drop the ilvl low enough with magical rerolls. But you can get the rare reroll to drop your item down to ilvl 1 using a character level 1 muling character.

Note this means that you can not get these staffmods as an untwinked character

Lets look back through the guide at some of the finer details.

  1. The imbue quest changes ilvl to character level +4 and creates a rare item from any non magical item.
  2. The imbue quest can only be used after a character reaches character level 8.
  3. 6 Pskulls and 1 rare gives you a new rare with ilvl = 0.4clvl + 0.4ilvl
  4. 6 Pskulls recipe will only lower ilvl to 2/3rds character level
  5. To guarantee tier 1 staffmods ilvl must be between 1-11
  6. To have a chance at tier 1 staffmods ilvl must be less than 24
  7. Muling is needed for creating this teir 1 hard to get staffmods

Here was my solution to how to get the tier 1 staffmods on a elite claw. It also allows you to get prefixes like cruel, +skill trees, and many other high level affixes. This method can be used for any staffmodded item no matter the type.

Pick a item type with a high Qlvl, high enough for your affixes desired at ilvl = 1.

Take that item and give it to a low level char with an imbue quest. Imbuing has a minimum level of clvl 8 to imbue, imbuing set the ilvl to clvl+4. so using a level 8 char your item will now have a Ilvl of 12.

Now that gives you a 10% chance of droping 2lvls to tier 1 and 20% of dropping 1lvl to tier 1, so 30% chance of getting tier 1.

You can force the ilvl down again by using the six skull recipe and using a clvl 1 character.

With 1 cubing you will have 80% chance of getting a tier 1 staffmod. You always have the 20% chance of gaining 1 to the tier. This will also ensure a rare item with a high qlvl so it should be able to get the higher level affixes.

A second way to get these low staffmods is to use the low quality to normal quality upgrade recipe. It will give you a normal item (white item) with a ilvl =1. It also rerolls the staffmods on that item. The biggest concern is you only get 1 chance for this such reroll.


I hope this guide assist you in any endeavors to alter items in game. This guide is fully intended to assist and direct you as to how the recipes and general item altering works in the 1.10 version of Diablo 2 LoD. Any further patches may alter some or all of the information described in this guide.

A lot of information on items and how they can be altered was passed onto me by Thrugg, HBeachBabe, Jiansonz, RTB, and, Shade. I thank you all for your help in understanding item manipulation and being able to write this guide.

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Diablo 2 Guide to Crafting Cubing and Socketing by Uzziah.

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