Last Updated on Samuel Franklinby
Knowing how to add sockets to your Diablo 2 (or D2R) items is a powerful way to gain additional character power by either optimising a piece of gear or creating your own runeword item base. Players can add sockets through cube recipes and a quest although there are different rules that apply when using each of these methods to obtain the desired number of sockets.
In this item socket guide I detail how to access these two socket options, how they work and recommendations on how to use them to take advantage of equipment sockets. These recommendations are based on my decades of experience with Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction and are also applicable to the updated version (Diablo 2: Resurrected (D2R)) as the mechanics are unchanged between the two game versions.
These consistent mechanics include the D2R socket recipes; weapon (Ral/Amn/Perfect Amethyst), armour (Tal/Thul/Perfect Topaz), shield (Tal/Amn/Perfect Ruby) and helm (Ral/Thul/Perfect Sapphire) and how the game determines the number of sockets an item receives that are detailed within this socket guide.
Diablo 2 Socket Overview
Socketed items in Diablo 2 allow players to place jewels, gems and runes into items to provide them additional stats or transform them into runewords by using specific rune orders. It’s generally these powerful runewords for either the player or mercenary gear in the game game that drives players to wanting to learn how to socket items in D2R.
Critical to maximising the add socket sources is an understanding that that every item in Diablo 2 has a different number of max possible sockets depending on:
- The item type (a buckler will never have more than 1 socket)
- The rarity of an item (normal, magic, rare, set or unique)
- The item lvl (ilvl) of the item (the higher ilvl gives a greater maximum number of sockets)
For the specific details of these maximums the Diablo 2 wiki has the data for every item type and ilvl and should be referenced alongside this diablo 2 add sockets guide.
Diablo 2 Add Sockets Recipe (Horadric Cube)
The Horadric Cube is a powerful quest item that can be used to add sockets to your items and there are two ways to use the add sockets recipe depending on the situation and your goals. The D2R add socket recipe and Diablo 2 recipe are unchanged between game versions.
Attempt To Create A Runeword Base
I use the word ‘attempt’ here as unlike the Larzuk quest option below where with the right pieces of information you can guarantee your end result there is an element of chance when using the cube. There are different add socket recipes to use depending on the type of item and there is a 1/6 chance for each of the socket numbers (1, 2, 3, 4 ,5 and 6) to be added to that item. Importantly where an item maximum sockets is below 6 this chance is added to the maximum socket value instead. For example an item with a maximum of 4 sockets will have a 1/6 chance for 1 socket, 1/6 chance for 2 sockets, 1/6 chance for 3 sockets and 3/6 chance for 4 sockets.
The Horadric Cube only works with normal (white) items (not including low quality or superior items), the D2R socket recipes for different equipment types are:
- Weapon: Ral Rune + Amn Rune + Perfect Amethyst
- Armour: Tal Rune + Thul Rune + Perfect Topaz
- Shield: Tal Rune + Amn Rune + Perfect Ruby
- Helm: Ral Rune + Thul Rune + Perfect Sapphire
These recipes are often the best method to add sockets to weapons, armour, shields and helms as it is relatively cheap and repeatable provided you can find sufficient base items.
Add Sockets To End Game Gear (Rare Only)
There is another Horadric Cube add socket recipe although it’s usage in Diablo 2 is significantly lower given it is expensive to utilise as it requires a Stone of Jordan ring and only works on rare (yellow) items.
If you happen to have a powerful rare item (commonly a powerful diadem helm) you can add a single socket (if it has none) and use this socket in a similar fashion to the Larzuk quest by inserting a jewel, rune or gem to make it even more powerful with this recipe:
- 3 Perfect Skulls + Stone of Jordan
Diablo 2 Socket Quest – Larzuk Socket Guide
Larzuk from Act V offers a quest reward that will add sockets to your gear. This quest is the first of Act V requiring players to clear the Siege on Harrogath by killing Shenk the Overseer.
With this Diablo 2 socket quest complete Larzuk will add sockets to an item you subject to some requirements outlined in Larzuk socket guide below. This quest reward is available on Normal, Nightmare and Hell so a full character playthrough will give players 3 socket opportunities with the mechanics the same regardless of difficulty. Sometimes players will speedrun this Act V quest solely for the reward on a throwaway character or sell it to another player.
The key requirements for using the Larzuk add socket method are:
- You cannot use this quest reward on an item that already has a socket or sockets.
- Sockets are restricted to items that can have sockets (Helm, Armour, Weapon and Shield).
- Unique (Gold), Set (Green), Rare (Yellow) and Crafted items (Orange) will always gain a single socket.
- Magic (Blue) items will gain either 1 or 2 sockets.
- Normal (White) will always receive the maximum amount of sockets that the item can receive. This is based on both the item and its item level (ilvl). Note that Larzuk can add sockets to superior items that make them a popular choice for players looking to min-max their potential runewords.
With the above in mind players will generally use their Larzuk quest to either create a runeword base or add sockets to their end game gear:
Create The Perfect Item Base For A Runeword
The Larzuk quest is commonly utilised during progression to help create the necessary runeword bases for powerful runewords. This requires you to find an item within the correct ilvl range to ensure the socket quest gives you the number of sockets you desire. An ilvl of an item dropped by a monster will always be equal to its monster level (mlvl) which will require you to remember which monster dropped the item, if it was a champion, minion or boss and the game difficulty. With this information you can then consult the Diablo 2 wiki for the monster level to determine the item level and combined with the wiki socket page can help you determine the sockets you expect to gain. Note that in Normal the monsters have specific monster levels while in Nightmare or Hell this monster level is tied instead to the area level (alvl) that is also available in the wiki.
A common example of this in practice is visiting the secret cow level in Normal which spawns the level 28 Hell Bovine. If these monsters drop a normal (white) crystal sword it will be ilvl 28. Referring to the wiki this item has a maximum of 4 sockets if it is between ilvl 26 and 40 so the Larzuk quest will give us 4 sockets which could be used for the popular Spirit runeword.
This is just one use of the Larzuk quest though and while it makes obtaining a viable runeword base easier it is difficult to recommend a blanket approach in this Larzuk socket guide. As a guiding principle in general you should be using it sparingly on key build defining items that will significantly propel your progression at speed, such as the aforementioned Spirit for a single character.
Players should also consider if you can acquire a runeword base through trade, the number of characters you expect to play (and thus how many quests rewards you’ll have available to your account) and how many socketed unique or set items you’ll need in your ultimate end game build that you might want to save this quest reward for.
Add Sockets To End Game Gear
With many end game builds using unique, rare and set items the Larzuk quest is one method to add sockets to these items giving you the option to add a single rune, jewel or gem to these. Generally this is your best option to add sockets to Set (Green), Unique (Gold) or Rare (yellow) items you expect to use forever while favouring those that can be swapped between characters.
Popular items depend on your Diablo 2 character build but items such as the below are often good candidates to consider:
- The Oculus
- Tal Rasha’s Guardianship
- Death’s Fathom
- Nightwing’s Veil
- Herald of Zakarum
- Griffon’s Eye
- Guillaume’s Face
Choosing what to place into these sockets is always a tough choice and once again depends on the build, your purpose (PvM or PvP) and if you want the item to have some flexibility on other characters. Possible options include:
- Perfect Topaz (magic find for armour/helm)
- Perfect Diamond (all resistances for shield)
- Ist rune (magic find for armour/helm/shield)
- Um rune (all resistances for armour/helm/shield)
- Rare jewel (useful stats for your particular build)
- Rainbow Facet jewel (boosts damage and reduces enemy resistance to a single element)