Diablo 2 How To Add Sockets To Your Items

Last Updated on July 16, 2023 by Samuel Franklin

Diablo 2 How To Add Sockets To Your Items

Knowing how to add sockets in your Diablo 2 (and D2: Resurrected / D2R) items is a powerful piece of game knowledge that can make building your target runewords significantly easier as you can build your own item base rather than hunting monsters for the ideal socketed item drop. Knowing these methods to add sockets is also an option to push your end game gear to the next level by giving you the means to customise your prized rare, set and unique items. Like many Diablo game mechanics there is some hidden elements behind the scenes that players need to understand to ensure they use the socket adding options effectively.

In this item socket guide I’ll cover the two available options (Larzuk add sockets and the Horadric Cube recipes) that Diablo 2 offers for adding sockets to items that don’t already have them, how they work and also some basic guidance on when and how to take advantage of sockets on equipment. The details on this Diablo 2 add sockets guide are applicable to both Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction and Diablo 2: Resurrected (D2R) as the mechanics described below are unchanged between the two game versions.

Table of Contents:
Diablo 2 Socket Overview
Larzuk Quest Sockets
Horadric Cube Sockets


Diablo 2 Socket Overview

Socketed items in Diablo 2 allow players to place jewels, gems and runes into items to provide them additional stats. While these can be useful on items to give them additional damage or utility the primary use of sockets in Diablo 2 is to create runewords by placing runes in the correct order into an item that has the exact number of sockets required. Using these runewords to level, as mercenary gear and in end game class builds is extremely common and the main driver of players wanting to learn how to socket items with the two options available for adding sockets in Diablo 2.

It’s important to understand that every item in Diablo 2 can have 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 the above the Diablo 2 wiki is invaluable for the underlying data for every item type and ilvl and is an invaluable referenced alongside this diablo 2 add sockets article.


Diablo 2 Socket Quest – Larzuk Socket Guide

The mechanic to add sockets in Diablo 2 that most players will be familiar with is Larzuk from Act V who provides this functionality to you as a quest reward. 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 select, subject to some requirements (Larzuk socket guide below). This quest reward is available on Normal, Nightmare and Hell so a full playthrough with a single character will give players 3 socket opportunities (the mechanics are the same regardless of difficulty). Given it’s not too difficult to get to Act V in Normal some players will speedrun to this quest solely for the quest reward on a throwaway character or sell it to another player.

The key requirements for using this 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) and Rare (Yellow) items will always gain a single socket.
  • 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).

With the above in mind players will generally use their Larzuk quest in the following ways:

Add Sockets To End Game Gear

With a number of 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) and Unique (Gold) items you expect to use forever while favouring those that can be swapped between characters. For powerful rare (yellow) items there is another method that is preferred using the Horadric Cube method that is covered at the end of this D2 sockets article.

Popular items depend on your Diablo 2 character build but items such as the below are often good candidates to consider:

  • Shako
  • 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)

Create The Perfect Item Base For A Runeword

Another usage of the Larzuk quest is utilising this mechanic during progression of your first few characters to make obtaining useful runewords easier. It requires you to find an item within the correct ilvl range to ensure using 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 paired 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.

You 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.


Diablo 2 Add Sockets Recipe (Horadric Cube)

The Horadric Cube in D2 is more than just a quest item it’s also a method to add sockets to your items with just a small subset of the total cube recipes. Like the Larzuk socket quest above there are two ways to use the Diablo 2 add sockets recipe options depending on the situation and your goals that are covered below. As noted above this is also the applicable D2R socket recipe as the recipes are unchanged between game versions.

Attempt To Create A Runeword Base

I use the word ‘attempt’ here as unlike the Larzuk quest option above where with the right pieces of information you can guarantee what your end result will be there is some chance at play when using the cube that means it may take several attempts to get the number of sockets you desire with this D2 add sockets method. There are different recipes to use depending on the type of item you are trying to socket and you have a 1/6 chance of each result occurring. 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 recipes to use in the Horadric Cube only work with normal (white) items and are as follows:

  • Armour: Tal Rune + Thul Rune + Perfect Topaz
  • Weapon: Ral Rune + Amn Rune + Perfect Amethyst
  • Helm: Ral Rune + Thul Rune + Perfect Sapphire
  • Shield: Tal Rune + Amn Rune + Perfect Ruby

Placing these items with the appropriate item in the Horadric Cube opens up opportunities to create runewords from the results but you may need to attempt this multiple times to get the result you are after. This is often the best method to add sockets to weapons and add sockets to shields as it is relatively cheap and repeatable provided you can find sufficient base items.

Add Sockets To End Game Gear (Rare Only)

There is one more Horadric Cube add socket recipe although it’s usage in Diablo 2 is significantly lower given it is expensive to utilise due to it using a Stone of Jordan ring and only works on rare (yellow) items. While these do occasionally see usage in end game builds they are less common than other item types.

If you happen to have a powerful rare item (most 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. In order to do this you’ll need the following recipe:

  • 3 Perfect Skulls + Stone of Jordan

Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms.

Sam has been playing the Diablo franchise for over two decades and has beaten Diablo 2 with all characters over that time both alone or with friends. His favourite character in Diablo 2 is the Sorceress for her strong cold area of effect abilities and teleport.


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