Considering helping out on the wiki to keep it updated - in particular the changed unique items need to be updated to reflect 2.6.0 changes.

Mods and base items have been updated to 2.6 values - skill progressions on some skill gem pages may need updating or some bugs need to be fixed.

Item socket

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An example of a bow with three linked sockets; two of which are occupied by skill gems.

Sockets are a mechanism on equipment into which active and support skill gems with a matching colour can be placed. Individual sockets can be linked to each other which is required for support skill gems to provide benefits to any linked active skill gem.

Colours

Each socket has one of four colours:

Skill gems have to be placed into a socket with the corresponding colour with the exception of white gems and sockets, which can be placed into a socket of any colour or take a gem of any colour respectively.

The random choice of colour for sockets is weighted based upon the magnitude of the relevant attributes (strength, dexterity, intelligence) required to use the item. For example, a low strength requirement (low base-level) pure strength armour item has a higher probability of rolling off-color sockets than a high strength requirement (high base-level) pure strength armour.

White sockets can be obtained through corruption by using a Vaal Orb inventory icon.pngVaal OrbVaal OrbStack Size: 10Acquisition
Level: 12
Corrupts an item, modifying it unpredictablyRight click this item then left click an item to corrupt it. Corrupted items cannot be modified again.
Shift click to unstack.
Vaal Orb inventory icon.png
at a 25% chance.[1]

The colour of sockets can be changed by Chromatic Orb inventory icon.pngChromatic OrbChromatic OrbStack Size: 20Acquisition
Level: 2
Reforges the colour of sockets on an itemRight click this item then left click a socketed item to apply it.
Shift click to unstack.
Chromatic Orb inventory icon.png
reforging or by using the crafting bench provided by Vorici.

Number of sockets

The number of possible sockets on equipment is based on the item level as well as the type of the equipment being used.

The number of sockets can be changed by Jeweller's Orb inventory icon.pngJeweller's OrbJeweller's OrbStack Size: 20Acquisition
Level: 8
Reforges the number of sockets on an itemRight click this item then left click a socketed item to apply it. The item's quality increases the chances of obtaining more sockets.
Shift click to unstack.
Jeweller's Orb inventory icon.png
reforging or by using the crafting bench provided by Vorici.

Maximum number of sockets by equipment type

Some items have exceptions to these rules.

Item level

Number of sockets Minimum item level First vendor
1 1 Normal, Act 1
2 1 Normal, Act 1
3 2 Normal, Act 1
4 25 Normal, Act 3
5 35 Normal, Act 4
6 50 Cruel, Act 3

The item level item is generally applicable, but note that there are a few cases where the restriction does not apply:

  • Starting weapons; they are item level 1 with three sockets (always three different colours).
  • Tabula Rasa inventory icon.pngTabula RasaTabula Rasa
    Simple Robe
    3% reduced Movement Speed (Hidden)Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
    Item has 6 White Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)
    Tabula Rasa inventory icon.png
    always has 6 linked white sockets.
  • Items from strongboxes with of Complexity [?] affix
  • Vorici can master craft sockets regardless of the item's item level.

Links

Sockets can be linked to other sockets in the same item. In order to provide their benefits support skill gems have to be placed in sockets linked to other sockets containing active skill gems.

Multiple support skill gems of the same type can only be applied once to an active skill gem, however it is possible to apply a single support skill gem to multiple active skill gems at once. If multiple skill gems of the same type are used in the same link, the highest level support is used.

For example, the two skills Fireball inventory icon.pngFireballFireballProjectile, Spell, AoE, Fire
Radius: 9
Mana Cost: (6 to 26)
Cast Time: 0.85 sec
Critical Strike Chance: 6.00%
Projectile Speed: 1040
Acquisition
Level: 1
Unleashes a ball of fire towards a target which explodes, damaging nearby foes.Per 1% Quality:
0.5% chance to Ignite enemies
Deals (7-739) to (10-1109) Fire Damage
(20-39)% chance to Ignite enemies
+(0-3) to radius
Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
Fireball skill icon.png
Fireball inventory icon.png
and Freezing Pulse inventory icon.pngFreezing PulseFreezing PulseProjectile, Spell, Cold
Mana Cost: (4 to 18)
Cast Time: 0.65 sec
Critical Strike Chance: 6.00%
Damage Effectiveness: 125%
Projectile Speed: 1800
Acquisition
Level: 1
An icy projectile which has a chance to freeze enemies it passes through. The projectile fades quickly, reducing damage and freezing chance until it runs out of time and dissipates completely.Per 1% Quality:
2% increased Projectile Speed
Deals (7-689) to (11-1034) Cold Damage
(0-19)% increased Projectile Speed
Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
Freezing Pulse skill icon.png
Freezing Pulse inventory icon.png
may be linked with the support skill Elemental Proliferation Support inventory icon.pngElemental Proliferation SupportElemental Proliferation SupportCold, Fire, Lightning, Support, AoE
Icon: S
Radius: 16
Mana Multiplier: 140%
Requires Level 38Acquisition
Level: 38
Per 1% Quality:
0.5% increased Ignite Duration on Enemies
0.5% increased Chill Duration on Enemies
0.5% increased Freeze Duration on Enemies
0.5% increased Shock Duration on Enemies
Supported Skills Area of Effect: 16
Elemental Status Effects caused by Supported Skills spread to other enemies
Supported Skills deal (30-21)% less Damage
This is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
Elemental Proliferation Support inventory icon.png
in a three linked item, or Freezing Pulse inventory icon.pngFreezing PulseFreezing PulseProjectile, Spell, Cold
Mana Cost: (4 to 18)
Cast Time: 0.65 sec
Critical Strike Chance: 6.00%
Damage Effectiveness: 125%
Projectile Speed: 1800
Acquisition
Level: 1
An icy projectile which has a chance to freeze enemies it passes through. The projectile fades quickly, reducing damage and freezing chance until it runs out of time and dissipates completely.Per 1% Quality:
2% increased Projectile Speed
Deals (7-689) to (11-1034) Cold Damage
(0-19)% increased Projectile Speed
Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
Freezing Pulse skill icon.png
Freezing Pulse inventory icon.png
may be replaced by Chance to Ignite Support inventory icon.pngChance to Ignite SupportChance to Ignite SupportFire, Support
Icon: i
Mana Multiplier: 110%
Requires Level 31Acquisition
Level: 31
Per 1% Quality:
0.5% increased Burning Damage
(30-49)% chance to IgniteThis is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
Chance to Ignite Support inventory icon.png
to enhance the Fireball inventory icon.pngFireballFireballProjectile, Spell, AoE, Fire
Radius: 9
Mana Cost: (6 to 26)
Cast Time: 0.85 sec
Critical Strike Chance: 6.00%
Projectile Speed: 1040
Acquisition
Level: 1
Unleashes a ball of fire towards a target which explodes, damaging nearby foes.Per 1% Quality:
0.5% chance to Ignite enemies
Deals (7-739) to (10-1109) Fire Damage
(20-39)% chance to Ignite enemies
+(0-3) to radius
Place into an item socket of the right colour to gain this skill. Right click to remove from a socket.
Fireball skill icon.png
Fireball inventory icon.png
even more. However linking two instances of Elemental Proliferation Support inventory icon.pngElemental Proliferation SupportElemental Proliferation SupportCold, Fire, Lightning, Support, AoE
Icon: S
Radius: 16
Mana Multiplier: 140%
Requires Level 38Acquisition
Level: 38
Per 1% Quality:
0.5% increased Ignite Duration on Enemies
0.5% increased Chill Duration on Enemies
0.5% increased Freeze Duration on Enemies
0.5% increased Shock Duration on Enemies
Supported Skills Area of Effect: 16
Elemental Status Effects caused by Supported Skills spread to other enemies
Supported Skills deal (30-21)% less Damage
This is a Support Gem. It does not grant a bonus to your character, but to skills in sockets connected to it. Place into an item socket connected to a socket containing the Active Skill Gem you wish to augment. Right click to remove from a socket.
Elemental Proliferation Support inventory icon.png
will only provide the bonus of the highest level one.

The number of links can be reforged using an Orb of Fusing inventory icon.pngOrb of FusingOrb of FusingStack Size: 20Acquisition
Level: 8
Reforges the links between sockets on an itemRight click this item then left click a socketed item to apply it. The item's quality increases the chances of obtaining more links.
Shift click to unstack.
Orb of Fusing inventory icon.png
or with Vorici's crafting bench.

Order

Generally the order in which skill gems are linked only holds importance for trigger gems and for rounding the mana cost. The order for sockets used is:

1 2
4 3
5 6

If multiple trigger gems are socketed in several equipped items the order will be:

Main hand ⇒ Amulet ⇒ Helm ⇒ Off hand ⇒ Body armour ⇒ Gloves ⇒ Boots

Items with non-standard interactions

Base items

  • Unset Ring inventory icon.pngUnset RingsUnset RingRequires Level 5Acquisition
    Level: 45
    Has 1 Socket
    Unset Ring inventory icon.png
    have 1 socket instead of none.
  • Black Maw Talisman inventory icon.pngBlack Maw TalismansBlack Maw TalismanTalisman Tier: 1Acquisition
    Level: 1
    League(s): Talisman
    Has 1 SocketCorruptedThe First Ones stalk with us
    upon this lifelong hunt,
    and cast their contempt
    upon those that would make us their prey.
    - The Wolven King
    Black Maw Talisman inventory icon.png
    have 1 socket instead of none.
  • Gnarled Branch inventory icon.pngGnarled BranchGnarled BranchStaves
    Physical Damage: 817
    Critical Strike Chance: 6.00%
    Attacks per Second: 1.30
    Weapon Range: 11
    Requires Level 4, 12 Str, 12 IntAcquisition
    Level: 4
    18% Chance to Block
    Gnarled Branch inventory icon.png
    can only have up to 3 sockets, despite being a two-handed weapon.
  • Fishing Rod inventory icon.pngFishing RodFishing RodFishing Rods
    Physical Damage: 713
    Critical Strike Chance: 5.00%
    Attacks per Second: 1.20
    Weapon Range: 11
    Requires 8 Str, 8 DexAcquisition
    Level: 1
    Fishing Rod inventory icon.png
    can only have up to 4 sockets, despite being a two-handed weapon.

Unique items

  • The Goddess Unleashed inventory icon.pngThe Goddess UnleashedThe Goddess Unleashed
    Eternal Sword
    One Hand Swords
    Physical Damage: (44 to 47)(101 to 134)
    Critical Strike Chance: (7.20% to 8.30%)
    Attacks per Second: 1.50
    Weapon Range: 9
    Requires Level 52, 104 Str, 122 Dex+475 to Accuracy RatingUses both hand slots
    Item has 6 Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)
    Adds (3-6) to (33-66) Physical Damage
    (44-66)% increased Critical Strike Chance
    33% increased Ignite Duration on Enemies
    (66-99)% of Sword Physical Damage Added as Fire Damage
    Gain Her Blessing for 3 seconds when you Ignite an Enemy
    33% chance to Blind nearby Enemies when gaining Her Blessing
    Cannot be Frozen, Chilled or Ignited with Her Blessing
    20% increased Attack and Movement Speed with Her Blessing
    As a maiden I was bound; as a crone was I scorned
    Promised power rarely found, delivered fury fairly thorned.
    Not enough?...Fine. Now I am become both and another
    To take your hand and cradle your talents, not smother
    The consummate flames. So hush, dear, say not a word.
    Bequeathed, betrayed...beloved. At last, I am the third.
    The Goddess Unleashed inventory icon.png
    always has 6 linked sockets. It is the only one-handed weapon that can have more than three sockets.
  • Kaom's Heart inventory icon.pngKaom's HeartKaom's Heart
    Glorious Plate
    Armour: 553Requires Level 68, 191 StrHas no Sockets
    +500 to maximum Life
    (20-40)% increased Fire Damage
    The warrior who
    fears will fall.
    Kaom's Heart inventory icon.png
    and Kaom's Roots inventory icon.pngKaom's RootsKaom's Roots
    Titan Greaves
    Armour: 210Requires Level 68, 120 StrHas no Sockets
    Cannot be Knocked Back
    +(150-200) to maximum Life
    You cannot be slowed to below base speed
    Unwavering Stance
    Don't flinch. It's a waste of good hitting time.
    Kaom's Roots inventory icon.png
    do not have any sockets.
  • Malachai's Artifice inventory icon.pngMalachai's ArtificeMalachai's Artifice
    Unset Ring
    Requires Level 5Has 1 Socket-20% to all Elemental Resistances
    +(75-100)% to Fire Resistance when Socketed with a Red Gem
    +(75-100)% to Cold Resistance when Socketed with a Green Gem
    +(75-100)% to Lightning Resistance when Socketed with a Blue Gem
    All Sockets are White
    Socketed Gems have Elemental Equilibrium
    Socketed Gems have 25% reduced Elemental Equilibrium effect
    When the wind blows,
    Know which way to bend
    and watch the others break.
    Malachai's Artifice inventory icon.png
    always has a white socket and grants stats based on the colour of the gem socketed into the item.
  • Prismatic Eclipse inventory icon.pngPrismatic EclipsePrismatic Eclipse
    Twilight Blade
    One Hand Swords
    Physical Damage: (50 to 60)(117 to 126)
    Critical Strike Chance: 5.00%
    Attacks per Second: 1.30
    Weapon Range: 9
    Requires Level 53, 91 Str, 91 Dex40% increased Accuracy Rating8% additional Block Chance while Dual Wielding
    Adds (20-30) to (31-40) Physical Damage
    25% increased Physical Damage with Weapons per Red Socket
    12% increased Global Attack Speed per Green Socket
    0.4% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana per Blue Socket
    +2 to Melee Weapon Range per White Socket
    "A raging Solaris seared and contorted the orb's surface.
    A despairing Lunaris filled the scars with her tears.
    Yet Viridi remained, trapped within, forever more."
    - Azmerian Creation Myth
    Prismatic Eclipse inventory icon.png
    and Scaeva inventory icon.pngScaevaScaeva
    Gladius
    One Hand Swords
    Physical Damage: (129 to 146)(203 to 232)
    Critical Strike Chance: (5.75% to 6.25%)
    Attacks per Second: 1.30
    Weapon Range: 9
    Requires Level 60, 113 Str, 113 Dex40% increased Accuracy RatingAdds (75-92) to (125-154) Physical Damage
    (15-25)% increased Critical Strike Chance
    0.3% Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life per Red Socket
    +10% to Global Critical Strike Multiplier per Green Socket
    0.3% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana per Blue Socket
    8% increased Global Defences per White Socket
    (60-80)% increased Critical Strike Chance when in Main Hand
    8% additional chance to Block when in Off Hand
    Even from the back rows,
    the whistling steel was mesmerising.
    They watched the dance in the arena dust, silent as the dead.
    A spell only broken by the spilling of blood.
    Scaeva inventory icon.png
    grant stats based on the colour of the sockets in the item.
  • Tabula Rasa inventory icon.pngTabula RasaTabula Rasa
    Simple Robe
    3% reduced Movement Speed (Hidden)Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
    Item has 6 White Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)
    Tabula Rasa inventory icon.png
    always has 6 white linked sockets.

Unique items from races

All Descent: Champions unique items have three white, linked sockets (except for Serrated Arrow Quiver inventory icon.pngSlivers of ProvidenceSlivers of Providence
Serrated Arrow Quiver
Acquisition
DROP DISABLED
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks with Bows+10% to all Elemental Resistances
50% increased Duration of Elemental Status Ailments on Enemies
10% chance to Freeze, Shock and Ignite
Gain 25% of Bow Physical Damage as Extra Damage of an Element
Into darkness, horror, madness...
So goes the descent.
Serrated Arrow Quiver inventory icon.png
and Rustic Sash inventory icon.pngChains of TimeChains of Time
Rustic Sash
Acquisition
DROP DISABLED
(12-24)% increased Physical Damage10% increased Elemental Damage
30% increased Life Recovery from Flasks
30% increased Mana Recovery from Flasks
30% reduced Flask effect duration
Into darkness, horror, madness...
So goes the descent.
Rustic Sash inventory icon.png
).

Related divination cards

There are divination cards that grant items with a high number of sockets and links.

NameSetRewardDrop Restrictions
Bowyer's Dream
6Six-Link Harbinger Bow
Item Level: 91
Lord of the Ashen Arrow (unique monster)
The Celestial Justicar
6Six-Link Astral PlateThe Crypt Level 2 (Merciless)
Crypt (map area)
The Chains that Bind
11Six-Link Body ArmourThe Crematorium (Merciless)
Crematorium (map area)
The Dapper Prodigy
6Six-Link Body Armour
Item Level: 100
Residence (map area)
The Dark Mage
6Six-Link Staff
Item Level: 55
The Chamber of Sins Level 1 (Cruel, Merciless)
The Chamber of Sins Level 2 (Cruel, Merciless)
Overgrown Ruin (map area)
Overgrown Shrine (map area)
The Ethereal
7Six-Link Vaal RegaliaThe Apex of Sacrifice (map area)
Endgame Labyrinth
The Flora's Gift
5Five-Link Staff
Item Level: 66
Jungle Valley (map area)
Tropical Island (map area)
The Warlord
6Six-Link Coronal Maul
Item Level: 83
Arsenal (map area)

Developer Information

Relevant information about the sockets can be found in the "Sockets" section of .ot files (based on which files the item in question inherits).

The format used for sockets is

   <number of sockets>:<item level requirement>:<spawn weighting>

The socket colours are commonly represented as:

Colour Letter Code Numerical ID
red R 1
green G 2
blue B 3
white W

References

  1. chris_wilson (July 16, 2015). "Chris Wilson on chances of corrupting White Sockets". Path of Exile Subreddit. Retrieved July 16, 2015.