Active skills are abilities which an exile activates by using an equipped skill gem; they are controlled by mouse or keyboard events. Active skills cost mana and grant an immediate effect. They are not passive skills, which are constant effects and mainly earned through character levelling.
All active skills are contained in portable gems which must be equipped in item sockets before their use. Support gems augment these skills when the gems are linked. There are currently 218 different skill gems total in the game, including 28 Vaal Gems.
There are several methods of obtaining skills and support gems:
- Earned through a quest reward (see quest reward gems).
- Purchased from town vendors once a certain quest is complete.
- Vendor Recipe (see vendor recipe system.
- Random drop from monster/chest.
- Random offer from a master.
- Gems can be corrupted using a Vaal Orb.
- Vaal Skill Gem from Vaal Vessel in corrupted area.
- from a strongbox with a base type "Jeweller's"
- from a strongbox with a suffix "of Augmentation"
- from a strongbox with a suffix "of Corruption"
- from a strongbox with a suffix "of Facets"
Gems gain experience and levels alongside the character wearing them. For all the experience the exile receives, a gem gains its own additional experience at 10% of that amount. Additional gems do not share that experience, but gain their own 10%. Gem experience is not restricted by player level boundaries, so a high level characters might not gain experience from low level enemies, but the gem will continue to gain the 10% it normally would. The experience required for each gem level tracks the requirement for the corresponding character level closely until gem level 15, at which point the gem experience required begins to climb much more rapidly. Gems do not need to be utilized for them to gain experience, only equipped. Gems equipped in both weapons slots gain experience, though only the currently active weapon slot's skills can be used.
Once a gem has enough experience to level up, it will stop gaining experience and a level–up icon will appear on the right of the screen and in the inventory menu. Left–clicking it will level up the gem, right–clicking the icon will hide it on the side of the screen, but it will still be accessible in the inventory menu. Not levelling up a gem is useful in some situations.
As gems level up, the abilities they grant get better, but the requirements to equip them also increase, as well as the mana cost for active skills. Each gem level, the exile must have both the attribute corresponding to gem colour and a character level high enough to meet its increased requirements. If a gem gains enough experience to level up, but the exile currently does not meet the requirements, the level–up icon will appear greyed out and not be useable until the requirements are met. For specifics, see the lists of active skills and support gems below.
Gems may be traded like normal items and they will retain their experience.
Exceeding the level cap
Generally, level 20 is the maximum level a gem can get by gathering experience. There are, however, ways to increase the level of a gem beyond 20; either by placing them in certain items with the modifier Paragon's (1 to Level of Socketed Gems), corrupting them or linking them with the support gem . By combining these three methods, the level of a skill gem can get as high as level 28. To do this, you need an item, for example a bow, with the modifiers Paragon's (1 to Level of Socketed Gems) and Sharpshooter's (2 to Level of Socketed Bow Gems). Then, place a corrupted level 21 bow skill gem like in a socket of the bow. Lightning Arrow is now level 24. Now link it with a corrupted level 4 . A level 4 Empower increases the level of linked skill gems by 3, but since Empower is affected by the Paragon's (1 to Level of Socketed Gems) mod, is actually level 5. A level 5 Empower increased the level of linked skill gems by 4. So we get a level 28 Lighting Arrow. Note that it is not possible for every skill gem to get to level 28.
Lastly, there are three gems that only have three experience levels:
Unique Jewels That Alter Gem Experience Gain
|Mutated Growth ||Crimson Jewel||1||N/A|
10% increased Experience Gain of Corrupted Gems
Like most items, gems can be corrupted using a Vaal OrbVaal OrbStack Size: 10Corrupts 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.. Corruption on gems can potentially lift the level or quality percentage of a gem above the maximum of 20. Corruption can also convert a gem into its Vaal skill equivalent, if one exists.
Active skills have requirements based on each of the three main attributes, and can be easily identified by the attribute colour.
You cannot support skill with more than one copy of each support gem. If you place more than one of any support gem linked to skill gem, only top-level will work.
For more information on support gems, please refer to the full page.
*Decreases with higher gem levels
Vaal Skill Gems
These skill gems can be acquired in corrupted areas or by using a Vaal OrbVaal OrbStack Size: 10Corrupts 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. on a normal skill gem. These skills are similar to their uncorrupted versions but have new effects that radically change their utility in combat.
Vaal skills must be charged before each use by collecting souls. Each slain enemy gives one soul to each equipped gem, similar to the flask system. Collected souls do not transfer between zone instances - changing zones or resetting the instance will start a new soul counter, but returning to a prior instance will restore the souls you left with. Vaal skill gems in a second weapon set do not receive souls.
Vaal Skills have requirements based on each of the three main attributes, and can be easily identified by the attribute colour.