Sockets have always been a hot topic. From my experience a good portion of the playerbase either overuse or underuse them, running out from them super early, or saving them up so much that they have dysfunctional builds for leveling. This guide aims to show a good middleground from your first level to lvl95 with 5 rebirths.
1) How many sockets can a f2p player get?
While there is no hard cap on it for the simplicity of this guide I'll focus on the 3 main sources: new player calendar, levelling up, elder restoration.
New player calendar
In total this means 92 Sockets for you to use not counting those from some quests, hidden areas, event zones, community events and monthly calendar. This amount assumes that you reach max level, restore elder gear every 10 and later on 5 levels, and log in for 30 days.
2) How to actually spend them?
Now that we know how much Sockets we actually have to play around, let's see how to make the best use out of them. Here are some of the rules I'll use.
a) Never use sockets on armor/trinkets/jewelry. If you want more stat runes on your armor just craft 30+ of it (to earn max mastery), and it will have a very high chance to craft an armor piece with 2 stat runes, don't waste sockets on it (and don't forget, you can gnog those runes for free on another piece of gear if you want the stats of the other piece).
b) Don't waste sockets on upgrading gear every few levels. I'll detail in a table below, what I find an ideal upgrade path.
c) Don't waste socket on weapons until lvl 20. Until lvl 20 I'll assume you won't need more than 3 feats, so no socket is wasted. Afterwards depending on your class you can still get away with 3 but can potentially use more. Side note: weapons have 3 free feat slots, rest require sockets to use.
So let's take a look at that upgrade path. Since I only find weapon feats to be worthy of spending sockets on while leveling, I'll assume you won't spend them on anything else. The levels will follow the crafting level of weapons (in this case 21-26-31 etc). For the first 71 levels I'll recommend getting gear every 10 levels, after that every 5 levels. 4 socket spent is the highest I would recommend for a weapon (and only on feats, which means with 4 sockets you get the maximum 7 feats). Also going 4 sockets is a waste in most case but I still wanted to show you how it would look like that. My suggestion is 2-3 sockets per weapon upgrade. Table will show total sockets spent until that level.
1 Socket Spent
2 Socket Spent
3 Socket Spent
4 Socket Spent
As you can see even with 4 Sockets spent you'll end up with 48 extra sockets left. Which is more than enough to fully socket out your end game gear. You can use your sockets quite freely to even have 7 feats on your weapon, just use them in good increments (every 10 and then every 5 levels). As you can see there's still quite some leeway in this. You can socket every 5 levels even sooner, and still have a good amount left.
I hope this shows you, that the game is quite generous with sockets, and with smart usage, you can play with good setups. Have any questions, criticism, thoughts to share? Let me know below!
Awesome and helpful.
I also started out just upgrading my weapon. I wanted to see what all the feats did. Then O just kept upgrading the weapon. For me, I also did upgrade my gear at 21. By the time I got to L30 I did run out of sockets but was able to get by on the drops and free gnomenting until Equinox2018.
When I started playing the scaling content, I realized my build wasn’t keeping up and I was leveling faster than I could keep up crafting, so I went back to crafting and, having sockets again, was much more careful about building. However, I loved having the feats, so I kept upgrading my weapon.
by the time I got to L90, I have been able to begin tweaking my final gear with plenty of sockets to do the weapon and all the gear. Lol, except now there’s the Lvl cap increase but I have enough for that also.
Also, I agree with the necklace and trinkets. I don’t get much extra out of putting reinforcements on these. By the time my primary gear is ready, I start to reach the point of diminishing return (per the stat caps) and I look for the stats that will better augment other parts of my build such as magic resist (in my case)
Much of it really depends on your style, which feats you like to use and which stats or feats you like to boost.
For my 90 gear I went with a budget 4-6 total sockets and I can mostly hold my own, even in the dungeons.
Thank you for this post! I keep trying to tell people you can always spare a socket or 2 for your weapon, even at low levels!
Put all 4 on your weapon, or 3 on your weapon, 1 on your armor if you like - lots of options. (i find a few classes like to use a few more sockets - depends on how good the most basic damage dealing feat is.)