In addition to their Affixes or other modifiers, various types of item can have Quality. This is displayed near the top of the item's description, and is indicated on drops by the word 'Superior' (as in 'Superior Driftwood Wand'). Quality improves the power of an item in different ways depending on the item type.
The following item types can have Quality:
- Armour (but not Jewellery like Belts, Rings, and Amulets)
- Skill Gems
Quality can be increased using a Currency item appropriate to the item whose quality you are trying to improve. It's easier to improve the Quality of a low-rarity item: each Quality-improving Currency item will have a greater effect on a low-rarity item than it would on a high-rarity one. See the Currency page for more details.
Quality normally caps at 20%, although there are a few mechanisms by which this cap can be exceeded, sometimes by a lot (it is possible for weapons and armor to end up north of 50% Quality, for example).
What's Quality Do?
The effect of Quality depends on the item type:
- On Weapons, Quality increases the Physical damage of the weapon (it does not affect non-Physical damage).
- On Armour, Quality increases the Defenses present on the armour.
- On Health or Mana Flasks, Quality increases the amount of Health or Mana restored.
- On Other Flasks, Quality increases the duration of the effect.
- On Skill Gems, the effect of Quality varies depending on the gem.
- On Maps, Quality improves the number of item drops in the zone opened by the Map.
In addition to the above effects, Quality also improves chance for a Jeweller's Orb to roll a high number of sockets when used on an item, or for an Orb of Fusing to roll a high number of links. See the Currency page for more details.
Should I Try To Keep High-Quality Equipment?
Usually, no. Upgrading the quality of weapons and armour is so cheap that it's rarely worthwhile. These will be the vast majority of your drops with Quality and are not worth saving purely because they have Quality on them.
However, Flasks and especially Skill Gems with Quality are worth hanging on to. Starting from a higher original quality can save you some of the (more expensive) currencies required to upgrade their quality from 0%, and if you don't need them, a collection of items with a total quality of 40% or more can be sold to a vendor for one of the appropriate Quality-improving currencies. See the page on Vendor Recipes, found in the Miscellaneous Mechanics section, for more detail on this.
It is not essential to upgrade the Quality of every item you use while leveling. You should consider upgrading quality if you intend to use Jeweller's Orbs or Orbs of Fusing on an item, however, since Quality improves the outcomes of those currencies.
When Should I Upgrade Quality?
Upgrade quality on armour or weapons if:
- You expect to use the item for a very long time. There's no good reason not to, and unless it's a weapon and you're a caster, you'll get at least some benefit from having quality upgraded.
- You intend to use Jeweller's Orbs or Orbs of Fusing to modify its socket number or links. Note that while you're leveling, you'll usually want to avoid doing this, except for specific Unique items you intend to use for a while - it's better to just use an Orb of Alchemy on an item that already has the links you want to turn it in to a Rare-rarity item.
- It's a weapon and you're attacking with it. It's free damage, you may as well grab it - Whetstones are not particularly expensive.
- It's a white-rarity item you plan to upgrade to rare (yellow) with an Orb of Alchemy. Since quality-upgrading items are much more efficient on white-rarity items, it's best to do this before you use your Orb of Alchemy.
Upgrade quality on normal-rarity Flasks before upgrading them to magic. It's also a good idea to upgrade the quality on a Unique flask if you're planning on using it for a while.
On Skill Gems, it's usually a bad idea to upgrade quality directly. The most efficient way to upgrade a gem's quality is to level it to 20, then vendor it with a single Gemcutter's Prism, which upgrades its quality all the way to 20% (at the cost of dropping the gem back to level 1). There are three rare drop-only gems - Empower, Enhance, and Enlighten - that are exceptions to this rule, but you're unlikely to see them anytime soon.
On Maps, you usually want to upgrade quality only on high-tier white-rarity Maps. Rare-rarity maps take too many Chisels to be worth upgrading, and low-tier maps aren't rewarding enough to be worth the relatively-valuable Chisels it would take to upgrade them.