A socket is a special slot on an item into which gems can be inserted to provide bonuses similar to those gained from enchanting. Items with sockets and the gems to put in them were introduced in the Bc icon expansion.

There is currently no way to remove a gem once it has been placed into a socket. You can place another gem in the same socket, but doing so will destroy the existing gem (much like overwriting enchants).

Placing gems in sockets

Gems can be added to sockets in the "Item Socketing" window, which can be opened by holding shift and right clicking on a socketed item. The gems are then dragged into the slots, and the "Socket Gems" button is pressed to apply the gems.

Socket types

Icon-time This section concerns content that is out-of-date. Reason: Needs socket image updates from

Sockets are separated into several types:

  • Colored Sockets
    • Blue - UI-EmptySocket-Blue
    • Red - UI-EmptySocket-Red
    • Yellow - UI-EmptySocket-Yellow
  • Meta Sockets - UI-EmptySocket-Meta
  • Wrath-Logo-Small Prismatic (or uncolored) sockets - UI-EmptySocket-Prismatic
  • Cataclysm-Logo-Small Cogwheel (or engineering) sockets - UI-EmptySocket-Cogwheel
  • Cataclysm-Logo-Small Hydraulic (underwater?) sockets - UI-EmptySocket-Hydraulic
  • Mists-Logo-Small Sha-touched sockets - UI-EmptySocket-Sha-touched

Gems may be placed by anyone into a socketed item via a drag-and-drop interface, invoked by shift-right-clicking the weapon or piece of armor you want socketed.

Colored sockets

The majority of sockets found on equipment are UI-EmptySocket-Red Red, UI-EmptySocket-Yellow Yellow, and UI-EmptySocket-Blue Blue sockets. While any gem can be put in any of these socket types, the item socket bonus will only be activated if all of the sockets are filled with the matching gem color or a gem color that contains the socket color.

With the exception of meta gems (and Cogwheel/Hydraulic "gems"), all gems match one or more of these colors.

  • Primary-color gems — red, yellow, and blue — will only match into the specific sockets for their color.
  • Secondary-color gems — green, orange, and purple — will match into either of the two slots that correspond to their color: green = UI-EmptySocket-Yellow yellow + UI-EmptySocket-Blue blue sockets; orange = UI-EmptySocket-Yellow yellow + UI-EmptySocket-Red red sockets; and purple = UI-EmptySocket-Blue blue + UI-EmptySocket-Red red sockets
  • Prismatic gems will match any of the three socket colors.

Uncolored sockets

UI-EmptySocket-Prismatic Prismatic, or uncolored, sockets are generally sockets that have been added to an item by blacksmithing skills (or blacksmithed items such as the [Eternal Belt Buckle], [Ebonsteel Belt Buckle], or [Living Steel Belt Buckle]). Any normal colored gem (except meta gems, etc.) may be placed in them.

Uncolored sockets, and any gems they may have, do not count towards any socket bonus an item may have. However, they will count towards any requirements of a meta gem.

Meta sockets

Main article: Meta gem

UI-EmptySocket-Meta Meta sockets are only found on high-level head gear (currently only in particular varieties of head items). Meta sockets only accept meta gems, and meta gems may only be placed in meta sockets.

In addition, if the meta gem's requirements are not met, that meta gem will not be activated, and you will receive neither the meta gem's bonuses nor any socket bonus from the item containing the meta gem. You can socket the meta gem without meeting the requirements, but the meta gem will remain inactive until you do meet its requirements (which can be done either by socketing new gems, or equipping new items containing the required gems).

A meta gem requires you to have currently equipped items socketed with a certain number and color of other gems. These colors can be as either primary or secondary colors (see below) and secondary gems count for both colors. For example, an item with a meta gem socket that requires 2 blue and 1 red gem in order to become active, could be activated by having 2 purple gems or 2 blue and an orange gem.

Cogwheel sockets

Cataclysm-Logo-Small This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

Only cogwheels can be put in these UI-EmptySocket-Cogwheel cogwheel sockets. So far, all cogwheels require Engineering to use.

As of the end of Cataclysm-Logo-Small Cataclysm, cogwheels have been pretty unpopular, but new upgraded cogwheels will appear in Mists-Logo-Small Mists of Pandaria.[1]

Hydraulic sockets

Cataclysm-Logo-Small This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
Mists-Logo-Small This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.

Introduced early in Cataclysm-Logo-Small Cataclysm (since as of Patch 4.0.3a), but never used, UI-EmptySocket-Hydraulic hydraulic sockets, were to appear in epic items dropped in Mists-Logo-Small Mists of Pandaria raids.[2]

When Mists-Logo-Small Mists of Pandaria was released, these sockets were effectively renamed to Sha-touched sockets (see below).

Sha-touched sockets

Mists-Logo-Small This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.
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Main article: Sha-touched gem

As of Patch 5.4, these sockets only appear on weapon items that drop from bosses in the Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring raids.

So far only 3 legendary gems will fit in these sockets:[2]


Sockets were introduced in the Burning Crusade expansion and modelled after a similar concept using runes in Diablo II, though the method of replacing them is different.[3] The rune word system, which added additional bonuses if a particular set of runes was inserted in a particular order, has not been replicated in WoW — special combinations of gems do not confer any bonuses except the item's pre-defined socket bonus, unless using a meta gem.

As of patch 3.0.2, Blacksmiths are able to permanently place a (additional) socket on a bracer or glove, making the socketed item soulbound.[4][5] Blacksmiths were originally given the ability to socket one-handed weapons, but this appears to not have been implemented in a patch release (although it is referenced in the game files).

A blacksmith can make an Inv belt 36 [Eternal Belt Buckle], which can be used by anyone (even sold via the Auction House) to add a "prismatic" socket to a belt, making the belt soulbound.

See also


External links

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