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Armor items include body armor, shields, helmets, belts, gloves and boots in Diablo 2.


The primary attribute from armor items is Defense. It decreases the chance of opponents to be able to hit you. There are modifiers like "Ignores Target's Defense" however, which negates it completely.

Regardless, you always have a 5% chance of miss, so even without any Defense, there's ever only a 95% chance to hit you.

Gloves, Boots and Belts[edit]

Gloves, boots, and belts add to your Defense and other bonuses, but not enormously. None of these account for a very large percentage of your total Defense value, but special item types (Uniques, Rares, or Item Sets) can provide a decent boost to Defense, and of course to your other stats also.

The magical modifiers found on these items are much less powerful than the ones on helms and body armor, but they add some to the cause and with the special item types they can be quite powerful.

Defense and Blocking[edit]

Shields have a base block number, but you have to figure it into a formula which is based on your Dexterity. The higher your Dexterity, the more you'll block. If your Dexterity is lower, higher % blocking gear helps, but you'll only block at some % of the time you could if you had more Dex. Blocking half the time when you have 70% blocking is 35%. Blocking half the time when you have 40% blocking is just 20%. So better equipment helps, but a good shield isn't a total solution.

Blocking % in the Expansion: The formula for blocking is:

Total Blocking % = [Blocking x (Dexterity – 15)] / (Character Level x 2)

If your character is moving, then % chance to block is reduced to 1/3 of its original value.

A quick example? You have a Clvl 50 barbarian with 80 in Dex and a tower shield that's 49% blocking.

[49 * (80 - 15)] / (50 * 2) = 31,85 %.

Compared to the 49% he'd get in D2, he's only half as effective. And it gets worse as your Clvl increases, you need to put about half your stat points into Dex to keep your percentage at around half your shield's blocking %. Twitchthroe is still the only way to boost blocking percentage, and it makes very little difference at higher levels. In the above example it would take the Barb from 25% up to 38%, but he's got 80 dexterity. For a Clvl 50 Sorceress or Necromancer with 25 dexterity, they'd block 3.5% (compared to 44% in D2) with the tower shield, and 5.5% (compared to 69% in D2) with Twitch added in.

Blocking % in Diablo II: It is capped at 75%. You can get more than this with a good shield + Twitchthroe, or a Paladin can use his Holy Shield skill, but no matter how high the display is, 75% is all that you can block.


This table illustrates the most possible sockets on the three types of socketed armor found per difficulty level. Lots of items don't have this many sockets, and the elite items aren't findable on normal. For example, Ancient Armor can have up to 4 sockets. However you'll never get it with more than 3 unless you find it in a game on Hell difficulty. Lots of types of headgear can have 3 sockets, but they'll only be found on Hell or Nightmare as of patch 1.13.

Item Type Maximum possible sockets:
Normal Nightmare Hell
Helmets 2 3 3
Body armor 3 3 4
Shields 3 3 4

These all apply to non-magical items. You can get Artisan's and Jeweler's prefixes in normal or later and get 3 or 4 sockets from them, depending on the item type.

Prior to v1.08 Armor was 3/4/4, Helms were 3/3/3, and Shields were 3/4/4, by difficulty level, so it was much easier to find items with the most possible sockets, all of them occurring on normal or Nightmare.

Armor Weight[edit]

All armor is sorted into three weight categories, or types.

  • Light Armor: Leather type armor
  • Medium Armor: Mail type armor
  • Heavy Armor: Plate armor

As a sense of realism, wearing more heavy armours, which has a higher Defense bonus will penalise your Run speed and Stamina drain.

This can be a major consideration in wearing armour. Running while in Heavy Armor (plate) will cause your Stamina to drain much more quickly than normal and also slow you down. When your stamina runs out, you can no longer run, though you can walk at least.


  • Light Armor: 0% stamina drain and speed penalty.
  • Medium Armor: +5% stamina drain and speed penalty.
  • Heavy Armor: +10% stamina drain and speed penalty.

On top of personal risk, being unable to run for long is annoying and inconvenient, with the huge levels. You often clear a level, or most of an area, and hit a dead end, and need to run back 15 or 25 screens to another area you skipped.

Removing the armour and holding it temporarily in your inventory for the time you have to run might not be a bad idea.

Armor Graphics[edit]

Armor has a wide range of graphics, and it's also possible to mix and match items. No item worn on a character influences the look of other items worn on a character, and every type of helm, body armor, belt, gloves, boots and weapon has its own distinct look: for instance, a cap looks nothing like an assault helmet. A few of the many possible outfits for the Barbarian are displayed below.

As for special items, most Uniques have unique artwork. Rares and Set items mostly use the normal item graphics with some palette shifts. Many other Magical items have very different looks due to palette shifting, caused by modifiers or gems. Skull gems in an item will make it appear black or dark gray, while rubies make items red, emeralds green, etc. Items with "of the light" suffixes are usually golden and almost glowing.

There is a "one size fits all" aspect to equipment, which is necessary, since having five different types of every armor in the game would be annoying and item variety overkill. The silver platemail that the Paladin wears does not look the same on the Amazon, since when she equips the same item, it will reshape itself to her curves and transform into the golden tones that she favours. And a Barbarian can wear the same armor and it will appear in his darker brown and black colours, and fit his much more massive frame.

The same goes for belts and head gear of all types, as well as boots and gloves. Perhaps not entirely realistic, but a necessary convenience in the game.

Gems, Runes and Jewels[edit]

Gems are a factor in armor. Check the Gems page for full stats for both D2 and D2X gems. Other things to socket include Runes and Jewels.

Armor Lists[edit]

Below are links to individual pages detailing the different armors.