Ethereal Items (Diablo II)

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In Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, a new type of item was released: Ethereal. Ethereal items have more powerful stats compared to the non-ethereal versions of the same items (for example, an ethereal longsword will do more damage than a non-ethereal longsword) but also have a lower maximum durability and cannot be repaired. They appear translucent both in the player's inventory and on the gameplay screen. Ethereal items share grey text with socketed items.

The ethereal modifier can exist on most kinds of items the player can equip. Some notable exceptions include rings and amulets, set items, crafted items, and items that are Indestructible (such as bows and crossbows, Phase Blades, and certain high-end uniques like the Crown of Ages. It should be noted that some other uniques, like Ghostflame, will always spawn as both ethereal and Indestructible). It can, however, exist on normal, magic, rare, and most unique items. It can also exist in tandem with the superior and/or socketed modifiers on the same item. If an item is able to spawn as ethereal, there is a flat 5% chance for it to do so.

Ethereal items possess certain bonuses when compared to regular items. Ethereal Armors gain 50% base defense and their Strength requirement is reduced by 10. Ethereal Weapons gain 50% base damage and also have their Strength and Dexterity requirements reduced by 10. As a trade-off for this increased power, ethereal items have their durability reduced and can not be repaired. However, they also lose durability at a slower rate than normal items. The formula for the durability reduction of ethereal items is: (Base Durability/2)+1

It is possible for a player to double the defense bonus that a piece of Body Armor receives from being ethereal through a process known as E-bugging. This is accomplished by adding sockets to the armor through the Horadric Cube, combining the Armor, a Perfect Topaz, a Thul Rune, and a Tal rune (note that the armor can not be superior or have sockets already in it). When the game adds sockets to the armor in this way, it rerolls the ethereal defense bonus a second time, adding the bonus on to the original defense value.

Ethereal items can be highly sought after for a couple of reasons. First, ethereal items do not lose durability when equipped on a Mercenary. Therefore, it is possible for your Mercenary to reap the benefits of an ethereal item's increased power without worrying about it breaking. The other primary use for ethereal items is high-end Runewords that include the Zod Rune. This rune makes the item Indestructible, therefore removing the need to ever repair it. Zod Runes are also sometimes placed into high-end uniques that have rolled the ethereal modifier.