Diablo 4: How Item Power Breakpoints Work

Item Power breakpoints are a hidden but incredibly important part of Diablo 4. Here's how they work.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Diablo 4‘s stat and affix systems are incredibly granular, and you can spend hours grinding to maximize a 0.5% buff on a single armor piece, let alone a full set of gear. Adding additional complexity is the hidden Item Power Breakpoint mechanic, an unwritten but vital value that helps determine if a particular piece of gear is top-tier. Our guide tells you how the mechanic works.

Diablo 4 Item Power Breakpoints Explained

Screenshot by GameSkinny

In short, Item Power Breakpoints are specific hidden Item Power values that, once reached, can vastly increase the item’s practical power. You might see an item stat increase in potential between 1-10% depending on the item, the affix, and whether it’s Sacred or Ancestral. DPS will not increase along breakpoint lines, as it increases linearly based on Item Power.

Related: How to Get All Uber Unique Items

The Six Definitive Item Breakpoint Tiers

Item Power Breakpoint TierItem Power Value

It’s not vital that you min-max your Item Level tiers during a standard playthrough. But if you want to have an easier time against Diablo 4‘s many bosses, I highly recommend paying attention when approaching a new tier. That way, you can take the time to upgrade at either a Blacksmith or hunt for a new piece that could be just beyond the nearest Item Power Breakpoint.

Remember that Item Power helps determine the relative potential of an item’s stats, meaning a Tier 2 item will have inherently worse bonuses than a Tier 3 gear piece, and so on. As mentioned, the higher the tier, the higher the value, with vast differences between lower and higher tiers, up to 10% or more gulfs.

How to Increase Your Item Power and Level

Screenshot by GameSkinny

There are two main ways to increase your Item Power:

  • Upgrading it at a Blacksmith.
  • Playing at a higher World Tier.

Item Power Breakpoints & Blacksmith Improvements

Blacksmith upgrades are easy enough to come by for the first couple of improvements. However, if you’ve been selling more gear than salvaging it, you’ll likely run out of crafting materials very quickly. Each upgrade increases an item’s base Item Power by 5 per upgrade to a maximum of +25. Even early in a playthrough, one improvement can take a middling piece of gear and make it useable for several hours to come.

World Tier Improvements

By the time you finish the Diablo 4 campaign and unlock access to World Tier 3: Nightmare, you’ll start earning Sacred quality items, which are inherently better than anything without that demarcation. The same is true once you reach World Tier 4: Torment. There, you can start earning Ancestral Items, which are the only items in the game able to breach the Tier 6, 725 Item Power Breakpoint.

The farther you progress in World Tier 4, through Nightmare Dungeons, Helltide, Paragon paths, and the other endgame systems, the higher you’ll watch your strength climb, and the more you’ll want to pay attention to Item Power Breakpoints.

Those are the basics of Item Power Breakpoints in Diablo 4, and though they’re important, they don’t make or break a build — they only help enhance it. You still want the proper bonuses, abilities, and stats on every piece of gear, as well as any buffs to your core Skills and other important values, not to mention playstyles and other non-gear-related considerations. For more on the game’s many facets, check out our guides on how to farm and use Glyphs, how to find and beat all 15 rare monsters, and more in our D4 guides hub.

About the author

John Schutt

John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.