There are things about median xl that a lot of people don't/won't like about this game, but I just want to focus on itemization as I think they have done Crafting, Runewords, Uniques, Sets, better than any RPG I've seen.
I think its important to cover Item Bases (tiered items) and mystic obs (attributes that you can purchase from a vendor)
General Items (bases)
Item bases make the the attributes (str/dex/vit/en) matter more when allocating them. This allows you to choose between low requirement gear to put more attributes into en or vit, or higher requirement gear because you have either a dex/str build or you want more defense. This is a big determining factor for crafting crafting items and creating runewords.
Bases can also be found in the world from tier 1 to 4 (find higher tiers further along the game) and sacred items, which are technically "the best", but tiered items have there own use case even in endgame. With every additional tier the item base gets increased Defense/attack as well as attribute and level requirements. Sacred items have the highest requirement but give great defense/attack and can only be crafted with shrines (which I will cover in crafting). That's the basic information about bases to understand how they are used.
Purchasable Attributes (Mystic Orbs)
Mystic orbs are items you can buy at vendors for a high price (makes gold worth something) to add specific really great attributes to gear (increased weapon damage/ all res/ magic find/ Fire damage etc..). Using a mystic orb will increase that item's level requirement by 4, which means you need to choose which ones you choose wisely (end game level is around 140). This really allows you to customize your character and items (even unique's)
Crafting is generally used with shrines to create powerful rare items, jewels with specific attributes, and creating suped-up item bases for Runewords (which I will cover in Runewords Portion). Shrines are used to create powerful rare items that that have 2/3 specific guaranteed modifiers + a few more random modifiers which is what can make a crafted item great. There are 16 different types of shrines which all have their own attributes, so will be able to use crafting for any build. These items can be powerful that they can be used to beat near all content for some builds.
Jewel crafting is also done extremely well and gives you a ton of options to re-roll jewels. You spend currency to roll a jewel with a certain rune to get a desired modifier + some random modifiers like shrine crafting. They can be rolled with 16 different runes to roll whatever is best for your build. Jewels are used with runewords and can be used if they are better than putting runes into gear.
Runewords are really just uniques that you can create out of any item as long as its in the correct item group and have enough jewels to fill the sockets except for last one (this is where you put the rune for the runeword). What's great about runewords is that you can craft amazing item bases with vendor material to get more sockets and modifiers like increased Defense or weapon damage which will make your runeword absolutely amazing. They can be used in tiered or sacred items and are customized since you're choosing different bases and crafting jewels that cater to your build. This is very useful for early game as well as end game.
There are generally 3 different uniques for each item base. A unique for tiers 1-4 and 2 different sacred uniques. A tiered unique will have all the same modifiers through 1-4 but the modifiers are increased with each tier. So tier 4 uniques will have the highest rolls but will have higher attribute and level requirements. This allows you to progress through the game and create a powerful build from the beginning. Tiered uniques can be created out of ANY item as long as you have the materials you have for it. So tiered uniques are great for item swapping for specific buffs.
There are 2 different sacred unique items per base which are usually the strongest items. Sacred uniques are similar to ancient and primal ancient items only in fact that usually one of them is harder to find than others but have incredible modifiers.
You could say there are too many sets in this game (around 3 per class +more). All sets allow you to try different powerful builds per class. They aren't overpowered (but can clear most content) and are looked to be used for mid to late game. Sets aren't BIS but are reliable. What is so great about set items is they are easy to find and some set items can be great even if you dont have any other set pieces.
My point with typing all of this is that every item has a use case and there are so many choices and avenues you can go to reach the endgame. Understanding all the ways you can craft can take you to the next level. From leveling your first char to rushing a new one, I think the itemzation in median XL is bar none and gives you so many interesting type of choices to create your own build. There is so much I'd love to talk more about this game because I think D4 could take some really great rewarding mechanics from this game, but after reading all the itemization discussion I wanted people to be more aware about the job the devs of Median XL have done.
Every item has a use. The options and customization to gear are damn near endless and you can end up with an end game character that can be wearing a different runeword, crafted item, unique, and even individual set item. There have been soo many times I've found a Sacred unique item and thought "Damn, I want to make a new char and build around this item"
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