Loot is the lifeblood of Diablo 4. To stand a chance against the forces of hell, you need to equip the strongest weapons and armor you can find. Of course, you also have to wade through a literal rainbow of loot to find these items, but you can’t just cherry-pick the best. Even if you don’t equip 99.99% of the spoils you find, you will still need everything you can grab, if only to sacrifice it to the gods of capitalism and blacksmithing.
In Diablo 4, if you have an item you don’t or no longer need, you can either salvage or sell it at different vendor NPCs. Doing so removes the loot from your inventory and exchanges it for different resources. These in-game currencies overlap in certain game mechanics, but for the most part, they don’t, leaving players with an important decision to make: to salvage or sell.
Diablo 4: When to Salvage Gear
Salvaging lets you recycle old or useless gear in exchange for materials crucial to upgrading equipment you want to keep. You never know what scraps you’ll get from salvaging an item or how much, but the service is free of charge and crucial for stronger end-gear equipment. Some monsters and resource nodes drop the same materials, but they are less reliable sources. That being said, you shouldn’t salvage everything all of the time.
As a general rule, if an item is rare (yellow) or higher, you should salvage it. Not only do these scrapped weapons and armor provide the materials necessary for early upgrade tiers, but they also tend to reward you with rarer materials that are crucial for subsequent item improvements. Early in Diablo 4, you will have a difficult time finding anything above magic (blue) rarity, so you will have to salvage those items to acquire crucial upgrades. However, as time goes on, enemies and chests will drop rarer and rarer items, especially as you progress to higher difficulties. When this happens, you might find yourself salvaging more often. However, this strategy isn’t so much a rule as it is a guideline.
While salvaging is mostly good for collecting materials, it is also tied to the transmog system. Every time you salvage an item, it is added to your wardrobe if it isn’t in your transmog library. Even if a sword or pair of gloves is the lowest rarity, if you want to collect all optional fashions, you’re will have to salvage everything eventually.
On a side note, while extracting Legendary Aspects is technically a separate mechanic from salvaging, it functions the same way because you are still sacrificing an item for upgrade materials instead of selling it. Depending on the power of a Legendary Aspect, you will want to extract it instead of salvaging or selling the item. If you hit the highest possible roll on a Legendary item’s stats (which you can determine via these settings), you’ll certainly want to extract it rather than sell or salvage it. Even items that offer stats close to the maximum number of possible Legendary stats are typically worth extracting above all other options.
Diablo 4: When to Sell Gear
Selling is more straightforward than salvaging since you’re exchanging items for cold hard cash, not random ingots and leather scraps. However, this change comes with a tradeoff since gold is required for far more in-game services. Want to repair equipped items? That’s going to cost some gold. Need to respec your character? You will need to spend some gold. Have some gear you want to upgrade? That too will cost some gold in addition to the materials you acquire through salvage. Long story short, you’re going to need gold more than you need upgrade materials, but as with salvaging, you need to be smart with what you sell.
Gold drops fairly reliably from enemies, especially if you find gold shrines (they provide a buff that makes enemies literally bleed gold coins). But when starting out, you will probably need to sell more loot than you salvage. Again, going by the general rule we established earlier, common (white) and magic items are best sold en-masse since they will clog up your inventory more than other loot. You can salvage them every once in a while (especially if you are desperate for upgrade materials) but these mundane items are best saved for lining your pockets with gold.
Since gold becomes more plentiful as you progress through Diablo 4 and its world (and difficulty tiers), you will need to sell items less and less. In fact, you might reach a point where you only salvage loot instead of sell it, but every rule has an exception. Since the in-game economy revolves around gold, depending on your need at the time, you might have to sell rarer items for a temporary influx of wealth. For instance, if you find your current build isn’t working and you want a full character respec, you probably should sell your entire inventory to make sure you don’t go bankrupt during the skill refund process. The same applies to upgrading items, repairing heavily-damaged equipment, and crafting gems.
It’s also worth noting that the value of items seems to increase significantly once you’re past level 50 and into World Tier 3. If you’re almost at that point and looking to sell some items, it’s not a bad idea to wait a bit and enjoy the extra gold that you’ll soon earn.
At the end of the day, whether you salvage or sell loot is completely up to you and will depend on your current needs. If you receive more gold than the average player, you can probably salvage more often, and if material drops and nodes are commonplace for you, you can safely sell more loot than most other Diablo 4 adventurers. However, if you follow the above guide, you will probably have enough money and materials to get you through most of Diablo 4.