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The following item have item level of 54, but required level of 60.

How is that possible?

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These are two different things: The item level is a randomized number (based on where the item dropped, how it dropped, etc.) between 1 and (I think) 64. The required level is the minimum level you need to have to use the item (which is based on the base item and its stats).

When the random item is created, the item level determines how many bonuses and how high they can be. Every bonus added (base stats, too) has a specific "cost" in item levels and they're added on top each other till the available level is exhausted or the number of required bonuses is met (based on rarity).

As an example - this is based on made up numbers and I ignore the base item:

  • +10 strength: 5 item levels
  • +10 vitality: 5 item levels
  • +15 strength: 7 item levels
  • +15 vitality: 7 item levels
  • +5% life: 10 item levels

So an item with max. item level 15 and 2 bonuses could have any of the following combinations (there are more possible obviously):

  • +10 strength, +15 vitality (total: item level 12)
  • +5% life, +10 strength (total: item level 15)
  • +15 strength, +15 vitality (total: item level 14)

Also note that this defines the minimum items a specific bonus can appear. For example - reusing the values from above - an item with a maximum item level of 7 could have one of the +10 or +17 stat bonuses, but not the +5 % life bonus (item level not high enough).

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I'm sorry, but this answer is wrong. Item level is unrelated to number of affixes, and types of the affixes. When an item drops, item type and level is rolled first, then number of affixes, and then the specific affixes. The level of the affixes is determined by the level of the monster that dropped the item, and not the level of the item. –  Beofett Jan 24 '13 at 18:46
    
An easy way to see that this cannot possibly be correct is to notice that you can get two items that are exactly the same with very different item levels. This is easiest with amulets where you can get 1 affix, like those ever popular ones that have just a socket: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/70533/… –  bwarner Jan 24 '13 at 20:46
    
Okay, so it's really just a minimum, i.e. what stats and what amounts might be on there? If you're able to confirm that I'll update the text to reflect this. I assumed the quality defines the (max) number of bonuses and their actual contents are then calculated based on the item level. –  Mario Jan 24 '13 at 22:49
    
@Mario see my answer. The types of bonuses are based off of the tier, which is based off the monster level, rather than the item level. Number of affixes is based off a completely different roll. –  Beofett Jan 25 '13 at 14:30
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Item levels have no relation to required level to use.

Item levels are used to compare items to each other in terms of stat distribution and weight.

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Item affixes are based off of the level of the monster that drops them, rather than the level of the item.

Item affixes work on a tier system. Here are two other questions that discuss the tier system in a bit more detail.

However, the key detail is that the tier of affixes rolled determines the item required level (unless one of the affixes is "reduced required level", which then modifies the value obtained by the tier).

In Inferno on any MP level above 0, all monsters are considered level 63, so therefore all magic items dropped on MP1 and higher will be considered the highest tier for purposes of rolling affixes.

The items themselves roll a base level determined by the Act/Difficulty they drop (base armor and damage stats will be based off of the item level, so a level 63 weapon will have a better starting range than a level 60 weapon, before the affixes are added).

In Inferno, this means that all items are going to be level 59-63.

There is one exception to this, though: follower items. Even Inferno monsters can drop follower items as low as level 54. Those level 54 items will still roll attributes at the level of the monster that dropped them, though, so the result is you can have a level 54 item with level 63 attributes (Act IV Inferno, or Act I-IV Inferno on MP1+). Since the tier determines the required level, this will push the required level significantly above the level of the item itself, which is how the item in your question came about.

Note you can also find non-follower items in Inferno that are level 59, but have a required level of 60. In fact, as far as I can tell, anything that drops in Inferno will have a required level of 60 (although I haven't tested this with MP0).

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