What does Corrupted mean in Path of Exile?

Path of Exile has many aspects and mechanics to learn, and for beginners, this can be incredibly frustrating. For starters, what does corrupted mean in Path of Exiles? This is one of the many aspects I’m going to talk to you about in this post. 

The Corrupted Modifier

What does the corrupted modifier even mean? It means that it’s been touched by one of the dark sources of power resting in Wraeclast. For gameplay purposes, this technically means that it can no longer be modified, similar to Mirror items. One of the most noticeable impacts for Corrupted skill gems is the fact that you can’t use GCP on them, and you won’t be able to use them for vendor recipes.

Using a Vaal Orb on a Skill Gem

When you use a Vaal Orb on a skill gem, you may witness some mesmerizing effects, other than just adding the Corrupted modifier. 

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What Does Corrupting a Gem Do?

When you use a Vaal Orb in order to corrupt most gems, you may be faced with 5 different outcomes, and six outcomes for gems that may also have a Vaal version. Take Spark as an example. When you corrupt with the Lapidary Lens, you’re always going to receive 2 out of those 5/6 outcomes. 

The outcomes are as follows: 

  • Lose 1 Gem level
  • Gain 1 Gem Level
  • Nothing happens, but the gem will receive the “corrupted” tag
  • Gain up to 10% quality
  • Gain up to 1-% quality (this will cam at 23%
  • Turn the Gem into a Vaal Version – Spark, for example.

What this means is that you’re only going to have a 16-20% chance to get that lovely 23% quality. It’s easier for gems that initially have no Vaal versions.

When it the Right Time to Corrupt Gems for More Quality

Okay, so you want to get more quality out of your gems. There’s a time and a place for everything, even with corrupting gems – you can win, and you can lose. Once you corrupt a gem, there’s no going back in time. Afterward, other than leveling it, you won’t be able to change the gem. Either way, you stack it, regardless of the time you do it; corrupting gems is a form of gambling if you think about it. 

Here are some things you should consider when corrupting gems:

  • How much would it affect you if you were to lose quality
  • Is the extra 3% quality you can get that great for the gem?
  • Does the skill have a Vaal version that will bring your chances down? 

Take note that if you’re really in need of the 23% quality, then you can also choose a level 1 gem and corrupt it for a 20% quality. If you get to 23% or higher, then that’s good, you can level it up as you normally would, but if this isn’t possible, then you can immediately get rid of it and move on.

Are You Allowed to Use Gemcutter’s Prisms on a Corrupted Gem?

Long story short, the answer to that is no.  The gem-quality vendor recipe isn’t going to work either. However, the gem is still going to gain experience, which means you will still be able to level it. 

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A Deeper Look at Corrupted

Corrupted is an exceptional modifier, and we already know that. Corrupted items along with strongboxes aren’t able to be altered anymore with crafting orbs, and they cannot be restored to an Eternal Orb imprint – the exception here are sockets and links of a corrupted item – you can alter those by using the Crafting Bench.

Corrupting Uncorrupted Items

  • Beastcrafting – With a Craicic Vassal will allow you to corrupt items, giving you 3% quality.
  • Obtain Unique Items – You can obtain unique items by corrupting another item that is, of course, corrupted. These include Malachai’s Vision, Blood of Corruption, and various unique jewels.
  • Alter of Corruption – In Locus of Corruption (that’s the Tier 3 Corruption Chamber), at the Temple of Atzoatle, you can corrupt an item so that it adds two corrupted implicit modifiers, or if you choose, you can give it all white sockets, but upon doing so, you risk destroying the item. 

Other Corruption Sources

You can find the corrupted modifier on items, monsters, strongboxes, and certain areas.

Items – Some items can drop corrupted, like Vaal vessels in the Vaal side areas, Corrupting Tempests, Corrupted Strongboxes, Vaults of Atziri, Doryani’s Machinarium, and so on. Items that drop corrupted tend to have a higher rarity bonus for sockets, links, and affixes. Various items like Breach Rings, Talisman’s, Thief’s Trinkets, Leaguestones, Skin of the Lords, and Star of Wraeclast are inherently corrupted. 

Divination Car – There are various divination card sets that you can exchange for corrupted items. 

Map Bosses – Within areas that are generated by corrupted maps, you can find corrupted bosses, which drop corrupted items, Vaal Fragments, or Vaal skill gems. 


Just to clarify – corrupted is a special modifier in Path of Exiles. These can be altered further using crafting orbs, or you can restore them to an Eternal Orb. Path of Exiles is an exciting game, and it’s even more exciting once you’re able to understand things. I hope I cleared up “what does corrupted mean in Path of Exciles” for you. 

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