Quality is a value which represents the crafted level of a tool, weapon, or armor. Do not confuse this with Tool & Weapon Tiers, which separate items generally by the materials used in their construction. Different item icon = different Tier. Different color = different Quality. Quality values are applied within Tiers, and it is possible for a high-quality weapon or tool to have better stats (especially when Mods are considered) than a higher-tier item.
Item quality is indicated by both a color-code for quick reference and a numerical value as a precise measure of quality, displayed beneath the item's icon in the Inventory. Note that with the exception of Tier-0 (generally stone/primitive) items, Quality levels provide fixed improvements to the item's stats, but stats always have randomness inlcuded. That is, two different Q5 Iron Fireaxes might have slightly different base stat values, meaning you should compare items you find with what you have even if the Quality level is identical.
Effects of Quality
An item's quality determines the following item stats.
- Max Durability of Weapons, Tools, and Armors
- Number of Mods allowed to be placed on Weapons, Tools, and Armors
- Melee Damage, Power Attack Damage, Block Damage, Stamina Cost, and Attacks/Minute for Tools and Melee Weapons
- Ranged Damage, Magazine Size, Rounds/Minute, and Effective Range for ranged Weapons
- Armor Rating and Explosion Resistance for Armor
- It is not guaranteed that a higher-quality item will have better stats than a lower-quality item; you will need to compare items before deciding whether to swap
- It is usually worth it to take a Q3, Q5, or Q6 item over a lower-quality item due to the additional mod slot(s), if you have mods available to apply to the item. For Weapons and Tools, every mod will add bonus damage which can make up for possibly lower base stats.
- The quality of looted items depends on the gamestage of the player, possibly modified by perks or Lucky Goggles.
- Players can only craft up to Quality 5 items. Quality 6 items can only be attained by looting or buying them. (As of Alpha 19)
- Certain perks will allow you to craft items of better quality. i.e Miner 69er for digging tools as an example. But you used to just craft the item and it would eventually go up in quality.