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This is the one feature I want in all these looter games: add / remove socketables (=enhancements), while retaining both items.

Diablo III does this wonderfully. As a result, I actually use the enhancements. Otherwise they just get stashed eternally, waiting for that perfect armor at perfect time that never comes.

For example, in my current Starcrawlers game I found this rare +6% dodge armor enhancement for 900 credits. Quite alright, for lvl 10 group, at first thought. However, on further consideration, entirely pointless.

Even if I'd use it, better equipment drops from missions in just a few runs. The bonus is also very small for 1/4 of total credits. Basically 1/17 chance to negate damage for one crawler. Just not worth it at all.

Otherwise, thanks for a great game,
You could also go the Titan Quest route, where you could save either the enhancement (if you found better armor/weapon) or the item, but not both. I can't tell you how many of the+6 Accuracy/+3 Critical Hit weapon enhancements I've bought, only to trade them in when a better weapon comes along. Not being able to reuse them also makes the Foxkin "Armor Enhancement" bonuses you get from having a good Rep with them good for only a couple of missions.
Torchlight also allows items to be pooled between games (but not between Ironman and normal modes), as well as the abilities to destroy an item to get the improvement/s (gems in that case) and to destroy the improvements (gems) to add different improvements to said item.

And, while we're at it, there is also a separate cache of hacker items (programs and utilities that upgrade the deck) that could also be shared.

It does allow the player to use a lower difficulty to obtain improvements for their gear to be used on higher difficulties (but not games played under Ironman rules, though they can also be shared between game saves played under this restriction) which is another way to reduce difficulty or the amount of time spent finding a good character configuration, or both.