Despite not belonging to the same franchise, Elden Ring delivers a FromSoftware Souls-style experience. It’s no surprise that the studio’s reputation, game design choices, narratives, and gameplay mechanics are deeply ingrained in every project they undertake. While Elden Ring introduces new elements with its open-world setting, certain aspects such as the pace of combat, healing system, and the presence of formidable bosses concealed behind fog walls remain familiar. However, one recurring source of frustration, confusion, and anxiety is the process of upgrading weapons in the game.
To overcome the game’s tougher challenges in Elden Ring, relying on a default weapon won’t get you very far, unless you possess the skills of a Souls pro. For us mere mortals, upgrading our weapons to deal more damage becomes a crucial component of staying competitive. While not as complex or punishing as in previous titles, there is still much to learn about the upgrading process. Before you invest your hard-earned and somewhat limited resources into weapon upgrades, let’s dive into everything you need to know about upgrading weapons in Elden Ring.
How to Unlock Weapon Upgrades
Similar to other Souls games, it’s not as simple as plugging materials into your weapons whenever and wherever you desire. You’ll require the assistance of an experienced smith or a special smithing table to enhance your gear. The individual you’ll want to seek out is Blacksmith Hewg.
Step 1: To locate Blacksmith Hewg, travel to the Roundtable Hold, which is a separate location from the main landmass of Elden Ring. After meeting Melina, she generously offers to guide you there whenever you visit a Site of Grace.
Step 2: Once you can access the Roundtable Hold, head right from the main room and follow the distinct clanking sounds to find Hewg, a prisoner and skilled blacksmith.
Step 3: While you can stumble upon smithing tables scattered throughout the world to upgrade your weapons on your own, they won’t offer the same comprehensive upgrades as Hewg does.
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How Upgrading Weapons Works in Elden Ring
Now that you have Blacksmith Hewg to rely on, you can begin upgrading your gear. To do so, you’ll need a few things. First and foremost, choose a weapon you wish to upgrade. At lower upgrade levels, it’s not crucial to worry about investing valuable currency or resources in weapons you’ll eventually replace. However, exercise caution and avoid expending too many resources on early-game weapons that will be overshadowed by superior ones later on.
Next, gather the necessary materials. Depending on the desired upgrade path for your weapon, you’ll require specific materials—either Ashes of War or Smithing Stone Shards.
Lastly, you’ll need Runes to pay for Hewg’s services. Once you’ve gathered all the required materials, select the weapon you want to upgrade. Review the improvements, costs, and confirm your choice.
Different Upgrade Paths
Returning from previous Souls games are distinct upgrade paths that augment various aspects of your weapon beyond raw damage. While the standard upgrade path remains, progressing from +1 to +10 with no additional benefits, there are other paths available:
Keen upgrades: These enhancements amplify dexterity scaling while reducing strength and base damage. They apply to swords, katanas, greatswords, double-edged swords, spears, and great spears.
Quality upgrades: This path balances strength and dexterity scaling while reducing base damage. It can be applied to swords, katanas, greatswords, curved swords, double-edged swords, spears, great spears, hammers, and axes.
Lighting upgrades: This option adds extra lightning damage to your weapon but sacrifices base damage and strength scaling. It’s suitable for swords, katanas, greatswords, curved swords, double-edged swords, spears, great spears, hammers, and axes.
Magic upgrades: Similar to lighting upgrades, magic upgrades introduce magic damage and intelligence scaling while decreasing damage, strength scaling, and dexterity scaling. Swords, katanas, greatswords, curved swords, double-edged swords, spears, great spears, hammers, and axes can undergo this upgrade.
Sacred upgrades: This upgrade path infuses holy damage into your weapon, reducing physical damage and strength scaling. It’s exclusively available for small and regular shields.
If you desire an upgrade path other than the standard one, you’ll need to utilize Ashes of War. However, be aware that applying a different Ash of War to a weapon will nullify its original skill. Ashes of War also grant the attached weapon an extra skill accessible by pressing L2, but can be exchanged with compatible Ashes of War later on. Explore the world, defeat enemies and bosses, interact with merchants, and engage in conversations with NPCs to acquire as many Ashes of War as possible.