Without upgrading your weapons (armaments) you will be stuck dealing a minuscule amount of damage to stronger enemies. If you want to grasp how to upgrade weapons in Elden Ring, this is a guide for you.
As you might have noticed, there are two kinds of weapons. The regular kind and the unique ones. Unique weapons are ones that bosses or NPCs drop. These two categories use different upgrade materials and have different upgrade paths.
Equipping an Ash of War is another type of upgrade that you can perform yourself. Using a Whetblade you can equip an Ash of War on your regular weapon. This gives the weapon additional skills or affinities. Read on, here is everything you need to know about weapon upgrades.
You can start upgrading your weapons very early in the game. As soon as you find your way to the Church of Elleh, you will find a smithing table. Initially, you can only upgrade your regular weapons to +3 level using this table, given you have the required materials.
After you gain access to the Roundtable Hold (Table of Lost Grace), you will be able to interact with the Blacksmith. He can perform upgrades even on your unique weapons if you provide him with the materials to do so. He will be the one unlocking the weapon’s full potential for you.
Steps to Upgrade Your Weapons (Armaments)
To upgrade your weapons you simply need to visit the blacksmith or the table at the Church of Elleh.
- Talk to the Blacksmith or Interact with the Table in the Church of Elleh.
- Select Strengthen armament
- It will take you to a menu where you can select a weapon to upgrade. If you have enough materials, you can spend some runes to upgrade by selecting the weapon and pressing OK.
Why Can’t You Upgrade Your Weapons?
If you do not have enough materials, it will show the material numbers in red. If you do not have enough runes to pay for the upgrade, it will show the rune count in red. Gather materials and farm enough runes if this happens.
You will not see the weapon on the upgrade menu in the following cases-
- You cannot upgrade it at the moment because you are at the smithing table and not at the blacksmith. Certain higher-level upgrades require the Blacksmith.
- Your weapon will not be shown if it is fully upgraded.
Types of Weapon Upgrade in Elden Ring
It can be unbelievable the insane things an upgraded weapon is capable of in Elden Ring. There are weapons that can one-shot most bosses and enemies in the game with the right upgrades and buffs.
Below we have categorized 3 kinds of modifications or upgrades you can do on your weapons. These upgrades primarily increase the damage of weapons. It also increases the scaling of the weapon with corresponding stats or even adds an awesome skill and affinities to a weapon.
Upgrade Regular Weapons
You can change Ash of War in regular weapons, which means you can put your favorite skill on your preferred weapon. This freedom to change skills can sometimes make regular weapons way better than unique weapons.
Regular weapons are upgraded using Smithing Stones and Ancient Dragon Smithing Stones. You can upgrade these weapons 25 times, taking them from +1 or +25. For every 3 levels of upgrade you do, you will need to use higher-quality upgrade material for the next 3 levels. The final level uses a special material.
The materials to upgrade till +24 are farmable and purchasable, but the Ancient Dragon Smithing Stones are found in a limited quantity in each play-through.
Upgrade Unique Weapons
Unique weapons have a fixed Ash of War that you cannot change. These weapons sometimes come with powerful skills; equip Malenia’s Hand, with a unique sword and you can perform Malenia’s signature move, the Waterfowl Dance.
You can upgrade unique weapons using Somber Smithing Stones and Somber Ancient Dragon Smithing Stones. These weapons will upgrade 10 times, taking them from +1 to +10. Each level uses a different quality upgrade material. The final level uses a special material.
The materials to upgrade till +9 are farmable or purchasable from a merchant, but the Somber Ancient Dragon Smithing Stones are found only in a limited quantity in each play-through. You have to play New Game Plus (NG+) to farm more.
Equip Ash of War
You can equip Ash of War with a regular weapon or a shield. This changes the skill of the weapon or changes the affinity of the weapon. As mentioned earlier, you can equip regular weapons with different Ashes of War. Unique weapons have fixed, unchangeable Ashes of War.
You can perform this after obtaining the Whetstone Knife in a very early location called Gatefront Ruins. You can find other types of Whetstone Knives with progress. These can equip more complex Ash of War into a weapon.
You can get Ashes of War as drops from the defeated enemies. You can also buy them from merchants or find them as discoverable items. Feel free to experiment by equipping and unequipping every Ash of War at your disposal on your chosen weapon at a Site of Grace, or at the Blacksmith in Roundtable Hold. Below are the steps to equip Ash of War.
- Interact with the Blacksmith or a Site of Grace.
- Select the Ash of War option. It will take you to the menu where you can select a weapon.
- Select the weapon of your choice.
- Select the Ash of War for the weapon.
- Select the affinity of your weapon.
Keep in mind, you can equip and unequip Ash of War on a regular weapon as many times you need. You can only equip each Ash of War onto one weapon at once. To have multiple of the same Ash of war, duplicate the Ash of War using Lost Ash of War which is just an empty Ash of War. Visit the Smith at Roundtable hold with necessary items to duplicate an Ash of War.
Weapon Upgrade Items
There are three main types of Weapon upgrade Items. Smithing stones, Miner’s Ball Bearings and Whetblades. Smithing stones are consumed while upgrading, while Miner’s Ball Bearings are key items that unlock the ability to purchase the upgrade items. WhetBlades are items that equip Ash of War on a weapon.
You will need Miner’s Ball Bearing to buy the weapon upgrade items from the merchant at the Roundtable Hold. They can be found dropped by bosses or looted from chests. Basically, these items are locked behind your game progress. So you might have to play for quite a bit to start fully upgrading every one of your favorite weapons.
Miner’s Ball Bearing
There are 4 types of Smithing Stone Miner’s Ball Bearing and 5 types of Somber Stone Miner’s Ball Bearing. Each Ball Bearing you give to the Twin Maiden’s Husk, an NPC merchant, unlocks your ability to purchase the corresponding upgrade items infinitely as long as you are loaded with Runes.
The first type of weapon upgrade items are the Smithing Stones which act as the basic material for the weapon upgrade.
Regular Smithing Stones
There are 8 rarities of Smithing Stones from Smithing Stone (1) to Smithing Stone (8). This upgrades your weapons from +1 to +24. These will be found in the overworld and can be farmed from enemies. You can also buy them from NPCs.
Ancient Dragon Smithing Stones
There are a total of 13 Ancient Dragon Smithing Stones you can find in each playthrough. Each will upgrade your regular weapon from +24 to +25. +25 is the final upgrade level for regular weapons.
Somber Smithing Stones
There are 9 rarities of Somber Smithing Stones from (1) or (9). This upgrades your unique weapons from +1 to +9. These are farmable or purchasable from Twin Maiden’s Husk after certain criteria are met.
Somber Ancient Dragon Smithing Stones
There are a total of 8 Somber Ancient Dragon Smithing Stones you can find in each playthrough. Each will upgrade your unique weapon from +9 to +10. +10 is the final upgrade level for unique weapons.
You can find different types of Whetblades that equip different types of Ash of War into a weapon. There are 6 types you can find.
This equips standard Ash of War into a weapon. You can find it in an underground room at Gatefront Ruins, Limgrave.
This modifies the weapon into quality, heavy and keen affinity. You can find it in Stormveil Castle, Limgrave.
This modifies the weapon into magic and cold affinity. You can find it in the Academy of Raya Lucaria, Liurnia.
This modifies the weapon into fire affinity or flame art affinity. You can find it in Redmane Castle, Caelid.
This modifies the weapon into sacred and lighting affinity. You can find it in Fortified Manor, Leyndell.
This modifies the weapon into poison, blood, or occult affinity. You can find it in Nokron, Eternal City.