The world of Elden Ring is filled with all manner of horrifying monsters and mad demi-gods looking to tear your soul in twain. When faced with such insurmountable odds, upgrading your weapons will be the key to your survival. Luckily for you, this game contains an upgrade system that allows you to strengthen the damage output of your weapons and grant them special abilities, both passive and active.
However, you will need to obtain specific materials and speak to a professional blacksmith to augment your weapons. This system is tricky to understand at first, so we have put together a guide that will teach you how to upgrade weapons in Elden Ring. This guide will cover where to locate the appropriate Blacksmiths, what materials they need, and where to locate certain items that can change your weapon's properties.
Elden Ring: How to upgrade weapons
To begin upgrading your weapons, you will need to find a smithing table to operate on or a blacksmith who will re-work your weapons. You can find a vacant smithing table at the "Church of Ellah" Site of Grace, which you can find north of the tutorial area. There's Blacksmith Hewg, who will upgrade weapons for you in the right-wing of the Roundtable Hold hub area, which is unlocked after encountering the boss, Mergit the Fell Omen. And finally, there's the Smithing Master Iji who upgrades weapons and sells Somber Smithing Stones. Iji is located at the "Road to the Manor" Site of Grace in the northwestern area of the Liurna of the Lakes region.
Every weapon requires a sufficient number of Smithing Stones and Runes in order to be improved. You can also augment a weapon's properties through the use of special items called Ashes of War. These will allow you to change the Weapon Skill of a weapon and change its damage scaling so that it can cater to your build by applying Affinities. For example, say you're using a Strength-focused build, but you want to use a Spear that ordinarily caters to Dexterity-focused builds because you like its move-set. You can Infuse it with an Ash of War, then use the "Heavy" Affinity option to change its damage-scale rating so it favors the Strength stat instead of Dexterity.
However, there are some restrictions when it comes to upgrading weapons:
You can't change the stat requirements of a weapon when infusing an Affinity via Ashes of War. This means you will still need to invest points towards the required stat if you want to use a weapon effectively and their Weapon Skill.
The special weapons you obtain from bosses and certain treasure chests can't be customized with an Ash of War, thus they are stuck with their default damage scaling. They make up for this by possessing unique Weapon Skills you won't find anywhere else.
Elden Ring: Smithing Stone tiers
There are several different tiers of Smithing Stones available for players to find throughout the Lands Between, with higher tier Smithing Stones required for more powerful upgrades. Note that each weapon upgrade will increase the number of Smithing Stones you need for the next upgrade until you eventually require the next tier of Smithing Stone, at which point the number of Smithing Stones you need to perform a new upgrade will "reset" back to one. The max upgrade limit you can reach for normal weapons is +25. The table below shows which Smithing Stone tiers correspond to each upgrade level.
|Smithing Stone tier||Upgrade level|
|Smithing Stone (1)||Reinforces weapons to +3|
|Smithing Stone (2)||Reinforces weapons to +6|
|Smithing Stone (3)||Reinforces weapons to +9|
|Smithing Stone (4)||Reinforces weapons to +12|
|Smithing Stone (5)||Reinforces weapons to +15|
|Smithing Stone (6)||Reinforces weapons to +18|
|Smithing Stone (7)||Reinforces weapons to +21|
|Smithing Stone (8)||Reinforces weapons to +24|
|Ancient Dragon Smithing Stones||Reinforces weapons to +25|
In addition to regular Smithing Stones, there are also Somber Smithing Stones that are necessary for upgrading special weapons, such as those obtained from defeating bosses or finding treasure chests in dungeons. Somber Smithing Stones are rarer than normal ones, but also require fewer upgrades to fully max out a weapon's effectiveness. Like regular Smithing Stones, there are several tiers of Somber Smithing Stones, with the max level being +10. Each one, as well as the upgrade level they correspond to, is listed below.
|Somber Smithing Stone tier||Upgrade level|
|Somber Smithing Stone (1)||Reinforces special weapons to +1|
|Somber Smithing Stone (2)||Reinforces special weapons to +2|
|Somber Smithing Stone (3)||Reinforces special weapons to +3|
|Somber Smithing Stone (4)||Reinforces special weapons to +4|
|Somber Smithing Stone (5)||Reinforces special weapons to +5|
|Somber Smithing Stone (6)||Reinforces special weapons to +6|
|Somber Smithing Stone (7)||Reinforces special weapons to +7|
|Somber Smithing Stone (8)||Reinforces special weapons to +8|
|Somber Smithing Stone (9)||Reinforces special weapons to +9|
|Somber Ancient Dragon Smithing Stone||Reinforces special weapons to +10|
Elden Ring: Whetblades
If you want to take weapon upgrading to the next level, you will need to find special key items called Whetblades. These are exceptionally rare tools that can unlock new Affinities to infuse a weapon with. Some of these Whetblades can even grant your weapon the ability to inflict status effects at the cost of lower damage-scaling. Here is the full list of Elden Ring's Whetblades and where you can find them:
This item allows you to apply Ashes of War to a weapon when resting at a Site of Grace. It is located in the southeastern part of the Gatefront Ruins. There is a flight of stairs that will lead you to an underground chamber where the Whetblade Knife will reside in a treasure chest alongside the "Storm Stomp" Ash of War.
The Iron Whetblade will let you to augment a weapon's damage scaling with the Keen, Heavy, or Quality Affinity when applying Ashes of War. The Keen Affinity increases a weapon's damage-scaling rating heavily towards the Dexterity stat while decreasing damage-scaling from other stats. The Keen Affinity increases a weapon's damage-scaling rating heavily towards the Strength stat while decreasing damage-scaling from other stats. And the Quality Affinity increases a weapon's damage-scaling rating slightly towards the Strength and Dexterity stat while decreasing damage-scaling from other stats.
It is located in Stormveil Castle, being held by a corpse in a large armory room, situated next to the fortress of the Many Armed Key Master. However, the hallway that leads to this room is blocked by a magic fog that can be dispelled by using a Stonesword Key on the Imp Statue next to the fog.
When applying a physical or magical-type Ash of War, the Glintstone Whetblade will allow you to grant the weapon the Magic affinity to deal magic-based damage that scales towards the Arcane stat. Or you can grant the weapon the Frost Affinity to deal Cold damage and inflict Frostbite status effect, which deals significant damage and reduces the target's defenses by 20% when it triggers.
The Glintstone Whetblade is located in the Raya Lucaria Academy. It can be looted off a corpse hanging off a fence of an office balcony. To get there, go to the fountain of the academy's courtyard, head west, and climb up the ruined slope. Be wary of the mages and zombies guarding the office entrance.
The Red-Hot Whetblade grants a weapon the Flame Affinity or the Flame Art Affinity when applying a physical or flame-type Ash of War. Flame Art inflicts less Fire damage, but it also includes Faith scaling to make up for it.
It is located in a locked room in Redmane Castle. To unlock it (along with all of Redmane Castle's rooms) you will need to defeat Starscourge Radahn, speak with the NPC who allowed you to fight Radahn until their dialogue is exhausted, then rest up at the "Chamber Outside the Plaza" Site of Grace.
The Black Whetblade infuses a weapon with the Poison, Blood, or Occult Affinity when applying a physical or occult-type Ash of War. The Poison Affinity grants a weapon the ability to inflict the Poison status, which slowly drains an enemy's health over time. The Blood Affinity instills a weapon with the ability to induce the Haemorrhage aka Bleed status effect that deals damage based on a percentage of the enemy's max HP when triggered. And the Occult Affinity allows a weapon to have damage scaling towards the Arcane stat.
The Black Whetblade can be found on a corpse, lying in front of an altar in the Night's Sacred Ground area of Nokron, Eternal City.
The Sanctified Whetblade can infuse a weapon with the Sacred or Lightning Affinity when applying a physical or golden-type Ash of War. The Sacred Affinity allows a weapon to deal Holy Damage (which can prevent undead enemies from resurrecting) and obtain damage-scaling from the Faith stat. The Lightning Affinity grants a weapon the ability to deal lightning damage.
This item is located in the Fortified Manor at the Leyndell region. To enter the manor, you will need to climb up a dragon's wing, just northwest of the "Avenue Balcony" Site of Grace. When you enter, take a left from the manor's front entrance, then go right past the dogs and make your way up a wooden structure on the side of the manor on your right. You should then see a small doorway past a broken wall. Go inside it, and then you will see corpse holding the Sanctified Whetblade, laying on an anvil to your left.
Elden Ring is finally here, and it's available for $60 on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and PC. It's one of the best Xbox games you can play right now if you're a fan of challenging RPGs, and we strongly recommend it.
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