As you progress through Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty's missions, keeping your gear as upgraded as possible is important if you want to have the best possible damage and defense. While upgrades aren't required to find success, you'll have a much easier time getting through tough encounters and boss fights with them.
With that said, it's not immediately clear where to go to perform upgrades, or even how the upgrade system works. In this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know, including where you can find Wo Long's blacksmith NPC, how to upgrade your gear, what resources you'll need to do so, and how the game's Embedment system works.
Wo Long: Blacksmith location and where to find
The Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty blacksmith is Zhu Xia, a woman easily identified by the gigantic stone hammer she holds. Throughout Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of the campaign, you'll come across her towards the beginning of each level. Once you introduce yourself, she'll happily offer her upgrade services to you. Note that she also offers a wide selection of basic weapons and armor for you to buy for a currency called Coppers, and you also have the option of selling her your spare gear, too.
Once you get to Chapter 3 and unlock the Hidden Village hub area, Zhu Xia will move to a smithy located to the right of the Battle Flag there. This is where she'll stay for the rest of the game, though she'll also reappear at her old Chapter 1 and 2 locations whenever you replay those parts of the story.
Wo Long: How to upgrade weapons and armor
After meeting with Zhu Xia, talk to her and select the Upgrade option to get started with gear upgrades. From here, select the gear you want to improve and select the Upgrade button to enhance it. Upgraded weapons deal more damage (including Spirit damage) and reduce the amount of Spirit you lose when blocking or deflecting with them, while upgraded armor pieces provide a higher damage and Spirit damage reduction thanks to the increased Defense rating. Upgrades do not improve the rarity of items, so keep that in mind.
Notably, upgrading weapons also improves their Attack Bonuses, which are stats that determine how the weapon scales with the Five Phase Virtues from character leveling. Most weapons don't start off with any scaling higher than a C-, but with upgrades, you can get Attack Bonuses up to A- or A+.
To perform upgrades, you'll need to spend both Coppers and upgrade materials like Leather (for armor) or Steel (for weapons). Coppers are easy enough to get — you'll earn them naturally over time, and can get more by selling gear to Zhu Xia — but Leather and Steel are rarer. We go over how to get these resources below.
How to get Leather and Steel upgrade materials
Since you can't perform upgrades without Leather and Steel, getting your hands on these resources is important. Thankfully, there are a few different ways to obtain and even farm for them.
The main way to get Leather and Steel in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is to simply find it while progressing through and exploring each level. There are plenty of upgrade materials to find throughout each mission's environment, and particularly thorough explorers might even find Leather or Steel with a higher Rank than what's typical of the level you're in. This will give you a head start on the more advanced upgrades you'll be performing in the future.
Secondly, you can also get Leather and Steel for completing main and side missions. Note that this is repeatable, so if you're in need of a specific type of Leather or Steel, replaying a level that gives it to you for beating it is a good idea. You can check what rewards you'll get from finishing a mission before starting it, so keep an eye on these previews for upgrade materials you're looking for.
Lastly, you can salvage upgraded pieces of gear at Zhu Xia to get some upgrade materials. These include items you upgraded in the past, as well as upgraded pieces of gear you find during gameplay.
Wo Long: Embedments explained and how to use
In addition to the standard upgrade system, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty also offers another way to improve your gear: Embedments. These minor stat boosts are similar to Bloodborne's Blood Gems, and let you tweak the stats and effects of weapons and armor pieces. For example, you could give a weapon an Embedment that increases the Spirit damage you deal by 2.5%. Though benefits like these seem small, they'll have a considerably large impact if you add several Embedments to each of your weapons, armor pieces, and your character's accessory item.
To gain more Embedments, you'll first need to Extract them from gear you've collected in your playthrough. Extraction can be done by speaking to Zhu Xia, selecting Embedment, selecting the piece of gear you want to extract Embedments from, and then holding the Extract button when hovering over the Embedment you want. This will add the Embedment to your collection and make it available to apply to other gear pieces, while simultaneously removing the Embedment from the item.
Adding Embedments to items is done in the same menu, though the process is a little different. To add an Embedment to something, select it in the Embedment tab, select one of the item's empty Embedment slots, and choose an Embedment to add. Adding Embedments to gear will cost you some Jewel Fragments, a material you can easily get by salvaging unused weapons and armor.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Gear rarity explained
Wondering what the point of gear rarity is in Wo Long? The game never directly explains it to you, but the primary difference between rarer pieces of gear and more common ones is that rarer items have more slots for Embedments. This means you can tweak and improve these versions of weapons more than more basic ones, making them more effective in combat. If you find a four-star weapon, armor piece, or accessory that goes well with your build, keep it, upgrade it, and add Embedments to it.
Another advantage of using the rarer three or four-star versions of weapons is that they come with two Martial Arts attacks instead of one. This gives you more flexibility in battle, which is always good to have.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is available now on Xbox, Windows PC, and PlayStation systems. Notably, the game can be played via an Xbox Game Pass subscription, and is one of the best Xbox games of 2023 so far for fans of intense high-octane melee combat.
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