While there are many powerful items to be found around in Trieste, most weapons and armor pieces will not be useful to you, at least not when you first receive them. There are four processes which can boost the effectiveness of your gear or add new powers to it.
Not every type of upgrade can be added to every type of equipment. If you can’t place an object into the window used for the upgrade, that item type probably can’t be upgraded in that manner.
Reinforcing items is straightforward, with each successful reinforcement granting an increase in power, or static increases to the stats of a character who wears it. You will often find pieces of gear out in the world which have +1, +2, or higher numbers following their names. These items are already Reinforced, and you can compare them to other items to see the benefits they give. Not only does Reinforced gear offer higher defense and damage and better stats, but it also has a characteristic aura too, with a brighter and more distinct glow as its Reinforcement bonus increases.
The stats granted from higher Reinforcement bonuses are found under Reinforcement Option on the item information screen. Despite being called options, these bonuses are static – an item Reinforced to the same level will always have the same stats.
Items can be Reinforced to a maximum level of +10. All items which are eligible for Reinforcement can be enhanced to +9, but only certain rare and powerful equipment can reach +10.
Equipment can be Reinforced at blacksmiths, three of whom are found in Ardeca. Select the [Reinforcement] dialogue option at a blacksmith, and the Reinforce screen will appear. To Reinforce an item, you will need the item itself, some DIL (cost increases for higher enhancement levels and stronger equipment), and an Argate - a type of gem that can be found in various places throughout Trieste.
Argates come in three levels of power (copper, silver, and gold), and in regular and condensed varieties.
- Copper Argates can only be used on items with no Reinforcement bonus or a bonus of +1 or +2. They can Reinforce items to a maximum level of +3.
- Silver Argates can only be used on items with a Reinforcement bonus of +3 to +5. They can Reinforce items to a maximum level of +6.
- Gold Argates can only be used on items with a Reinforcement bonus of +7 or higher. They can Reinforce items to +10, the maximum level.
Condensed Argates function the same as regular Argates but can only be used to Reinforce items of Epic rank, whereas regular Argates only work on items of lesser ranks.
Keep in mind that the process is not guaranteed to succeed, and higher Reinforcement levels carry higher chances of failure. Furthermore, failure will remove all existing Reinforcements on the item, reducing it back to its base level (+0). +7 or higher items will be destroyed when Reinforcement fails. Don't chance it if you can't afford to lose it!
You can purchase certain items from merchants and the DShop to help in reinforcement. Place these on the Reinforce window before your attempt, and they will be consumed, adding their bonus effects to the attempt.
- Blacksmith’s Talismans increase Reinforcement success rates by the percentage in the item's name.
- Blacksmith's Protector prevents the item from being destroyed and reduces the degree of enhancement bonus lost when Reinforcement fails (though the enhancement bonus may still drop by up to 3 levels).
- Blacksmith’s Grace works as both a Talisman AND Protector, but only functions with Epic rank items.
- Blacksmith’s Glory works like a Grace, but only works for Epic items that are being Reinforced from +9 to +10.
Via Branding, you can add up to four different options of varying values to each piece of your gear. All you need to Brand an item, in addition to the item itself, is a Soul Stone, which can be found in many places in Trieste. Items can have up to four Brand Options added to them by blacksmiths.
To add a Brand Option to an item with three or fewer options, select the blacksmith’s Brand dialogue option, select the Brand tab, and place the item and Soul Stone into the Brand screen. Branding an item requires a Soul Stone with a level at least as high as the level required to equip the item.
Branding an item consumes the Soul Stone and, if it succeeds, randomly adds a stat bonus to the item. This bonus will be displayed under Brand Options on the item’s tooltip. The bonus type and value are selected completely at random, and there is no guarantee that you will receive a useful option. A failed Brand consumes the Soul Stone without adding a Brand, but doesn’t have any other negative effects.
If you try to brand an item which already has four Brand Options, one or more of the existing options will be randomized to a new option type and value. If you want to try for better Brand Options, but don’t want to lose any or all of the options you already have, you can use Brand Option Locks. Place the item and Soul Stone onto the Brand screen, but click the box next to the options you wish to keep before Branding the item. You will need one Brand Option Lock in your inventory for each brand you wish to keep, per attempt to generate new Brand Options. Brand Option Locks can be purchased from the DShop, or found in other unexpected places.
Higher-level Soul Stones have the chance to generate better Brand Options, and increase the chances of a successful Brand. 250 is the highest Soul Stone level, and a level 250 stone is guaranteed to successfully add a Brand to any item. You only require level 190 Soul Stones to have a chance at the highest possible Brand Option values.
If you have many low-level Soul Stones but would rather have a few better ones, you can select the Intensify tab on the Brand screen to combine existing stones. First select the Soul Stone you wish to amplify, then select another Soul Stone (which must have a lower level) to amplify the first. The level of the first Soul Stone will be increased, and the second Soul Stone will be consumed. The closer to the amplified Soul Stone’s level the consumed Soul Stone is, the more the amplified Soul Stone will increase in level, though there is always some randomness in the increase. An amplified Soul Stone’s level always increases by at least 1.
If you find a Disassembly Hammer, you can select the Dismantle tab on the Brand screen and sacrifice an item, turning it into a Soul Stone. This will consume the item and Disassembly Hammer and cost some DIL, but you will receive a Soul Stone of the same level as the item. Some items, such as wings, give other rare components when disassembled.
Carmen the alchemist, in Ardeca, can assist you with upgrading your gear to better ranks: from Normal, through to Magic, Noble, and Divine Noble. Creating and removing Rank Options is similar to Branding, in that you can’t be sure which options you’ll get. But unlike Branding, Rank Options are always appropriate to the equipment type – weapons for melee classes will receive melee-appropriate stats on their Rank Options, and armour will generally receive defensive stat bonuses.
Normal items have no Rank Options. Magic items, when created or found, have one or two Rank Options. Noble items have three, and Divine Noble have the maximum of four.
The names of Normal items are in white text. Magic items are named in blue text, as are Noble items, but Noble blue is slightly lighter. Divine Noble items have names in yellow text.
Epic (purple) and Legendary (green) items can't have rank options added to them, as these items already have fixed or variable rank options when they are created.
To add Rank Options to an item, you’ll need the item itself, and one of three types of crystals known as Mavrics. You’ll also need to pay DIL.
- Pass Mavrics are used to upgrade items to Magic rank – that is, they are used with Normal items, and on Magic items with only one Rank Option.
- Nium Mavrics upgrade items to Noble rank and three Rank Options, when used with Magic items with two Rank Options.
- Tatum Mavrics upgrade Noble rank items to Divine Noble, the highest rank, with four Rank Options.
Adding Rank Options is not guaranteed. You will not risk losing the item if a Rank upgrade fails, but you may simply see no change to the item at all, or you may downgrade one or two ranks, losing the highest Rank Options. You can use Alchemist’s Will, purchasable from merchants or the DShop, to multiply your success chance anywhere from two to five times when adding Rank Options. If you aren’t happy with the last Rank Option that was added, you can use Alchemist’s Arrangement, bought in the DShop, to guarantee removal of the highest Rank Option.
One of the most straightforward methods of customizing gear is Socketing. From time to time, you will find equipment which shows one to four black circles when you hover your mouse cursor over it, and displays Socket Option on its information screen. These are sockets, into which you can insert the Socket Stones that you can find virtually everywhere.
Socket Stones are small objects which display stat bonuses on their information screen, but can’t be equipped by themselves. If you Socket one of these stones into a suitable item, the stone’s options will all be added to the item’s, in the form of Socket Bonuses (Socket Stones which grant bonuses to two or more stats only count as one Socket Bonus). To Socket a stone, click on the stone, and then drop it on the (unequipped) item. You will receive a confirmation message before the stone is Socketed. There is no cost involved and no NPC assistance needed. If you can’t seem to make Socketing work, check the Socket Stone’s information window to make sure that it’s able to be socketed in that type of equipment (You can't socket a weapon stone into a piece of armour. Armour stones only apply to chest armour, not boots, helmets, or other equipment slots).
Removing a Socket Stone, however, is more difficult. The alchemist, Carmen, can assist you, but no mortal magic can recover a Socket Stone that has been Socketed – the most that the alchemist can do is remove and destroy a Socket Stone but leave the socket itself intact. To do this, talk to the alchemist and select Socket Stone Removal, and place the item onto the Remove Socket Stone window. When its Socket Stones appear beneath it, select the one which you want removed. The required DIL will be displayed, as well as the chance of success. You can increase this chance with Stonemason’s Breath (from the DShop), and by sacrificing other Socket Stones for the attempt. Each sacrificed stone adds 3% to the success chance, and you can sacrifice up to five. The type of stones sacrificed does not matter, so it might be worth saving the weaker stones you find. If successful, the Socket Stone is destroyed, but the socket remains. If the attempt fails, both Socket Stone and socket are destroyed, reducing the number of sockets on the item by one.
Adding sockets also requires Carmen’s help. Select her Socket Add dialogue option and place the item into the Add a Socket window. Like Socket Removal, the DIL cost and success chance will be displayed. Also like Socket Removal, you can sacrifice Socket Stones to increase success chance, by 5% per stone, to a maximum of 5 stones (of any type). An Alchemist’s Soul (DShop) can be used to boost success chance too. On success, one empty socket is added to the item, to a maximum of four sockets. On failure, the item’s number of sockets decreases by one, and any Socket Stone it might contain is destroyed. Gemcraft’s Protection (DShop) prevents socket loss in the event of failure.
Because there are so many varieties of Socket Stones available, and only a few of use to any given character, Aria also operates a Socket Stone Machine, which she will let you use for a fee. The machine requires Socket Powder as fuel. Socket Power is obtained by Disassembling (also known as Dismantling) Socket Stones. Aria's Item Disassemble/Socket Stone Machine dialogue option opens up a window with tabs for both functions.
To Disassemble Socket Stones, place them into the Item Dismantler window, and press the Disassemble button. These Socket Stones will be lost, but you will receive an amount of Socket Powder roughly corresponding to the value of the Disassembled items.
You can operate the Socket Stone Machine on the other tab, as long as you have enough DIL and Socket Powder with you. The Machine will create one of the displayed Socket Stones at random. Higher quantities of Socket Powder can be used on the Pet Socket Machine tab to create Socket Stones specifically for pets.
If you happen to come across a very rare Socket Lock items, you can “lock” one or two of the possible results, to keep them from being selected. This consumes one Socket Lock for every locked result, for every use of the machine.
Costume Crests can be Dismantled for Crests's Powder, which is used to power the Crest Machine. The Crest Machine works for Costume Crests much the same as the Socket Machine. You can also disassemble skill books for Meister skills into scrolls, which can be traded for new skills.