Embers of Neltharion Upgrade System Overview

Blizzard has posted an overview of the new upgrade system coming in Embers of Neltharion.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)

Dragonflight Season 2 introduces an all-new way to upgrade your gear with a new upgrade system. This system will replace most of the upgrade systems that are in place, including Valor and Storm Gear. You’ll be able to optimize your gear by upgrading almost any item you earn during the season, whether you earn it from a World Quest or Heroic Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible.

New Upgrade Currencies

There are two new primary currencies you’ll gain as you make your way through the latest content available: Flightstones and Shadowflame Crests. Flightstones can be earned from doing quests, found in treasures, and many other activities. You’ll be able to have 2,000 Flightstones at a time during the season, but there’s no limit on how many you can earn (and spend!) in a week. Shadowflame Crest Fragments are available in four varieties, depending on the difficulty of the content they come from, and can be earned in a variety of ways. To create a Shadowflame Crest, you combine 15 Shadowflame Crest Fragments from the same tier to create one Shadowflame Crest.

Flightstones: Earned from completing PvE activities in raids, dungeons, and the outdoor world. Used to upgrade Dragonflight Season 2 equipment during that season. Flightstones can be found in your Currencies tab.

Shadowflame Crests

  • Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest: Used to upgrade higher-level Adventurer and lower-level Veteran gear or to craft an optional reagent for crafted gear.
    • Earned from: Aberrus bosses in Raid Finder, Mythic + dungeons at Level 5 and below, World Quests, Treasures, and other activities. Fragments can also be purchased from the niffen vendor Spinsoa in Loamm.
  • Drake’s Shadowflame Crest: Used to upgrade higher-level Veteran and lower-level Champion gear.
    • Earned from: Aberrus bosses in Normal difficulty, Mythic dungeons between Level 6 and 10. Weekly events in Zaralek Cavern. Fragments can also be purchased from the niffen vendor Spinsoa in Loamm.
  • Wyrm’s Shadowflame Crest: Used to upgrade higher-level Champion and lower-level Hero gear or to craft an optional reagent for crafted gear.
    • Earned from: Aberrus bosses on Heroic difficulty, Dragonflight Mythic dungeons between Level 11 and Level 15.
  • Aspect’s Shadowflame Crest: Used to upgrade Hero gear to item level 441 or to craft an optional reagent for crafted gear.
    • Earned from: Aberrus bosses on Mythic difficulty, Dragonflight Mythic dungeons at Level 16 and above.

Like Flightstones, fragments can be found across the Dragon Isles. The more dangerous and challenging the activity, the more powerful the fragments. And if you need fragments, you can purchase some from Spinsoa in Loamm with the Unearthed Fragrant Coins earned from public events around Zaralek Cavern. There are six different chests he sells, each purchasable once per week:

  • Whelpling’s Small Chest: Contains 5 Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. Available for purchase once each week.
  • Whelpling’s Hefty Chest: Contains 10 Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. Available for purchase once each week.
  • Whelpling’s Bountiful Chest: Contains 15 Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. Available for purchase once each week.
  • Drake’s Small Chest: Contains 5 Drake’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. Available for purchase once each week.
  • Drake’s Hefty Chest: Contains 10 Drake’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. Available for purchase once each week.
  • Drake’s Bountiful Chest: Contains 15 Drake’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. Available for purchase once per week.

Shadowflame Crests and Shadowflame Crest fragments are all items that you’ll hold in your reagent bag and can stack so they don’t take up too much inventory space. You will be able to earn 150 Crest Fragments (10 Crests) of each type per week, and this cap will increase as the season progresses. Whelpling’s and Drake’s Shadowflame Crests are available to collect and use as soon as 10.1 launches, but Wyrm’s and Aspect’s crests won’t be available until the following week when Season 2 launches. This means that the weekly cap for the more powerful Crests will always be a week behind.

Any Shadowflame Crest Fragments you earn as a one-time reward won’t count towards your cap. So, if you’re looking at a quest reward that gives you fragments, you don’t need to worry about whether you’re at or near the cap. And if you’re curious how close you are, you can look in the Statistics tab of the Achievements window (default hotkey “y”) to see how many fragments you’ve earned towards the cap.

To learn more about Flightstones and Shadowflame Crests, speak with Vaskarn in Loamm. She’ll have quests for you to undertake to walk you through the upgrade process. These quests will become available early in the Embers of Neltharion campaign, shortly after arriving in Loamm.

Once you’ve completed Vaskarn’s introductory quests in Loamm, you can also downgrade any of your Shadowflame Crests to lower tiers. Exchanging your Crests like this won’t count against your weekly limit for the new tier. So if you earn a Drake’s Shadowflame Crest and trade it in for a Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest, it won’t count against your weekly limit for Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crests.

Upgrading Your Gear

Each gear item can only be upgraded to a specific level. You’ll be able to see the tier and level that your item currently is by holding your mouse cursor over the item.

Based on its item level at creation, each item will be on a distinct upgrade track: Explorer, Adventurer, Veteran, Champion, and Hero. Explorer, Adventurer, Veteran, and Champion all have eight levels of possibilities for upgrades. Hero has five. Upgrading gear labeled as Adventurer, Veteran, Champion, or Hero may require you to acquire additional Shadowflame Crests. These crests imbue a power that Flightstones alone cannot match. Mythic gear is so powerful that even a Crest cannot upgrade it. Items which can be upgraded will be highlighted in your inventory when interacting with an Item Upgrade vendor, making it a little easier to identify items that can benefit from upgrades in the system.

You’ll also be able to view the cost of each upgrade in the user interface of the Item Upgrade vendor directly next to each available upgrade level. While some upgrades will only cost Flightstones, others will cost Flightstones and a Shadowflame Crest or a combination of Crests, depending on the item that’s being upgraded.

Items that are less powerful than the best gear you’ve obtained for a given slot will receive a discount: they’ll only cost half the Flightstones and won’t require a Crest. These discounts will apply to all upgrades that bring the new item up to the power of the best item you’ve gotten.

As an additional bonus, once you have a nice piece of gear, every character on your account will also get the 50% Flightstone discount when upgrading to match that highest level. You’ll still need to collect the appropriate Shadowflame Crest for that character’s upgrade (if the gear piece is a high enough item level), but it will be much cheaper to upgrade that gear. Rings, trinkets, and one-handed weapons, since you get two slots, will track your second-highest item to determine your discount on upgrades. Main-hand weapons and off-hands like shields are each tracked separately, but the lower of these will count towards your one-handed weapon discount. And if you have a nice two-handed weapon, your highest will set the discount threshold for both hands no matter what style you use.

Where to Upgrade

You can upgrade your gear at any Item Upgrade vendor in the game. There are item upgrade vendors in Valdrakken, the Forbidden Reach, and Zaralek Cavern, making it convenient to get in a quick upgrade before your next adventure.

Tip: If you’re having difficulty finding an Item Upgrade vendor, you can always ask a guard for directions.

Crafting With Shadowflame Crests

Enchanters will be able to create Enchanted Shadowflame Crests, which can be used to set the item level range of a piece of crafted gear. The crafter’s skill will still play into creating higher-quality crafts, as higher-quality crafts have a higher item level. Once crafted, additional upgrades can be done using the recrafting system just as before.

There are many possibilities for honing your character’s gear to peak performance as you undertake the many challenges in Embers of Neltharion.

Want to dig deeper? Visit our previously published article with insights from WoW Developer Chimes.