Dragonflight Armor Upgrade: Upgrade System GuideAdmin
WoW: Dragonflight’s Embers of Neltharion update is coming soon. Launching on May 2nd, it brings new items, stories, raids, dungeons, and systems. The Dragonflight Armor Upgrade system in patch 10.1 is a significant change to gear upgrading.
Patch 10.1 introduces the Dragonflight Armor Upgrade system to help update Season 2 gear, including items from the new Mythic+ rotation, Aberrus raid, and World Quests. Patch 10.1 also includes the Revival Catalyst for gear conversion to tier, but specific details for Dragonflight Season 2 are unknown.
Blizzard hasn’t been doing a good job of explaining the simplicity of this new Dragonflight Armor Upgrade system, so check out our guide below to get a better picture of how it’ll work.
New Upgrade Currency & Items: Flightstones & Shadowflame Crests
In Season 2, you need Flightstones and a suitable Shadowflame Crest to upgrade items. Earn these currencies through various gameplay options, such as World Quests, Mythic+ runs, or raids.
Flightstones are easy to earn from any activity, with no weekly cap. There’s a cap on the total number of Flightstones you can possess, but it’s about five times the cost of an upgrade, so you can upgrade some gear and immediately gather more.
Shadowflame Crests are slightly more complex to obtain, as there are multiple types based on the content they are earned from, and better Crests result in higher ilevel upgrades. The different Shadowflame Crests are as follows:
- Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest: Upgrades gear to Raid Finder ilevel
- Drake’s Shadowflame Crest: Upgrades gear to Normal raid ilevel
- Wyrm’s Shadowflame Crest: Upgrades gear to Heroic raid ilevel
- Aspect’s Shadowflame Crest: Upgrades gear to Mythic raid ilevel
If you engage in non-instanced gameplay, you can still upgrade items to Normal raiding with Whelpling and Drake Crests.
Upgrade Levels & Requirements
Low-level Season 2 gear won’t require any Shadowflame Crests to upgrade, just Flightstones. Upgrades can reach up to ilevel 398 before Crests are required. The upgrade levels and requirements are as follows:
- Explorer items: ilevel 376 – 398 (require Flightstones)
- Adventurer items: ilevel 389 – 411 (require Flightstones and Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest)
- Veteran’s items: ilevel 402 – 424 (require Whelpling’s and Drake’s Shadowflame Crest)
- Champion items: ilevel 415 – 437 (require Drake’s and Wyrm’s Shadowflame Crest)
- Hero items: ilevel 428 – 441 (require Wyrm’s and Aspect’s Shadowflame Crest)
Discounts for Alts
The new system makes it easier for alts, as the number of Flightstones required for upgrading is cut in half. This account-wide feature means that if any character on your account has a higher ilevel piece in the same slot you’re trying to upgrade, it will cost half as many Flightstones. Upgrading gear on your main with a higher ilevel piece for that slot won’t need a Shadowflame Crest either—just half the usual number of Flightstones. Alts with lower ilevel gear can upgrade at half the Flightstone cost as well, but will still need the appropriate Shadowflame Crest.
For example, if you have two ilevel 415 trinkets but want to upgrade a new ilevel 402 trinket, it will cost half the usual number of Flightstones and no Crests to upgrade to 415.
The system makes it easier to keep up with the gear curve on both your alts and main. If your main gets a great piece of gear at a lower ilevel than what they’re using, they can quickly upgrade it to their current ilevel. And alts will be able to easily jump to the same ilevel as your main (though alts will still need to collect Crests).
What is Happening to Other Upgrade Systems
The existing method of upgrading Mythic+ gear with Valor will be phased out. Instead, PVP and crafted gear will continue to be upgraded as they are now, and you’ll be able to upgrade your crafted items with recrafting using the new system’s upgrade currency instead of the current Primal Infusions. Blizzard hopes that this change will result in a more coherent upgrade system, and if successful, it may become the standard upgrade model in the future.
Purpose of the System
The new upgrade system aims to simplify and streamline the gearing process. By consolidating multiple upgrade systems into one, you can focus on enjoying the game without being overwhelmed by complex mechanics. Additionally, it encourages engagement in various in-game activities while still earning meaningful rewards and upgrades.
Items Excluded from this System
There are three categories of gear not included in the new upgrade system: crafted gear, PvP gear, and the very top end of gear (comparable to Mythic Raid item levels). Crafted gear will still be upgraded using the existing recrafting system, while PvP gear will continue to work as it did in Dragonflight Season One. Top-end gear will still need to be earned through drops.
Upgrade Vendors in Season 2
A new upgrade vendor, Loamm, will be available in the Zaralek Cavern during Season 2. However, all previous upgrade vendors will also be able to upgrade your gear under the new system. You’ll find these vendors in their current locations in Veldrakken, Oribos, and even Nazjatar.
What We Think of the System
Blizzarrd’s main goal with their Season 2 Gear Upgrading changes is to streamline the process of improving your equipment. At the same time, reading through their blogs and explainers makes it all seem needlessly complicated.
To make their long story short, every item, depending on its ilevel at the moment it was acquired, will be on its own upgrading track. Here’s a quick breakdown of what that means for different tiers of gear:
- Explorer (item levels 376-385) – can be upgraded to item level 398
- Adventurer (item levels 389-398) – can be upgraded to item level 411
- Veteran (item levels 402-411) – can be upgraded to item level 424
- Champion (item levels 415-424) – can be upgraded to item level 437
- Hero (item levels 428-437) – can be upgraded to item level 441
Our main concern is that anything below +17 can’t be upgraded. This means that anything you acquired with lower keys will need to be refarmed. Some players may face a disadvantage if they’re unlucky with their drops.
Crafted gear exists to help prevent players from falling behind due to bad RNG. However, that’s not necessarily what makes WoW fun, so that’ll be something to watch for.