Blizzard is introducing a new gear upgrade system to World of Warcraft’s Embers of Neltharion content update, which is a part of Patch 10.1. The changes coming with the second season of Dragonflight are intended to replace things like Valor and Storm Gear to make for a more unified gear upgrade experience.
The system will have players earn currencies, “Flightstones” and “Shadowflame Crests,” from various activities that they complete in the game, and those can be used to give your gear a little bit of juice in the form of a few item levels.
There are some light restrictions to the system overall, but in general, players will be able to go about their normal daily and weekly activities to gain currency. They will then be able to spend that currency to add a few item levels onto gear, depending on the item level of that gear when it was created.
Meanwhile, the system will give players discounts for upgrading gear that isn’t the highest ilvl for any given slot they have. This includes alternate characters as well. So if your main character is geared to the teeth, you’ll be able to get currency on an alternate character and gear them up at a significantly faster pace through discounted upgrades.
Though the system is relatively simple once you’ve had a chance to wrap your head around it, it might take a moment to digest everything that’s going on. So we’ve broken each element of the upgrade system down to help explain exactly what you’ll need to know.
What are Flightstones and Shadowflame Crests?
Flightstones and Shadowflame Crests are the two main currencies that you will need to upgrade gear in Patch 10.1. Flightstones are a more all-encompassing currency that players will get from doing just about any activity in the game, like world quests, dungeons, and raids. There is no cap on how many you can earn in a week and the cap on how many you can hold is intentionally high so that players don’t feel limited.
Shadowflame Crests are less easily obtained and come in four varieties: Whelping, Drake, Wyrm, and Aspect. Each type of crest is associated with a general item level range. To upgrade pieces of gear, you will need to have a crest that matches the ilvl range of the gear you’re looking to upgrade.
As you might be able to guess, these crests are generally obtainable by doing content that rewards players with gear that matches the general ilvl range it upgrades for. For instance, Whelping’s Shadowflame Crests are made to upgrade Raid Finder gear and can be found in raid finder as well as through outdoor content. But if you’re looking to upgrade a piece of gear that is around the Mythic-raid quality, you’ll need to find the much rarer Aspect’s Shadowflame Crests, and those will come from significantly more challenging content.
Unlike Flightstones, there is a limit to the number of Shadowflame Crests one can get in a week, and that cap will rise over the course of the season. They will take up a slot in your reagent bag, but they will intentionally be stackable to a high enough level that you shouldn’t be hurting for reagent bag space just from having them—or at least that’s the intent.
How does upgrading gear work in Patch 10.1?
So you’ve loaded up on Flightstones and Shadowflame Crests, and now you want to use them. To upgrade your gear, you will need to visit an item upgrade vendor. There, you will be able to use your stones and crests to upgrade gear.
There’s one catch, though. Not all gear is created equal when it comes to upgrades. You can’t get a piece of gear from a world quest and continually pump it up until it’s as powerful as something you’d earn in a Mythic raid. Depending on the item level of the piece of gear when it becomes soulbound to you, you will be able to upgrade it around four to seven times.
Each piece of gear will fall into a category that it cannot surpass. To demonstrate that visually, Blizzard created a chart to help players understand the limits and boundaries for upgrading gear based on how powerful it is at the time its created or soulbound.
Despite these limits, Blizzard has made it easier on players in some regards. If players happen to have a piece of gear that is a lower item level than one they already have, upgrading that piece of gear can be done at a huge discount. So if you earned a piece of gear from killing a mythic boss but its stats don’t match what you need, you’ll be able to upgrade a piece of gear that you have without using a Shadowflame Crest and it will only require half the Flightstones.
Additionally, that feature, at least in part, is account-wide. So if your main character is loaded up with pieces from Mythic raids, you will be able to upgrade gear on your alternate characters using half the Flightstones. You will still need to use Shadowflame Crests for your alternate characters, but you won’t have nearly the same burden when it comes to saving up Flightstones.