Item Empowerment 101


Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of people talking about how to upgrade your gear. What I’ve got here is a general overview of Item Empowerment, and in no way should be seen as the “End All Be All” on the topic.  I’ve just recently hit 25 50 so I’m still learning about this myself, but with any luck, some of you might find some of the information useful and can use it moving forward.

Before we can upgrade any gear, we need to know what kind of gear we can look forward to.

  • GREEN – Starter Quality – Max Level 20
  • BLUE – Superior Quality – Max Level 25
  • PURPLE – Epic Quality – Max Level 30
  • YELLOW – Mythic Quality – Max level 35
  • RED – Legendary Quality – Max Level 70

[NOTE: when you see that MAX LEVEL above, we aren’t talking YOUR level…. we are talking the Gear item’s level.  More on that later.]

2 Items of the Max level for their color can be fused together to become 1 item of the next Color Quality Level.  HOWEVER: They have to be of the Same Slot.  So you COULD level a Green Health Head Talisman to 20, and a Green DPS Head Talisman to 20, Then use both of them to Fuse into EITHER a Health Head Talisman, or a DPS Head Talisman of Blue Quality.  Make sure you get the one you want to keep in the Top Window for Fusing!  The other one will be sacrificed to the Nether-Gods!

Weapons, must be of the Same Type, in order to fuse into a Higher Quality item. IE – Shotgun and Shotgun, or Fist and Fist, etc.

So how do you get an item to Max level?  By feeding your gear MORE GEAR!


Basically, each gear item you have is HUNGRY! And it wants to eat more gear items.  Each piece of gear you feed it, will give it 100 points of Experience Essence.  What’s worse, is each item is a cannibal and prefers to eat it’s own type!  So, when you feed a Health Head Talisman another Health Head Talisman, It’s going to get a 2.5x Bonus for the Experience Essence that it takes in, resulting in 250 points of Experience Essence!  A DPS or Healing Head Talisman in this case would only result in 100 points. (Unless you feed them to their own type!)

Weapons are much the same, as they like to consume the essence of LIKE weapons, so a Shotgun will give the 2.5x Bonus to another Shotgun.  The Shotgun will still take in the Essence of Pistols or a Blood Focus or whatever, as long as it’s another weapon, but only for 100 Essence points.

How many points does it take to level an item?

  • Green – 200 pts per level – Max level 20 = 4000 pts to Max
  • Blue – 500 pts per level – Max level 25 = 12500 pts to Max
  • Purple – 2500 pts per level – Max level 30 = 75000 pts to Max
  • OrangeUnknown pts per level – Max Level 35 = Unknown Pts to Max
  • Red – Unknown pts per level – Max Level 70* = Unknown Pts to Max

Just to put this into perspective:

  • 4000 points = 16 Empowerments with Like Items.
  • 12500 points = 50 Empowerments with Like Items
  • 75000 points = 300 Empowerments with Like items

And just to make matters worse, you not only need to level your current item up to Max, you need to level a second item to Max to fuse it with.  So double these totals for each piece of gear! (More if you use odd pieces here and there to supplement your empowerments!)

One more item to note, the above information is assuming each item being fed is of GREEN quality.  Other color gear items will give slightly more experience.  But if you get a Blue or higher level item, let’s face it, you’ll be wanting to either sell that, or use it and level it to fuse later!

Tabletop Fusion anyone?

And Lastly, if you have a level 14 item, and you pick up a better quality item of the same type, while you COULD feed that level 14 item to the new level 1 item you just pucked up, you WILL NOT just be continuing on from the same place you just were!  Nope, you are staring back at level 1 again!  It’s best you keep using the level 14 until you can catch the newer item up to it, AND THEN swap, and continue leveling them both up so you can use the first item in your Fusion later down the road!  (Not a fan of this to be honest, but I do talk about this later on.)

And this doesn’t come cheaply either.  You have to PAY for these empowerments along the way, and the currency for this is your Anima Shards:

  • Green – 200 Anima Shards per Empowerment – 3200 Anima Shards
  • Blue – 400 Anima Shards per Empowerment – 20000 Anima Shards
  • Purple – 600 Anima Shards per Empowerment – 180000 Anima Shards

Just think…. This is PER ITEM, so double this cost to get to the next quality level!  And if you supplement your empowerments because you just aren’t getting enough items of the right type, your over all cost in shards will go up as well!  I don’t know about you, but I’ll just be happy just getting TO Purple!

Scared of the Grind yet?  You should be.  Cause we’ve only talked about the Talismans and Weapons.  There are also Glyphs and Signets that follow the same path.  Glyphs, you won’t see until you have Blue quality gear.  Signets will be once you get to Purple.  PLEASE NOTE: Weapons do NOT receive Signets!


On top of all this, there are 3 levels of quality for each of these signified by a number of dots, called Pips, on each item.   1 Pip is the most common, and of course the lowest level of quality.  2 Pips is medium quality, and 3 pips is the BEST quality, but of course, the rarest.

When starting out,  it doesn’t really matter how many pips you have, the stats at this level are negligible, and it would do Funcom no good giving people so much stuff that would be considered terrible and a liability when starting out.  I’ve run enough alts throughout Solomon Island using  Green 1 pip gear, it’s not that much of a problem.  It’s later on when you start getting your Blue and Purple gear that you REALLY want to have the 2-3 pip items.  But judging by the number of items you’ll need to even GET to Blue and Purple gear, chances are that you should have come across a 3 pip item of the Slot you need, and can start on leveling it for when it’s time to Fuse it to Purple.

Pips  –  Talismans  – Weapons   – Glyphs

  • 1 Pip    – Faded          – Mk I              – Crude
  • 2 Pips – Luminous – MK II            – Simple
  • 3 Pips – Radiant      – MK III          – Intricate

(Signets don’t have Pips, and I have only seen them as Green level (Standard), but they do level up.  And since they have just released recently, give them time and we’ll see more of they these have in store for us!)

Is there anything that can upgrade a Pip level of an item?  There are two things you can do.  First, level an item that has more pips, and fuse your older item into the newer one (Once they are BOTH at Max level) and then you’ll have the next higher Color quality as well.

OR….  Spend some $$$ in the Aurum shop.

“Time is Money, Friend!” (Goblin image is property of Blizzard Entertainment)

The Aurum shop has these dandy ANIMA IMBUERS that you can buy for 2500 Aurum.  They can be used to raise a 1-2 pip item up to a 3-pip item!  Just keep in mind that 2500 Aurum is roughly $25.  So if you don’t want to spend REAL money, you’ll need to start playing the AH and using the Marks you can earn from that to buy Aurum in the exchange!


Not to be all DOOM AND GLOOM over this system, there are a number of shortcuts and helpful things that you can get in the game that will help you on your Journey to Epic Gear!

DISTILLATES – These drop from the Chests that appear after you kill a Boss in a Dungeon, and can also be acquired from the Loot Lanterns you start to see at level 15.  Keys to the Loot Lanterns are available from the Aurum Shop for 150 Aurum each, regardless of quantity you purchase.  (No BONUS Keys for buying in bulk… sorry!)  OR, if you are a Patron, you will get one key per day!  So that’s about 30 Loot Lantern Keys per month!

Distillates come in different qualities as well:

  • GREEN MAJOR – 250 Exp
  • GREEN POTENT – 400 Exp
  • BLUE MINOR – 500 Exp
  • BLUE MAJOR – 1000 Exp
  • BLUE POTENT – 1600 Exp
  • PURPLE MAJOR – 4000 Exp
  • PURPLE POTENT – 6400 Exp

[UPDATE: There are varying values of Distillates that drop from a number of sources, including Dungeons, raids, Lairs, World Bosses, Loot Lanterns, etc.  More than I’m able to list in this article, but rest assured there are even higher versions than what I have listed here!]

GREEN and BLUE tend to drop in Dungeons, whereas the PURPLE ones tend to come from Raids and Loot Lanterns.  ((DISCLAIMER – I would imagine Higher level dungeons would drop higher quality Distillates, but I still need to queue for my first Elite!  I’ll let you know sooner or later!))  [UPDATE: Blue Level Distillates drop in Elite Dungeons, and Purple drop from Raids, CONFIRMED!]

As you can see, running dungeons for Distillates alone makes it pretty worth while to run out your keys each day! (Non-Patrons get 12 Dungeon Keys per day, and Patrons get 18!)  Another thing about Distillates, the shard cost ito use a Distillate on your item, is the same as a single item being added to your Empowerment window.  So if you use a Purple Potent Weapon Distillate, ALL THAT EXP being dumped into your weapon would still cost only as much as using another weapon to empower it!

Distillates aren’t the only shortcuts you can get your hands on, there are also FUSION CATALYSTS, which if you notice on the Aurum shop pic above, they cost 1500 Aurum (or about $15).  These catalysts are used when you have an item at Max Level, and don’t feel like leveling a Second one to Max level in order to Fuse it!  From the Aurum Shop, they only come in Purple quality and count toward A second Purple Item, or Blue or Green if you REALLY want to.  I have seen Blue and Purple level Catalysts come from Loot Lanterns as well, so that’s another reason to consider Patron status!

So what do I do with all this?  That is quite a bit of information to keep in mind, so let’s take a look at what you get when starting a new character.

It seems that no matter your Starter Deck Class, you will always be given a DPS Waist Talisman, and a Health Neck Talisman.  On top of that, they always tend to be 2-pip quality.  This simplifies things.

Look familiar?


You weapons might vary from what you see here but once you reach Kingsmouth, this is pretty much what you have.  You want to know how to upgrade this?  That’s going to depend on a couple things:

  • RNGzus – Let’s face it, what you get from your mission turn-ins is going to affect what you can do to some extent. All Praise the Mighty RNGzus!
  • More importantly, What is your Class? Or rather,  what Role do you wish to play?

Tanks are going to want Health, and even then, they can’t ignore Attack Power if they are soloing PVE content, so they will need some DPS gear as well,

DPS will want MOAR ATTACK POWER!  But even then, some health for soloing content.

And Healers will want to have Attack power gear for soloing content, and Heal gear for dungeons/group content.

When you are first starting off in the game, it doesn’t matter much what class you are or what role you’ll be looking to fill, hence the identical starting gear.  But once you start earning gear and can start upgrading, THAT’S when you need to know your plan!

But in order to plan, you need to know what’s expected of you when you reach 50.  50 is when you can start running Elite Dungeons, and these require the Holy Trinity™ of Tank, Heals, and DPS.  And each of these roles will need something different:

TANK:  During Elites, You will want to have FULL Health gear, but you are also going to want to have 5% Glance Reduction.  One 2-pip HIT Glyph of Blue quality should work to reach this.  You’ll also want DEFENSE Glyphs on all your other talismans, and then CRIT RATING Glyphs on your Weapons.

DPS: Full DPS Gear, with options to add Health Talismans for specific dungeons if they are anything like TSW Dungeons!  Glyphs, you will want 5% Glance Reduction, so one Blue Quality HIT Glyph should suffice, plus 2 CRIT POWER Glyphs, and the rest should be CRIT RATING Glyphs.

HEALS: You will want full HEAL Gear, and if using an AR for your Heals, you may want to use a HIT Glyph on your AR, and then 2 CRIT POWER Glyphs and the rest CRIT RATING Glyphs.  If you do NOT use an AR, 3 CRIT POWER Glyphs and the rest CRIT RATING.

Why the HIT Glyph ON the AR?  Because you’ll still need the 5% Glance Reduction so you are Hitting your Target, but if you use Fists or Blood for heals as well, you would be better off with CRIT stats instead of Hit. So keep the HIT on the one weapon that needs it, so it doesn’t interfere with the other weapons healing!

All of this being said, You are better off using Like items for Empowerment across the board, as it will not cost as much Anima Shards that way.  BUT If you insist on using odd gear for empowerment, meaning items that don’t match, maybe you just can’t seem to get enough Health Finger Talismans to drop for you and you NEED that one before you tank your first Elite, Be advised that this will cost you about 2.5x’s More Anima shards to get it maxed out.  You might instead want to sell those odd items on the AH cheap, and when you get the MoF for those items, buy some cheap ones of the type you need.

Or maybe you are impatient and want your Gear to be higher stats faster and don’t feel like messing with the AH.  You can still use your Odd items to empower your current gear, just be advised that Anima Shards will become a serious roadblock down the way.  You may want to Prioritize Head Talisman > Major Talisman > Minor Talisman.  Head talismans still give you more of your desired Main Stat (Health/Attack Power/Heal), then Major Talismans, then Minor Talismans.

So what do I think of all this?  Having just made 50 and having both Weapons Purple already, I don’t think it’s BAD…. but looking at trying to get the rest of my gear up to snuff, I can see how this is going to be a pain.  And even though we are no longer carrying around TONS of Materials and clogging our banks with them, considering our limited space in SWL, storage is also going to be at  a Premium.  Especially for multi Role characters.

I didn’t get into Signets much, but they seem to be mostly weapon specific, so if you want to do what we did in TSW and swap weapons/roles, you’re going to need to have yet ANOTHER set of gear for the new Weapon types, taking up even more inventory for the item and glyphs and signets used there as well.  Funcom may get enough money for Season 2 just on Storage sales alone!

I also don’t like that I can’t pick up a new Item that is better than my current, and then use my old Item to empower my New Item with ALL the Experience Essence that I’ve already accumulated on that Item.  I mean, is it an upgrade or not?  If I have to spend another week or two just to get that new item up to par with my current item, then that’s even MORE inventory space being taken up AND a Hell of a delay in getting to use that supposed upgrade!

But they don’t want us to “…let it go to waste…” I believe is how it was put in one of the early DevStreams.  Trust me…. It’s more of a waste having to wait so long to actually get to USE the thing!  So yeah, REALLY not happy with that.

But being a Lifetime Patron (Can’t thank them enough for transferring my grand Master Status over!) , and getting these Cache Keys on a daily basis, I can see the value in being a Patron.  Just having the occasional Distillate Bag drop from the Loot Lanterns helps speed things up SO MUCH!  Not to mention the extra AP/SP and Exp we get as well.

1 Cache Key a day X’s 30 days in a month = $45 worth of content a month.  That right there shows you the value in becoming a Patron!

But back to the subject at hand, I think I’ll be happy just getting my gear up to Purple Status and dealing with a day to Day grind of very minor improvements over the course of the next few years before I get my first set of Orange items!  Keep in mind, I also have ALL THE ALTS that I need to do the same thing with.  If you can focus on one character and do all the things?  More power to you!

I think that’s about it…  This article has been in the works for a couple weeks but the more I played, the more revisions happened.  Now that I’m 50 finally, With any luck this will help SOMEONE out there.

Thank you for stopping by! We’ll see you in the Secret World!