Sigils, runes, and jewels are upgrade components for weapons, armor, and accessories respectively. While raw upgrades dropped by many creatures or gathered from ore veins or trees can be directly slotted into any equipment with an upgrade slot, you’ll often find better overall bonuses by slotting upgrades intended for a specific type of gear. In the case of runes, using two or more matching runes will also grant a progressively better bonus the more of the same type you use across multiple armor slots.
In this guide we’ll go over the different types of upgrades, how they are obtained, and provide some basic pointers for each type.
Upgrades can be obtained in a few different ways, with each method producing progressively better or more consistent results:
Gems found while gathering can provide a raw attribute increase, and can be slotted in any item with an available upgrade slot. Using these while leveling or at lower levels can give you a decent boost to combat effectiveness, though you’ll want to hold onto and deposit them if you intend to pick up the jeweler crafting discipline which makes heavy use of gems to create rings, earrings, and necklaces.
Creature Drops and Rewards
Creatures may rarely drop various types and qualities of upgrades. As a general rule, elementals tend to drop raw gems the most frequently, though other creature types may occasionally drop them as well. Once you reach the mid and higher levels in the game, all creatures also have a chance of dropping more specific upgrades, such as minor or major runes and sigils. While you may be able to obtain some of the specific upgrades you’re looking for this way, it does tend to be very hit and miss, so not a very reliable source for upgrades at higher levels.
You’ll also occasionally be rewarded with an upgrade upon completion of different personal story quests, though these are few and far between. At best you may obtain something useful for your character, or at worst you’ll be able to sell them to other players (or save them for an appropriate alt) if you don’t gain something with attributes that fit your build or playstyle.
All crafting disciplines able to produce armor, weapons, or accessories are capable of discovering or purchasing recipes for creating upgrades for their respective gear type. For example, tailors can create a variety of runes of common, master, or rare quality through a combination of discovery and recipes sold for karma on the tailoring supply NPCs. Once mastered (skill level 400) tailors will also be able to craft exotic (superior quality) runes that provide up to a 6 piece set bonus if you slot your armor with runes of the same type.
The costs associated with crafting upgrades are somewhat in flux, since most recipes will require one or more rare or exotic creature drops to produce. Still, crafted upgrades will provide most consistent and direct method for obtaining specific upgrades for your gear, whether you produce them yourself or purchase them from other players on the trading post.
Crests, Medallions, and Gemstones
Upgrades in this category carry a common thread in that they can be used to upgrade any item with an unused upgrade slot. Each type will also focus primarily on attributes vs. other types of combat effectiveness the way sigils do. This is important to keep in mind when slotting upgrades in your weapons. On the one hand sigils can provide direct benefits such as a +5% damage increase when that weapon is in your active set. On the other, non-sigil upgrades can further enhance your primary and secondary attributes to help boost specific aspects of your build.
Raw gemstones can be gathered, or occasionally drop from creatures. As noted above, elementals tend to drop gems more frequently than other creature types, though they’re not the only source. If you’re looking to stick with general attribute enhancements, gemstones are cheap and largely readily available.
Medallions are dropped, master quality items that require level 65 to slot, and enhance three of your attributes. Some of the naming conventions carry over from sigils and runes, so based on the name alone you can tell what the suffix means when applied to an item. For example, the Medallion of the Magi pictured to the right increases Healing, Precision, and Vitality which is the common grouping for the Magi suffix.
Crests are the level 80 equivalent of medallions and also share the same suffix naming conventions. They are also rare quality, so tend to offer a larger attribute increase than medallions, though will also be a bit harder to obtain, and cost roughly twice as much as medallions currently if purchased from the trading post.
Sigils (Weapon Upgrades)
Sigils are upgrades that can only be used in weapons. While they can occasionally drop from creatures or be salvaged from items, the main source for sigils will be through crafting. In particular, artificer, huntsman, and weaponsmith are all able to produce sigils of varying qualities.
Beyond that, a key distinction of sigils is that they commonly focus on very specific combat enhancements rather than raw attribute increases. There are currently 37 different types of sigil available at level 80, ranging a broad spectrum of enhancements. For a complete breakdown of the different sigils that are available, be on the lookout for our full guides on sigils, runes, and jewels over the next few days.
Runes (Armor Upgrades)
Runes are the armor-specific equivalent of sigils, can also be found rarely as drops, but will most commonly be crafted by armorsmiths, leatherworkers, and tailors. Depending on the quality and level range, runes can provide set bonuses based on the number of runes of the same type you have slotted.
Runes will also come in 3 specific types: minor, major, and superior. The type will determine how many set bonus levels you can gain by slotting a specific rune:
- Minor: 2 tiers, no level requirement
- Major: 4 tiers, requires level 39
- Superior: 6 tiers, requires level 60
Most set bonuses tend to progressively enhance 2 specific attributes, with the final tier on major and superior runes providing a unique enhancement. For example, the Superior Rune of the Undead shown to the right will increase Condition Damage, and Toughness, with the 6 slot bonus: +5% toughness becomes condition damage.
Overall there are currently 52 different types of runes at level 80, allowing for a pretty high degree of specialization in your builds at higher levels or in sPvP. While you can certainly mix and match runes within an armor set, you’re typically better off using all runes of a specific type.
Jewels (Accessory Upgrades)
Jewels are the upgrade type specific to accessories (rings, earrings, and amulets). They differ from gems in that the jeweler crafting discipline is able to produce higher quality upgrades from the raw components, thereby providing a larger increase to up to three different attributes depending on the level and quality of the jewel produced.
There are currently 9 different types of jewel at level 80, following a set suffix naming convention based on the core attributes enhanced. As with sigils and runes, we’ll be publishing a complete list of jewels by quality and level over the next few days to help you determine which would be the best fit for your character.