Guide - Embers of Neltharion in Patch 10.1

A comprehensive blog post from Blizzard has been published that goes over every detail of the planned new gear upgrade system in Patch 10.1.


This system:

  • Functions with gear from Raids, Mythic+ and the Open World
  • Does not function with PvP Gear or Top Mythic raid items
  • Does not function with Crafted gear.

Flightstones and Crests are the two new currencies being introduced. There are   4 types of crests— Whelping's, Drake's, Wyrm's, and Aspect's— which represent a progressively more challenging level of content. Upgrading an item will cost a different type of Crest, depending on the Item Level that you're trying to upgrade to . If any character on your account has a higher item level in that slot (second higher for rings, trinkets, and 1-handers), there is a significant discount on the upgrading prices, which includes a 50% reduction in the number of Flightstones required.

You are only allowed to obtain a maximum of 10 of each kind of Crest per week. The cap will gradually raise each week, allowing for characters to catch up to the current cap if you happen to miss a week.  Enchanters will use Crests to create Enchanted Shadowflame Crests, which will be used to adjust the item level range of a piece of crafted gear in a manner similar to Infusions in Season 1. Crests will go into the reagent bag and stack quite high.


For more clarity, here is a few snippets from the Blizzard Blue Post detailing the system:


How Many Upgrades, Exactly?

Each item can only be upgraded so far. Based on its item level at creation, each item will be on a distinct upgrade track. Here's an example table to help you visualize what this would look like.
Item level
Shadowflame Crest cost to upgrade from previous level
Items created at this level will always have upgrade level
Items upgraded to this level might also be…
Explorer 1/8
Explorer 2/8
Explorer 3/8
Explorer 4/8
Adventurer 1/8
Explorer 5/8
Adventurer 2/8
Explorer 6/8
Adventurer 3/8
Explorer 7/8
Adventurer 4/8
Explorer 8/8
1 Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest
Veteran 1/8
Adventurer 5/8
1 Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest
Veteran 2/8
Adventurer 6/8
1 Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest
Veteran 3/8
Adventurer 7/8
1 Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest
Veteran 4/8
Adventurer 8/8
1 Drake’s Shadowflame Crest
Champion 1/8
Veteran 5/8
1 Drake’s Shadowflame Crest
Champion 2/8
Veteran 6/8
1 Drake’s Shadowflame Crest
Champion 3/8
Veteran 7/8
1 Drake’s Shadowflame Crest
Champion 4/8
Veteran 8/8
1 Wyrm’s Shadowflame Crest
Hero 1/5
Champion 5/8
1 Wyrm’s Shadowflame Crest
Hero 2/5
Champion 6/8
1 Wyrm’s Shadowflame Crest
Hero 3/5
Champion 7/8
1 Wyrm’s Shadowflame Crest
Hero 4/5
Champion 8/8
1 Aspect’s Shadowflame Crest
Hero 5/5


Redundant Things Are Redundantly Redundant

Upgrades cost Flightstones and Shadowflame Crests when you’re getting an upgrade that increases your character’s power. But, if you’re upgrading an item that’s lower than the highest item level you’ve gotten in its slot, you’ll get a discount. We don’t want you to feel penalized for upgrading the wrong item, and we want to encourage experimentation with the various trinkets and other equipment that have cool effects. So, if you already have a couple of trinkets at item level (ilvl) 415, but you get a new trinket at ilvl 402 that you want to try out, you’ll be able to upgrade your new trinket without spending any Shadowflame Crests. You’ll also only spend half the usual Flightstone cost.

Example: Vindicator Boros wants to upgrade his new two-handed mace. It’s item level 408, but he already has a two-handed sword that’s item level 415. Upgrading his new mace from 408 to 415 will cost him half the usual Flightstones and won’t cost him any Shadowflame Crests. If he wants to upgrade it further to ilvl 418, it’ll cost him a Drake’s Shadowflame Crest and the usual amount of Flightstones.

That redundancy discount doesn’t just apply to the character that earns the upgrade, either. When you go to upgrade an item, if any character on your account has a higher item level for that slot, you’ll get the 50% Flightstone discount. You’ll still need to collect the appropriate Shadowflame Crest (if it’s a high enough item level), but it’ll 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. Think of it this way: these discounts won’t help you raise your main character’s item level or your alt’s item level to be higher than your main. But they will help you “catch up” on a piece of gear.

Shadowflame Crests and You

Shadowflame Crests and Shadowflame Crest fragments are all items that you’ll hold in your reagent bag. They stack very high, so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll end up with more than one bag slot taken up by any of them. There’s a weekly cap on how many you can earn: you’ll only be able to get ten Crests of each kind per week. This means that you’ll be limited to ten upgrades per week in each item level band.
This cap is deliberately set higher than most players would earn. This is because the goal with this cap is to keep a level (ish) playing field for the most competitive players clearing the most difficult content while still allowing the majority of players to play as much as they like in whatever level of play they prefer and continue to earn meaningful rewards appropriate to that level.
The cap also increases over time and allows you to catch up freely if you don’t reach it in a week. Also, since players only have fifteen or sixteen mechanically relevant gear slots (depending on weapon style), by week 6, it’ll be so high that even if you needed a Crest for every upgrade, you would be able to earn all the Crests you could possibly use for upgrading. Since playing the game in ways that get you Crests will also get you new gear (and if it’s high enough, you won’t need Crests anymore; see the Redundancy section above), you’ll pretty rapidly reach the point where you won’t even notice the Crest cap because it’ll be higher than the maximum you could ever use in your gearing journey.
They’re going to be held in the reagent bag because, well, in addition to spending them to upgrade gear, they’re crafting reagents. They’re used by enchanters to make Enchanted Shadowflame Crests (crafting orders are available), which are in turn used to set the item level range of a piece of crafted gear, just like Dragonflight Season One’s Primal Infusion and Concentrated Primal Infusion. As you might expect, your crafter’s skill will still be very relevant, as higher quality crafts will have higher item levels. Once crafted, instead of Flightstones or Shadowflame Crests, you’ll use the existing recrafting system to upgrade your gear.
The crafted gear will help you with upgrading other things, as item upgrade vendors will “see” the crafted armor and weapons just the same as any other when determining upgrade costs.
Here’s what that looks like in practice. When you get a Crest, you have three choices: you can upgrade an item at an item upgrade vendor, you can craft with it, or you can simply sell it to a vendor. At first, vendoring will probably not be the best option, but once all your gear is above the item level that a Crest can help with, you’ll naturally outgrow that type of Crest. For example: once you have all your gear at ilvl 415 or better, you won’t need any Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crests anymore and are free to vendor them safely. Each Crest’s tooltip will tell you the item range it’s used for, so you can know which Crests aren’t helpful anymore just by holding your mouse over the item in your inventory.

Flightstones of Fancy

Flightstone costs are based on the new upgrade level and item type. Upgrading an item with more stats (e.g., chest armor) will cost more than one with less (e.g., cloak). Upgrading weapons is generally more expensive than upgrading armor. And upgrading an item becomes progressively more expensive as you climb in item level; upgrading your gloves from ilvl 402 to ilvl 405 might only cost 100 Flightstones, but upgrading from ilvl 415 to ilvl 418 will set you back 120 Flightstones.
Flightstones can be earned in as small a quantity as two from a random treasure out in the world all the way up to a few hundred from the new weekly wrapper quest (the equivalent of the “Aiding the Accord” quests from Dragonflight launch content). Every raid boss will carry Flightstones for each player who defeats the encounter, and every Mythic Keystone chest will have Flightstones for everyone. Higher-difficulty content will provide more Flightstones to account for the increased costs of upgrading gear at that level, but those cost increases aren’t so much more than doing outdoor content will ever be useless. The goal here is to let you choose what you want to do with your play time and make sure it’s worthwhile (while still rewarding players who complete more challenging encounters).
Rather than get into exact numbers of Flightstone income and costs resulting in a long series of tables, let’s go over how many times you’ll need to do a thing to get an upgrade.
  • At low item levels (376-398), it’ll take 5-8 World Quests to upgrade a piece of armor. Weapons are more expensive, but your weekly capstone quest (like the “Aiding the Accord” quests found in the 10.0.2 content update) will still give you enough Flightstones to upgrade a weapon several times.
  • At medium item levels (402-424), it’ll take 3-5 Mythic Keystone dungeons to upgrade a piece of armor, depending on the key level and the armor slot.
  • At higher item levels (428-441), it can take upwards of ten Normal dungeons to upgrade an armor piece.
  • At all levels, three raid bosses (or two if they’re end bosses) will get you enough Flightstones to upgrade a piece of gear from that tier.

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