Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII with her signature weapon.

Final Fantasy XIII: How to Upgrade Equipment

The system itself is simple, but the game's tutorial is severely lacking.

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Carley is a professional JP-EN translator and writer currently based in Des Moines, Iowa. She has written hundreds of articles for popular sites such as Siliconera, Gameranx, and Otaquest, and has been playing games nonstop since 1996.

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Marshall is a seasoned writer and gaming enthusiast based in Tokyo. He's a prolific wordsmith with hundreds of articles featured on top-tier sites like Business Insider, How-To Geek, PCWorld, and Zapier. His writing has reached a massive audience with over 70 million readers!

Key Takeaway

To upgrade a weapon or accessory, players can use a combination of organic and mechanical components found in battle, in shops, or in treasure chests. The upgrade menu can be found at any save station after players find the Omni-kit in the Vile Peaks in Chapter 4.

In most Final Fantasy titles, players are able to find more powerful weapons and equipment as they progress through the game. While this is still the case in Final Fantasy XIII, players can also choose to improve their equipment’s stats using a unique upgrade system.

Table Of Contents

    The Upgrade System in Final Fantasy XIII

    Equipment upgrades only become available after players receive the Omni-kit key item in the Vile Peaks during Chapter 4.

    To access the upgrade menu, visit any save station. After activating it, select Upgrade.

    Lightning at a save spot and shop in Final Fantasy XIII.

    After choosing which weapon or accessory to upgrade, players are taken to a list of components. The amount of experience that will be given to the chosen weapon or accessory is shown after selecting a component and a quantity.

    While this may seem straightforward, the game hides how much experience is needed to reach the maximum level. This means that most players will end up wasting resources along the way.

    Each weapon and accessory has a maximum level, and once it reaches this point, its level number will be replaced with a star symbol. This indicates that it can be upgraded to its next form by using a catalyst. After doing so, the weapon or accessory of choice will be given a new name and will become more powerful. It will also have more levels and can be upgraded again.

    Weapons can be upgraded twice. All accessories can be upgraded once, with some able to be upgraded multiple times.

    About Components

    Components used to upgrade equipment can be dropped by enemies, purchased through the Retail Network, created by dismantling weapons and accessories, found in treasure spheres, or can be given as rewards during missions.

    Each component in Final Fantasy XIII has a set amount of experience that it can add to a weapon or accessory.

    Components also have hidden multipliers, called bonus points, that will impact how large a player’s experience gain will be.

    The results screen for upgrading equipment in Final Fantasy XIII.

    Organic components increase bonus points while mechanical components decrease bonus points.

    Multiplier PointsExperience Bonus

    For those who are less worried about making the ultimate weapon, the easiest way to boost a weapon’s power is to use as many organic components as you can until reaching the triple experience multiplier. After this, use as many high-experience mechanical components as possible.

    Remember: Start upgrading an item using organic components to get a multiplier, then use mechanical components to boost experience.

    The Most Economical Components

    During the early chapters of Final Fantasy XIII, players are advised to sell any Incentive Chips and Credit Chips in their inventory to purchase more useful components later in the game.

    The equipment upgrade screen in Final Fantasy XIII.

    At the end of Chapter 5, the Creature Comforts store will be unlocked. It’s recommended that players purchase 36 Sturdy Bones, Vibrant Ooze, or Barbed Tails for use in upgrading.

    When seeking out the most cost-effective synthetic components, players should head to Lenora’s Garage or R&D Depot, the latter of which becomes available after completing Mission 7. The best components to spend your Gil on are as follows:

    • Polymer Emulsion, 200 Gil (Chapters 4-6)
    • Turbojet, 840 Gil (Chapters 7-8)
    • Crankshaft, 840 Gil (Chapters 9-11)
    • Particle Accelerator, 10,000 Gil / Ultracompact Reactor, 50,000 Girl (Chapter 11-Post Game)

    After reaching the Earthworks in the Mah’habara Subterra, those looking for helpful synthetic components for use in late-game weaponry can also purchase Superconductors from Lenora’s Garage for 840 Gil.

    About Catalysts

    Once an item has been upgraded to its maximum level, a star symbol will appear. This means that a catalyst can be used to transform the weapon or accessory into its improved form.

    Weapon catalysts include Adamantite, Cobaltite, Dark Matter, Perovskite, Scarletite, and Uraninite.

    Accessory catalysts include the above, as well as Millerite, Mnar Stone, and Rhodochrosite.

    While the specific catalyst necessary will change depending on the item in question, players will always use Trapezohedrons to transform a second-tier weapon into its third and final form.

    Players cannot use a catalyst improperly–they can only be applied once an item has reached max level. You can Catalysts purchased from The Motherlode or R&D Depot.

    Helpful Tips and Tricks

    • While upgrading equipment isn’t a must for beating Final Fantasy XIII, it can make battles much easier. Those wanting to upgrade towards the beginning of the game should feel free to experiment, given that most components found during the first few chapters are incredibly cheap when compared to end-game resources. Around Chapter 11, resource management becomes more important.
    • During the early stages of the game, players looking to upgrade equipment should focus on upgrading accessories. These upgrade quicker and can be dismantled when players find something stronger. Some useful accessories found during early portions of the game that are worth upgrading include Black Belts, Rune Bracelets, Power Wristbands, Magician’s Marks, Iron Bangles, and Silver Bangles.
    • While many weapons found at the beginning of the game may seem useless at first glance, we’d recommend not dismantling or selling them. Some of them may prove useful later in the game after being fully upgraded.
    • Not all components are great for upgrades. However, some of these seemingly useless items can be sold for an incredible amount of Gil.