Let’s dissect Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty’s baffling gear system

As you hack, slack, and stab your way across the regions of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, you’ll find find a ton of gear. There are countless weapons and numerous armor sets (with five pieces of gear each). To make things even more confusing, each individual piece of gear has both a rarity and an upgrade level on top of its base stats. It gets confusing fast.

Let’s talk about how Wo Long’s equipment, rarity levels, and upgrades work, and go over how to read the stats.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty equipment base stats

Every piece of gear in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty — every weapon and every piece (of every set) of armor — has a lot of stats associated with it. Let’s start with the base stats.

For weapons they are:

  • Base Attack and Attack Power — how hard you hit
  • Attack Bonuses (from Five Phases Virtues) — bonuses that increase how hard you hit that you get from leveling up
  • Spirit stats — both how much Spirit you’ll lose while Guarding or Deflecting, and how much Spirit an enemy will lose when you hit them

For armor they are:

  • Defense — how much damage you’ll take when hit
  • Physical Resistance — a modifier focused on physical attacks as opposed to magic
  • Spirit Defense — how much Spirit you’ll lose when hit
  • Resistances — bonuses or penalties to elemental damage from the Five Phases).

How Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty equipment rarity works

At the very top of gear’s stats is rarity. Rarity is indicated by a number of stars, going from none (normal items like throwing knives) to 1★ and up through 5★. Many items come in multiple rarities. You might find a 1★ Bronze Sword followed immediately by a 3★ Bronze Sword. But every Bronze Sword will have the same base stats (Attack Power, Attack Bonus from Five Phases Virtue Points, and Spirit) regardless of rarity. That’s true of armor as well.

You can see this in the slider below:

A 1★ versus a 3★ Bronze Sword.
Image: Team Ninja/Koei Tecmo via Polygon and Image: Team Ninja/Koei Tecmo via Polygon

Rarer items— items with more stars — will have additional Special Effects. These will be a number of minor buffs to various stats, like a 1.5% bonus to your damage output or a 5.8% increase to the amount of copper you find. You can view a (long) list of every Special Effect you have active from all of your weapons and armor by hitting X/square while in the Equipment menu.

The most important of these Special Effects in weapons are Martial Arts — the special attacks you launch with RB + X/square or Y/triangle. One-star weapons will only have one Martial Art, but three-star weapons will have two — the rarity of the weapon actually affects what attacks you can perform.

The Special Effects can be different for each piece of gear. Two identical items with the same rarity will have the same base stats, but might have different special effects.

How to upgrade gear in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

Not too far into the game, you’ll meet Zhu Xia, the blacksmith. When you speak with her, she’ll allow you to spend copper, steel, and leather to upgrade your armor and weapons and improve their base stats.

Upgrading adds a plus sign and a number to whatever gear you upgrade — ex., a Bronze Sword will become a Bronze Sword +1. Upgrading increases the base stats of an item — the Base Attack, Attack Power, and the Attack Bonuses for weapons; and Defense, Physical Resistance, Spirit Defense, and Five Phases Resistances for armor.

Upgrading does not change the rarity of the item, though. You will not add any new Special Effects to an item while upgrading. In other words, a 1★ Bronze Sword +1 will do more base damage than a 3★ Bronze Sword (+0), but the +1 Sword will have fewer Special Effects.