[[quoteright:180:[[VideoGame/AliceMadnessReturns http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/180px-PepperUpgrades_87.png]]]]
->"It's a nice gun, I'll give you that. But the engraving gives you no tactical advantage whatsoever. --Unless you were planning to auction it off as a collector's item."
-->--'''Naked Snake''' to '''Revolver Ocelot''', ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater''

Many games rely on the concept of EvolvingWeapon, alias weapons that can be upgraded and get stronger. Sometimes, they not only get more powerful, but they also becomes fancier and more elaborate, usually to show better how they improved. Alternatively, the weapons you pick up becomes more and more elaborate as you proceed in your quest/in the game, again in order to underline their greater power. It probably makes sense, as a [[KatanasAreJustBetter beautifully decorated katana with a runic blade]] is far more appealing than a simple iron shortsword.

Note, however, that usually the "elaborate" part boils down to the appearance of the weapon. While the weapon itself does grow stronger, the use/attack animation/whatever is still the same.

Goes well with BlingOfWar which may follow the same concept of looking nicer as it gets better. May also be stretched to various {{Mooks}} who get better-looking equipment as they get [[SortingAlgorithmOfEvil stronger and stronger]].

Don't confuse with EvolvingWeapon. See also AceCustom. Also, before writing remember that this is mostly about the concept of the weapon looking more elaborate as they grow stronger. Speculations and discussions about how the decorations should influence the effectiveness of the weapon are pointless.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Action]]
* ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'' has this, with the various weapons becoming bigger and more decorated as they're acquired. [[GuideDangIt Good luck finding all of them!]]
* ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors'' follows a similar concept: the stronger the weapon, the more elaborate it will be.
* [[RuleOfThree And again with]] ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'', which however subverts this in some cases with Yoshihiro (his giant sword becomes an equally big spiked club then an axe), Musashi (his Oar&Bokuto combo becomes a pair of plain katana) and Sasuke (from three-bladed FuumaShuriken to circular [[ChainsawGood chainsaw-like]] blades.) Dulcis in Fundo, some weapons (expecially in the first game) turns out to fit the JokeItem category.
** Furthermore, the manga of the first game has this: Yukimura, Shingen, Mitsuhide and Nouhime are seen using more and more elaborate weapons token from the actual game.
* In ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' this happens with the Blade of Chaos, the Blades of Athena and the Artemis Sword. Is otherwise averted with the other weapons.
* Used in the first three ''VideoGame/{{Onimusha}}'' games with the Oni weapons, bequeathed by benevolent demons. Your default blade is a plain katana.
** The fourth game avert this, as the weapon design is unchanged.
* In ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime'' the main swords used by the prince gets more and more elaborate, starting from a boring palace sword and ending up with the royal InfinityPlusOneSword that annihilates all mooks in one blow.
* In ''TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' your sword starts out pretty plain looking. When you upgrade it once, it now has two blades and a more decorative hilt. Upgrading it a second time, the sword now has a gold-colored diamond pattern along the blade and a fancier handle still. There's also an unlockable fourth sword that's technicolored and has black roses etched onto the blade, and also a sword Link uses in one of his transformations has two blades that are shaped as a double-helix.
** ''TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' is about the creation of the Master Sword. You start with the basic Goddess Sword, and throughout the game it gets refined by three sacred flames, evolving each time, until it eventually ends with the Master Sword.
*** The shields also become more elaborate as they get upgraded. Each gets a new, more detailed design on the front, and in the case of wooden and iron shields, extra metal bands.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype2}}'' Heller's {{Shapeshifter Weapon}}s become larger, fancier and more menacing when upgraded to second and fourth (final) levels.
* In ''{{Genji}}'', Yoshitsune's standard swords (those found in normal gameplay without item forging or unlocking secrets) will slowly look better and better, with the tip broadening a little, culminating in the Douji Killer sword, which is so elaborate and evolved that it doesn't look like a katana anymore. The same goes for most of Benkei's clubs or spears.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:First Person Shooter]]
* From ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' the Engineer's Sentry Gun and Dispenser are the most obvious, and all of the pickup or craftable weapons are more decorative than usual. [[DownplayedTrope Downplayed]] in that most pickup or craftable weapons are side-grades rather than straight upgrades.
* ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'' is a perfect example. As you upgrade your weapons at "Power to the People" stations, the look of your gun gets more and more elaborate. The Tommygun getting a drum-barrel magazine when you upgrade its clip size is just one example.
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[[folder:MMORPG]]
* In ''WorldOfWarcraft'' more powerful weapons tend to be more exotic-looking and elaborate. The same goes for armors and shoulderpads, often to a ridicolous extent.
* Level 50 weapons in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV suddenly become elaborately designed works of art compared to the simple weapons you were using up to level 49.
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[[folder:Platform]]
* Shown above in ''AliceMadnessReturns'', where unlike the previous game her weapons can now evolve and get a better design. There's also a secret downloadable weapon with a different design for each one of them.
* All your arsenal in ''RatchetDeadlocked'' will improve in both strength and design, but only up to level 10.
* In ''VideoGame/JazzJackrabbit 2'' all your ammo (except for the [[ShockAndAwe electrical gun]]) can be upgraded if you break the right crate. The new ammo is more powerful and looks a little better in design.
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[[folder:RPG]]
* Several weapons from ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series. A standard iron or steel weapon will invariably be less powerful than the [[PowerGlows iridescent green glass weapons]], the [[BlingOfWar gold-inlaid ebony weapons]], or the [[SpikesOfVillainy spiky]], [[GoodColorsEvilColors dark-grey-and-red]] [[EvilWeapon Daedric weapons.]] Daedric artifacts are often, [[ExcaliburInTheRust though not always]], even more impressive.
* ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'' has the weapons become more elaborate as they level up.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' and ''[[VideoGame/DragonQuestIX IX]]'': some weapons can be upgraded in their "super" form (for example the [[HolyHandGrenade Zombie Killer]] becomes the Zombie Buster and so on). However, the upgraded weapon looks just like the original, or it gets a different color pattern.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Fable III}}'' your [[EvolvingWeapon starting weapons]] gain certain decorations as you level them up, befriend villagers, amass wealth, kill zombies, etc.
* In ''VideoGame/TitanQuest'' this is applied mainly with the armor, shields and helmets of various kinds. For example the stronger version of the Corinthian Helmet (a typical greek helm) is the same helmet but now bigger and with a different color and crest. A number of monster-specific and rare pieces subvert this trope by being either rough and jury-rigged (the former) or elegant and stylized (the latter) compared to top tier normal items.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Diablo}} Diablo II]]'' too has this with armor: the more powerful the armor, the more parts of your body will cover. A slight exception is the strongest one, the Ancient Armor, which leaves the character with a "top level" armor type all over his body except for the left shoulder, which looks like as if armorless.
** Diablo and its emulators (''{{VideoGames/Torchlight}}, ''VideoGames/HellgateLondon'', etc) have weapon types and models that repeat over several series. Later weapons are more elaborate than the first ones, but after that it blurs into subjectivity whether they're more elaborate or effective. However Legendaries have unique and more elaborate models that tell you at a glance they're more powerful. Then there's an inversion with some idiosyncratic uniques; they might do something cool, but aren't more effective for regular use than something of equal or even lesser tier.
* The higher the enhancement bonus of a weapon in NeverwinterNights, the more impressive it will look.
* While the fact that the weapons are displayed only in sprites, ''VideoGame/SecretOfMana'' displays this trope through its upgradable weapon system. In some cases this involves changing one weapon into a completely new one (as an example, the standard Boomerang can be forged into a Shuriken after progressing through a certain number of tiers).
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' plays this straight by making the weapons' unleash abilities (critical hits) become fancier and more flashy as you find better weapons while the weapons themselves look very plain. This is due to sprite limitations. ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'' plays the trope straight.
* The ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' games feature this trope, though due to the nature of the designs of the various upgraded Keyblades, rather than the designs getting more elaborate as time goes on, you generally take a sudden leap from a simple default weapon that looks like a stylized skeleton key to whimsically designed "keys" based of a Disney movie or Square Enix character.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}: FES'', fused weapons and special weapons are much more fancy than regular ones. They're also much more effective due to bonus status effects, which you get to choose on the fused weapons (including lessening or negating your party's weaknesses). Each InfinityPlusOneSword is the greatest, most elaborate fused weapon of its class.
* Most ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games from the PlayStation1 era on would feature this in some form.
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[[folder:Strategy]]
* Not exactly a weapon example, but many military units from ''BattleForWesnoth'' becomes more and more detailed and well-armed as they gain levels.
* Not exactly ingame, but those ads for ''VideoGame/UrbanRivals'' that show the character going from vaguely Literature/HarryPotter-esque [[http://urban-rivals.wikia.com/wiki/Kenny#Pictures mage to firebird-with-a-sword]] might count, there's also a thin redhead soldier gaining muscles and facial hair until he has a giant beard and flamethrower bagpipes.
* Seen in ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpires'', especially with the swordsmen in the first game and the infantry in the second game (starting from a club wielding militian to a chainmail-wearing warrior with shield and longsword to a full-plated guy with a giant sword).
* Mortal soldiers from ''VideoGame/AgeOfMythology''. For example, an early Greek Hoplite will be a random guy with a big spear. As you buy and research more technology, he'll start gaining more armor, helmet and a shield. Also the colors indicated the general quality, with golden weapons and armors at the top.
* An old FourX space game, ''VideoGame/SpacewardHo'' includes designing your own ships. The various aspects of the ship (speed, gunpower, etc) are scalable and the higher the number, the more awesome the ship ends up looking.
* In ''VideoGame/ClashOfClans'', buildings and troops get fancier looking as they are upgraded. A good example is the walls going from wooden stakes on their first level, to electric pylons at their highest level.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Third Person Shooter]]
* In ''TransformersFallOfCybertron'', when you buy a upgrade for one of your guns, the upgrade is reflected by the gun's appearance changing. For example, when you buy the upgrade to increase the clip size, the gun will have a larger magazine.
* In ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising'', the basic-looking weapons of each class are generally more balanced as far as ''that class'' of weapons goes[[note]]First Blade, Fortune Bow, Standard Orbitars, Violet Palm, EZ Cannon, Insight Staff, Crusher Arm, Ore Club, and Tiger Claws are the 'sample' weapon of each type[[/note]], while more ''stylistic'' weapons are more specialized. The [[InfinityPlusOneSword Three Sacred Treasures]] are absolutely ''beautiful'' and all around ''lethal'' [[note]]Ornes, normally invulnerable, can ''and will'' die from a single Arrow of Light[[/note]], and the [[TransformingMecha Great Sacred Treasure]] is a whole 'nother kettle of [[SuperSmashBrothers Feyesh]] [[note]]BeamSpam, anyone?[[/note]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Warframe}}'' runs the gamut. Event-exclusive Wraith and Vandal weapons, as well as Syndicate weapons, just get a fancy new paint job. [[LostTechnology Prime weapons]], on the other hand, get decked out in all kinds of [[BlingBlingBang gold ornamentation]]. While most of them still resemble their vanilla counterparts at the core, a few (such as the Latron Prime and Paris Prime) are nearly unrecognizable. All of the variants mentioned feature statistical improvements over their standard counterparts, although the exact nature of the upgrade varies from weapon to weapon.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WideOpenSandbox]]
* In ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'', most weapons get more and more elaborate as they get upgraded.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other Media]]
* The Zorg ZF-1 in ''Film/TheFifthElement.''
* Played straight in ''Zoids'' most of the time. Earlier [[HumongousMecha Zoids]] tended to be little more than cockpits and guns attached to wheels or sticks vaguely resembling legs. Naturally early Zoids tend to pale in comparison to more modern Zoids which in addition to more elaborate, organic-looking designs, also have [[MoreDakka more guns]], better guns, better armor, and [[TechnologyMarchesOn better technology in general]]. As an example, compare the [[http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20091015202621/zoids/images/b/b6/Ojrgarius.jpg Garius]] to the more modern [[http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130819112732/zoids/images/e/e0/20130819_709552.jpg Gojulas]]. For extra fun, compare both to the even more advanced [[http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20081214021924/zoids/images/f/f3/Fgiga.jpg Gojulas Giga]].
* Parodied in the WebComic ''WebComic/RustyAndCo'': The +1 Trident is actually a rake.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In RealLife this is partially played straight: Just compare a stone age spear to a medieval ranseur, or a bronze age sword with a Sengoku-period Katana, or a blunderbuss to a modern rifle. Of course, this can also lead to cases of AwesomeButImpractical weapons if they get too much elaborate, and in cases of prolonged conflict and dwindling funds, such as for many coutries involved in WorldWarII, military weapons will usually sacrifice as much unnecessary form as possible without affecting function.
** Before the industrial era form and function tended to go hand in hand with form often leading as development was funded by noblemen without scientific backgrounds, who needed new weapons to ''look'' dangerous before agreeing to an investment. Once mass production and optimization became important the decorations disappeared very quickly.
** Also, if you're going to go to all the effort make something high quality, you might as well pay a little extra to make it look nice. Conversely, if you can't afford to make it high quality, how could you afford to make it look good?
[[/folder]]

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