Super Trope to:
- Design-It-Yourself Equipment — The logical result of a non-linear upgrade system.
- Evolving Weapon — The upgrading is done by "levelling up" a weapon like a character rather than modifying it.
- Socketed Equipment — Adding bonus-giving items to "slots" on the equipment.
Examples (only list examples which don't belong on a subtrope's page)
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- Cave Story has (in addition to each weapon being an Evolving Weapon) a sidequest which allows the player to upgrade the Polar Star into a powerful charging weapon with infinite ammo (assuming they didn't trade it away).
- Tomb Raider (2013) features weapon upgrades on two levels; individual abilities and improvements, which can be bought with "salvage", and upgrades which unlock new abilities to buy, which are found by collecting "parts" or given to you at plot-specific moments.
- In Bastion, weapon upgrades can be bought after finding the right amount of the relevant collectable for that weapon (which follow a "Something [adjective]" naming pattern). Each weapon has five stages with two upgrades that the player can switch between after unlocking that stage.
- The Legend of Zelda often has sidequests where equipment can be upgraded, the best examples being The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds, which both have multiple upgrade sidequests for the sword (after the Master Sword is picked up it can be sharpened and tempered) and fairies who upgrade other equipment. Skyward Sword includes an Item Crafting shop where nearly every secondary weapon and item can be improved using Random Drops from enemies, and improving the Goddess Sword into the famous Master Sword is a large portion of the quest. Of course, every step along that pathway also improves damage dealt.
First Person Shooter
- In BioShock (and BioShock 2), you could find "Power to the People" stations. Each station allowed one upgrade to be applied to an existing weapon (e.g. larger magazine, more damage) with a corresponding change to its model.
- The Engineer class in Team Fortress 2 is based around placing and upgrading various buildings to support their team (most notably the sentry gun; an automated gun which goes from a knee high machine gun to a dual minigun/rocket launcher platform).
- In Unreal, the very first weapon acquired in single player mode is an energy pistol with constant ammo regeneration. It can be permanently upgraded several times with missable power-ups, its projectiles changing colour and becoming more damaging at the cost of a slower rate of fire and ammo regeneration. Still, that gun is so weak that in multiplayer, players wield a different pistol by default.
- In Left 4 Dead, the pistol, which everyone starts with, can be "upgraded" to Guns Akimbo by picking up a second one.
- In many MMORPGs, you can get numerical upgrades (+1, +2, etc) to attack/defence for any piece of weapon or armour from a blacksmith. The success of the upgrade is determined by chance, with better upgrades being less likely to work (and purchasable items increasing it). Examples include:
Role Playing Game
- In Disgaea, all items (even consumables) can be upgraded by going inside their "item world" and clearing levels of it (as well as rescuing "innocents" - NPCs which raise the items' stats).
- Final Fantasy X. In addition to customisable weapons:
- The Infinity+1 Sword for each character had to be upgraded twice (by finding its corresponding Upgrade Artifacts and taking them to the right place) to unlock its full potential (with the added bonus of upgrading one of Yuna's Aeons).
- "Brotherhood", the sword Wakka gives Tidus near the beginning, is upgraded part way through the game, when Wakka talks to his brother on the Farplane.
- In Dragon Age II, rather than changing armor, your party members merely improve on the stats provided by their outfits by picking up upgrade components.
- In Eternal Eden Fierro's nun-chucks are improved by upgrading them with Bravestones.
- In Monster Hunter, weapon upgrades become available once you've unlocked the relevant tier and own at least one required material.
- Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep's "meld" system fits the trope in spirit by allowing more powerful abilities and moves to be created by combining other moves with each other.
- In God Eater Burst, All non-clothing equipment is subject to Elemental Crafting. In order to make the upgrade for a given piece of equipment available you must have the materials needed to craft it.
- Chrono Trigger sees the Masamune upgraded from the Sword of Plot Advancement to Frog's Infinity+1 Sword when it's full potential is unlocked towards the end.
- Dungeon Crawl features scrolls of enchant weapon and enchant armour, which improve item's attacking or defensive capabilities respectively, scroll of vorpalise weapon to make a temporary brand (flaming, freezing etc.) permanent, and The Shining One and Kikubaaqudgha will permanently brand one weapon with holy wrath and pain respectively at the highest piety level.
- In addition to scrolls, which work similarly to the previous entry, Ancient Domains of Mystery allows the player to upgrade weapons and armour through the use of Smithing skill. Heavily smithed items can sometimes surpass artifacts in their efficiency.
- Path of Exile utilizes both this trope (in terms of either directly increasing basic offensive or defensive stats or granting random magical properties) and Socketed Equipment to almost infinite upgrade possibilities.
- Lunarosse applies this only to weapons, not armor. Twice, you'll need to get some unobtainium to keep boosting them.
- Aveyond 4: Shadow of the Mist applies this for Boyle's staff and Phye's sword.
- Boyle can increase the magical capacity of his Corrupted Will by trading in Darkness points obtained from collecting Cheekis.
- Phye's Warmonger grows stronger when it absorbs the blood of demons.
- Several Might and Magic games allowed enchanting non-magical items (of sufficient value, so it couldn't be done on the cheapest crap or stuff that can't be sold) with a random enchantment. This wasn't necessarily an upgrade in actual power, but it did increase the price of the item (especially with the least power-relevant enchantment — making it antique).
- In Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, the pistol you find near the beginning of the game can be upgraded if you find the parts for it and take them to a workbench at the right point in the game.
- In Resident Evil 4, all of Leon's guns can have various upgrades purchased from the merchant (most even have a "special" upgrade which becomes available when all the others have been bought).
- Dino Crisis gives you three weapons — a handgun, a shotgun, and a grenade launcher — and each of them has two enhancements, usually boosting their damage output and rate of fire.