Enhancing in BDO is a science - one that we are trying to break down in this guide, and help you upgrade you gear to the max (possible) level!
Enhancing is one of the mechanics that make Black Desert Online different. It’s not the first MMO to introduce such a system of course, it’s common in Korea. But it is definitely the most popular MMO that uses enhancing in the west, causing many people confusion, rage quits, or pure gambling gratification. 😁
We’re going to assume that you are totally new to BDO for this guide though, and walk you through the first steps of enhancing, all the way into making your ultimate PEN gear (in a few years 😏), as well as talk about different kinds of equipment – weapons, armor, accessories, lifeskill clothes, horse gear etc. etc.
So rest assured, any information you need about enhancing in Black Desert Online is inside this guide, so if you have more experience feel free to jump in the relevant section:
Table of Contents
It’s a question many new players may have, what the hell is enhancing after all?
Well, you know that in most MMOs you acquire gear by completing high-end dungeons, raids and group activities, which of course changes with each and every patch, making your previous gear obsolete?
Well, BDO is the complete opposite of that! Your gear will stay with you for years to come, and you can only progress by enhancing it, starting from level 0 – no enhancement, up to +20, known as PEN.
Every time you are trying to get a higher level on your gear, it’s going to get harder and harder. Hard, meaning very expensive in enhancing materials at first, and then having the risk of downgrading it, or even breaking it forever. Rest assured though, we will cover all that, and each type of gear doesn’t behave the same way.
When you fail to enhance a piece of gear, you will accumulate failstacks, based on many factors we’ll review in depth below. The more you fail, the more failstacks you get, and the higher chance to succeed on your next attempt. There’s a huge strategy behind that, so be patient for the relevant section.
In order to make an attempt at enhancing your gear, you have to use some special enhancing materials, found throughout the world of Black Desert in many different ways.
The main story quests of the game, will award you with many of these materials, as well as walk you through a series of quests that make a small introduction to the enhancing system, so make sure to complete all the main quest as soon as possible. The rewards are just too great to omit!
Without further ado, these are the most important items related to enhancing, and it’s advised that you keep all of them in Velia storage – more on that later, but it’s important to get all your enhancing stuff there!
This is an extensive list, so you will not have all of these items when starting out, but do learn their names / icons so you can easily identify what’s important, and store it in Velia.
Keep in mind that you will get a handful of these materials for free, from in-game attendance rewards (daily logins) as well as special events that come out all the time. BDO, is quite generous with the amount of resources it provides you for free!
Item Usage: Black Stone Armor & Weapon, are the most common and useful enhancing mats, since they are used into attempting most gear up to a certain level, and their average price is around 200K Silver per piece.
So for example, you can use Black Stones to get your weapons / armor up to +15, and this should be your main focus if you are new to the game!
How to Obtain: Black Stones are a quite common drop, from almost any grinding area (low and high), as well as Bosses summoned through Scrolls (redeemed through the Black Spirit, or dropped in the open world).
World Bosses & Field Bosses also drop their fair share of Black Stones, along with many more enhancing mats, so it’s definitely worth farming bosses in BDO.
Item Usage: These are the “upgraded” versions of their respective black stones, quite more expensive and hard to find. A Sharp can go up to 4 million per piece, while Hards hover around 1 million silver.
You heat them together with black stones through Processing, in order to make Concentrated Magical Black Stones (see below).
How to Obtain: These are tricky to grind, and apart from attendance rewards and special events, your only chance at getting them is through Gathering. That’s right! When you are gathering anything, you have a very very small chance of dropping either a “Hard” or a “Sharp” Black Crystal Shard.
The exact drop rates are hard to pinpoint, but they hover around 0.25% for Hards, and 0.1% for Sharps, through any means of gathering (butchering, tanning, mining etc.).
It’s rumored that Farming (pruning & killing pests), has an even bigger drop rate, due to the limited number of actions you can take compared to gathering.
Item Usage: These are the “ultimate black stones”, since they are used to upgrade high-level gear. For example, you need them to get a weapon / armor piece from +15 to +16 (known as PRI) and up.
Similarly, high-level mount / wagon / ship gear uses them – more on that in the enhancement chances section below.
How to Obtain: As mentioned, you get Concentrated Magical Black Stones, by using the Heating action from the Processing Window (L button). More specifically:
Keep in mind that you will always get 1 concentrated out of each process, there’s no chance for extra drops here like most processing recipes do.
Item Usage: These are definitely the most important items in Black Desert Online.
Memory Fragments are used to repair the Max Durability of Boss Gear. Each Memory Fragment repairs 1 Max Durability, and it costs way more than 1 million for each memory, so you can understand better the importance of them.
Artisan’s Memory is essentially the most pay to win item in BDO. By using one along with a Memory Fragment, you repair 4 Max Durability to your gear, instead of just 1 (or 40 instead of 10 for lower grade gear etc.). You can buy them roughly for 40 euros per 100 artisan’s memories, or get 1 for 400 loyalties (4 days of logins).
How to Obtain: Memory Fragments are not easy to come by, so except special events & attendance rewards, the best source of them is running the Scrolls listed just below.
Recently, BDO has introduced a couple more game modes / mechanics that award memory fragments, specifically Shadow Arena (BDO’s “battle royale🤢” mode), as well as Dark Rifts, some bosses that spawn in the world while you play, and you can take them up any time, getting a handful of rewards and a few mems by each.
Item Usage: All 3 of these items work the same way – they drop from grinding areas, and you can combine 5 of them into making a boss scroll, which after defeating will award you with memory fragments.
To combine the pieces, you just have to place them in a + shape in your inventory (un-tick auto-arrange first).
Keep in mind also, that you can run the scrolls into a group of up to 5 people, and those “leeching”, also have a chance to get 1 memory fragment (around 50% chance on Pila Fes, and a bit lower on the other ones) out of each scroll (make sure to hit the last boss, and have your pets fed).
How to Obtain: Ancient Relic Crystal Shards are “special”, since you can acquire them by AFK Fishing. So if you can afford to do that while you’re away from the game or sleeping, and you don’t have any better AFK income (fishing is one of the worst afk incomes), feel free to fish for relics. You’ll get around 10 finished scrolls per week, maybe more or less depending on your inventory size and fishing level. You can also grind for them in the Calpheon region (totally not worth it, unless you go for Hexe Sanctuary, which also drops the accessory Witch’s Earring, and can provide good money / hour).
Forbidden Books will drop from Mediah grinding regions, and nowhere else. Arguably the best way to farm them is by rotating Mediah elites, since they have a quite high drop rate, or if you’re not up to the task you can go to Abandoned Iron Mine where there are a lot of elites either way, and nice Combat / Skill XP while you re still below 60 level.
Scrolls of Ancient Wisdom are the most important ones, since they award the most memory fragments per scroll, and they are the fastest to complete (trust me when you are running 50 scrolls with a group, you want it to go as fast as possible!) You can grind for them all over Valencia, so there’s many factors as to where you’d want / could go:
There’s way more places to grind in Valencia, with various pros and cons depending on your needs, so press ESC and check the Item Drop window for more. We don’t need to discuss about the higher ones, since when you will be able to go there, you won’t need an enhancing guide 😁.
Important! If you are grinding for scrolls (which you should be), make sure to level the node to 10 level as soon as possible, as it will make a tremendous difference into your drop rate. Other ways to increase your drop rate is the 20% from P2W Blessing of Kamasylvia Buff (12,5 euros per 15 days), the 20% from P2W (and sometimes free gifts) of Item Collection Increase Scroll, as well as raising your ecology points by grinding various monsters (press H key to check your progress). Last but not least, keep in mind that the PvP server Arsha, offers a 50% increased drop rate at all times!
Item Usage: An item you will fall in love with, so make sure to keep them safe, and don’t use them carelessly!
Advice of Valks can hold a Failstack amount inside it, so you can save it for later. For example using more than 25 failstacks for +15 to +16 weapon, is considered a waste, since these 25 stacks can be used for +16 to +17 as well. So this way you can save your stacks, and use them at a more appropriate moment, without losing your enhancing momentum.
How to Obtain: You will get most of these from in-game rewards & attendance. But you can also create your own Advice of Valks, by buying a Blacksmith’s Secret Book, and saving your current stack amount.
Item Usage: As mentioned above, you can use a Blacksmith’s Secret Book to save your Failstacks into an Advice of Valks item.
You will notice there are 20, 30, 40 and 50 versions (as well as 100 in the pearl store), so for example a 40 book can hold up to 40 failstacks. If you have 41 failstacks, you will need a 50 book, so the best way to use them is as close to a round number.
Any time you have a big stack, and you are unsure you can use it effectively, just save it for later, it’s more than worth the silver cost.
How to Obtain: You can buy these from any Blacksmith, if you are unsure just click the search icon on the left of your minimap, and click the repair icon.
Item Usage: Another item worth falling in love with, Valks’ Cry (and its counterpart, Fairy’s Blessing), will make your life way easier when you want to upgrade these very important pieces of gear!
In essence, you can stack up to 10 Valks’ Cries / Fairy’s Blessings (or any combination of two), and each one will count as an extra “free failstack”.
When they were first announced, it was mentioned in the patch notes that they gave a flat 1% chance each, but with the recent patch that revealed enhancement chance, they seem to be working like normal failstacks.
I personally had many nice successes by using 10 Valks’ on top of a good failstack, so I’d say they feel more important than failstacks.. It’s all RNG either way 😉.
How to Obtain: Again, attendance rewards & special events will supply you with a nice amount of Valks’ Cries, so I would advise stacking them for the right moment, and try to never have less than 20 available at any moment. You can also buy them with loyalties, up to 5 per week, for 100 loyalties each.
Fairy’s Blessings are just another way to trade your Leila’s Petals – I would advise after you’re done & happy with the fairy you have – and turn them into an item that works exactly the same way with Valks’ Cry.
Item Usage: These rare stones, offer a way less expensive way of upgrading your weapons & gear from +13 to +15 (at most cases). These levels are the hardest ones to achieve, since they are the last levels you can use the normal black stones, and their success rate is even lower than that of +16 to +17.
By using the right amount of stones for each level, you will have a 100% success chance on your upgrade, and you are going to lose far less Max Durability than if you were to Force Enhance the item (more on force enhancing below).
How to Obtain: Apart from some rare in-game rewards, you will drop these from world / field bosses. So if you are occasionally killing these bosses, you will slowly amass a good amount of Magic Black Stones, and they can come handy in some future situations.
Item Usage: Cron Stones are one more P2W way to help you progress.. faster? Not so much, maybe safer, but it is really too P2W too care for most people.
Anyway, you can use Cron Stones in high level upgrade attempts, where there is a chance of downgrading or breaking your item, and protect it from downgrading, or breaking.
In essence, 1 Cron Stone costs 2 million silver, and you need half the item’s cost in Cron Stones in order to protect it. For example if an item costs 300 mil, you will have to get 75 cron stones in order to protect it. You lose the cron stones no matter if the attempt succeeds or fails.
Why P2W you ask? Because you can buy character outfits from the pearl store, and extract them into cron stones (and valks’ cries). So this is an extremely expensive way a few whales are able to progress faster by spending an insane amount of money, and one of the main reasons there has been a great outrage in BDO’s player base. Keep in mind that you can “only” buy up to 5 outfits per week from the pearl store, to “prevent” whales from.. whaling (5 outfits per week would cost around 1K euros per month).
How to Obtain: Again, attendance & in-game rewards. You will get quite a few of them from various events, so just stack them endlessly into your Velia storage.
You will need them way, way, way later in the game, for some very risky and expensive attempts. Pretty much, you will have 1 “free” PEN attempt by the time you get there roughly.
Item Usage: The last (but not least) important item you should have stacked in your Velia storage, is Caphras Stones. These beautys are too late-game as well, so it’s worth to just keep them for the right moment.
They can be used to slowly upgrade your high-end gear, through 20 caphras levels. Each one will give you a small amount of stat upgrade, until you reach level 20, and the 100% upgrade to the next level of your item, reaching the original stats.
To be honest, the best way of using them is very late-game, in a PEN item! In essence, a PEN item with 20 levels of Caphras stones, would equal to a HEX item, which i!s an item level that doesn’t exist in the game. So it can give you an immense edge, if you are planning to reach the top of BDO world 🤓!
How to Obtain: Caphras Stones have a very small chance of dropping anywhere! So any monster you kill in any area, and any item you Gather, have a chance to drop a Caphras Stone. It’s a passive grind, so you can’t actively grind for more Caphras Stones.
The most direct way you can grind them, is by actually buying them from the Central Market.
Keep in mind also, that all Valencia grinding dailies award you with 1 Caphras each, so it’s one more good passive way to gain them, if you would grind in Valencia anyway. If you don’t have the daily unlocked in your node’s node manager, search for the area quests and you will soon unlock it.
Congrats if you made it this far, cause this is where the real enhancing begins! You have everything stocked up in your Velia storage, now there’s 2 questions you’re waiting an answer to:
Enhancing is all about Failstacks.
Every time you fail to enhance anything, you will earn 1 (or more) Failstack(s).
The item upgrade system in BDO is based around failing to upgrade your items, so don’t worry about it, it’s bitter, it’s hard, but that’s how real life – I mean BDO – is!
Even though you will find detailed tables with enhancement chances for all items below, we are going to take note of a rough example that will help the rest of the process.
Let’s say you finally got your first shiny Kzarka weapon, and you want to get it up all the way to TRI so that you can rip through Valencia mobs like cheese, and have something worthy to link back to your guildies, when they are posting their 5 bil TET accessories on guild chat, and you feel like:
These are your chances / ideal failstacks for a Kzarka weapon (and any weapon as well, although you’ll want to spend less failstacks on green items since repairing them is cheap):
This is a general guideline – a safe one, since boss gear repairs are expensive – and you can use the full numbers in the enhancement chances tables to decide your own strategy.
Keep in mind that chances to succeed +13 to +15 are very low, and it’s not worth it to use higher Failstacks, just be patient, and if you keep on failing save your FS with Advice of Valks, you will need them later trust me! The failstacks you can build from these items are one of a kind 😉.
There’s many ways to build failstacks, but I’m going to present you the arguably cheapest one (I’m looking out for your wallet here), and the reason you do all that in Velia!
So, the first levels of your weapon are safe to enhance, so how are you going to build all these 10, 15, 20, 25 Failstacks you need for the higher levels? As mentioned, every time you fail an upgrade you get 1 failstack, so what we need to do, is fail a ton of items to get there!
You won’t have to destroy all of your gear, so wipe your tears and head on to Velia’s Blacksmith, the dear and beloved Tranan Underfoe! There, it’s the only place where you can buy the precious Reblath Armor pieces, also known as the cheapest failstacks in-game!
Reblath are extremely cheap, so your continuous repairs on them will be cheap too. Just choose the shoes or the gloves, since they are the lowest price, whatever you fancy the most!
You will have to work on them at first, and get them to +14, since +14 to +15 Reblath attempts, are the cheapest ones in the game, and the less chance of success so you can build your failstacks. While trying to get to +14, you may reach a Failstack Threshold you’re after (for example 10 Failstacks to attempt +9 at boss weapon), so do that in between! In general, it’s very efficient if you can enhance multiple items at the same time, using optimal FS for each, as long as you don’t forget your true goals and end up with no enhancing materials and no important upgrades.
Then get to work! Press (,) to bring up the Black Spirit, click Enhancement, and put inside your freshly acquired +14 Reblath Shoes, along with a Black Stone (Armor). You will encounter a juicy 2% chance of success, meaning that it’s hard as hell to succeed, and that you’ll eventually get the failstacks you need.. most of the times!
Make sure to check the “Skip Enhancement Animation” box, because you want to fail as fast as possible here. Now that you’re ready, just click at the Enhancement button as fast as humanly possible without any second thoughts. (It’s a conspiracy theory, but it’s worked great for me and many more people so.. don’t follow the tactic at your own risk 😁).
You won’t stop pressing, until the game won’t let you press anymore, since it means the Reblath has run out of Max Durability, and you have a precious +16 Failstack waiting for you! (feel free to just get to +10-+12 for the easier levels)
Then, you either ended up with +16 FS which you can use on your important gear, or you succeeded on +15 Reblath, which means you should a) buy more Reblath from the Blacksmith, then click on Repair -> Recover Max Durability, and turn your Reblath back to 100 Max Durability, then b) click the search icon left of minimap and type Priest, so you can find Velia’s local priest, and go there to Cleanse your Reblath from +15 back to +14, for 100K Silver.
It’s quite safe to reach 20 failstacks by using Reblath armor, and I even might say +30 failstacks (though this is a more dangerous practice).
But most of the times, you will want to use your +20 failstacks on PRI, DUO & TRI attempts, since it’s the most profitable and logical thing you can do!
So how you build your failstacks after Reblath is your own decision, and heavily depends on your goals, but let’s see a quick example:
Very Important! This, again, is a rough guideline. I would personally advise to always try and attempt on items you actually need, even if that ends up more expensive in memory fragments. Personally, if I want to build FS, I do very low attempts, for example 16FS PRI to DUO, because it really sucks when you succeed, so you at least don’t want to spend too many stacks on it.
A huge gear goal in BDO is getting “softcap”, which is in essence 250AP.
The right timing to go for TET heavily varies on how much you play, how much you AFK, and how.. “lucky” you are.
If you are making a lot of money and you are in your “end-game”, then you can afford to attempt TETs at 50 FS (I know too many people that succeeded TETs at 40-50 FS as well). If you are new to the game, and failing your attempt will set you back a lot, then it’s better to attempt closer to 90 FS.
In order to reach softcap, you need to get 3 boss weapons to TET, 4 boss armor pieces to TET, and all of your yellow accessories to TRI (or TET blue accessories).
Personally, I’ve had good success in the range of 75-90 FS, and I admit to spending 106 FS on my TET Dande 😁! It’s definitely not worth to Cron or Caphras for TET, just go for it 🙂.
One does not simply.. go for PEN!
These are your realistic options for getting a PEN item:
Okay, I can’t give you a serious guide for PEN though, by that point, you will know better than anyone how you want to go about it, but pretty much, the 4 options above, are what you get.
Most serious players will pick choice 2 or 4:
😂 Jokes aside, you should probably follow the same strategy as well, if you want to keep your sanity, keep having fun with the game, and actually get a proud PEN at some point!
Enhancement chances used to be a top secret that thousands of players would sweat to data mine for, tons of conspiracy theories, and tons of excels with information.
Now, we can simply see the enhancement chance on the enhancement window, for each item inserted there. Convenient right ? (though I’d vote for hidden chances any day.. oh these days man 😁)
A few good people have already started making tables with these numbers, and we’re sharing them below for your convenience:
Green, Blue & Yellow (Boss) weapons have the same chances of success (as it was uncovered with the visible chances, we all thought they weren’t..).
However, since the repair cost between green, blue & yellow are vastly different, I’d advise using low chances / stacks for green items, and higher chances / stacks for boss items. Don’t even bother enhancing blue items, unless you know exactly what you’re doing, and you can do the required P2W (repair with artisan’s memories).
Data taken from Lion's Enhancement Table
Same with weapons, green, blue & yellow gear has the same chance of success, and the rest of the tips apply too.
Data taken from Lion's Enhancement Table
Enhancement chances for Accessories, Lifeskill Clothes, Horse / Ship / Wagon Gear etc. will be added soon.