Rather than having endless different weapons, In Final Fantasy XIII you have only a few weapons which you have the option of upgrading at any save station once you have received the omni kit key item (you can’t miss this item, so if you don’t have it yet, don’t worry, just keep playing and you WILL get it). Once you have the omni kit, you can start using all those hereto useless items you’ve picked up in the early stages of Final Fantasy XIII!
Collecting items for upgrading.
You can find these all over the place, in treasure spheres, through battles and just sometimes given out at random. Check my Final Fantasy XIII combat guide for help on how to get a high score and help get those rare items! You’ll need to quite a large stash to get anywhere, especially at the higher levels, so get grinding!
How upgrades work:
When you go to the upgrade screen, you can convert these items into EXP for your weapon. You need to hit a certain EXP threshold for each level, and once you do, your weapon becomes stronger. Each upgrade also increase the weapon’s EXP multiplier, meaning that subsequent upgrades give a little more EXP than they would at their base levels. As a basic rule of thumb, organic components like broken claws and ooze tend to give you a greater XP multiplier, this increasing the effectiveness of later upgrades. Technical upgrades (Icons in the inventory is a screw) such as cables offer a greater XP boost, but not as large of an EXP multiplier.
Upgrade weapon type.
After you’ve ground through several levels worth of upgrading, you will eventually find that the weapon level becomes a star, usually around the 20 to 30 mark for a weapon’s first form and around 60 for its second form. This means that weapon cannot get any stronger through upgrades, and must instead be transformed into a new weapon using a transformation catalyst. You won’t find many of these in Final Fantasy XIII, and they are very expensive to buy. But you use them the same way you would use any upgrade item- but they are only available to star weapons.
Once the transformation is complete, bingo. You have a new weapon and can start upgrading again.
One important thing to note here is the fact that the new weapon will often have lower stats to start with than the old one. However, it’s potential stats are much higher. This means that when you upgrade, you should try to have a supply of components ready to buff the weapon back up again- or your character may very well end up badly underpowered!
Identifying weapon capabilities
The simplest way to see what a weapon does is to go to the equipment screen and change it. you will see how the strength and magic shifts in the top left, but also if the weapon has any special properties such as Sazh’s Antares Deluxes which give a chain boost. When a weapon is upgraded to a new form, it nearly always keeps any special abilities that it originally had. The only exception to this is when the ability is upgraded to a more powerful form.
You can only get these through upgrading. The important thing to remember is that each weapon is no better or worse on the standard base line that any other for that character. Some will push a character’s magic higher, some their strength, others take a more balanced approach. As you upgrade and change your weapons, this trend will continue. Confusingly, the final upgrade for any weapon in Final Fantasy XIII always carries the same name, regardless of the weapon it started out from- yet it will still display the stat rates of the weapon it began with. Supposedly, this is your ‘ultimate weapon’- but there are 8 of them for each character!
In short, there are NO Ultimate weapons in Final Fantasy XIII. You can upgrade your weapons to the limit to get the best weapon set, but there is no all powerful item for each character. You will simply need to pick the weapon that best suits your playing style and stick with it. Sad really, feels like the end of an era!
Use Organic components first when upgrading a weapon to increase the effectiveness of the technical components.
Save your game before playing with the upgrades. That way if you waste materials, you won’t need to go hunting for them again!
A character’s starting weapon is their most balanced one. This means it gives about equal bonuses to strength and magic. The exceptions are Vanille, who’s starting weapon inflicts far more magic, and fang who’s starting weapon has far greater strength. Unless you have a very specific party in mind, it’s usually best to stick with these weapons.
After completing Final Fantasy XIII, you have a lot more time to farm the materials you need to upgrade your weapons. Gather up some Gil by killing sacrifices in the last stages of the game (they drop perfume which is very valuable for resale). You can then use this Gil in the Leonara’s garage and R&D depot shops to buy ultracompact reactors, or particle accelerators if you don’t have enough cash. Then buy as much vibrant ooze from the organic component shops as you can.
36 Vibrant ooze will instantly give you a full multiplier for your weapon. Then just burn through as many ultracompact reactors or particle accelerators as you like- the more the better, and try to spend them all at once. Your item’s level will go through the roof.
This method will let you grind your weapon levels up very quickly.