Upgrading your gear, known as gear honing in Lost Ark, is the main way to become stronger in the game and increase your item level.

Your progress in Lost Ark largely revolves around honing gear after you complete the main questline in North Vern, making it important to understand.

Recommended Read: Lost Ark – Stronghold Guide

Honing works similarly to upgrading gear in some other MMORPGs, but there are aspects of it that are unique to Lost Ark.

You can hone gear in any major city by visiting the Gear Honing NPC, but it can first be done after you reach level 50, have completed Ealyn’s Gift, and have tier 1 gear.

In this guide, we give you all the information you need on the honing system in Lost Ark, from how it works to what the chances of successful honing are.

Table of contents

What is honing in Lost Ark?

Honing is the name for upgrading equipment and weapons in Lost Ark.

When you hone a piece of equipment or a weapon, you raise its ‘+’ level, increasing its stats and item level.

In the end-game of Lost Ark, your progression is directly tied to honing your gear.

Honing your gear is the only way to increase the item level of your character and thus the only way to unlock later main story questlines and end-game content.

While there are many ways to increase the overall damage output of your character, honing is responsible for most of your damage output increase from the time you reach level 50 till you have a full set of upgraded tier 3 gear.

When can you hone gear?

When you’re playing through Lost Ark, you might wonder how and when you’re able to upgrade the gear that you acquire.

You can first start to hone gear in Lost Ark after you’ve reached level 50, completed the quest Ealyn’s Gift in Vern Castle in North Vern, and acquired at least one piece of gear that is tier 1.

Contrary to some other MMORPGs, you cannot hone all gear in Lost Ark, only tier 1, 2, and 3 gear. The first place you can acquire tier 1 gear is in Chaos Dungeons.

Chaos Dungeons are unlocked after reaching Vern Castle in North Vern through the main questline and completing the quest Ealyn’s Gift.

If a piece of equipment or a weapon doesn’t say tier 1, 2, or 3 next to its item level and doesn’t have the Current Level Honing XP bar in its description, it cannot be honed. Accessories cannot be honed either.

Most players reach level 50 before reaching the North Vern continent, which means that you’ll likely be playing for a bit at level 50 before gaining access to honing.

The guide quest ‘Strengthen Gear by Honing!’, quickly takes you through the basics of honing, but you can find a more in-depth explanation of the process in the next paragraph of this guide.

You can start the quest through the Quest Journal after you’ve completed the main story quest, Ealyn’s Gift.

While you level to 50 in Lost Ark, you don’t need to focus on your gear at all, as it will quickly be replaced, and there is no way to upgrade it.

How to hone gear in Lost Ark

Once you’ve acquired a piece of equipment or weapon that is tier 1 or higher, it’s time to start honing it.

You can hone gear in Lost Ark by visiting the Gear Honing NPC, which is located in every major town. You can use the map to find their exact location in a major town by looking for the hammer icon or by searching for Gear Honing.

Honing a piece of equipment or a weapon consists of two parts – upgrading and gear honing.


Before you can hone a piece of gear, you need to first upgrade it, which you do by selecting it in the left-side menu in the Gear Honing window, clicking Upgrade in the middle of the window, dragging the slider to the max, or clicking Max, and then clicking the Upgrade button.

Lost Ark upgrading gear to 100%
Screenshot: Gamerempire.net

Upgrading a piece of gear costs both shards and silver. What type of shards are needed to upgrade a piece of gear depends on what tier it is.

Once you’ve upgraded a piece of equipment or weapon to 100%, you can start honing it, and its upgrade level will stay at 100% until you’ve successfully honed it to the next honing level, at which point the upgrade level is reset to 0% again.

Gear Honing

Now that you’ve brought the upgrade level of a piece of gear to 100%, you can hone it.

To attempt to bring the selected piece of gear to the next honing level, click the Gear Honing button, which becomes active after you’ve upgraded it to 100%, and then click the Gear Honing button once more.

Lost Ark gear honing window
Screenshot: Gamerempire.net

Unlike upgrading, gear honing isn’t guaranteed at higher honing levels, which means that you’ll likely need to attempt to hone gear several times before getting it to the next honing level later.

If honing is successful, both the item level and the stats of the honed item are increased.

Every gear honing attempt costs both destruction or guardian stones and leapstones, shards, and later also gold, silver, and fusion material.

Again, the type of destruction or guardian stone, shard, leapstone, and fusion material needed to hone depend on the tier of the selected piece of gear.

You can find both the required materials for each gear tier and the gear honing success probabilities at each honing level later in this guide.

The first many honing levels gear honing has a 100% chance of success, but after level 6, the success chance falls as honing level increases.

When the chance of success honing is no longer 100%, a failed honing attempt increases the chance of the next honing attempt being successful – called the Failure Success Rate Bonus.

It keeps increasing with each failed attempt up to a certain point, and after a successful honing attempt, the additional success chance is reset to zero.

The higher the current honing level, the lower the base success rate is, and the lower the maximum achievable success rate with Failure Success Rate Bonus is.

Failure Success Rate Bonus is a separate system from Artisan Energy, which is another pity system built into honing.

Artisan’s Energy

Artisan’s Energy is a pity system that ensures that you do not end up keep attempting to hone the same piece of gear to the next level without success.

Every time you attempt to increase the honing level of a piece of equipment or a weapon and fail, the Artisan’s Energy for that specific item goes up.

When Artisan’s Energy for a specific piece of equipment or weapon reaches +100%, the next honing attempt is guaranteed to be successful.

You can see how much Artisan’s Energy is increased for an item if the honing attempt fails by looking at the green parentheses next to Artisan’s Energy in the window right before honing an item.

Lost Ark Artisan's Energy
Screenshot: Gamerempire.net

The orange percentage to the left of the green parentheses is the Artisan’s Energy you’ve built up thus far. The current Artisan’s Energy can also be viewed from the upgrade window.

Whenever you successfully hone an item to the next honing level, the Artisan’s Energy that you built up for it through failed attempts is reset to zero. In other words, if you successfully hone an item to the next honing level before Artisan’s Energy kicks in, Artisan’s Energy makes no difference.

The amount Artisan’s Energy increases with each failed honing attempt is lower the higher the current honing level of the item.

This means that more failed honing attempts are required for higher honing level items before Artisan’s Energy gives guaranteed honing success.

What gear to prioritize when honing

What honing priority you should use when honing gear depends on what role you play.

If you’re playing as a DPS, you should prioritize upgrading your weapon first, then gloves, shoulders, headgear, legwear, and chestpiece, in that order.

The reason why you want to hone gear in that order as a damage dealer is that the weapon is responsible for most of your character’s attack power, and the remaining equipment pieces give varying amounts of your main stat, with gloves giving the most and chestpiece giving the least.

When honing your weapon to the next level, your character gains more attack power than honing your headgear to the next level, for example, given that they’re both at the same honing level.

Likewise, upgrading your gloves gives your character a greater attack power boost than upgrading your legwear, given that they are the same honing level, as gloves have a higher base main stat than legwear.

The reason why there is a difference in the amount of main stat acquired from honing different types of equipment is that their stats are increased by a percentage when honed, meaning those with a higher base main stat enjoy higher absolute increases in main stat.

Equipment that has lower base main stat amounts has higher base defensive stats.

If you’re playing support, it’s generally best to prioritize in the opposite order than damage dealers, meaning you should start with the chestpiece and upgrade your weapon last.

The reason why supports generally are recommended to prioritize in the opposite order is that they usually are better off building defensive stats instead of damage.

Even though these are the best way to prioritize your honing, you shouldn’t exclusively hone your weapon or gloves, as honing costs are a major factor in honing. You want to upgrade your gear simultaneously.

The priority is for later when a single honing upgrade is difficult to achieve and you’re not sure which item to start with.

Honing probabilities

The probability of successful honing decreases as the current honing level of an item increases.

Here is an overview of the chance of successful honing at each honing level in Lost Ark:

Tier 1 & 2 honing odds

Tier 3 rare and epic honing odds

Tier 3 legendary honing odds

Tier 3 gear has two different honing systems in terms of item level upgrades for rare or epic gear and legendary gear. Legendary tier 3 gear can reach higher item levels than rare and epic tier 3 gear. In tier 3, +15 rare or epic gear equals +6 legendary gear.

You can slightly increase your chance of successful honing by researching in the Lab in your Stronghold.

Honing costs for each gear tier

Honing gear in Lost Ark comes at a cost, and that cost is what determines the progression rate of your character.

How quickly you can obtain the materials and currency needed to hone gear directly impacts how fast you can increase a character’s item level.

The costs of honing gear depend both on the type of gear, its current honing level, and its tier.

Here are the costs of honing the different gear tiers in Lost Ark:

Tier 1 gear honing costs

Tier 2 gear honing costs

  • Life Shards and silver are required for upgrading
  • Destruction Stones and Guardian Stones are needed to hone weapons and equipment, respectively
  • Both weapons and equipment require Life Leapstones and Life Shards for honing
  • From honing level +6, honing also costs both gold and fusion material

Tier 3 gear honing costs

  • Honor Shards and silver are required for upgrading
  • Destruction Stone Crystals and Guardian Stone Crystals are needed to hone weapons and equipment, respectively
  • Rare and epic tier 3 weapons and equipment require Honor Leapstones and Honor Shards for honing, and legendary tier 3 gear requires Great Honor Leapstones and Honor Shards
  • From honing level +3, honing rare and epic tier 3 gear also costs fusion material, and from honing level +6, it also costs gold
  • Honing legendary tier 3 gear also costs both gold and fusion material from the start

Great Honor Leapstones are dropped from end-game PvE content like Chaos Dungeons from item level 1370 requirements.

You can also exchange 5 Honor Leapstones for 1 Great Honor Leapstones at the Essential Honing Material Exchange NPC.

The required XP needed to fully upgrade a piece of gear before you can hone it can be reduced slightly through research in the Lab in your Stronghold.

How to get honing materials

As honing is what makes your item level increase, acquiring honing material is the way to progress in the game.

Here is every single way to get honing material in Lost Ark:

  • Chaos Dungeon
  • Guardian Raids
  • Chaos Gate
  • Island Quests
  • World Bosses
  • Dismantling tier 1, 2, and 3 gear
  • Pirate Coins exchange
  • Una’s Tasks
  • Mari’s Secret Shop
  • Auction House
  • Quests after Vern Castle
  • Sylmael Bloodstones exchange
  • Ghost Ship
  • Welcome Challenges
  • Events

Though all of these methods give honing material, most of them only give one or two kinds.

Most content has different tiers within them, corresponding to the gear tiers. They drop honing material corresponding to their tier.

If you need tier 2 honing material, for example, you need to complete tier 2 content, Chaos Dungeons in Yorn and Feiton or level 3 and 4 Guardian Raids.

Special and Additional Materials

You can use special and additional materials to increase the chance of successfully honing gear in Lost Ark.

Additional Materials are the ones that are located on the left side of the honing window under the honing success rate.

Special Materials are the ones located on the right side of the honing window under Special Materials.

Both Additional Materials and Special Materials serve the same purpose – they increase the chance of the honing being successful.

You can use multiple Additional Materials at once but only one Special Material at a time. Additional Materials and one Special Material can be used for the same honing attempt.

Lost Ark Special and Additional Materials
Screenshot: Gamerempire.net

Like honing costs, different gear tiers have different Additional and Special Materials, which means that you need to use the materials corresponding to the tier of the item you are honing.

You can see what Additional Materials and what Special Materials can be used to increase the honing success rate of a specific piece of gear right before you hone it, as shown in the image above.

Note that Special Materials not only relate to tier but also honing level of the item. Therefore, there isn’t always any Special Material that you can use on an item.

You can see what tier and item level a specific Special Material can be used on in its description.

Additional Materials can be obtained from the Cube, Secret Maps, Sylmael Bloodstone exchange, and Una’s Tasks.

Special Materials can be obtained from Abyssal Dungeons and Events.

Both can also be purchased on the Auction House.

Tier 3 honing strategy

When you reach tier 3, honing becomes incredibly difficult and a grind to further increase your item level.

Tier 3 gear works differently than tier 1 and 2 in terms of item rarity, item level, and honing progress.

There are two separate honing systems for tier 3 gear – one for rare and epic gear and one for legendary gear. You can see the item level increases and success rates for each honing level for both systems earlier in this guide.

When you reach tier 3, you’ll start off with rare gear and later move onto epic gear, at which point you’ll already have started to hone the rare gear.

Honing rare and epic tier 3 gear only increases their item levels slightly, and they cannot be honed to more than +15.

You, therefore, need legendary tier 3 gear to reach the highest item levels in the game. Their item level is increased more per honing level and can be honed to +20.

As rare and epic tier 3 gear has a separate honing system than legendary tier 3 gear, their honing levels cannot be directly translated.

If you gear transfer a +15 rare or epic tier 3 item to a legendary one, the legendary tier 3 item only becomes +6, but the item level stays the same, meaning you can now upgrade it further and reach higher item levels.

So, even though your rare or epic tier 3 gear will appear as being a lower honing level after you transfer it into legendary pieces, they are still the same item level, have better stats, and have a much higher potential.

In other words, you need to transfer your rare or epic tier 3 gear into legendary pieces to keep progressing.

Once you have acquired a full set of legendary tier 3 pieces, you’re ready to hone towards even higher item levels.

The best strategy to use when honing legendary tier 3 pieces is to focus your success-rate increasing materials on the item that you should prioritize – weapons for damage dealers and chestpiece for supports.

As it becomes more and more unlikely that you’ll successfully hone an item to the next level in legendary tier 3, it’s important to spend your resources wisely.

Even if your items aren’t at the same honing level, it’s still recommended to focus your resources on the item that is most important for your role – weapon or chestpiece.

While you build your item level, it’s best to try and hone your gear at the same rate, as it’ll yield the highest item level increase per resource spent.

However, after 1370, your focus should be on increasing your character’s stats as efficiently as possible, not its item level.

How much to upgrade gear and in what order

When you’re raising your item level in Lost Ark, you should not keep honing gear till it reaches the maximum honing level.

You should only upgrade tier 1 and tier 2 gear to a maximum of honing level 15. When you have a full set of +15 gear, you have the item level required to access the next tier of the game.

If you want to spend your resources efficiently, you should not hone gear past honing level 15.

While you are honing your gear to reach higher level Chaos Dungeons within a tier, you should hone your gear equally, meaning that when you bring an item to honing level 12, for example, bring all other equipment to +12 before attempting to hone the first item to +13. That’s the most efficient way to increase your item level material cost-wise.

You might find yourself in the situation where you have more honing materials for either your weapon or your equipment pieces, in which case it’s fine to have either your equipment pieces or weapon at a higher honing level than the other.

When you reach legendary tier 3 gear, you don’t need to worry about honing your gear equally, as you want to get the most stat increases out of your honing material, not item level increases.

You can read more about tier 3 gear honing in the previous paragraph.

Gear Transfer

Gear Transfer is the process of transferring the honing progress you’ve made on one piece of equipment or weapon to another.

You can only use Gear Transfer on gear of the same type and tier.

For example, you can transfer your honing progress from one tier 1 weapon to another tier weapon or from one tier 1 chestpiece to another tier 1 chestpiece.

When you reach a new tier, you’ll start out with a set of rare gear. But as you start doing Abyss Dungeons, you will start getting epic and legendary gear.

The Gear Transfer function can be used to transfer the honing progress you’ve already made to your rare gear to the epic or legendary gear, so you don’t have to hone them from the beginning.

Lost Ark gear transfer
Screenshot: Gamerempire.net

To use the Gear Transfer function, go to the Gear Honing NPC, select Gear Transfer at the bottom, select the gear that you wish to transfer progress to on the left side, choose the gear with the progress you wish to transfer on the right side, click the Gear Transfer button at the bottom, and click OK.

The honing level of the material gear will now be transferred to the target gear.

Transfering honing progress from one piece of gear to another costs silver. The amount of silver it costs to use gear transfer depends on the current honing level of the material gear and the tier of the two selected pieces.

That’s all you need to know about honing gear in Lost Ark!

Have any input or suggestions for this guide? Let us know in the comment section below.


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