many other aspects of href="" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Champions Online,
itemization blends familiar elements from previous MMOGs with a unique
take on the concept, custom tailored to suit the unparalleled
customization options present in the game. To help give you a better
understanding of how these items, called Upgrades or Devices, fit into
the grand scheme of things we’ve put together a handy guide
full of useful information for your super-heroic enjoyment.

style="color: rgb(255, 153, 0);"> style="font-weight: bold;">Upgrades Pt. 1

style="margin: 2px; width: 210px; float: right;">

href="" target="_blank"> style="width: 200px; float: right;" alt="Champions 01"

Upgrades are items that your character can gain in a number of
different ways, including but not limited to: loot drops, crafting,
quest rewards, PvP rewards and Perk rewards. Think of these items as a
means of enhancing your character in ways similar to obtaining new
gear, only in most cases they won’t affect the visual theme
you’ve no doubt painstakingly pieced together at character
creation. In other words, you gain the benefits from equipping a new
piece of equipment, only you don’t end up looking like a hobo
rather than a hero in the process.

So think of upgrades as new elements that you’re adding to
your preexisting costume that increase its overall effectiveness in
some way without altering the appearance. There are, however, certain
upgrades, such as some of the above mentioned PvP rewards, that will
‘unlock’ new costume options. Equipping the upgrade
itself won’t automatically alter your appearance, but rather
allow you to utilize the new costume piece by visiting your friendly
neighborhood tailor.

There are three main categories that Upgrades can fall under:

– This type of upgrade make your attacks more
powerful or allow you to alter the way in which your offensive powers
work in some way. For example, you might obtain an Offense Upgrade that
adds a brief stun component to your attacks, or may even have
additional benefits such as increased health or reduced endurance decay.

– This type of upgrade can make your hero tougher and
can grant special defensive abilities. An example might be a damage
shield that has a chance to activate whenever you become damaged by an
attack in combat.

– This type of upgrade will often add a special
ability that is not directly related to combat, such as the ability to
see enemies on your mini-map or making your hero harder to detect.

Within these three categories, upgrades will come in one of two
distinct flavors which can be slotted in either a Primary or Secondary
upgrade slot. To equip an upgrade simply press the
“I” key to open your inventory, and then drag the
upgrade to its associated slot which by default will be located at the
lower right corner of the screen. The UI will intuitively highlight the
specific slots that an upgrade can be placed into once you begin to
drag the item. Alternatively, you can also right click on an item and
select ‘equip’ from the dropdown menu.

style="width: 402px; height: 218px;"
alt="Upgrade and Device Slots"

In the above image, Primary Upgrades will fill the three leftmost slots
along the bottom row, while the two rows immediately above will be used
for your Secondary Upgrades. You’ll also notice that the
primary upgrade slots are mapped to the 8-0 keys on your keyboard. The
main reason for this is that throughout your travels you might come
across certain upgrades that can be used similar to your other powers,
such as granting a small heal or allowing you to throw smoke bombs that
can confuse your enemies.

A last thing to note on the difference between primary and secondary
upgrades is simply that secondary upgrades typically grant smaller
bonuses to your stats or resistances, and won’t have an
active power or benefit associated with them that can be manually
triggered via hotkeys.

style="color: rgb(255, 153, 0);"> style="font-weight: bold;">Upgrades Pt. 2

style="margin: 2px; width: 210px; float: right;">

href="" target="_blank"> style="width: 200px; float: right;" alt="Champions 02"

Within the Offense, Defense and Utility categories, all upgrades will
come in one of three flavors; Arms, Science or Mysticism. This will be
indicated on the item’s tooltip in the upper right hand
corner, and for all intents and purposes is associated with
CO’s crafting system. While crafting itself will be covered
in a separate guide, here’s a quick rundown of what these
three types of items are all about.

  • The main method for
    advancing your crafting skill is through conducting
    ‘research’, or by breaking down upgrades into their
    individual components.

  • Each crafting skill can only
    break down upgrades of the associated type. For example, an Arms
    crafter can only break down upgrades labeled as Arms. To make this
    process easier, when at the crafting station for your chosen
    profession, if you open up your inventory by pressing the
    “I” key, any items you can break down via research
    will be highlighted for you.

  • Certain quest
    rewards are an
    exception to the above rule, as many of the upgrades granted through
    questing will not be associated with Arms, Science or Mysticism. When
    broken down via research, these upgrades will typically give you a mix
    of components from all three crafting professions.

Beyond the basic associations with crafting skills, each type of
upgrade will focus on enhancing certain href="" target="_blank">statistics,
while not enhancing
others at all. Below is a brief outline of which stats are style="font-style: italic;">not
enhanced, listed by type:


Offense – No

Defense – No
Endurance, Ego, Intelligence or Presence

Utility – No


Offense – No

Defense – No
Dexterity, Recovery or Strength

Utility – No


Offense – No

Defense – No
Constitution, Dexterity, Recovery or Strength

Utility – No

Taking the above into account, not only will this help you in selecting
which crafting profession to focus on, but it should also give you a
general idea of what types of upgrades might best compliment your
character’s power set. Keep in mind that there are no
arbitrary restrictions on which type of upgrades you equip in your
primary or secondary upgrade slots, so if you want to mix and match
between types you’re certainly free to do so to find the best
combination that works for the type of character you’re

A final thing to be aware of with upgrades is how they relate to Builds
and Roles, which become available at level 8. For each build you
create, you can also select exactly which upgrades you want associated
with that build. For example, you could create a build focused on
fulfilling an Offensive Role and equip a set of upgrades focused on
Strength and Endurance, or a separate build focused on a Defensive Role
with a set of upgrades focused on Dexterity, Constitution and Recovery.

style="color: rgb(255, 153, 0);"> style="font-weight: bold;">Devices

style="margin: 2px; width: 210px; float: right;">

href="" target="_blank"> style="width: 200px; float: right;" alt="Champions 03"

Devices are items that typically grant you a limited or single use
ability which varies depending on how the device was obtained. Most
often devices will be gained as loot drops which bear some association
with the specific foe you just defeated. For example, you might find a
wand that lets you shoot dark magic at your target before running out
of charges by defeating members of Demon, while defeating irradiated
VIPER agents in the Southwestern Desert might net you a device that
grants limited protection from radiation damage.

Certain quests might also require the use of a particular device which
will be given to you by the NPC from whom you obtained the quest in
most cases. Lastly, some devices can also be crafted by each of the
available professions.

To use a device, open your inventory by pressing the
“I” key on your keyboard, and simply drag the
device into one of the 5 device slots along the bottom right corner of
your UI by default. Alternatively you can also right click on a device
in your inventory and select ‘equip’ from the drop
down menu if you’re not too concerned about which specific
device slot the item is placed into.

You’ll notice in the above image that the device key binds
will be directly to the right of your primary upgrade slots. To use any
of the 5 equipped devices hit the ‘control’ key
plus the number 1 through 5 depending on which device you intend to

While the concept of devices is pretty straight forward compared to
upgrades, they typically won’t drop as commonly and certainly
shouldn’t be overlooked as a means of adding some temporary
new abilities to your current repertoire. Your equipped devices can
also be swapped out with each ‘build’ you create
the same as upgrades, so there’s some flexibility to be found
there in terms of equipping different devices that enhance a given role
you want to fulfill at any given moment.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Champions Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Sardu 1
Reuben "Sardu" Waters has been writing professionally about the MMOG industry for eight years, and is the current Editor-in-Chief and Director of Development for Ten Ton Hammer.