Masterwork gear adds a lot Destiny 2‘s endgame, which allows you to get the stats of a weapon with sufficient resources past its power level. In addition to a cool gold bezel and kill tracker, Masterwork gear offers an array of goodies: extra orbs, specific stat boosts, and more.
Like almost every system in Destiny 2, Bungie doesn’t explain Masterworks very well. In this guide, we are going to discuss what Masterwork equipment is (and not), the benefits that Masterwork equipment offers, and how to level up the equipment you have.
What Masterwork Gear does and doesn’t do
Before we get into what Masterwork Gear has to offer players, it̵
The good news: Legendary Masterpiece items are technically like modified versions of Legendary weapons and armor. As such, they do not count towards the “one exotic weapon” and “one exotic piece of armor” rules. We’ve paired a Masterwork Fusion Rifle with an Exotic Reconnaissance Rifle, which could cause a serious carnage against enemies.
What improvements do Masterwork Weapons offer?
Legendary Masterwork Weapons offer various bonuses on top of the attributes found in standard Legendary Weapons. Perhaps most importantly, the orb-generating ability of a Masterwork weapon: when you earn a multi-kill with a Masterwork weapon – by killing two or more enemies in seconds – a light orb is automatically generated that is used to recharge your superpower. During solo play, this is a useful way to take down targets faster, but it is more powerful during cooperative attacks. If you focus on smaller targets that can be killed multiple times while your teammates attack a bigger boss, you can generate a constant supply of orbs for them to use.
Each Masterwork weapon also comes with one stat bonus, offering everything from a faster reload speed to better weapon range or even blast radius. According to players on Reddit, these are the stats that Masterwork Weapons can improve:
- Impact (sniper rifles, fusion rifles and swords only)
- Range (not available on rocket and grenade launchers)
- Stability (not available on swords)
- Reload speed (not available on swords)
- Blast Radius (rocket and grenade launchers only)
- Speed (rocket and grenade launchers only)
Since the launch of DesertedMasterwork weapons also have tiered levels that are unlocked through extended use. The stats you have on your weapon will keep increasing as you reach higher tears, but reaching the highest level requires more Legendary Shards and Improvement Cores.
You can pick up Enhancement Cores in a few different ways. One of them is by breaking down Masterwork Weapons. Breaking down a Masterpiece weapon generally grants one to three Enhancement Cores. Since the launch of Deserted, you can no longer ‘re-roll’ Masterwork equipment to get the desired stats.
You can also buy them by talking to the character Spider in the Tangled Shores, which is in The Reef. These aren’t cheap though, so you might want to avoid it unless you set your heart to buying a Masterwork weapon immediately.
Like some emblems, Masterwork Weapons also track the kills you earn. These can be total kills with the Masterwork weapon or just the ones you earned in Crucible multiplayer mode. On the ‘details’ page of your weapon, this count can be seen directly below the power level of the weapon.
Exotic Masterwork Weapons add the same orb and kill tracking capabilities as in Legendary Masterworks to an Exotic Weapon, as well as unique perks and stat upgrades. Unlike Legendary Masterworks, the upgrades are not random and cannot be rolled again. On the other hand, the benefits are also greater. According to a PlayStation Access explainer video, Vigilance Wing – a popular exotic pulse rifle – will get a fully automatic option when fully upgraded
How do I get Masterwork Gear?
There is a small chance that every Legendary weapon you pick up is already a Masterpiece. Certain Legendary Drops are automatically masterpieces too, such as Salvager’s salvo ritual grenade launcher from Season of the Chosen. For the most part, however, you have to manually upgrade your weapons.
Each weapon has 10 ranks, and it is considered a rank 10 masterpiece. You can upgrade your weapon at any time using your inventory screen, and as long as you have enough resources, you can go straight from level one to level 10. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough resources; each level rewards you with slightly higher stats.
This is what you need for every level:
- Level One – Basic Weapon
- Level Two – 2500 Glimmer
- Level Three – 2500 Glimmer, one Legendary Shard
- Level Four – 2,500 Glimmer, one Legendary Shard, one Enhancement Core
- Level Five – 2500 Glimmer, two Legendary Shards, one Enhancement Core
- Level Six – Two Legendary Shards, Two Enhancement Cores
- Level Seven – Three Legendary Shards, Two Enhancement Cores
- Level Eight – Three Legendary Shards, three Enhancement Cores
- Level Nine – Five Legendary Shards, three Enhancement Cores
- Level 10-10 Legendary Shards, five Enhancement Cores
Exotic masterpiece weapons
In season 3 of Destiny 2, Bungie added Exotic Masterwork Weapons. Rather than being dropped randomly, any exotic weapon you acquire has or will have the capacity to become a masterpiece weapon (not all exotics have a masterpiece version available on the jump).
To upgrade an Exotic weapon, you need to find the corresponding Exotic Masterwork Catalyst, an item that will trigger a mission or otherwise give you instructions telling you what to do. As with the upgrades, both the catalytic converter and the instructions are different for each weapon. Some catalytic converters are in specific places – Bungie said some weapons will have clues if you inspect them closely – while others drop randomly. After acquiring and applying the Masterwork Catalyst to your weapon, there are a set number of more direct steps you must complete in order to grind the Masterwork to its final, most masterful state.
One more thing you should know, unlike Legendary Masterwork gear, you cannot customize the upgrades on Exotic Masterworks. Each piece of Masterwork Gear has one custom Masterwork.
How about Masterwork Armor?
Legendary Masterwork Armor offers a similar, albeit less variable, bonus to standard Legendary armor. Masterwork Armor pieces grant a 3% damage reduction while using a super move. As a result, a complete Masterwork Armor set delivers 15% damage reduction. Additionally, each rank gives your armor more elemental energy, allowing you to equip more mods.
Like Legendary Weapons, you can upgrade Legendary Armor to the Masterwork level. This is what you need for every level:
- Level One – Basic Armor
- Level Two – 500 Glimmer, a Legendary Shard
- Level Three – 500 Glimmer, a Legendary Shard
- Level Four – 500 Glimmer, two Legendary Shards
- Level Five – 1,000 Glimmer, two Legendary Shards
- Level six – 1,000 Glimmer, three Legendary Shards, one Enhancement Core
- Level Seven – 2,500 Glimmer, three Legendary Shards, two Enhancement Cores
- Level eight – 3,000 Glimmer, four Legendary Shards, one Enhancement Prism
- Level nine – 3,000 Glimmer, four Legendary Shards, two Enhancement Prisms
- Level 10 – 4,000 Glimmer, five Legendary Shards, one Ascendant Shard