Upgrade components are equipment modifiers that can be applied to weapons, armor and trinkets. The equipment must have a used or unused upgrade slot to accept a component. Equipment from karma merchants will often come with an upgrade component that cannot be replaced or salvaged. Upgrade components confer additional benefits (such as increased attributes or effects added to attacks) while wielding that piece. Some upgrades may carry visualized effects. They can be crafted, bought, found or obtained as a reward. They can be replaced with another upgrade component but cannot be recovered except by salvaging, which destroys the item. When using a salvage kit on an item, there is a chance to retain the upgrade component. The chance to recover the component depends on the quality of the salvage kit. The item must be at least the minimum level indicated by the upgrade to apply the upgrade.
 Upgrade slot
Each piece of equipment has an upgrade slot for a single upgrade component; applying a second upgrade will destroy the original. Some equipment is found with an empty slot, but some includes an upgrade when acquired, notably higher-quality gear and that rewarded from the personal storyline, or purchased from karma or dungeon vendors. Applying an upgrade to an item causes it to become soulbound, except for account bound gear, which will remain account bound after upgrading.
 Infusion slot
- Primary article: Infusion
An infusion slot is a special kind of upgrade slot found only on ascended items that can only hold infusion upgrades. There are different types of infusion slots that can only hold the corresponding type of infusion. The types are:
 Types of upgrade components
 Universal upgrades
Universal upgrades, which include gemstones, are upgrade components that can be placed in any type of equipment. They provide smaller bonuses than components that are type-restricted, but they are easier to acquire than most other components.
- Primary article: Jewel
- Primary article: Rune
Runes can only be placed in armor. Each armor piece can have no more than one rune. Placing the same type of rune on different armor pieces worn together will give the wearer additional, accumulating benefits. For example, a single Superior Rune of Balthazar will give a +25 bonus to Power, a second (on another piece of equipment) will add on a +15% bonus duration to burning if worn at the same time, and so forth. This means that the player can accumulate armor set bonuses on any set of armor pieces, rather than having to acquire specific armor pieces in order to finish a set and gain the full bonus.
Runes are noteworthy for being able to grant abilities and stats unobtainable through any other equipped source, such as creating effects when struck, increasing movement speed, and decreasing weapon swap time. As such, the choice of runes can be more involved and beneficial to a build than choices of accessories. However, other rune sets simply provide large benefits to basic statistics, and are replaceable by other components such as gemstones and sigils.
The first number (ex: 0/2 Minor Rune of Dwayna) represents the number of armor pieces with that particular rune embedded that you currently have equipped.
When you have a piece of armor that asks you to have 2 pieces of rune ex: (0/2 Minor Rune of Dwayna) that means you should have two pieces of armor that hold that type of rune. It does not mean that you need to apply the same rune to the same piece of armor twice. If you do, your current upgrade will be destroyed.
- Primary article: Sigil
Sigils can only be placed in weapons. Each weapon may have only one sigil. Sigils have a variety of effects, such as attacks which trigger on critical hits, and attribute bonuses which increase as the player kills more enemies without being downed or switching weapons.
- Primary article: Infusion
- When two items are combined by way of transmutation, if both contain an upgrade, the player decides which upgrade to keep.
- Replacing an upgrade component may alter the suffix of an item.