You can upgrade the new Korthian catch-up gear in Shadowlands Patch 9.1 to match loot dropped from the Normal difficulty of the new Sanctum of Domination raid. It’s not only an alluring way to gear up both your main and alts, but provides a way for solo players who prefer the open-world to gear up. You’ll have to do some farming for the Archivist’s Codex, a new faction within the added Maw zone of Korthia, but not before clearing an attached minor quest-chain that unlocks them first.
Upgrade Korthian gear in Shadowlands by spending Cataloged Research at the Archivist’s Codex Upgrade Vendor.
Korthian gear in Shadowlands Patch 9.1 can be upgraded from item level 200 up to item level 233 at upgrade tier 6. This is on par with gear that drops off the last two bosses in the Sanctum of Domination raid on Normal difficulty. Thing is, you need to complete a minor quest-chain to unlock the ability to upgrade your Korthian gear in the first place.
Korthian gear can be found out in Korthia, or purchased via a token from the Death’s Advance quartermaster. You can read all about earning Korthian catch-up gear in our article here, but to summarize: you’ll start earning Korthian gear long before you can upgrade it. While unlocking Korthia will set you on your path to acquiring the gear, you need to unlock the Archivist’s Codex faction to actually upgrade your Korthian gear in Shadowlands.
To unlock the Archivist’s Codex you need to loot a Researching Korthian Relics quest-item from either Rare creatures or treasures scattered about Korthia. You do not need to unlock Korthia to loot this item. In short, you can skip straight to knocking out the Archivist’s Codex quest-chain the moment you step foot in Korthia. You’ll want to follow this quest-chain all the way through to “Establishing the Archive,” which will unlock a couple of tutorial quests that deal with upgrading your Korthian gear.
First and foremost, you need to find Korthian relics and Relic Fragments that can then be redeemed at the Archivist’s Codex vendor Roh-Suir for Catalogued Research. This currency is what you’ll use to upgrade your Korthian gear in Shadowlands, though do note it is also used to purchase items from the Archivist’s Codex vendor. These Korthian relics and fragments drop from treasures, Rare creatures, and can be gained as quest rewards.
Once you have enough Catalogued Research you can speak with the Upgrade Vendor near the Archivist’s Codex vendor to upgrade your Korthian gear. Fun fact: you can technically speak to any upgrade NPC, such as the one in your Covenant, but this Upgrade NPC is literally next to the guy you grab your Catalogued Research from, so it’s more efficient to use him. Simply drag the piece you want to upgrade into the upgrade window to select an upgrade tier, and to see the boost to stats and the total cost.
Keep in mind you can only upgrade Korthian gear to tier 4 before running into a wall. To upgrade your gear to tiers 5 and 6 you’ll need to buy Research Report: Adaptive Alloys and Research Report: First Alloys respectively. These are purchased from Roh-Suir for 4000 and 8000 Catalogued Research, and you need to be “Research Rank 6” (Exalted) with the Archivist’s Codex. Additionally, you need to reach Renown Rank 61 to grab Adaptive Alloys, and Renown Rank 75 to buy First Alloys.
To conclude this guide, here’s how much Catalogued Research each rank will cost, alongside the item level of each:
- Tier 2 (iLvL 207)
- 250 Cataloged Research
- Tier 3 (iLvL 213)
- 500 Cataloged Research
- Tier 4 (iLvL 220)
- 500 Cataloged Research
- Tier 5 (iLvL 226)
- 750 Cataloged Research
- Tier 6 (iLvl 233)
- 1000 Cataloged Research
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Patch 9.1, Chains of Domination launches June 29th (NA) and June 30th (EU).