Bloodborne 2 should address the original weapon problem
For fans of Bloodborne, it’s an odd criticism to make that there is a major problem with the game’s weapons, especially considering that even the original messenger gifts can realistically get a player all the way to the end. However, there is still one issue that comes up that can limit how new players interact with Bloodborne‘s different weapons and can be seen as a major hurdle for veterans in speed and challenge runs.
The big issue comes from the limited number of blood stone shards available in each area that are used to upgrade weapons in Bloodborne. In a single run through the game, if a player searches every nook and cranny of each area, there will generally be enough of the low level blood stone shards to upgrade a few weapons three times, but going any further requires excessive grinding.
Bloodborne’s Collection of Weapons
To FromSoftware’s credit, there are quite a few different weapons of varying styles and builds for players to collect as they progress through Bloodborne. In fact, one of the main draws of the game is that while this title doesn’t have the huge collection of weapons from Dark Souls, none of them are gimmicks and each of them can take the player all the way through the game. The problem is less about whether or not there are enough weapons, or if any of them are useless, but how the game doesn’t give enough opportunity to experiment.
On top of the five gifted weapons, three melee and two of Bloodborne‘s firearms, there are early weapons like the kirkhammer and late game options like the Chikage. Then there are the DLC weapons for players that decided to jump into Old Hunters for the chance to get FromSoftware’s iconic Holy Moonlight Sword or Maria’s Rakuyo. So, it certainly isn’t a lack of incredible weapons that creates the problem for players looking to experiment with all of the different options available.
Weapon Levels Mean More Than Character Level
The power of weapons in many of FromSoftware’s titles can be affected by the level of a player and their specific stats, but the more substantial differences are caused by the item’s level. In both Bloodborne and Dark Souls, this mechanic is great for making sure that players are able to get powerful as they progress without being able to become overpowered for the area they are in. By limiting the total amounts of upgrade materials available, players can’t get a fully upgraded weapon until they’ve already passed certain Bloodborne bosses at the level their meant to be at.
This does have the inverse issue that picking up a weapon at any point in the game after twin blood stone shards or chunks have started dropping, leveling them up can be a huge hassle. A new weapon in Bloodborne can always be tested in a low level area to see if the player likes how it fights, but changing a build to a new weapon halfway through the game or further is often a grind-heavy investment. For the most part, this issue is caused by the rarity of blood stone shards, the standard upgrade material in Bloodborne.
Rarity of Blood Stone Shards
There are technically four types of upgrade material: blood stone shards, twin blood stone shards, blood stone chunks, and the blood rock. In order to upgrade a weapon all the way to the maximum level requires sixteen of each of these items, with the exception of the blood rock that only needs one in order to perform the final upgrade. While the lowest version of these items is plentiful throughout the early areas in the game and is later sold for a relatively low price towards the end of the game, each stronger version becomes more and more rare as players progress into Bloodborne‘s hardest areas.
On paper, this is a decent enough way to keep players from over-leveling too quickly and keep the ramping difficulty progressing at an equal level that the player can upgrade to keep up with it. However, this both forces players to scour every level for enough materials to be able to stand up to Bloodborne‘s toughest enemies, as well as forces players to choose which one or two weapons will be getting upgraded. It’s an issue that can be manageable with some light grinding for the regular and twin blood stone shards, with the problem really getting out of hand when it comes to chunks.
The Trouble with Blood Stone Chunks
Aside from the blood rock, which there is only one of in the game outside of DLC or Bloodborne‘s Chalice Dungeons, the blood stone chunks are the hardest upgrade material to find. There are a finite amount to find in the world, and extras either have to be farmed with a low chance of dropping in late-game locations, or bought for twenty insight a piece. Considering that the insight currency maxes out at ninety-nine and it takes sixteen chunks to hit the ninth upgrade, this isn’t exactly a reliable source of farming the material.
This means that if players want an arsenal of weapons to choose from, or want to even test a new weapon out on late-game enemies, then they will have to go for a fairly long grind. The lack of consistent chunks makes it difficult to justify using them at all on a weapon that may or may not be useful against the next boss fight in Bloodborne, or another one that might come afterwards. It’s especially jarring that getting weapons to a high level is so limited when considering how many weapons there are that are only accessible later in the game.
Some of Bloodborne‘s strongest and most unique weapons are hidden away behind secret questlines and tough, optional bosses and NPC encounters. This means that in order to get them, the player essentially needs to already have a high-level weapon and has already made the decision on which one will get the majority of the chunks available in the game without grinding. One in particular that can be a hassle to level all the way up is the Burial Blade, which is a weapon that can be purchased at the start of a new game plus playthrough.
The specific example of the Burial Blade is a bit extreme, but it does drive the point across since the usual places to even farm blood stone chunks will be cut off, meaning the player will have to either preemptively grind or play a huge chunk of the game again. Still, it’s a problem that persists with every late-game weapon available in Bloodborne. For the majority of players, there’s little point in grinding up to try out a new Chikage or Kos Parasite when a Saw Cleaver has already done the job to get the player from the starting gate to the finish line.
Bloodborne is available now for PS4 and PS5.