Shadow of War has finally arrived, and while it offers a huge open-world, there isn’t a complex system involved when it comes to upgrading your weapons and armor to make them stronger. Now, it might take a little bit to really wrap your head around it, but once you’ve got an idea of how things work, the Gem system that Shadow of War uses for additional bonuses is definitely something you’ll want to get a grasp on pretty early on, and today we’ll break down everything you need to know about what gems are in Shadow of War, and how the Gem system works.

What Are Gems?

Gems are a bonus system that stacks on top of the normal armor and weapon upgrade system that Middle-Earth: Shadow of War makes use of. Basically, these hard to find items can be equipped into specific slots on your Sword, Dagger, Bow, Armor, and Cloak. When equipped, each Gem can provide you with special bonuses. They’re extremely hard to come by, though, and to be quite honest, even unlocking the Gem slots will be tough, as they cost 1,000 Mirian apiece to unlock. But, it’s definitely something that is worth looking into.

How Gems Work

As we stated above, Gems are pretty hard to come by in the current state of the game, and that is perfectly fine. Once you’ve unlocked a Gem slot—by spending 1,000 Mirian—you can click on the slot to see which Gems you have available in the Gems menu. Here you’ll find all your Gems—there are three types that you can choose from. The three types of gems include the Potency, Vitality, and Wealth. Each type has several different tiers of Gems to collect, and we’ve outlined those below.

Gem Tiers:

  • Basic Gem
  • Carved Gem
  • Polished Gem
  • Refined Gem
  • Perfect Gem

You can see which bonuses a Gem will give while looking at the Gem menu. For example, if you receive a Basic Warrior Gem, then you’ll receive a set of upgrades that will fit the warrior playstyle in the game. Once you have equipped a gem, you can also upgrade it to unlock all three of the possible bonuses that the Gem provides. This can be done with any tier type of Gem from Basic to Perfect, but we’d suggest holding off on upgrading any Gems until you at least acquire a Polished Gem—or a higher tier Gem. This will make it much easier for you to swap between Gems that fit the playstyle you currently need.

How to Get Gems

The best way to get Gems is to simply play the game. As we said above, they are pretty hard to come by, and you’ll want to just keep taking down enemies until you reach the later areas of the game. Early on, Gems aren’t going to be that important, so it’s not going to be an issue if you ignore them until you’ve progressed a bit further to where enemies become more potent and dangerous. For now, focus on unlocking all of your Gem slots, that way when you really start to collect Gems and make use of them, you’ll have plenty of slots to equip them into.

Now that you know what Gems are, how to get them, and even how the Gem system works, be sure to head back over to our Shadow of War guide for more helpful information about the game’s different systems. You can also learn how to get around quicker by checking out our guide on how to fast travel in Shadow of War.