This page of the Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart game guide describes developing the main characters (Ratchet and Rivet) and upgrading their weapons. All this is designed to increase the effectiveness of the heroes' attacks and their chances of survival even in the most difficult battles.
On a separate page of the game guide, you will find a list of all weapons available for purchase or unlocking.
Both protagonists - Ratchet and Rivet - can unlock new experience levels. What's important, one develops both characters simultaneously. They will always have the same amount of XP, and will have the same pieces of armor and weapons and their upgrades. In short, you will not "lose" anything when you switch from Ratchet to Rivet and vice versa.
You can gain experience points primarily by eliminating opponents. More information on this can be found on the How to earn XP? page of the guide. You should not avoid fights, even if the game allows you to move on without eliminating enemies. Additionally, it's always a good idea to engage all the newly unlocked fights / arena challenges in the Gastropub.
Each new experience level increases the health by 10 points. This is a very big bonus, especially in the early stages of the game, as you will just have 10 points when starting a new game (this means that the first promotion doubles your health). If you haven't avoided fights too often, your characters should be at about level 9 when you finish the game. You will appreciate more health points, especially during boss fights. Even if Ratchet and Rivet receive damage from a strong boss attack, they will still be able to fight effectively without worrying that they are about to die.
Armor pieces and stat boosts
You can receive stat bonuses by collecting armor pieces. In the game, each set of armor consists of three components - headgear, chest, and boots. All items in the same set offer a bonus of the same type, with the bonus becoming greater by collecting 2 or 3 items.
You do not have to wear armor pieces for the associated bonuses to be active. Just find the armor piece and from then on, the passive bonus is active all the time. Armor pieces are in-game collectibles and are described along with other secrets in a separate chapter titled Secrets and Collectibles.
Here's a list of possible stat bonuses:
- Deal more melee damage
- Receive less damage from Nefarious' minions,
- Collect more raritanium,
- Collect more XP,
- Receive less damage from pirates,
- Collect more bolts,
- Receive less damage from thugs,
- Receive less damage from enemy creatures.
Almost all of your weapons (except for the RYNO and the melee weapon) can be upgraded. This is done by using them regularly. Each time you correctly attack an enemy with a particular weapon, you receive XP for that weapon.
Weapons can be leveled up, and this is done completely independent of the main characters' development. Leveling a weapon up unlocks new upgrades on its development tree (more on that in the next subsection). Such weapons can also be given a new name and a new feature related to, for example, the way they fire projectiles.
When playing for the first time, each weapon can reach up to level 5. In challenge mode (NG) this limit is increased to level 10, but you must first purchase Omega, and then you can start leveling it up from level 5 to level 10. After a weapon reaches the maximum level, consider using other weapons from your inventory more often so that they too can accumulate XP and be leveled up. Only after you have completely leveled up all of your favorite weapons should you consider limiting yourself to using only them.
Buying weapon upgrades
The second way to improve your weapons is to buy upgrades from Mrs. Zurkon, a local trader you can meet on each planet you visit throughout the campaign. Buy them with raritanium - blue crystals that you can acquire mainly by careful exploration of the locations.
Each weapon has a separate development tree that must be developed from scratch. As a result, you should upgrade your best weapons first, i.e. those that are the most powerful and those that you use most often in battles. You won't be able to quickly max out all of your weapons because you won't have enough raritanium.
When upgrading weapons, pay special attention to the gold cells on the development tree, which offer large boosts to weapon stats or add new features to them. They are not bought for raritarium. In order to unlock them, you must purchase all the surrounding "regular" cells. It is a good idea to keep this in mind from the beginning and buy upgrades adjacent to gold cells. Only after you have unlocked these boosts, complete the weapon upgrade by purchasing the remaining regular upgrades.
In NG mode, the weapon upgrade trees can grow further. However, this will only happen after you have purchased the Omega version of the weapon in question.