How To Upgrade Ships Guide – Azur Lane

How To Upgrade Ships Guide – Azur Lane

As enemies become increasingly more difficult in Azur Lane, you have to upgrade your ships continuously to keep up with the power of each new stage. In the game, there are multiple ways to increase the power of your ships, all of which we’ll show you in this guide, including how to utilize them and their cost.

Here is a quick rundown of all the ways to upgrade the power of your ships. You can upgrade the power and stats of your ships in Azur Lane by leveling them up, enhancing them, increasing affection, limit breaking, retrofitting, upgrading their skills, and giving them gear. Some of these methods can be used to increase your ships’ power without having to spend any resources, while others require you to spend resources. We recommend you take advantage of all these methods to improve your fleet, giving you the best chances of beating the next stage in the game.

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Table of contents

Level up ships

The first way to upgrade the power of your ships is by leveling them up. To level up a ship, you need to collect exp for that ship. The main way to get exp for a ship is by bringing them to battle. After each battle, your ship will get exp depending on the difficulty of the enemy, your performance, the amount of damage they dealt, and the number of kills they got in that battle. When a ship levels up, their stats are increased by a small amount. Ships also get exp from completing commissions depending on the difficulty and length of the mission.

Another way to get exp for your ships so they can level up is by leveraging the Dorm room in HQ. In the Dorm, you can, by default, only assign two ships at a time, but it is possible to add up to three more slots by spending gems. Ships who are assigned to the Dorm get exp passively as long as there are supplies available. You can add more supplies yourself by pressing the Supplies button inside the Dorm, and see how long your current supplies will last. Be sure always to have as many ships as you have slots in the Dorm, and stock up on supplies. By using the Dorm, your ships will always be getting exp and leveling up, even when you are sleeping.

Azur Lane dorm room leveling up

Enhance ships

Enhancing ships is a great way to upgrade the power of your fleet and get rid of some ships you don’t need at the same time. When enhancing a ship, you sacrifice other ships to boost the stats of another. Therefore, you should not mindlessly sacrifice all your other ships just to improve a single ship. Instead, use this method when you have ships you know that you’ll never use or if you run out of space in your dock and don’t need items from retiring.

To enhance a ship, go to your dock and select the ship you wish to enhance. Inside the details page for the ship you want to enhance, go to the Enhance tap in the left-side menu. Here you’ll find the Materials grid where you can select the ships you wish to sacrifice to enhance the selected ship. You can also use the Fill button, which auto-fills ships it thinks would be suited as a sacrifice for enhancing. When you’ve chosen ships to sacrifice, you can see the effect it will have on the ship you are enhancing before you choose to do it. As an example, my Enterprise will get a +2 boost to RLD if I choose to sacrifice the four ships in the image below. If you’re happy with your selection and wish to enhance your ship, press the Enhance button on the right-hand side.

Azur Lane enhance ship

Increase affection

All ships you have in Azur Lane have a so-called affection value, also known as affinity, which is how affectionate that ship is towards you, the player. A ship’s affinity can reach a maximum of 100 unless you give them a Promise Ring, in which case their affinity can reach 200. A ship gets stat boosts depending on their level of affinity. Here is a list of all the boosts you get from specific affinity levels:

  • Less than 30 affinity – Disappointed – no bonus
  • Between 31 and 60 affinity – Stranger – no bonus
  • Between 61 and 80 affinity – Friendly – 1% boost to all base stats except speed
  • Between 81 and 99 affinity – Crush – 3% boost to all base stats except speed
  • Exactly 100 affinity and no ring is given – Love – 6% boost to all base stats except speed
  • Between 100 and 199 affinity with a ring given – Oath – 9% boost to all base stats except speed
  • Exactly 200 affinity with a ring given – Oath – 12% boost to all base stats except speed

When you acquire a new ship, their level of affinity starts at 50. There are three ways to raise the affection level of a ship. Bring the ship to battle, put it in the Dorm, and wait for a heart icon to appear above their head and tap it and assign the ship as a secretary. You can see the current level of affection of one of your ships by opening your dock, selecting a ship, and tapping the icon right below your oil amount. Tapping that icon opens the certificate of marriage, where you can find the affinity level in the bottom right corner, as well as the current buff in the bottom left of the certificate.

Limit break

Limit breaking in Azur Lane is similar to the process known as ascending in other RPG mobile game. When you limit break a ship, you raise its star level, adding another star to it, which increases its stats, buffs the ship’s attacks as well as increases the max level that ship can reach. Therefore, you have to limit break your ships at some point, as it significantly improves their power and allows them to reach new heights. However, many players recommend you should wait for a ship to reach its max level or close to it before limit breaking it. Limit breaking a ship increases its star rank, causing it to be more expensive to use in battle in terms of oil, which is why players recommend you hold back limit breaking until it’s necessary.

To limit break a ship, open up your dock, select the ship you wish to limit break, and tap the Limit break section in the left-side menu. Under materials on the right-hand side, select the ship(s) you wish to sacrifice for the other ship to limit break. Limit breaking a ship requires copies of itself, Bulins, or Purins depending on the current rarity of the ship you are attempting to limit break. You can always use copies of the ship itself to limit break it. But if you don’t want to, or don’t have copies of itself, Bulins are used for ships that are of SR rarity or lower, and Purins for ships that are of SSR rarity. Besides buffs and stat boosts, some limit breaks also add an additional weapon slot to the ship.

Retrofit system

Retrofitting is yet another way to increase the power and stats of ships in Azur Lane. Not all ships in the game have access to retrofitting, but those who do can become significantly stronger by leveraging it. You can find the entire list of all ships which can retrofit here.

Retrofit is a system in which you can upgrade ships’ stats by spending blueprints and coins. The retrofit system is similar to talent trees in other games, which means you can only unlock a specific retrofit buff once you have unlocked one right next to it. If a ship can be retrofitted, you can find the retrofit section in the left-hand menu inside the details page of that ship, the same place you find the enhance, limit break, and gear section. Besides regular stat boosts, some retrofit upgrades add additional gear slots and new skills. When you’ve unlocked all retrofit upgrades for a ship, you get a special retrofit skin for that ship, and its rarity increases by one.

Azur Lane retrofit system

Upgrade skills

Skills are a deciding factor in determining how strong a ship in Azur Lane is. Therefore, you should take advantage of the fact that you can upgrade skills. To upgrade a ship’s skill, go to the Academy through the HQ button on the lobby screen and go to the Tactical Class. In the Tactical Class, you can, by default, assign up to two ships at a time. Ships assigned to the Tactical Class will have the selected skill upgraded in a set amount of time. Upgrading a ship’s skill only costs skill books and, of course, the time it takes for the upgrade to finish. It usually takes between 2 and 8 hours to upgrade a skill depending on the tier of the skill book used. If the type of the selected skill book matches the type of the skill you wish to upgrade, it will gain additional exp.

At some point, it is a good decision to unlock the third slot in the Tactical Class so you can upgrade three skills at a time.

Equip and enhance gear

The final way to increase a ship’s power is by equipping and upgrading gear. There are two forms of gear, weapons and auxiliary. Gear in the form of weapons has an incredible impact on the damage a ship deals with its corresponding attack. Furthermore, if a ship doesn’t have a specific type of weapon equipped, they can’t use that type of attack. Therefore, you should always fill up the weapon slots of a ship to avoid significant damage loss. Besides just equipping better gear to increase the power of a ship, you can also enhance gear. Enhancing gear costs parts corresponding to the type and tier of the item you are enhancing, as well as coins. You can equip gear by tapping empty slots under the Gear category inside the details page of a ship. Here, you can also equip and enhance the other type of gear, Auxiliary, which further boosts the ship.

That’s everything you need to know about how to upgrade ships in Azur Lane. If you have any additions or suggestions for this post, you can leave them in the comment section below.

Jack Roque

Jack is an avid gamer who isn't afraid to take on a challenge. Having been a gamer his entire life, Jack is interested in multiple genres of both desktop and mobile games. Thus, he writes on a wide variety of titles. With thousands of hours of game time in popular titles such as League of Legends, Fortnite, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Minecraft, Jack has experienced most video game genres. Throughout his life, he has achieved impressive results in many of these games, reaching high-diamond at his peak in LoL, attaining more than 1000 solo wins in Fortnite, and collected multiple Cutting Edge achievements in WoW. Jack started his career as an online content creator and writer back in 2017. After working in several industries, he knew that he wanted to combine his passion for gaming with his content creation skills, thus he became a writer at Besides his efforts here, Jack contributes to other outlets - making tier lists for Tierlistmania, business-related posts for Medium, and more. You can connect with Jack on Twitter.

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