Honkai Star Rail – How to Upgrade Characters

Last Updated on May 22, 2023

It takes quite a bit to upgrade your characters in Honkai Star Rail and there’s plenty of materials to get along the way! So where to begin and how to do it?

Please keep in mind this is a basic guide for beginner players to understand the user interface, and what they need to do to upgrade their characters. This is not a guide on optimal building for specific characters.

Phone Menu

First things first. Go to your phone menu by tapping it on the top left or hitting ESC on your keyboard. Or if you’re using a controller, you can use the controller wheel with LB/L1. Then tap “Characters” or the symbol aligned with it (it will be an icon of a face).

Character Page

This is where you can access and build your characters. You will see their name, element, and path on the right side, alongside their current ascension and character level.

The boxes button on the bottom left of the screen will give you a quick access menu to everyone you have so you can switch between them fast instead of having to scroll across the top bar.

When you tap on the “Skill” tab next to “Stats”, you will see and can read each of the abilities the character has available by clicking on them.

What Are Elements and Paths?

Each character has an assigned element (or combat type) and path (think of it as a job or class). These are crucial for understanding team building.

The current elements in the game are Wind, Physical, Fire, Ice, Lightning, Quantum, and Imaginary. Check out the images below for more details.

The current paths in the game are The Destruction (general damage and high survivability), The Hunt (single target damage), The Erudition (multi-target damage), The Preservation (shielding and tanking), The Abundance (healing), The Harmony (buffs allies), and The Nihility (debuffs enemies).

Level Up

If your character can level up, press the button on the bottom right to do so. For Dan Heng in my previous image, he was at his max level and awaiting his next ascension. So let’s use Qingque’s page since she isn’t fully leveled here. You will level up a character by using various experience items called “Travel Encounters” (1000XP), “Adventure Log” (5000XP), and “Traveler’s Guide” (20,000XP).

You will get these throughout the game from various quests, daily assignments (Assignments section from Phone menu), events, battle pass, and sometimes log-in rewards. The fastest way you can get these, however, is through Calyxes, which uses the game’s energy system (known as Trailblaze Power).

Under “Materials Required” if you tap and hold on each item, as with any other item you need for building, it will tell you where you can get them under “Sources:”. And you can click on those suggestions to go directly to them.


When a character is fully leveled at their current ascension, they can finally ascend to increase their level cap. The level cap in Honkai Star Rail is 80.

Let’s go back to Dan Heng’s page and check out what’s needed for ascending him to the next level cap. You will gain lower level ascension materials through various story and side quests as well as certain enemy mobs.

Later ascension materials require defeating tougher bosses from the “Stagnant Shadow” areas, which like Calyxes, require TB power. You can access calyxes and other material farming nodes through the “Interastral Guide” menu.

Light Cone

Every character can equip one Light Cone. Like characters, light cones can be leveled and ascended.

When you have 4 extra copies of a light cone, you can use all 4 to “superimpose” the original light cone, and max out its ability.

Each light cone’s ability works for a specific path, so make sure the light cone you equip works for the character you’re using it with.


Traces are the game’s “skill tree” of sorts. Traces greatly enhance stats and abilities. And much like ascending your character, you will need various kinds of materials to progress. Make sure to check each trace and then examine each material to see where you can farm.


There are 6 relics you can equip for a character. Relics are the gearing system for the game and will be what you spend most time farming in the late game, primarily because of the RNG with the stats. There are 4 pieces that you farm from Cavern of Corrosion – Head, Hands, Body, and Feet. These will have both 2 piece and 4 piece set effects.

Then the final two relics are called Planar Ornaments. The two you will equip are called Planar Sphere and Link Rope. You will gain these through the roguelike mode Simulated Universe. General tips are to basically equip relics as soon as possible for the set effects, and then farm primarily 5 star/4 star as you gain access to higher difficulty levels for Cavern of Corrosion to optimize stats. At TB (trailblaze level) 40, you will start earning 5 star relics.

Where to Get All These Materials Again?

Phone Menu > Interastral Guide. The overwhelming majority of materials necessary will be available here. Some other materials are gathered through farming enemy mobs on various maps.


Eidolons are the game’s duplicate system. You will gain duplicates of characters when you pull them. The maximum amount of eidolons for upgrading is 6. Eidolons provide additional gameplay benefits for each character and raises the level cap for particular traces. You will gain eidolons gradually as you pull via the Warp (gacha) system. So unless you’re a whale who wants to go all in on spending, don’t worry too much about these! For 4 star characters in particular, you’ll gain eidolons very quickly.

And these are the basics of the Character user interface and how you can upgrade your characters. Once again, this is not a guide on what you should equip, but rather how you can do so. Hopefully this at least makes things easier to understand. Enjoy the game!

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