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What's Bloodborne's arcane stat good for?

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

As you level up your Hunter in Bloodborne, you might be wondering, "What does that Arcane ability stat do?" With Bloodborne's focus on guns and trick weapons, and not much magic to speak of, it may seem like an odd upgrade path — especially when hit points, endurance and strength can look more obviously attractive.

But arcane definitely has its uses, which we'll touch on in this post.

One of the most basic benefits of boosting your arcane stat in Bloodborne is increasing your discovery rate. Higher discovery means more frequent drops from enemies. That's great for farming blood vials, bullets and blood stones.

Certain weapons have their effectiveness boosted if you've upgraded your character's arcane stat. The sword/great sword Trick Weapon known as Ludwig's Holy Blade appears to benefit most. When upgraded to +10 through blood gem fortification, Ludwig's Holy Blade gets A-grade weapon scaling against arcane — meaning it will become more powerful as you level up your character's arcane stat. Ludwig's Holy Blade also scales well against strength and skill at higher levels, so it might be one of Bloodborne's best weapon options. Other weapons, like the Blade of Mercy and Burial Blade, will also benefit greatly from a high arcane stat.

Arcane appears to soft cap at level 25. Beyond that, you won't see as much of a benefit to leveling up arcane. It hard caps at 50.

Boosting your arcane will also unlock the ability to use certain tools that you'll discover throughout Bloodborne. They're the closest thing the game has to magic spells. You may have encountered other hunters and bosses who can use magic against you, and you can gain access to those abilities too.

Arcane tools in Bloodborne use your quicksilver bullets to fuel their attacks and buffs. These reusable tools can be placed in your quick inventory and used with the square button. They include items like the Empty Phantasm Shell, which lets you coat your weapon in an arcane slime to boost its attack; Executioner's Gloves, which fire angry spirits at your foes; and the Tiny Tonitrus, a miniature version of the electrified club weapon that you can plant in the ground to fire a column of sparks at enemies.

There are a lot more arcane tools to be found beyond that, but there's a sampling of some of those magic attacks and buffs in action in the video above.