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Scaling equipment in fantasy RPG?

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Im doing a fantasy rpg/tactical game/dungeon crawler. Sort of a blend of battle brothers and darkest dungeon (you control a party of heroes).
Equipment is important. Some classes can only use some weapons and they also have features (such as swords may cause bleed, and maces may cause stun).

Now: How to properly do item scaling? I want high level gear to be "cooler" but not be too far from real weapons either. They also may have modifiers but the base item (thereby the sprite) must also feel more "advanced"/better.
Games like diablo 2 scales like this (see one-handed axes below for example). I will probably need 6-12 items in each class (swords, spears, axes etc) but they will not "come back" with new names as upgraded items (as they do in diablo 2).

What are your thoughts on this? It's not realistic for sure that a nicer looking axe is "3 times as deadly" as a normal axe but i guess it's fine in a game? Or any other solutions? Problem in these games is that items just get bigger (and big is always better). I dont use weapon speed in the game so it's "one attack per turn".

This could be a rough idea of a item hierarchy:
Simple looking weapons -> military looking weapons -> ornamental/fantasy style weapons


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Depends on the design of the weapons, what you name them.  Woodaxe doesn't have the same ring as Axe of Death or something like that.  Weapons don't have to be that far off from what the original looks like.  You can dress up a bow for the more advanced ones maybe put a snake head on it or something for a poison bow.  The standrard to military to ornamental look can work, if you can design something for the two later stages.  A floral weapon can be used for healing etc...

You can even have a joke weapon/hidden like the pea shooter from men in black, small and wimpy but super powerful

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It might help to first have a plan for the progression of enemies. General idea being you first plan the challenge that the player will face and then you work out what tools you'll make available to complete those challenges.

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Yeah i plan to do that as well. The general idea is the player moves through 5 regions, each one more deadly that the last. So i introduce more dangerous enemies, but also bigger groups of enemies. So items could be classifed as level 1 to level 10.

Weapons would need to range from damage/power x1 to roughly x2-x3 at the end of the campaign as I plan to scale enemies roughly this much as well.

This thread is more about how to nicely theme such as gameplay requirement. But i guess the diablo 2 approach is not too far from something I can work with.

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