Bhagpuss has a post that raises some interesting issues surrounding armour in Guild Wars 2, but also the common practice in MMOs of having ‘grades’ (usually colour-differentiated) of armour.
This always reminds me of a wandering bread seller who wandered the main broadwalk of Ironforge (WoW), Myra. If you ever played a dwarf or other character based in Ironforge you’d know that she was the nearest vendor to the nexus of bank/auction house/mailbox that is the (now long abandoned) hub of that city. So she ended up having vast troves of unwanted grey, white, green and blue armour and weapons foisted on her for the much needed gold adventurers crave. Having ‘trash’ items, poorly stated or under-powered items in MMORPGs is a bit of a curiosity.
The presence of armour vendors or weapon vendors selling rubbish gear for the level of the zone is another weird point that Bhagpuss raises. For MMO vets, or gaming vets in general it’s probably a no-brainer to realise quickly that this stuff fits the nickname we give it: trash. But for those new to the genre, or those who *only* played Guild Wars 1, there might not be any realisation how under-geared you are if you stick to white or blue gear.
I would say his suggestion of doing away with everything below yellow grade gear is a bit too radical since it would have unforeseen effects on the games economy and especially the leveling process for new players. It would however move the game more towards the almost-flat gear progression of the game’s predecessor, Guild Wars 1.
This links in to a more serious issue related to Guild Wars 1 vs Guild Wars 2. The most obvious thing I think ArenaNet got wrong with GW2 was the over-importance and proliferation of stat bonuses on armour. The simplicity and ease of obtaining best stat armour in Guild Wars 1 was a major unique selling point (USP) for the game. All the major competitors concentrated (and still do to a large degree) on tiered gear-grinds. Guild Wars 1 made an endgame out of achievements, cosmetic hunting and collections like the mini pets.
Thusfar there aren’t too many tiers of gear in GW2, although stats are much more important and varied. But the design philosophy of the game seems to have been skewed much more towards a standard gear-grind endgame than that of GW1 and that is a shame. The skill collection and builds aspect to GW1′s endgame is greatly reduced when compared with the stereotypical hunt for better gear (seriously why can’t we save and load ‘build templates’ yet?). Somehow I think that’s a lost opportunity for GW2 to have taken a clear step away from the very crowded MMO norm.