WARNING: I cannot spell encumbrance.
most people I see in darkfall have no clue how what armour combos are best.
here is a armour set alot of people wear in darkfall: full bone + scale boots and gloves:
30.5 encumb 4.62p 4.74s 9.01m
p=piercing, s=slashing, m=magic.
Now here is a set I would wear instead which people would see as nooby/scruby. scale helmet, scale leggings, leather boots, leather gloves and the rest bone:
28.5 encumb 4.84p 5.02s 9.04m
notice I have LESS encumb and MORE armour! having 8.5 magic penalty is a lot nicer than having 10.5 penalty plus you have higher protections. its a slight advantage I admit. if you do not care about slight advantages stop reading my blog altogether, that is what it is about. if you like me care alot about this stuff read on for a full guide on making the best armour sets.
In darkfall the best armour set is one which gives you the highest protections possible for a viable amount of ecumberance. its not as simple as higher stats = better. its a case of protection to ecumberance ratio. and even that ratio is relation to cost, but I will not be covering cost in this guide, I assume the reader knows the rough price of armour pieces.
Basics: at level 100 armoured casting reduces encumb by 20 and armoured archery reduces encumb by 50. So for a mage a set of 30 ecumb will give you 10 magic penalty. for an archer a set of 60 ecumb will give you 10 archery penalty and 40 magic penalty. this can be reduced further by feather enchants. having more than 20 magic penalty is not advisable if you plan to use magic offensively.
While this guide is more focused to caster armour sets I personally would never play with more than 20 archery ecumb because you need to be able to do as much damage as possible with a bow, plus having more than 40 magic penalty makes you a sitting duck because you wont be able to cast at all. people can do well with high ecumb watch videos of sieges etc, but usually rely on mounted combat or working with other mages in a class like role since all you can do effectively is mele and tank damage.
so protection value divided by encumb value = ratio of how good the armour actually is. this value differs for different damage types. but keep in mind these general rules of thumb: bone has equal physicals but slightly higher holy and unholy protections vs other magics. metal or heavy armour has slightly less lightning protections vs other magics. heavy has unequal physicals: slashing highest, piercing middle, bludgeoning lowest.
working out ratios of entire sets is pointless. these ratios are for 1 standard piece of the set and using base values. not sure I will bother with bludgeoning nobody really uses it. [values are rounded to 3 sig figures]
leather: 0.200 phys 0.253 magic
Studded: 0.200 phys 0.257 magic
Bone: 0.200 phys 0.373 magic [holy/unholy 0.453]
Banded: 0.075p 0.083s 0.151m
Scale: 0.073p 0.081s 0.151m
Plate: 0.073p 0.081s 0.163m
Full Plate (FP): 0.098p 0.109s 0.179m
Infernal: 0.100p 0.111s 0.188m
Dragon: 0.101p 0.112s 0.185m
so interesting to note bone type is easily the best armour type in the game even when money is no object. scale/banded/plate are the same but with plate having a slight advantage in magic protects, I didn't realise banded was so good myself until just now, shame there is no gloves or boots. FP and above is quite alot better, but notice infernal is not alot better than FP considering its x3 the cost, and dragon armour is overall the same as infernal and costs ALOT more. NEVER BUY DRAGON ARMOUR.
if your thinking "then why doesn't everyone wear leather armour if its better ratio than infernal". then you entirely missed the point. having the lowest encumb possible is not the best set up, otherwise being naked would win. having 0 ecumb or less than 20 is useless. leather is not definitively better than infernal because with a q3 feather (-15 encumb) you will have alot less than 20 ecumb so total waste. its not as simple as higher ratio OR higher value is better. its all about finding the sweet spot.
here is some tricks and exceptions to the rule. the above ratios are worked out per piece. a chest piece is pretty much always the exact equivilant of 4 pieces in ecumberance, value and ratio. all other bits of the set are the same except head and legs which always differ...
head pieces count as 2 pieces BUT only 1 piece's worth of ecumberance. helmets have at least twice the encumb ratios as other pieces. so if you are choosing a put a heavy piece in your bone set and go over 20 encumb, it should always be the helmet first.
leather helmet: 0.380 phys 0.486 m
Bone helmet: 0.400 phys 0.773 m
Banded helmet: 0.150p 0.166s 0.323m (best cheap)
Scale helmet: 0.147p 0.164s 0.311m
Plate helmet: 0.146p 0.163s 0.339m
FP helmet: 0.203p 0.226s 0.379m (bang for buck)
Infernal helmet: 0.206p 0.229s 0.384m (best helmet in game)
Dragon helmet: 0.200p 0.222s 0.374m
legs pieces usually have slightly less encumb than other pieces, how much less differs between armour types. the encumb ratio is never as good as helmet but usually better than other pieces of the same set. so never wear say scale shoulders and bone legs when you could be wearing scale legs and bone shoulders and have 2 less total ecumb.
leather legs: 0.200 phys 0.253 m
Studded legs: 0.250 phys 0.321 m
Bone legs: 0.233 phys 0.434m
Banded legs: 0.075p 0.083s 0.151m (avoid!)
Scale legs: 0.102p 0.114s 0.212m (bang for buck)
FP legs: 0.111p 0.124s 0.204m (best)
Feather enchants are extremely useful for reducing ecumb. Aproximately:
Q1 -5 Q2 -10 Q3 -15 Q4 -20
ratios are useful! here is two sets with same ecumb:
set 1: bone + FP helm, boots, gloves + scale legs = 42.5
set 2: bone + FP helm, legs + scale boots, gloves = 42.5
instead of doing ALL the maths adding up ALL the values to figure which has the highest protections. I know that because set 1 has 3 FP pieces and 1 scale and set 2 has 2 FP and 2 scale, set 1 has higher protections. however set 2 is 1 seletine ingot cheaper ;) and the difference will be that between a fp piece and a scale piece [0.025p 0.028s 0.028m].
bone [13.5] + scale helm, boots, gloves, leggings = 39.5e
bone + FP helm + scale boots, gloves, leggings = 40.5e
bone + FP helm, boots, gloves, leggings = 44.5e (need q3 feather)
bone + infernal helm + FP boots, gloves, leggings = 45.5e
bone + Infernal helm, boots gloves + FP leggings = 47.5e (need q4 feather)
PS: looking forward to expac as apparently all armour types will have whole sets. so even if new armours suck. the new pieces such as bone and banded boots/gloves as well as infernal and plate legs will be interesting.