The “eyebrow raising epic Barbarian armor” that we discussed a few days ago, came up in a post in the notorious and newly-dreaded B.net forums. The poster was either trolling or just had a weird perspective. In either event, Bashiok tried to talk him down:
This quote tells us two things.
1) They are intentionally making the items unbalanced, so that there is 1 clear best item, instead of making interesting items that allow for uniqueness and choice at the top
2) The best items armors will be class-specific (or perhaps all armors will be)
Bashiok: Heh, it’s referring to the way it looks. Armor looks are tailor-made for each class of course, and since there’s a first one there has to be a ‘last’ one.
It’s rabbit armor, isn’t it?
Bashiok: It’s actually armor that looks like a face with a raised eyebrow.
I took the original twitter tidbit on this to mean that it was the most amazing looking armor, but that it wouldn’t necessarily be the best. After all, no one armor could be the best for all characters, unless it just had absurdly-unbalanced bonuses, and from what the D3 Team has said about game/item design, they’re looking to allow a wide variety of top items. The artists are spending a lot more effort designing customized item appearance in Diablo 3; you know, the way we’ve always wished uniques looked… unique. Not just like orange or purple regular armor, or with a special graphic that only shows up in the inventory window.
That said, there are two perennial issues here; 1) will you sacrifice/modify performance for a cooler character graphic? (Like D2 players who refused to wear the Harlequin Crest since it looks like a green smurf hat.)
2) Do you want there to be one clearly “best” item, even if it’s just for one character or build, or do you want a wide variety of high end stuff; unique, set, rare, crafted, with enough variance between possible stats that any of those might be the best the top item of that type?