Blizzard showed off three new slides of class Gear Sets during their Diablo III presentation at Gamescom 2011, and after most fans got over their “new info new visuals cerebral cortex lock up!” reaction, a more critical evaluation has begun. Often with the aid of anime robot images.

    In this post you see the three new Inferno-only gear sets, with various reader-suggested image comparisons, all taken from Adree’s aptly-named “Oh lawd the armor…” thread. I was going to post a news item with just the armor pics and some comments, but really… these pics do it better than I would have.

    The obvious choice for the next site vote seemed to be the DiabloWikiInferno difficulty level, but I might actually be more curious about the general reaction to these armor sets. I’m not horrified by them, but I think they’re fairly comical myself; and that they’re too over the top and obviously non-functional to take seriously. Plenty of readers agree, or like them even less than I do, judging by the forum comments so far. But that’s why we have main page votes; to judge things by thousands of replies, rather than just the dozens or hundreds who care enough to make comments.

    In defense of these outlandish costumes:

    • These are the highest level gear sets in the game. They’re supposed to be massive and eye-catching and crazy.
    • Diablo III is not a ren-faire. There’s no effort made to represent anything historically-accurate or physically functional. It’s magic armor; that’s why it works.. M A G I C
    • We’re judging them by blurry photos. (That’s Blizzard’s own fault though, since at every game convention they do this — show off new stuff in a presentation, choose not to release their slides in HQ images, and then act surprised when fans overreact to blurry, LQ photos of something.)
    • Most crucially, as Bashiok argued back during the male Wizard’s “starfish hat” scandal, we won’t see any of this gear at this angle in the game, other than in the character selection screen. Perhaps these armors look awesome in the isometric angle, in-game. (Though there again, why doesn’t Bliz release some shots of that at the same time, if they want to properly manage fan reactions?)

    For the sake of comparison, the three original slides, showing the class gear set progression, can be seen in our Gamescom 2011 gallery: click for the Female Monk, Female Wizard, Male Demon Hunter. If anyone dislkes the first 2 gear sets for each class, I’ve not seen a comment. The debate seems to be entirely about the third, high end, Inferno-only sets.

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