Prior to this update, the Prophecies campaign and the Factions campaign had a different system of armour crafting. The Insignia system was introduced in the Nightfall campaign. Yesterday’s update has brought the other two campaigns in line with the system in Nightfall.
Armor Insignias and Bonuses
- Players can now obtain armor insignias from all campaigns. Profession-restricted insignias will only drop in campaigns in which characters of that profession can be created.
- Crafted armor in Prophecies and Factions now supports insignias. The insignia bonuses are meant to replace the previous inherent armor bonuses and require several additional changes:
- From this point onward, armor pieces newly crafted in these campaigns will not have inherent bonuses. The crafting costs of these armor pieces have been reduced accordingly.
- All existing level 20 armor from these campaigns now have insignias in place of their inherent bonuses. Please note that the bonuses on these armor sets have not been altered. The only change is that these bonuses now come from insignias.
- All existing lower-level armor pieces from these campaigns now support insignias but have had their inherent bonuses removed.
- Numerous armor sets have been renamed to avoid redundancy with insignia names.
- Lower-level collector armor pieces from Prophecies and Factions now support insignias. Level 20 collector armor does not.
In Prophecies, the armour system had you choose which inherent bonus you wanted, with no choice of the armour skin. Certain types of armour came with a certain type of bonus. This led to some people with mismatched armour because they wanted different bonuses.
In Factions, they separated armour appearance and function You could choose whatever inherent bonus(es) you wanted, and whatever armour appearance you wanted. In my opinion, this is the ideal armour crafting system. The Factions system is not as flexible as the Nightfall system, but it is also not as costly.
In Nightfall, they further separated appearance and functionality with the Insignia system. Armour comes with no inherent bonuses, and insignias must be purchased so that a stat boost can be applied to armour. Insignias are obtained from drops or Rune Traders.
Now all campaigns have been updated to match Nightfall. If you don’t want your Radiant Insignia, which provides an Energy bonus, on your head piece anymore, and would rather have a Survivor Insignia, which provides a Health bonus, you can just apply the new insignia.
Because armour no longer comes with inherent bonuses in any campaign, the crafting cost has been reduced, in line with Nightfall prices. This is good for people who enjoy swapping out stat bonuses because it provides flexibility, however I argue that the reduction in crafting cost may not be enough to compensate for higher insignia prices when you buy from Rune Traders.
Everyone who wants to buy new armour will need insignias. People who have the old armour may need to visit the Rune Trader, too. People who want to change the stat bonuses on their armour will also need to buy insignias. I think this situation will drive the price of popular insignias up.
Radiant Insignias were already going for relatively high prices prior to this update. I can just imagine what they are like now. People don’t just buy one insignia to apply to one piece of armour. Most people, I think, would want a full complement of insignias for each piece of their armour set.
For example, my Warrior/Mesmer has the equivalent of a Radiant Insignia on each piece of her armour. That’s five pieces. Imagine if each of these insignias costs 1 platinum or more, on top of the cost of crafting each piece of armour. This makes it a total of 10 platinum (5 plat for each Radiant Insignia, 5 plat for each piece of armour), plus the cost of Crafting Materials. A lot of people hoard Crafting Materials, but most people buy them at the from the traders. This will cost well over 10 platinum. In the old system the cost of a full set of max level armour in Cantha, with the stat bonuses you wanted, already built into the armour, was 7 platinum, 500 gold, plus the cost of Crafting Materials.
Most of my characters don’t need max level armour, and the ones that do are “back burner” characters. It’s also much easier to make a lot of gold in a short amount of time these days. Hard Mode is fantastic for this. I will grumble a bit when I want to get my Heroes insignias for their armour, though. Each of my three (one for each campaign) main characters has at least two Heroes to command. Imagine if I wanted to outfit each of them (they all have 5 pieces of armour each) with a full complement of insignias. I’m sure that there are other players who want to outfit their Heroes similarly that may not have done so already.
It’s probable that ArenaNet (if they are wise) have foreseen these situations, and compensated for higher insignia prices by increasing the rate of insignia drops from monster kills. I’ll have to check it out at some point this weekend.
Reception to this part of the game update is largely positive. I guess people are not too concerned about the expense because the system does offer much more flexibility.
Another noteworthy update this week is that the official Guild Wars Wiki has been integrated into the in-game interface. This is fantastic news. I hope this means that it will cut down on people asking obvious questions in towns and outposts.