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DAOC Technical Guide to Armor
by Johanas Lightbringer of Gaelbane (Midgard, Kay)
10 December 2001
updated 19 February 2002

There is a lot of mysticism about how armor and weapons function in our favorite game, in part because of the lack of documentation on these important topics. I've done a lot of experimenting on my character as well as information gathering online and here's a summary of my findings.

This article is based on data collected in Midgard, though I'm fairly certain that many, if not all, of the principles apply across all realms. This is also a work in progress, with lots of educated guessing involved, and is probably not 100% accurate.


There are six slots for armor that provide AF (armor factor): head, torso, arms, hands, legs, feet. There are eight additional slots for wearable items (neck, cloak, jewelry, waist, 2 rings, 2 wrist items), but those are more straightforward to understand since their properties can be revealed in full by right clicking them and pressing shift-I. All 14 pieces of wearable items get slowly damaged during combat and will need to be repaired, usually for a low cost (see below).

The six armor slots independently cover your six vulnerable areas. This means that the likelihood of getting hit on your torso, and the resulting damage to you, is determined primarily, by the armor in your torso slot. Your overall AF as listed in your stats window is made up of a weighted sum of your six armor pieces, heavily modified by certain properties. The extent to which each armor piece contributes to your overall AF is shown below, and reflects the probability that you are hit in each area (i.e., it is more likely that you are hit in the torso, so torso armor gets the highest weighting factor to overall AF).

torso: overall AF weighting factor = 220%
legs: overall AF weighting factor = 130%
arms: overall AF weighting factor = 75%
head: overall AF weighting factor = 50%
hands: overall AF weighting factor = 25%
boots: overall AF weighting factor = 25%

(These numbers were derived by my own experimentation and may be slightly off since the game only displays two significant figures for individual AF).

What this means is that your overall AF is largely dominated, as expected, by your torso armor, leg armor, and arm armor in that order. Increasing your overall AF is most simply accomplished by increasing the AF of these pieces rather than by investing in the more minor contributors to overall AF. For example, improving the effective AF of your torso armor by just 1 AF unit will increase your overall AF by about 2.2, while you would have to increase the effective AF of your boots by 11 to achieve about the same improvement to your overall AF.

I am not sure if your overall AF directly enters into any combat calculations, but I suspect it does. [update: Mythic has since confirmed that indeed this is the case.] My reasoning is that your overall AF is capped as a function of your level as follows:

Overall AF cap = 10 * level * (1 + abs%/100) [thanks Glug Glug]

Thus a level 50 chain wearer has a maximum AF of 635. If overall AF only served as an informative guideline to the player, there wouldn't be any reason I can think of to cap it. Of course it could be that as your overall AF approaches your cap, each piece's contribution to your overall AF is scaled back, but that seems unnecessarily complicated. If you are wearing the very best armor that is yellow/orange to you at a given level, there is a good chance you will hit this cap (which is a good thing).


Each piece of armor has seven attributes of primary concern, all of which are visible upon right-clicking the piece:

1) LISTED AF factors into how easy or difficult that piece of armor is to hit, and also contributes to damage taken when that piece of armor is hit. The listed AF for a piece of armor appears when you right click the piece and is a nothing but a theoretical guideline that tells you what the effective AF would be IF the armor were of perfect quality, was at your level, AND was in perfect condition. In reality the effective AF of a piece of armor is heavily modified (see below) and is usually not equal to the listed AF for that piece.

2) LEVEL determines how high or low the armor cons to you (i.e., grey, green, blue, yellow, orange, red, or purple). The level of a piece of armor is equal to one-half its listed AF for all armor other than cloth armor, and is equal to its listed AF for cloth armor. So studded armor of listed AF 50 is level 25, as is cloth armor of listed AF 25. Level is important for two major reasons. First, if you wear a piece of armor that cons orange to you, it will be damaged (decrease in CONDITION, see below) at a higher rate than if it cons yellow to you. This also applies to other colors across the con spectrum. The extra wear on your armor is usually not prohibitive, though when you acquire very hard to replace pieces (Twilight, Jotun Orm, Dread Blackscale, Great Hart, etc) you may not want to subject them to extra abuse. Second, the listed AF that contributes to your overall AF is capped at twice your character's level for non-cloth wearers, and at your level for cloth wearers (thanks for this information Lemo). Therefore if you are a level 30 chain wearer, an armor piece with a listed AF of >60 will contribute to your effect AF as if it had a LISTED AF of 60. The color that the armor “cons” to you is a helpful guideline to tell you how far the armor piece lies above or below your level. The net outcome of this is that the contribution of armor to your overall AF is weighted roughly by the following table.

blue or lower: level penalty = 100%
yellow: level penalty = ~90-100%
orange: level penalty = ~80-90%
red: level penalty = ~75-80%
purple: level penalty = ~75% or lower

So there is a significant penalty for wearing orange (or even high yellow) armor, and a steeper penalty for wearing red or purple armor. Still, a piece of orange or red armor will likely provide higher AF than a piece of armor below your level, assuming you don't mind the slightly more frequent repair costs for wearing armor higher than your level (see below). The ideal set of armor to wear, all other things being equal (which is usually not the case due to quality, magic bonuses, etc., see below), is made of armor that is exactly equal in level to your character's level.

3) QUALITY is a permanent attribute that factors into the armor piece's effective AF. If a piece of armor has a listed AF of 50 but its quality is 89%, its effective AF (assuming 100% condition and yellow con) is only 44.5. [update: there is a table floating out in the internet that suggests a non-linear relationship between quality and effective AF, but I think experiment proves the relationship is actually this simple. I suspect that people who generated the table in question may not have taken into account the level penalty.] As you cannot currently change an armor piece's quality, and as most dropped items are of quality around 89%, this is an important and underappreciated fact. All other things being equal, an AF 50 armor of quality 89% (dropped by a monster typically) is a worse piece of armor than an AF 45 piece of 100% quality (made by a player or obtained in a quest). Of course the dropped armor may give you other enhancements (for example, increases in strength, constitution, etc.) that make it overall the better piece to use, but that's another issue.

Mythic has stated (see the posts in December at camelotherald.com) that the damage you take when an armor piece is hit is modified directly by the quality of that piece. Getting hit on an armor piece with 100% quality inflicts half as much damage as receiving the same hit on an identical armor piece under identical conditions but with only 50% quality, according to Mythic's note.

4) CONDITION reflects the state of repair of the armor piece and is much like quality, but is fluid rather than unchangeable. Condition decreases a set amount for each armor piece per time that the piece is hit. The amount of condition lost per hit depends in part on the material of which the item is made. Higher level materials (e.g., steel studded armor versus bronze studded armor) have more condition points and will fall in condition more slowly than items made of lower level materials. Interestingly, your armor can get hit but absorb all the damage; this is displayed as a "miss" but decreases the armor piece's condition by the same amount as a hit for damage. The condition percentage is not a linear reflection of the condition points left in the item. When an armor piece has half its condition points left, it displays a condition of 90%. When its condition reaches 70%, it will not fall any further (though you should never let armor reach such a damaged state). Since the 1.37 patch, the effective condition points of an armor piece are scaled to the probability of that armor piece being hit. For example, although your torso will be hit more often than your hands, your gloves will lose a greater percentage of their condition per hit than your chest armor. This results in the convenient outcome that all your armor pieces will wear at roughly the same rate assuming they are all made of the same material and have comparable statistics.

Condition can be restored to 100% by dropping the armor piece on an npc smith for a price. Player smiths can also repair items. Since the 1.37 patch, items get damaged a little faster, but overall have more hit points until they vanish (reach zero DURABILITY, see below). In general the costs of repairing armor are pretty low (typically to repair an item from 95% condition to 100% condition costs around the value of 1-2 monster drops at your level). The cost of repairing depends on the condition as you would expect, so repairing a 90% condition piece costs more than repairing that piece at 95% condition. The cost also depends on the level of the armor piece, with higher level pieces costing more to repair than lower level pieces. Since the 1.37 patch, several players have reported accessory items (jewelry, wrist items, rings, necklaces, claoks) that have become "no longer repairable", i.e., that have lost so much durability that they no longer can be repaired. Once these items reach a condition low enough that they no longer confer magic bonuses, they are effectively useless.

How does condition factor into the actual effectiveness of an armor piece? According to Mythic, like quality, condition modifies the damage you take when that armor piece is hit. So I disagreeumption is that an armor piece of 70% quality and 70% condition would result in twice as much damage to the player compared with the same piece of armor at 100% quality and 100% condition since (1/0.7) x (1/0.7) = 2.04. In general, it is inexpensive enough to repair armor that I keep all pieces above 95% condition. I reason that the extra 5% damage your 100% condition armor absorbs versus 95% condition armor is like a 1000 hp player getting an extra 50 hp (which would be viewed as a significant gain).

As a note for clarification, I believe what the author is meaning to say here is that there is a bonus amount of damage applied to the hit (after going through the overall ws/af equation to determine base damage hit) if the armor is not 100% condition and quality. The bonus damage (theoretically) is applied if it hits the piece that doesn't meet the 100% mark.


Note 2. Mythic has stated that condition on armor does not affect damage taken.

5) DURABILITY affects only how long the armor piece will exist before vanishing. When durability reaches zero, the item can no longer be repaired. When durability is greater than zero, the armor provides the same protection as if the durability were 100% because durability does not factor into AF. Durability decreases every time you repair an armor piece. The amount of durability lost during a repair depends on the amount of condition restored during the repair. So repairing armor that is at 90% condition decreases the durability of the armor more than if you repaired the armor at 95% condition. Especially since the 1.37 patch, durability falls sufficiently slowly that most everyone will outgrow his or her armor (even if that armor has already been handed down once or twice) before its durability reaches zero.

6) BONUS affects how easy or difficult it is to land a hit on that armor piece. Bonus for armor counters bonus for weapons (which, as you guessed, affects how easy it is for that weapon to hit its target). For example, if an armor piece has a 25% bonus and is attacked by a weapon with a 10% bonus, there is a 25% - 10% = 15% decreased probability that the weapon will hit the armor, aside from any other factors. Bonus is an important and often misunderstood feature of an armor piece. An armor piece with a bonus of 25% will be hit 25% less often than an identical armor piece with a bonus of 0%, meaning that over time the damage the player feels from hits to that area of the body is 25% less.

7) ABSORBANCE determines how much damage is absorbed by the armor when an armor piece is successfully hit, so that a chainmail armor piece with 27% absorbance will pass on less damage per hit than a studded armor piece with 19% absorbance (assuming AF, quality, and condition are identical). I disagreeumption (untested) is that the absorbance percentage is, well, the percentage of damage absorbed. If that assumption is true, you expect an armor piece with 27% absorbance to pass through 8% less damage than an otherwise identical armor piece with 19% absorbance. Absorbance is solely determined by the material of which the armor piece is made:

cloth: absorbance = 0%
leather: absorbance = 10%
studded or reinforced: absorbance = 19%
chain or scale: absorbance = 27%
plate (Albion only): absorbance = 34%


The above information allows us to definitively (I hope) quantify how your overall AF (the number in your AF box) is calculated. To the best of my knowledge, the equation is:

Overall AF = sum of the Real AF of your six armor pieces (overall AF is also capped as a function of your level)

Real AF = Listed AF * Quality * Weighting Factor * Level Penalty

Listed AF = the AF displayed when you right click a piece of armor

Quality = the Qua displayed when you right click a piece of armor

Weighting Factor = from the table above (2.2, 1.3, 0.75, 0.5, or 0.25)

Level Penalty = your level divided by the Armor Piece's Level

Armor Piece's Level = Listed AF divided by 2 for non-cloth armor
Armor Piece's Level = Listed AF for cloth armor

Overall AF cap = 10 * level * (1 + abs%/100)

Again, your Overall AF is probably the best overall single guide to your defense against physical damage because it takes into account everything in the above equations, but does not take into account magic bonuses (such as resistances to magic spells, extra hit points, etc.) or bonus %, both of which are important.


Herald 2001-11-30

Is yellow armour intrinsically better than blue, or is it all based on AF?"

So I asked Mahrin Skel (a world developer, for those of you not familiar with him), and he replied:

"Effective AF is all the combat algorithm looks at, if blue gear is giving better AF than yellow because of higher Quality, the blue gear *is* better. I've tested this extensively, 50 percent quality 30th level armor gives the same performance as 100% 15th level armor of the same type (assuming you are 30th). We're going to be changing the right-click item info to display effective AF so people are more aware of this."

Effective AF" is derived from base AF (the number currently displayed
on right-click). Every armor item has a base Armor Factor, base AF divided
by 2 equals Item Level for everything but Cloth, where AF = Level. But when
you're in combat, the base AF is affected by Quality and Condition. Quality
affects both the chance the armor will completely absorb the blow, and the
amount of damage you take when it does, so the impact of quality "double
dips". Condition only affects the damage taken. So "Effective AF" equals
Base AF times Quality squared times Condition.

The "ArmorFact" field on the character display has always reflected this
effective AF rather than base AF. Soon, right-click will also show
effective AF, and base AF will only be shown on Shift+I."


More information has been added to the Shift-I Info window for armor. You now see:
Base Factor
Clamped Factor
Effective Factor

Where the Effective Factor is the Clamped Factor multiplied by the Quality and Condition factors and divided by the absorption.


Effective AF per piece of armor (assuming all other slots filled with equivalent armor):
- clamped AF x quality% x [condition% + (absorb% x quality%)]


Player crafted armor with 0% bonus can be enchanted by dropping the item on an npc enchanter. You will be asked if you want to pay a certain amount to enchant the item. This enchantment typically costs a significant chunk of the armor piece's purchase price (approximately 10-20%, depending on the piece's level). Enchanting armor is permanent and increases its bonus (and thus the chance that an attack aimed at that piece will fail to hit). The percent bonus imbued by enchanting is determined by the armor's level and at the highest level is 25%. While somewhat pricey at higher levels, if you believe you will be using a particular piece of armor for several levels, enchantment is often worthwhile. To my knowledge, you cannot enchant dropped armor.