Remember the article I linked to, some time back, on “Ruby Fever”? In case you missed it/don’t play EQ, Rubicite was the only plate-class armor many classes could wear, only appeared in one zone, and people would camp its spawning ground for real-life months.
Verant has fixed this. It’s now worse than ever.
Every class that is vaguely melee oriented (warriors, clerics, bards, shamen, etc.) now has their own special armor that can be quested for. These quests are, not to put too fine a point on it, insane. They all involve “FedEx” type “bring me item a, item b, and item c along with gemstone d” to get each piece of armor. The kicker of course, is that many of those items are rare drops (which means that they don’t appear most of the time as loot) on rare spawns (which means that the creature itself appears only once every few hours or so).
Think that’s idiotic? Wait! It gets better! While the quest items are lore/no-drop (which means that they can’t be traded, sold or given away), the resulting armor can be traded freely.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the Verant brain trust apparently missed — right now the servers are swarming with 50th level Druids, using tracking, wolf-form and direct damage spells to steal every possible spawn point, and then collecting said armor pieces to sell on eBay. Meanwhile, rubicite armor, which was never actually removed from the game, is selling now at inhuman prices.
The solution is simple. Unfortunately, Verant will never do it. Rare armor should be player-craftable.
There is plenty of in-game justification, and even the mechanics in game to support this. Say, a master smith, 275+ skill or whatever, when given electrum ingots enchanted by a high-level enchanter, can craft rubicite plate.
Of course, that means that rubicite plate will be as common as GM-exceptional plate is in UO. The question you have to ask yourself, though, is is that a bad thing? What is more fun, dickering with a merchant player, or sitting on your rump, praying to the god Sorebottom, wondering if that orc chief will pop up while you’re watching and KillStealer the Wizard is on bathroom break.
If you can understand what is actually fun about online RPGs (hint – it isn’t bashing the bunnies) then possibly, possibly this problem may be solved. Until then, the only sane response is to play the game as you always do, and wait a few weeks, until the special-class armor has been so devalued in value that you can get it at an auction in Greater Shoutdark for a few plat or so.