So, I started playing Warcraft in August of last year, when a friend of mine got into the first beta test. I played in the next beta test as well, and the one after that

I hold down a job and a family, and something that resembles a life, so I can’t claim to be among those who count their achievements in the number of level 60 characters they have; alas, I only have 1.

Even so, I have something of a fetish for armor sets. Many of us do; Blizzard, and many other game developers (including myself) in fact depend on the existence of this fetish to drive players forward, lemming-style, into the black abyss of the Collection Mechanic.

I have a fairly bad case of this mind disease. I’ve filled several Playstation memory cards with 100% completed saves from the likes of Crash Banidicoot, Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, and many other platform-y excuses to collect shiny things.

So, you would imagine that, upon hitting the vast arid tracts of land that is Westfall, and discovering the earliest armor set in the game (that would be the Blackened Defias Armor set of leathers), that I would have quickly gotten myself a set of those.

Yeah… no. Was playing a Paladin, you see, and Paladins wear mail, not el-flimso leather. Feh.

Actually, truth be told, what actually happened was this: it turned out that the drive to collect experience points was in fact stronger than the set collection urge, in my case. I blew right past that experience with a longing glance over my shoulder, like a kid riding in his parents car who drives by an amusement park. I pressed my nose against the glass and stared longingly at the full set of Defias armor, and then poof, it was gone.

Fast forward. As I may have mentioned, I’m crazily making new characters. Don’t ask why; just accept it, and move on. I have, and I’m much happier for it.

There are five items in the Defias Armor set (boots, gloves, pants, belt, and chest). The first four pieces you can buy from the Auction House. I know; this is what I did to get them. Some may rail against this. I, however, just wanted the goddamn set.

The last piece, however (the chest piece), you can only get by killing one Edwin VanCleef, head of the Defias Brotherhood, who lurks deep in the Deadmines. At the end, in fact. He’s a pain to get to: it takes a minimum of an hour to do a run, and you need to bring a bunch of friends (or 1 very high level friend). Once you kill him, the armor only drops every so often.

I started my runs at level 20. At level 24, the armor set really starts to become useless, as much more powerful gear starts showing up. Thus, this project had a half-life.

  • 1st run: the armor dropped, but this jackass punk kid Hunter (who turned out to not even have been fightingduring the run, thus earning him the title of jackass punk kid Hunter) out-rolled me on it. Seething.
  • 2nd run: Cloth armor dropped. Made level 21.
  • 3rd run: Cloth armor dropped. Made level 22.
  • 4th run: Cloth armor dropped. Despair began to clutch at my heart.
  • 5th run: Oh yes. I love everyone. I love the world. I love the birds and the rocks, and even this lovely corpse of Edwin VanCleef. Love love love.

That, my friend(s), is what a full set of Blackened Defias Armor looks like.

In case there is any doubt, here is verification.

I am happy. I am a bit collector. I collect 1’s, and I collect 0’s.