The quality of the gear/equipment you use makes a notable difference to how well you’re able to perform in a great many tasks and MMOs are no exception to this rule.

In WoW you have “Item Level” (iLevel/ilvl) and “Item Quality”.

Item Level is pretty simple to understand; it’s a number which every bit of gear in the game has on it. While there are a number of complex calculations that explain exactly how iLevels work, it’s generally safe to assume that a higher iLevel equates to a better item.

Item Quality is a little less obvious to new players (though you can pick it up pretty fast) as it is indicated by the colour of the text used to display the item’s name:

  • Grey – Has no use and is purely there to give you something to sell to vendors for gold (I’ve always wondered what they do with all those greys players sell them!)
  • White – Items of some value, includes craft materials and quest items
  • Green -“Common: Dropped by anything and everything. Often used while levelling up or as a source of enchanting materials
  • Blue – Uncommon: Mainly dropped by dungeon bosses. Give a reasonable bonus over a green item of the same iLevel
  • Purple – Epic: Mainly dropped in heroic dungeons and raids. Gives a significant bonus over both green and blue items.
  • Orange – Legendary: Very rare items that usually require the user to have completed some quest chain to earn. Usually the most powerful item available in a given tier of content (possibly lasting several tiers due to the bonuses they give) they also carry a certain amount of prestige given the effort involved in obtaining them.

 

EVE has a similar model with Meta Levels and a “Quality” of sorts (Tech Level).

Meta Levels begin at zero and apply to basic items produced by players, for example Expanded Cargohold I. From there you have Meta 1 to Meta 4 which give progressive improvements to the bonuses afforded and/or reduced fitting requirements. All items up to Meta 4 can be considered “Tech I”. Critically, Tech I items have very forgiving skill requirements, meaning that a character with low skill points still has an upgrade path when funds allow but skills do not. Using a Tech I items with a higher meta level also has the benefit of increasing the chances of success when performing invention.

When the meta level reaches “Meta 5” the item is classed as “Tech II”. These items (usually) give a bigger bonus than Tech I items of the same family, but have higher fitting and skill requirements.

Meta 6 to 9 items are classed as either “Storyline” or “Faction”. They give similar (sometimes better) bonuses as Tech II items but with fitting & skill requirements closer to Tech I items. This, combined with the increased rarity of these items, means that they have a significantly higher price tag.

Meta 10 (and higher) items are either dropped by NPC officer spawns (found in low-sec space) or in Deadspace complexes (the closest WoW analogue for a complex would be an outdoor raid boss). Both offer even bigger bonuses than Tech II & Faction items with fitting requirements usually somewhere in the middle. They are very powerful and are amongst some of the most expensive items in the game costing hundreds of millions of ISK and beyond.