Color Coded Item Tiers YKTTW Discussion

Color Coded Item Tiers
That thing where magic items in a video game have color-coded tiers of power and rarity.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-01-06 05:17:34 sponsor: NotSoBadassLongcoat edited by: morenohijazo (last reply: 2016-01-17 07:07:37)

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Seen It a Million Times: whether you're playing a single-player RPG, or a MMORPG, you're bound to encounter items (weapons, armor, jewelry, etc.) that are divided into at least three tiers of power and rarity that just happen to be Color-Coded for Your Convenience. Rarity gives us a visual indicator of how one item compares to another in terms of game advancement. If rarity didn't exist, there would be more of a need to test or compare stats before you'd even know whether to get excited that you got a particular item. Rarity offers an immediate clue as to whether an available item will be effective against the tier of enemies you'll encounter at your current level

As opposed to tropes like Power Glows and Bling of War, Color Coded Item Tiers are strictly diegetic, used only to help the player distinguish the item's power through inventory background or item name color. Usually, the colors are, as codified by World of Warcraft, mundane white items, followed by green "uncommon" ones, blue "rare" ones and purple "epic" ones. Sometimes, orange or golden tier of Infinity Plus One Weapons is used as well. The only consistent pattern is that White, Gray and Green are towards the bottom of the tier and Purple and Orange are usually towards the higher end (if they're even there), but whether white is the absolute lowest or purple is the absolute highest or there are 3 or more colors or whatever is up in the air.

A subtrope of Color-Coded for Your Convenience. Compare with Law of Chromatic Superiority.


Action Adventure
  • Little Big Adventure 2 is a mixed case; the game has 4 item tiers in total: yellow, green, red and fiery. Each tier is more powerful than the last. Some enemies wear armor that utilizes these same tiers, which makes them invulnerable to any lower tier. Therefore, you need to a weapon of at least the matching tier to deal any damage at all. However, only green and red are the colors consistently used for various items in the game; yellow and fiery are only utilized by Twinsen's Magic Ball, which functions as a thrown weapon. It's the only item that can go through all 4 tiers, via upgrades.
  • Rupees in The Legend of Zelda while higher colors tend to vary the most consistent value is Green=1 Blue=5. Purple is always among the higher values ranging from 50 to 200 depending on the game.

Action RPG
  • Diablo:
    • The first game's division between standard (white) items, enchanted (blue) ones and uniques (yellow), may be considered an Ur-Example. The sequels add the green "set" category, where items from the same set are more powerful when used together, and gold or orange tier for uniques, while yellow items become a more powerful tier of "randomly enhanced" blue items.
    • The colors in Diablo II are:
      • White (mundane)
      • Grey (Socketed, same as mundane but can be improved with gems and runes)
      • Blue (One or two magic properties)
      • Yellow (Random mix of magic properties)
      • Gold (Unique, pre-set magical properties with a unique name and appearance)
      • Green (Set, use in conjuction with other items in the same set to get additional bonuses)
    • Diablo III uses a slightly different colour scheme than its predecessor.
      • Grey/Inferior: broken, damaged, or weak items.
      • White/Common: items with no magic qualities.
      • Blue/Magic: common magical items, with one or two enhancements.
      • Yellow/Rare: less common magical items, with more enhancements.
      • Orange/Legendary: named items with pre-set magical enhancements (replacing D2's Unique class).
      • Set/Green: similar to Legendary, but grant extra bonuses when worn with other items of the same set.
  • In Digimon World 4, equipment (weapons and boards) may drop randomly with color-coded names to indicate a greater-than-normal boost to stats. The progression is white (normal) < blue < green < yellow < orange < pink, and availability depends on your experience level. For example, a blue-labeled weapon has anywhere from 1-30 more attack points. Also, these boosts are independent of the number of mod slots generated on the item.
  • Path of Exile has a color coding similar to the Diablo series: regular items are white, magical ones are blue, rares are yellow, and uniques are golden. Quest items are green but they are not equippable. Some players and even the wiki have been known to refer simply to white, blue, gold and orange items.
  • Titan Quest has six tiers: Grey (junk), White (normal), Yellow (magical), Green (rare), Blue (mythical) and Purple (legendary). Unlike other games, purple-tier items are available only on Epic and Legendary difficulty settings.
  • Torchlight 2 has white (common) > green(uncommon) > blue (rare) > orange (unique), with purple being reserved for quest-related items.
  • In God Eater Burst, items are tiered by "Rank" and icon colors/icon background. Ranks 1 and 2 use the default font color and background, 3 and 4 uses Purple icons, 5 and 6 uses Red, 7 and 8 uses Teal, 9 uses White and 10 uses white with a special background.

Card Battle Game
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a semi-subversion. Cards follow the World of Warcraft colour scheme to denote their rarity, however actual card power is almost completely disconnected from their rarity (with the exception of the orange legendary cards, although even many of those don't see much play).
  • Might and Magic Duel of Champions divides the cards into five tiers: white are common, green are uncommon, blue are rare, orange are epic (often unique, meaning you can have only one copy in your deck) and purple are exclusively Hero cards.

First-Person Shooter
  • The first Borderlands game features EIGHT colors (White, Green, Blue, Purple, Yellow, Orange, Dark Orange, Pearlescent). Up to Dark Orange, those follow the usual pattern of rarity, Pearlescent ones are exclusively easter egg items.
  • In Borderlands 2, the number of tiers is reduced to six: White and Green being the most common, Blue are unique, named items, Purple are special Eridium-enhanced weapons, Pink are introduced in the first DLC as Awesome, but Impractical powerful guns with significant drawbacks, and Orange ones are ultra-rare items akin to the Pearlescent ones from the first game.
  • Counter-Strike: Global Operations divides weapon skins into seven tiers: Consumer grade (white), Industrial grade (light blue), Mil-spec (blue), Restricted (purple), Classified (magenta), Covert (red) and melee weapon-only tier marked with a star symbol (gold).
  • Team Fortress 2 features item qualities for its weapons, hats and esthetic gizmos. Although their rarity is relative and sometimes a vintage or a genuine quality item can be considered being worth less than their common counterpart from the users, Light Grey (default "Stock" items) > Yellow (unique) > Blue (vintage) > Green (genuine) > Purple (unusual) could be considered a relatively canonical order of rarity, with genuines and vintages being very dependant on the item itself. There are also other qualities such as stranges or community made items that can't be placed anywhere precisely within the order by rarity.

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
  • World of Warcraft is the Trope Codifier that introduced "standard" color coding of Grey (Poor) > White (Common) > Green (Uncommon) > Blue (Rare) > Purple (Epic) > Orange (Legendary) (with light gold "Heirloom" items that can be transferred between characters on the same account added later).
  • In Elsword, the colors that indicate item tiers isn't shown in the equipment model itself, but rather, the letters are colored differently. The tiers go as thus: Normal (white letters), Rare (yellow letters), Elite (purple letters) and Unique (beige letters). There's also one extra tier, Old (black letters) that is reserved for unusable, junk equipments.
  • Star Trek Online uses white for common, green for uncommon, blue for rare, purple for very rare, and light purple for ultra rare (reserved for Fleet gear).
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic features five colors: green, blue, orange (Socketed Equipment that allows you to freely swap the stat-boosting components to match your level while keeping the same look), purple (coming from Rare Random Drops and stores selling gear for endgame dungeon tokens; usually Socketed Equipment filled with purple stat-boosting components by default, the endgame shop armors also give additional bonuses for wearing at least two parts of a given set) and light gold "Inheritance" items that are limited to characters on the same player account.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online:
    • White/Common
    • Yellow/Uncommon
    • Purple/Rare
    • Cyan/Incomparable
    • Orange/Epic
  • The Secret World plays it straight: Green items are the most common and easily available, Blue ones are usually dropped by Dungeon bosses and Purple ones are rare endgame gear with special Signet slots (Signets being equally rare components giving the weapons powers similar to some passive skills).
  • Vindictus also has item qualities that follow the usual Grey > White > Green > Blue > Purple pattern. They stop at purple for now.

Strategy RPG
  • In Disgaea games, there are three tiers of item rarity and it shows trough the name, the common tier have white text, Rare items have green (With blue if you equip multiple Rare items) and Legendary have Gold text. Almost all items have 3 versions of them : Common (White), Rare (Silver in first game, Green in later games) and Legendary (Gold). The better the rarity, the more powerful the item is, the more floor its Item World have, and the more Specialist/Innocents it can hold. However, while Rare items are stronger than normal items and Legendary items are stronger then Rare items, you can get most of the items in Common, Rare or Legendary (Exceptions include Rank 40 items like the Infinity+1 Sword, Joke Weapons and some unique weapons that Optional Party Members have, all of which only come in Legendary) and if you go to the Item world, you can strengthen an item making it stronger than an unleveled Legendary version of the same item.

Survival Horror
  • Dead Island follows the usual White-Green-Blue-Purple-Orange formula.

Western RPG
  • Items in the Dragon Age series are color-coded by their material. Dragon Age: Origins plays this trope straight, which every material corresponding to a particular item tier (e.g. from the grey tier 1 iron to the golden tier 9 Volcanic Aurum). Dragon Age II subverts this: despite having material and color tiers for the items, the real power/quality of an item is determined by a hidden statistic.

Wide Open Sandbox
  • Terraria has Rarity, a statistic applying to all items, that loosely indicates their value and the difficulty with which they are obtained. An item's Rarity is indicated in-game by the color of its name text, as displayed, for example, when rolling the cursor over the item in an inventory slot. An item's Rarity can be raised or lowered by up to two tiers depending on its Modifier. There are 13 tiers of Rarity which go from gray (the lowest) to purple (the highest), plus two special tiers not normally available (rainbow, exclusive to expert-mode items, and amber, exclusive to quest items).

Non Videogame Examples
  • Magic The Gathering eventually coded the card rarities. Black means common, silver means uncommon, gold means rare, and orange means mythic rare.
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