Item Sets are related groups of equippable items that, when equipped together, have properties that are greater than simply the sum of their parts.
When you equip a complete suit of such items, they will change colour and you will receive a message:
- The magic of your armor combines to assist you!
The message is the same regardless of whether the items comprise a weapon set or armor set. Additional Item Properties then come into effect on the suit, hence adding an extra boost of power to your character.
Such "sets" first appeared in the Mondain's Legacy expansion. Prior to that, the term was loosely applied to non-craftable armor that matched by look and name (such as the Daemon Bone Armor Set). Some examples along these lines have been listed under Unofficial Sets for reference (though they do not grant bonuses as "official" sets do).
For their value, set parts owe far more to rarity then to practicality. Very few item sets, even when completed, are actually worth wearing. Nevertheless, a player who actually does wear them could be considered exceedingly rich. There are of course exceptions to this rule (the Event Sets are/were for the most part much easier to come by then the others).
Note that with the original sets introduced by Mondain's Legacy, each piece displays it's own properties, and it's up to the player to do the math and find out what the set's final, combined properties are. Some of the other sets on the other hand (such as those introduced by the Spring Cleaning 2008 event) attempt to make each piece show the set's combined properties when fully equipped.
Mondain's Legacy Sets
These were the first item sets, introduced by the Mondain's Legacy expansion. Parts are obtained by killing Mondain's Legacy specific champion monsters, such as Swoop, Miasma etc or Peerless bosses. They drop to the corpse of the monster killed, and only gain a special hue when the whole set is equipped. Refer below for a discussion on hunting for such items.
Of these, the Darkwood / Warrior Armor Set is the easiest to obtain (it's crafted), and it also has an additional peculiarity - It's the only item set in the game that can come with variable stats (via material bonuses from the Boards used). It's quite popular with players who frequently hunt for gold using melee characters.
Some sets were made available by certain events, either for the duration of those events (eg the Spring Cleaning 2008 and Clean Up Britannia 2011 sets) or permanently (eg the Virtue Armor Set, which was (finally) made available at UO's 10th Anniversary).
The Spring Cleaning sets differ from the standard in that, when fully equipped, the tooltip for any given component will attempt to sum up the total properties the suit grants. They are also the only sets available that lack Self Repair.
The Sorcerer Armor Set in particular has become very popular with those players able to obtain it - it offers near perfect resistances, along with 100% LRC and additional mods (though Runic crafted gear can potentially surpass it). The Virtue Armor Set could be considered the easiest to obtain, and while it's properties are inferior to the current standard of "armor" in Ultima Online, it's still considered useful for players without much gold to spare for Insurance purposes (the entire suit is Blessed).
These are sets that aren't actually considered true "sets" - most grant no bonuses when you equip them. They are mentioned here only as items which obviously belong together. Some were introduced well before the "functional" sets Mondain's Legacy were added while others were only available through tokens.
Oddly enough, the current examples listed are still rather difficult to collect. In fact, only the Daemon Bone Armor Set still spawns in-game, and even those parts are somewhat rare indeed.
Common & Rare Pieces
Concerning the drop rate for ML set items, reports indicate that you might expect to see at least one set item drop once every 300 kills of a valid monster - assuming you're looking. The items drop to the corpse of the slain creature and must be looted, and have no special hue with which to quickly distinguish them (at least, until they're equipped as part of a full set).
"Valid monsters" are specially named ML creatures (eg Swoop, Miasma, Rend, etc). Swoop in particular was once a popular source (due to the ease with which he could be farmed), though Publish 48 changed that somewhat (whether it also changed the drop rate is unknown).
Each piece of the ML sets seem to spawn at a different rate - that is to say, there are common and uncommon pieces for each set.
Some players have reported that certain "rare" pieces will not spawn from "standard" named ML monsters, while other players claim they have found such items that way (refer to this Stratics discussion thread). It could be that some drops are only excluded from some such named monsters, or only available from one named monster - The items are too rare to form a solid conclusion on the matter.
On the other hand, "true" bosses (Peerless, Champion Spawn bosses, Doom bosses) are assumed to drop all parts of all sets (with the exception of the Grizzle / Warrior collections). Event bosses (such as The Six / the Shadowlords / Melissa) also dropped such items.
|Legs, Arms, Gloves
|Gorget, Tunic, Bascinet
|Tunic, Legs, Gloves
|Arms, Gloves, Gorget
|Tunic, Legs, Helm