When you attack an enemy, or when you are attacked, the attack strikes a specific location instead of striking the entire person. Because of this, each piece of armor you wear on a different body location is used to determine how much damage you take when that specific body location is struck by an attack. For example, if you are wearing poor armor for your helm and strong armor on all other body locations, and you take a blow to the head, you won't gain any additional protection from the strong pieces of armor. Only your headgear is taken into account for that particular blow. Note that some defenses, such as shields, absorption runes, item upgrades, and spells will give you additional armor on all body locations simultaneously. Furthermore, effects that reduce a target's armor, reduce it on all armor locations simultaneously.
Armor is worn by a character to partially protect them from damage. Every character starts with a weakest-level set. A character may wear up to five pieces of armor at a time, and a set consists of these pieces:
- Headgear (often shared between basic armor sets)
- Chest armor
- Hand armor
- Leg armor
Armor has three properties:
- Armor art – the appearance, both when worn and as an inventory icon
- Armor rating – the numerical value that determines damage protection
- Armor bonus – other bonuses on each piece, both profession-specific and by upgrades
- Certain salvage items are also labeled as armor, but they can't be equipped or upgraded. They symbolically represent the armor that enemies wear. They are the source of runes and insignias, though the creatures that drop these items do not directly benefit from them.
- Armor pieces cannot be swapped in a PvP match, after the October 25, 2006 update.
- For information on how to acquire specific armor, see Armor art or a profession's page and follow the links to the separate armor articles.