...leveling items are almost always go to look more or less "plain". We want the end-game items to really stand out, both in ability/power and the way they look. The items you had at 60 were the end-game items, they were the best of the best and their look really showed that visually just running around the city. As you're leveling again you may be finding better gear than what you had, but it's not the uber end-game gear, and so it sort of has a plain look to match.
Of course, I don't think that my complaint is over the fact that the gear looks "plain" -- in fact, I think "plain" would be a major improvement over what I'm wearing now. And while all of us want the incredible end-game gear to look, well, incredible, that doesn't seem like a great reason to make the rest of the gear in the game look awful, or just as bad -- boring and recycled. With most of the sights in Outland making me want to gape in wonder, the fact that my character would look about the same (perhaps better -- I don't recall low level greens being this jarringly colored) if I went and geared myself with the best that Elwynn Forest had to offer is a little disappointing.
How could the current system be improved? Read on for some thoughts.
The suggestion of armor dyes comes up again in this thread -- and while I think it's a great idea that would solve a number of player complaints about the aesthetics of gear design, Blizzard has never really smiled on the proposal. Way back in December 2005, Caydiem told us...
...the "easiest" way to implement this would be to shift all armor to a greyscale and allow application of a single color. Except... doing that causes either dark colors to look washed out (such as red appearing dingy pink) or light colors to look dim and dirty. Pure white? Pure black? Can't happen, not without almost completely removing the detail on the texture. All the multicolored bits would be gone. And that's something we don't want to do; the textures of the game provide much of the liveliness in the art style of the game. If we want to do dyes right, it's a far greater task that would require special attention to each and every piece of armor in the game, creating maps to define where the dye would and would not apply, etc. in addition to making sure the colors would be the vibrant and strong shades we've come to know from Warcraft. It's not a simple thing to implement by any means, and there are no plans to do so at this time.
And more recently (November 2006), Drysc told us...
...as far as customizing specific armor we would probably move to something that allows you to choose from color variants for some items long before we allowed actual free-form dying. That's just my take on it right at this moment, but of course anything is subject to change.... Like I said we definitely love giving players choices and the ability to customize, and that's only going to increase as we go, but dyes aren't currently something we're considering for any future types of customization.
None of this give me much hope for my current character -- though it sort of encourages me to finish the grind to 70 as fast as humanly possible, so I can start looking at my character (an investment of so much time and effort!) again without wanting to cry.