Brienne picture
Of all of the crazy characters from HBO's Game of Thrones, Brienne is easily my favorite. Why is she my favorite? It's not because she's just heroic or brave or any of the things that people often attribute to her; it's because she's a survivor. Much of that survival comes from her armor and the fact that she knows well enough to be able to protect herself! The actress Gwendoline Christie has talked about how uncomfortable the armor is to wear. I've heard the producers say that the metal skin is supposed to look sort of mismatched, and I love that. It only makes it stronger.

I often wish MMOs represented armor in better ways, especially for female characters. Some MMOs do a better job than others, and some MMOs do a decent job some of the time. Here are some of my picks for my favorite armor sets for female humans, orcs, goblins or... well, you get the point.

(Please don't post Game of Thrones spoilers in the comments section.)

Guild Wars 2 screenshot
I've only played Guild Wars 2 during beta and two trial weekends, but I have to say that what ArenaNet has done with some of the races and clothing options is just amazing. The game is beautiful, but when I found this female Ranger during character creation, I had to snap the photo. This is the type of armor that a Ranger might really wear. It's soft but tough and can move with her as she rides a horse or makes her way through underbrush. This is a brilliant design.

Illyriad screenshot
Illyriad's female human painting is awesome. The game is a browser-based MMORTS that has real consequences like city-wiping sieges (nearly the equivalent of permadeath), so you'd expect the warriors and races to be somewhat prepared for battle. This human looks not only prepared but also a bit weary. I like that. She's serious, but like Brienne, she looks as if she can move as fast as she needs to when the time comes. Illyriad has been featured on the Women Fighters In Reasonable Armor Tumblr blog as well.

Vanguard Sags of Heroes screenshot
One of my favorite characters in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is my little Goblin Monk. She is feisty enough that rolling through the first 15 levels of content with her were a genuine pleasure. She has to be able to kick and block, and her armor gives the impressions that she could do so. It's made up of many smaller pieces as if it took a real craftsman to create it. In reality, the armor is nothing special, but like many things in Vanguard, even the ordinary can look extraordinary.

Ryzom screenshot
Depending on which of the four races you roll in Ryzom, the female armor can range from skimpy to heavy. Even the skimpier stuff fits into the lore a bit more than average, however, as the crafters often come from muggier or even desert areas. Sure, some of it is obviously just made to show off blue skin, but the guards who walk around the Zorai capital of Zora are just awesome-looking. Each race uses items found from the local area to craft handmade armor, but fancier armor sets really look as if they took months to make. Everything in Ryzom has a very organic feel to it, and this armor is no exception. For such an old game, Ryzom is still one of the most original and best-looking out there!

EverQuest II screenshot
EverQuest II is similar to other MMOs in the way it offers many different types of armor for female characters. I was busily exploring in game one night, attempting to locate one of my favorite armor sets (I can't seem to remember what it was called) when I came across this incredible female ogre on a massive mount. She sat there, waiting for the boat I think, and would not respond to my messages. I attempted to take as many photos as I could until she left. Who was she? Why was she so massive? Where did she get that mount? Ah, the mystery. And the killer-looking armor, of course.

EverQuest screenshot
There are much nicer looking armor sets in the EverQuest universe, but this set on a Paladin character that my wife made on my account way back in the early 2000s seems right. Sure, it has a bit of those silly cut-outs that you know no true warrior would have, but she's also magical and needs to move quickly. So it could make sense. As a saving grace, she carries a massive sword and knows how to use it.

Gemstone IV screenshot
There are a lot of great MUDs out there (text-based MMOs... ask your grandma) but Gemstone IV is probably my favorite. Yes, it does charge a standard monthly fee, and those fees do go up to near $60 or so per month, but I think it's worth it. You can customize your armor and character in many, many ways in many different MMOs, but I love how obvious Gemstone IV makes it. The descriptions are built up over time; players often work years and years just to craft a character and backstory. In many ways, the female armor sets in a MUD are more realistic than in any graphical MMO because they're extremely custom and special, and your brain fills in the reality.

Do you have a favorite female armor set? I like "realism" in my favorites, but I know a lot of players who go for beauty.

Each week, Free for All brings you ideas, news, and reviews from the world of free-to-play, indie, and import games -- a world that is often overlooked by gamers. Leave it to Beau Hindman to talk about the games you didn't know you wanted! Have an idea for a subject or a killer new game that no one has heard of? Send it to beau@massively.com!

This article was originally published on Massively.
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