I just want to point out how the original post shows just how poorly thought out this game is.
We have a new player here, eager to delve into the game world, and after fighting for a while, OH! all of a sudden his gear is damaged.
Up to this point, no one has mentioned this. Nothing in the story line, none of the NPCs he would have spoken to (including the beginning quest givers).
As far as I know, there's nothing in the manual about this (not like there's much in the manual about anything).
Basically, we have a key game mechanic (because let's face it, SE clearly has plans for gear damage to be a large part of this game), that a player has NO IDEA where it came from, or how to deal with it.
There is ONE, ONE ONE ONE!!!!!!! NPC that they would have to just so happen upon to discover what was going on. Seriously, WTF?! There's a difference between challenging because of learning mechanics and skills, and challenging because they withhold information.
It's like saying "Here, tell me what color this is, but don't open your eyes!"
Lancer, Fisher, Culinarian FFXI:
DRK 55, WAR 30, THF 27, DRG 27 (all retired) WoW:
Hunter 70, Warrior 29, Druid 26, Warlock 22, Shaman 19 (all retired) EQII:
Shadowknight 36 (retired)