One big change I've noticed in this game is that equipment has become highly available. Class quests and other open world quests hand out weapons and armor for quest completion, and if you don't get what you need from there, several vendors around the world sell full sets of armor for a mere few hundred or thousand gil (depending on the level). I've noticed many of the items given out in popular quests (like class quests) hit rock bottom on the market boards, seeing several for less than one hundred gil. Though even if they didn't, if you're following your quest line, you would receive the update for free.
This makes staying up to date very easy, as there's a good chance you're getting what you need to stay up to date as you play, and what you don't is available for very reasonable prices from vendors or from great supply on the market boards. I wonder, though, what effect this has on the incentive for a new player to craft. Playing the market seemingly becomes very difficult when vendors and quest givers are handing out equipment so easily, making it so your market becomes only that which isn't so readily available for players who would even bother to buy anything else.
Edited, Sep 3rd 2013 9:24pm by Susanoh
From what I understand, top tier gear is dropped OR crafted HQ stuff. And getting the HQ stuff requires certain minimums in Craftsmanship and Control (like 275 and 255 respectively or something), in addition to luck on the crafting conditions and just plain old luck in general, while also using HQ ingredients.
So, to use a WoW comparison, you could think of much of the "free" gear you get from quests as "white" or "green" gear in WoW terms. It's the baseline basically. The HQ crafted stuff and dungeon drops/token rewards are more in-line with the blue and purple colors from WoW, and those tend to require much more effort. Essentially, SE has set up the quest system so that anyone can, through soloing and 4-man parties, have access to the gear necessary to finish the main storyline of the game. Those who put in extra effort will be rewarded thusly, but as you level up, you find that while some quest gear rewards are upgrades, they also pale in comparison to their HQ crafted or dungeon drop counterparts.
The thing about me is that apparently it's very hard to tell when I'm drunk. So I feel like I'm walking sideways on a UFO and everyone else sees me doing the robot like a pro.
i have bathed in the blood of many. my life was spent well.
feral druids do it on all fours.
The One True Prophet of Tonkism.