As with all things in Ultima Online there’s an element of ‘give and take’ in selecting the right armor for your character.
Crafted suits of armor may conform to a particular style, while characters who choose to build a suit from monster loot are more likely to select an item for the magical properties and resistances it offers, resulting in a mix of styles.
Mages, Necromancers & Spellweavers
The choice here appears relatively simple, these skills need mana to cast and the most obvious way to replenish that mana is through meditation skill. Armor made from, or containing metal or wood blocks meditation. Leather, then, is a practical choice whether it be basic tunic and leggings or the Tokuno style Do and Suneate or ninja jacket and legs. Leaf armor gives elven characters an additional option while Gargoyles choose between leather and cloth.
This apparent simplicity of choice becomes more complex when the property ‘mage armor‘, found on some loot items, is taken into account. This property enables a character to meditate in armor that normally blocks the ability, making the armor perform as if it was made of leather.
Mystics have a wider choice, since Focus is their main supporting skill, this is not blocked by different armor styles. This character type will probably choose armor based on the other skills in their template. A mystic mage therefore choosing leather, while a gargoyle character having mysticsm and throwing would possibly opt for metal or stone armor.
These characters will need to assess their priorities. Platemail, ringmail, chainmail or dragon armor will provide the best stamina loss reduction; stamina being a contributory factor to achieving maximum swing speed. Conversely studded leather, hide armor, stone armor or bone armor provide the higher lower mana cost bonus, important for using weapons’ special moves and for warriors having Bushido and/or Chivalry skill.
Further consideration is given to the strength requirement of the armor pieces. Plate chest pieces require 95 strength, if the character’s strength is too close to that figure, and it is then lowered by a curse spell, the chest piece may fall into the back pack. Not a good idea.
Elven characters may opt for the material bonuses on Woodland armor, derived from the various special wood types.