May I ask where did you get the number? There is no equation for penalty equipping something under optimal rank, really. I'm wearing Bronze Cuirass/Gauntlets/Sabatons at r32, I don't care whatever people say, because I'm still having 290 Def overall and that's actually higher than people at my rank wearing Bronze Hauby/Solleret etc. Actually my GLA friend who is also an ARM, who is dead set on statistic and wear Bronze Hauby at r27, switched to Cuirass at 31 too, because it offer more DEF. And no, he doesn't run after looks, because he made the Cuirass way back when he was r25 GLA.
The Cuirass is FULL PLATE, the Haubergeon is WAR GARB. FULL PLATE > WAR GARB in term of DEF. Even the Vintage Scale Mail has less DEF than Cuirass, even though it is 3 ranks higher and being something "Unique". Not to mention wearing it at r32 is terribad :P
Like I have said before, people only understand Optimal Rank and they totally forgot item types. Every types of body armour are different, weapons as well. A Macuahuitl is second in term of ATK after Falchion, a Dagger is best in term of Accuracy. Small Shield tends to have bonus stat while large shield like Scutum has high Block, most notably the case of Lantern Shield vs Scutum.
Edited, Nov 22nd 2010 8:19pm by Khornette
I am talking about, the one situation, that I quoted above. Which happens to be the situation I analyzed the crap out of weeks ago. There have been posts about it, and there is indeed an equation for how stats are scaled down. The current take is you lose 16% of the defense a rank below, then 4% for each level below that. So you are losing 16% a level below, 20% 2 levels below, 24% 3 levels below, etc. This probably isn't 100% accurate, but it is as close as I have got/seen to the in-game values.
Lets take a closer look at what you are proposing, R38 Cuirass > R27 Hauby at R32. This is ONLY looking at the defense rating, both magic and physical scale the same, from what I have seen.
Bronze Cuirass 111 Defense (38) -> Using the 16% + 4% per level below equation
At 37 = 93.24
At 36 = 88.8
At 35 = 84.36
At 34 = 79.92
At 33 = 75.48
A3 32 = 71.01
Bronze Haubergeon 81 Defense (27) -> Defense at 32 = 81
As you can see, the Cuirass isn't "better" until 34/35ish. Again, ONLY looking at physical defense. I noticed the same thing, in game, equipping my gear starting at 32ish Gladiator actually. I just upgraded a few days ago. I tested it, with both the Cuirass and the Sabatons. At 32, the Cuirass was definitely worse than the Hauby. A lot worse? No, we are talking less than 10 defense here. The Sabatons were also worse than my +2 Bronze Sollerets (which is expected, +2 = 15% bonus stats, roughly). However, in the end, I decided to equip the plate due to the almost +100hp bonus, and only sacrificing 20ish defense.
And as you said, you have 290 defense. I have more than you, and had more than you at 32 with the chain gear on. I am an armorer, and have made basically every piece of gear and upgraded my gear at the optimal level for my character. My Bronze Plate upgrade was pre-mature, from a defense stand point, but as you stated above ... all gear is different, and the HP bonus outweighed the loss in defense, IMO.
I am not naive to the fact that all weapons/gear/armor are of different types. It is in fact something I have been posting about for weeks. Yet, people still ignore it completely. All items have a unique stat distribution, so yes, Chain will probably have more magic defense, than plate, but plate more physical defense than chain. Plus, the stats are different as well. HP and VIT vs. STR and DEX. I am not denying that fact, but I am also not intense enough to dive into analyzing every stat on gear ... it is very complicated.
You say there is "no equation for penalty equipping something under optimal rank", this is again, 100% incorrect, and you know it. There are lvl 30's that are wearing full iron plate, and have 50 less defense than I had. The gear most definitely scales down if you are below optimal rank. Try it. Get a lvl 5 marauder, and equip lvl 48 plate. I guarantee you it will not be giving you the full defense value. Hell, even take your Cuirass on and off, it won't be giving you 111 defense at 32. I don't see how you are arguing for this statement.
When you are basing your overall defense vs. other people, it takes into account ALL gear, not just your plate piece(s). If they have some under leveled pants or something, their defense will be worse. If they have a different type of item, their defense is lower. If their physical level is lower, and not VIT capped (or lower VIT) their defense will be lower. Damaged equipment? You have to compare the gear on your character, not vs. others to get reliable information. Which is what I am doing. I am VIT capped, and wear basically the perfect set of armor based on testing ... I have yet to meet anyone with more defense or HP than I have at my exact level.
Overall, I do think this equation is slightly off. It held very true in the 1-25ish range, but I think it is a little over-zealous in the defense hits on the example I have in this post. I believe I saw slightly higher defense values on the Cuirass when equipping the gear at 32-34. So it could be better. I forgot to record my results and compare, but I can do it on my current set-up and see how it does. Also, in game, everything seems to be rounded up and down. I am not sure which way it goes, if it takes your total defense and then rounds it? Or if it rounds each piece you equip, then adds it up? This can easily throw the math off by 5-10 defense overall on your character.
Either way, for the HP bonus and % damage cut values of the plate armor over the chain, equipping it at 32 is probably the earliest I would go, and did the same. I am not disagreeing with your set-up, your post came after mine, but it is also a totally different situation than the one I responded to initially. Edited, Nov 24th 2010 1:51pm by MattVid6