Colored Plate

The Real Deal on Colored Plate in UO, by Heather; Edited by Xena Dragon
Update: The colored plate system has been replaced with player craftable colored plate.
All plate of the colors shown below has been changed into plain iron plate.
Well, here it is, the first (that I know of) essay on colored plate. I've been intenting to do this for the longest time, and finally got around to it.

I, like many players, got tired of hunting beasties and adventuring sometime around February or March and decided to go into the merchant business. That was around the time when I was Great Lady Heather, Grandmaster Warrior with 100 points in tactics and swordsmanship. The new monster patch had come in, putting hellhounds in Hythloth, my favorite hunting spot up to that point, and Hyth just wasn't worth it anymore. I had depended on Hyth so much for my cash flow, that some of my friends even titled a book called "Heather does Hythloth" being that I could get from the entrance to the depths in about 45 min, load up with around 3k worth of loot and cash, then go dump it in my bank and come back for more. Along with the patches that limited the bank accounts, and put the new monsters in, came the vendor patch. I bought a vendor, and after giving it some thought, decided (correctly) that location was the most important factor. I happened to have a friend (who no longer plays UO by the way) who had placed a house in guard protection right near the Ironwood Inn in Vesper. This was perfect as my favorite place --besides Hythloth-- was the lovely town of Vesper. I figured that the Ironwood Inn was a good spot to be next to as many newbies would start there and see my vendor, as well as the seasoned players coming in and out of town at that spot.

I had no real craftsman skills, but decided that I could find things to sell the players wanted that I didn't have to make. A 'true merchant' I rationalized, didn't need crafting skills, but was adept at buying and reselling, for a profit. I began to sell runes that I could mark, magic weapons that I had collected in my hunting days, reagents, and scrolls that I bought off of adventurers that liked to kill liches and such.

Soon, the 'gods' deemed it necessary to limit the number of items and weight that my vendor could hold, and I had to put up a couple more. I started looking around for more things to sell. I started checking out armor. And thus, the colored armor business was born...

The Great Search

Colored Plate has the same armor class and is of about the same quality as regular plate that a blacksmith can make. It should give 30 armor in a full set of six pieces, plate helm, plate gorget, platemail, plate legs, plate arms, and plate gloves. If you arms lore it, it should say something like 'this platemail gives excellent protection, and looks brand new'. If you buy or trade any from other players, arms lore it to check for damage, and have a smith repair it, as a courtesy to your patrons if you are going to resell it. If you repair a set of used plate and it no longer gives 30ar, I recommend reselling it to the npcs rather than hock it off on another player. You can't raise a good customer base by selling low quality goods.

In my search,I found that npc merchants that sell armor, blacksmiths, and armorers, sell only colored plate, unless players have sold them player-crafted silver armor. The difficult part is, they sell a random mixture of colors, and the discriminating buyer has to travel all over the land to find the right color on the right merchant. This takes much time and effort on the part of the patron to obtain that coveted, perfectly matched set of black plate, for example. I figured, 'Hey! I'm a merchant, it's my job to do the traveling around, collecting the product, and then reselling the matched sets on my vendor, for a profit of course. Around that time I also noticed that I was not the only player interested in colored plate. I saw an article on the Crossroads of Britannia advertising the Chesapeake Colored Armor Merchants. (they haven't updated their page since May, but it's still there) I took a look! They had some good screen shots of about 10 colors. I began to try to find the 4 most popular ones and try to sell them first.

It seemed a daunting task once I got started. I was spending a lot of cash buying what looked like the color I wanted, then to find out it didn't match as well as I thought. I sold what I thought looked ok, and got a pretty fair business going. I could buy a full set of plate, 6 pieces for about 12k, and I marked it up to about 2k. I still sell all my colored armor for 2k.

What To Do When the NPC Merchants Don't Have What You Need.

What to do when that npc armorer/blacksmith doesn't have the color you need to complete the set. For the first issue, you do know that you can go to Buccaneer's Den and kill the npc blacksmith, in the process getting the to respawn new colors? Not the most noble thing to do, but it keeps the customers happy when your most popular color can't be completed :)

How to get the npc's to respawn the armor you need faster. The second issue works like this, lets say you've got a big guild order, and you need 20 of each component of a set and you don't want to wait for the armor to respawn (which sometimes takes 1/2 hour) It helps to have a blacksmith that can make all the sets of plate. You keep some of the worthless, below average pieces as overstock and sell these back to the npc that you've just bought all the armor from. As you sell the pieces back, it respawns the color you just bought from them. That way you can always sell your below average pieces at a good price to the npc and be able to get that armor to respawn much faster. I even had a web page setup for colored armor too and even had an order form for my customers to place online orders.

Darkwire of Baja

How Many Colors? *GASP*

Soon I had enough profit to do the first complete catalogue of colored plate on Great Lakes. I went to every npc merchant on GL that sold plate and bought one each of the plate armor he had. Then I took it all back to my house and started sorting. The first thing I discovered was that there were at least three shades of about 5 basic colors, black, grey, bronze, rose, and gold. Since that time, the npc merchants have come and gone several times and I have had to update my catalogue about 5 times. I have screen shots of the colored armor I had collected. In them I have 2 shades of black, 6 of grey, 4 of bronze, 4 of rose, and 4 of gold. I was convinced that there were four shades of the basic five colors, putting the total at 21 colors including silver.

BlueBlack.jpg - 1814 Bytes
Blue Black
Black.jpg - 1823 Bytes
DarkBlueGrey.jpg - 1840 Bytes
Dark Blue Grey
DarkGrey.jpg - 1888 Bytes
Dark Grey
MediumGrey.jpg - 1989 Bytes
Medium Grey
Grey.jpg - 2102 Bytes
LightGrey.jpg - 2081 Bytes
Light Grey
SLightGrey.jpg - 2084 Bytes
S.Light Grey
DarkBronze.jpg - 1912 Bytes
Dark Bronze
MediumBronze.jpg - 1978 Bytes
Medium Bronze
Bronze.jpg - 2076 Bytes
LightBronze.jpg - 2081 Bytes
Light Bronze
DarkRose.jpg - 1921 Bytes
Dark Rose
MediumRose.jpg - 1981 Bytes
Medium Rose
Rose.jpg - 1958 Bytes
LightRose.jpg - 2085 Bytes
Light Rose
DarkGold.jpg - 1951 Bytes
Dark Gold
MediumGold.jpg - 1968 Bytes
Medium Gold
Gold.jpg - 2000 Bytes
LightGold.jpg - 2101 Bytes
Light Gold

Since this table was done, I have had the honor of meeting Designer Dragon, Lead Designer of the UO Development team, and I asked him once how many colors of plate were in-game. He said 32!!! My husband said that this makes sense as an engineer, something to do with binary numbers and all that... I guess it's a computer programming thing...

I now have about 25 colors accounted for, including silver. DD and the Dev Team are also working on making colored plate craftable by player blacksmiths. This might put me under for a while, as they say that it wouldn't be sold on npcs any more in that case. In that event ill have to start a miner and specialize in mining the 32 separate colors of ore. Heh!!

Are you sure DD didn't say 30 ?

Back quite awhile before T2A came out, UO had its colors defined (on the client side) in .txt files. Somehow one day I discovered that metals.txt contained the colors for armor. There are 30 different colors, grouped into groups of 6. I think its silver, rust, gold, blue, pink, and purple(?). My friend Ace Shaft used to be...pretty much the king of colored armor on Ches. Then he stopped doing it when we figured out we could change our metals.txt to very bright, distinguishable colors to find exact matches of armor and catalog them. The quality he demanded (perfect matches) was his undoing, as they're extremely rare. I think there were 1 or 2 colors that either VERY closely matched or matched completely.

Anyway, I included metals.txt that I've had backed up for so very long, so you can see how they do it or something :)


Adam Smith

Are you sure DD didn't say 31 ?

Colored PlateThere are, at present, exactly 31 hues of plate armor in UO. Hue 0 (clear) is bright silver armor players made, and monsters have as (generally magical) treasure. Hues 2401 through 2430 are the colors that are found on NPC shopkeepers. I've enclosed a bitmap which contains a plate chest piece of every color. A clear, silver (hue 0) chest piece is off to the side. For the colored plate, hue 2401 is in the NW corner, hue 2406 is in the NE corner, hue 2424 is in the SW corner, and hue 2430 is in the SE corner.

When you look at these, you'll note that the first two rows (hues 2401-2406 and 2407-2412) look the same. They are very similar, but they are not the same. The lower of these two sets, is balanced, with respect to red green and blue. The upper of the two sets has slightly less green, and slightly more blue. After comparing some pixel colors carefully, I determined the quantity of red was constant between the two images. The factor of green is decreased by one interval, and the factor of blue is increased by two intervals on the top row. The second row is therefore the darker one and also the true grey shades. The first has a slight hue of blue (a blue near purple).

AR Schleicher (Jerrith the Healer)


Colored Plate can be a good choice for a merchant to sell. It is a product that is in demand, and you can make a nice profit. You provide a service for your customers by taking the time and effort to find out which npc merchants sell what colors, then do the travelling and the buying of the plate for them. Some of the difficulties include having a space to store your stock. Houses aren't 100% secure and you can lose thousands in stock plate fairly easily. The npcs can change at any moment without warning, messing up your system and forcing you to re evaluate who has what colors. Sometimes you may have a color that sells really well, but then the merchants change and you can no longer get full sets of the colors. Though it is fraught with difficulties and complications, it can be challenging and rewarding, both in a sense of accomplishment as well as to put some shiny gold pieces in your bank box.

Your Humble Merchant,
Cove Merchant Guild