Just wanted to add my thoughts here since I have been quite vocal about the item rarity changes on the Discord.
After initially being somewhat frustrated, I've come to realize this is actually a fantastic change. As someone who gets much of their enjoyment from gear hunting, it is overall a very good thing for the top tier items to be quite rare.
In fact, I often find myself longing for the old days when you'd grab a crafted axe from Tyr, hack down a troll at great personal danger for a huge waraxe, and then with some luck grabbing a dscale, and hoping against hope that Shale would spawn with a cleaver. If you got a BSA a day or two into Arma, you were set. I actually *loved* the post-Armageddon loot rush of those days, although I fully recognize how that loot system is not friendly to today's modern text-based gamers.
I like the fact that it is now a thrilling find when the death knight appears with sturdy black bracers, or when Urian's mage appears with the robe. It rewards dedication and makes the hunter stand apart from those who haven't put in the work. We're going to start seeing more variants in how people equip themselves, so everyone isn't running around in identical gear all the time. Magical items are going to become less inflated and thus worth more on the auction house, giving you a reason to have plats and stimulating the marketplace for items in Genesis.
My suggestion to those who are frustrated by the change: seek other options! If you cant get the sturdy black bracers/greaves, go get the glowing holy greaves next door, or have a master blacksmith craft you some greaves or bracers. They're nearly as good. Speaking of Raumdor, the armours and weapons used by the standard Drakmere guards are *excellent*. Dragonscales, green steel, glowing holy, tempered armours are all plentiful and mostly easy to get if you were already going after the sturdy black stuff. Greaves from the terrible troll are pretty nice too, we used to use them all the time. There is another set of excellent bracers that can be obtained by legend and myth-sized individuals that are slightly more common and just require a bit of climbing and exploration. There's a far superior set of greaves in Krynn that almost anyone can get, due to the nature of the npc that wear them. Can't find a skullplate? Go for a black platemail, blackened spiked platemail, glowing holy platemail, dragonscale, ash-grey splint mail, golden platemail, battle chainmail, etc. Most of those tier two armours that are still plentiful are only just barely worse than the top tier items. Can't get an MBP? Theres the deep-blue fullplate, GMC, shining platemail, crystalline fullplate, runed dwarven fullplate, and if Gorboth keeps it up we'll have the deathmails in supply as well. No darkened robe? Hooded silvery robes and pelts do just fine. There's so many options for good gear that is just as good or nearly as good as what you're used to.
If you experience difficulty finding a dragon turtle shell - remember, it's not just the dragon turtles that can have them. There are three or maybe four sloops with captains who can have them from time to time. Or, grab the oval steel shield from the minotaur on the Flotsam-Sparkle ship. Or a tempered shield from the tomb dwellers in Terel. Or a maxed out smith shield. A shield from any of the elite units on the warplains. They're all quite close to as good as a turtle shell.
Also, let's not forget that many of these boss fights (Urian, Verminaard, Krothgar, Barash, Ashburz) come with a chance to find one of several different excellent items, so the effective chance to find something good is higher than the individual 2-5% chance per item. Clearing Urian's room can result in four different items which are all TOP tier. Trade with others!
My suggestion to Cotillion and Cherek (and anyone else who may be working on this): I think the changes are good, but close attention should be paid to some specific bosses and items. If the npc is particularly difficult and requires an investment of time (travel, killing guards), or is particularly difficult and requires size, equipment, and tactical preparation to defeat for most myths (Death Knight inside the Khiraa temple, Krothgar/Vosil, Barash'Gund, Ashburz, Yeti, etc), why not give them something rewarding to be looted even if the main item being sought is rarely found? A perfect example of this is how killing Urian yields quite a bit of money, making it well worth the kill even if he doesn't have anything good. Another example is how the orc captain always has a solid weapon even if he isn't wearing any of his great armours. I am sure we could brainstorm non-monetary rewards for killing tough bosses. I.E. short temporary buffs. I imagine the yeti is quite rarely killed, but if killing him "filled the team with confidence and determination" and gave a slight strength and haste boost for 30 minutes, it would likely be something that could breath new life into Icewall and get teams going there again.
I might also suggest that some of the exceedingly rare items should have their durability boosted. For example, the great black skull and umber hulk bracers are top tier, and they also happen to be able to take a ton of hits before they deteriorate and break.
And there are specific items that just seem insanely rare - they might warrant a second look, although I'm sure you're already on top of this. Frightening skull helmet, midnight black platemail, gleaming black skullplate all come to mind. My hunch is that 2-3% is too low, but 5%-10% (one in twenty or one in ten kills, depending on how good the item is) could be that sweet spot. I am sure many of these particular npcs are being killed along the lines of 20-30 times per day so one item found per day sounds about right to me.
A related note, some armour slots could likely use a new top-tier option, and I'm sure this is something that is kept in mind when new areas are being created. I feel that helmets, bracers, and greaves are all under-represented when thinking of top-tiers (or even second tiers for bracers/greaves) that fit those spots, while chest armours and cloaks are quite well-populated for both top-tier and second tier.
Whew, ok, if you read all that, your time is most appreciated. Back to the hunt!