The original idea that actually led to the card system was to color-code links on the site, MMO-style. This wasn’t feasible at the time, but the card system is (ironically?) what made it possible. The only problem is, aside from FFXIV, none of the guides are actually for MMOs. This means the colors will be editorially driven. I’ve added them to the Final Fantasy (NES) guide, and will be adding them to other guides in the future. I’m definitely open to feedback about whether this is overdoing it or actually useful. The exact meaning of the colors necessarily differs by what they apply to, and I’m not restricting them to items like most MMOs do. I’ve put definitions in the key for the Name column on the appropriate table, but generally the colors will mean something akin to the following:
- White (or black on white backgrounds) is normal, run-of-the-mill stuff. For items this generally means things you can buy or get your hands on very easily
- Green is less common, but not necessarily too noteworthy. These might be treasures that don’t really outclass white items, monster drops that you aren’t going out of your way to collect (like consumable items), or the like.
- Blue means rare and possibly unique or of notable power. Blue monsters are bosses, blue classes have to be unlocked, and blue items need to be found and are usually worth keeping.
- Purple means endgame. The sort of things you find in the final dungeon, super bosses, and things like that. They are always worth paying attention to.
- Red is the color I’ve reserved if white-green-blue-purple doesn’t cut it – these would be even more noteworthy than purples.
- Gold is the color of required plot items. These may or may not be of particular power, but they are always important to the game. Just for fun, I’m also using gold for final bosses.
- Orange is the color of significant quest items. These are usually on par with purples, but you have to go out of your way and complete a series of challenges to get them.
- Gray is garbage. There isn’t a lot in single player games that qualifies, but this is anything that is just not worth your time, doesn’t do anything special, or is good for nothing but selling. For the moment I’m also using it for status ailments that end when combat does, at least in games that have permanent effects.
Like I said, I’m open to other ideas on how to use these colors, how to expand them to other lists, and whether they’re just not worth using in some places at all. So far I think they’re pretty helpful, though, giving you even more information at a glance than you had before. This is particularly nice on touch devices, where you can’t mouseover to see a card.