The latest Grab Bag is online and provides some interesting info on high rank endgame armor sets. Check out the US Grab Bag as GOA just did a bad copy & paste job and lacks pictures, etc. (GOA wth?!?). To give you a better overview i created a table (pic to the left) with all the different sets, wards and where they are obtained. First thing i noticed while reading through this infos: Token obtained armor sets are gone, they were removed from the game. This explains why the ambassadors inside the Eternal Citadel don't sell them anymore. It's a bit sad, as we recently found out that you can (still) obtain Defender's Signs through PQs in Bastion Stair.
How does the ward system works? NPCs inside the endgame encounters (be it dungeons or city PQs) hit harder then normal. You will need to wear pieces from the appropriate armor sets to gain wards (small ghost skull buffs you can see on people) and each one will yield approx. a 10% damage reduction. It's not exactly 10% from what a guildie of mine tested, but close to. From what i hear you don't need the full set to survive but around 2-3 pieces of the set are required to have a better chance to make it through - at least this is true for the City Dungeons (Bloodwrought Enclave & Bilerot Burrow). No one knows yet if more pieces are required later for city assaults. It seems from the sets that have more then five pieces, not all will yield wards. Only chest, boots, gloves, helmet and shoulders will give wards - so the greatest possible cumulative reduction is around 50%. Looking at the pictures from the Herald, some sets look nice while others look really bad. I hope they'll pimp them a bit concerning uniqueness a bit. The ward system sure is a piece of a tiered armor set progression block. Especially for tanks it will be mandatory to obtain pieces to survive. As long as you don't need the full set but can get away with 2-3 pieces with wards i think it's ok. Although the "problem" would remain that you need high enough Renown Rank to be able to wear armor that protects you better in King Fights. I still hope nontheless Mythic will fix dungeon drops... why not use the repairable tokens also in the high level dungeons? They already have the system in place and it can prevent the frustration ob having two Magus drops while none is present in the group.