I will definitely agree that as far as textures/technology goes, SE's way behind. I just feel that they usually have a way of taking pretty low specs and making it look great. It's really just a personal preference of mine- I guess it's because I grew up liking a lot of war historical things and Arthurian legends.
The DRG AF is certainly crazy looking but I meant more as a general rule. Just take that chainmail you're wearing in that top screenshot there...it's very simply designed, but the way it's designed, it has this..."realistic", simplistic design to it that I really like, which is something SE seems to do a lot more overall. Robes and such tend to be bit more uniform across games, yeah.
Compare that to say, the armor in Tera your character was wearing here
, or the armor your character wears in Aion here
. These are all pretty mid-level armors. For me, it contributes a lot to the overall feel and experience you'll get when you run around the game world- lots of other peeps, after all.
Funny thing is that as much shit people throw at WoW for having crazy armor designs, characters look pretty normal in mid-level armor
(though I guess not so much when you get clown-inized by quest and/or dungeon running), though one thing that drives me crazy about the armor in WoW is that it all looks so...flat. I mean, that thing's supposed to be a mail of some sort, where FFXI had iron scale mail look like this