The color red is used in World of Warcraft in various different ways. One way it may be used is as part of the Blizzard color system for items (gray, white, green, blue, purple, orange, red) or mobs (gray, green, yellow, orange, red). Probes into the code indicate that the highest (artifact) level of rarity has been switched to a dark yellow color referred to as gold (no relation to the metal gold).
There are no items with a red rarity level (Blizzard has supposedly proposed gold as the replacement color). You may see though, items with various properties of that item Red. Thus meaning you can not use that item. For example, a Weapon might have the words "Mace" in red, that means your character can not use that item. Levels requirements and armor type may also effect your ability to use these items.
For the most part, in World of Warcraft, when items are red in some way, you can not use or obtain them yet. When browsing at a vendor, some items will have a reddened icon. These cannot be used at this time, due to a requisite that is not met. When looting an item that you cannot use, however, its icon is not red. But in both cases, the tooltip that appears when you move the mouse over the item, it indicates the unmet requirement in red. In these cases, the item may be said to be red, even though it may also be said that it is blue, green, white, or some other color.
Red mobs can mean any of two different things. Either:
- The mob has a red name, meaning the mob simply is able to be aggroed from some distance, or
- the mob has a red level number and should be considered too difficult to defeat without help.
At very early levels, all mobs that you will meet will not by itself be aggroed to attack you. These such mobs will have a yellow name. From early on, however, you will see mobs that have red names. These mobs will automatically be aggroed. The aggro radius depends on the level differential, and can be either very close or very far away.
At all levels, you may see from time to time a mob that has a red level number. Gray and green mobs (having gray and green level indicators) should be easy for you to solo; yellow should be a little harder, but easy enough for a party of two; such red mobs should be considered rather dangerous, but you may be able to take them on with a party of three or more.
Red names might refer to two different things:
- the color of the name found above the player or mob in the main play screen, or
- the color of the name found in the target pane at the top left of the screen.
The color of the name of a hostile mob in the main play screen will always be red. In the Player vs Player system, if two members of opposite factions were allowed to attack one another, each would appear with a red name to the other.
In the target pane, the name of a now-hostile (whether hostile or not by nature) mob will have either a yellow name with a red background, or it will have a yellow name with a gray background. The red background means that if it is killed, the credit will go to you and your party. The gray background means that if it is killed, the credit will go to someone else and his party.