I don't know if any of you remember reading LotR for the first time, and being amazed at the magical weapons that sprung up there. They were all...specific. They had personality. They had oomph. They had character. There wasn't a +5 FLAMING GREAT AXE OF UNDEAD SLAYING HOLY BURST!!!!1111. There was Sting. Goblins were afraid of Sting. Sting lit up when Goblins were around. That was freaking cool.
So anyway, I was thinking...why is it D&D magic weapons have no personality? I mean, there are the few exceptions, most of them specific weapons. It seems to me though, that EVERY weapon should be specific. Somebody, somewhere, created it for a reason. That reason may have been as simple as to sell it and get more bat gauno so they could cast fireball. Or they made it to serve a specific purpose. Or they made it for a specific customer. Either way, it should have a use, a niche.
For example...Sting. Weapons have that % chance to glow or whatever. I don't think it would cost any more XP or gold or effort or magic to just say, this sword glows when goblins are within 60 feet (a torch has that well lit of 30, I don't think making it glow a bit at double that is too much). Then make it +1 (really, I think Sting was +3, or +4, but just to serve as the example here) and then throw bane on that thing, specifically against Goblins. Budda boom, budda bing, you have a weapon with personality.
Now in case you're thinking, gee, that's nice, anything else you'd like to rip off LotR, here's my own inspired weapon. I'm not going to include actual stats, just the basic outline. A staff. The concept is peace. The staff is Defending. The weapon must, and always uses it's enhancement bonus to help the user's AC. In addition, it grants it's weilder the Expertise feat. The weilder must use as much as possible, up to the max bonus. The staff also has the merciful trait (on both heads).
The same concept could be applied to armor...just add a fitting, relevant ability. Give it something neat, and unique. After all, how many +2 longswords are there? The market value has to be depressed on them. But a +1 longsword with Orc bane, that glows when there are Orcs around, and will all but automatically kill a regular Orc in one hit, assuming you hit...that's quite practical.