Technically you can get unique class equipment before FoV. I got a unique bracelet in the Hall of Echoes (level 37), and I think a couple other unique pieces of equipment that were not worth upgrading to.

With my ranger in DKS (on nightmare) I could just go with whatever the best set or predetermined bow was; after the first couple levels I never saw a randomly generated bow worth looking at (except possibly for the enchantment formula). I'm planning on starting an unarmed warrior someday, so will have to remember to keep an eye out for melee damage charms. I fell back to unarmed combat with my ranger at the start of the game, where a bracelet with a +3 melee bonus (from the beholder on the north side of the river) made a noticeable difference on level 2.