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Update 2.0 Leveling Gear Guide

June 13, 2013

Welcome to the Update 2.0 Leveling Gear Guide! This guide is compiled from a combination of my experience leveling a brand new character on a brand new server without the aid of my crafters and the knowledge of the systems in place.

This guide is not an endgame gearing guide. Once you hit level 55, you are on your own. This is a guide about getting the maximum use out of your planetary commendations while leveling. First off, let’s talk about what planetary commendations are.

Planetary Commendations

Planetary commendations (planetary comms) are the currency that is used to reward players for world missions and enable them to buy gear or modifications at their level. There are vendors on each planet and the Fleet that trade in these commendations. There are four ways to earn planetary commendations.

World Missions

The first one is by simply playing through planetary content. Generally, you will receive 1-2 commendations per world mission. Heroic missions usually reward three comms. As you level, you will accumulate a bunch of comms without really trying. One thing that you should pay attention to is any bonus mission that is a “staged” mission. Usually, the final stage awards three planetary comms, though some only award one.

Warzones

Through playing in Warzones, there are two options for obtaining gear. One method is to exchange 40 Warzone commendations for one planetary commendation at the PvP Vendor on the Fleet and inside each Warzone starting area. Also, at level 20 and 40, there are sets of gear that are available for purchase on Dromund Kaas and Coruscant and weapons available from the PvP Weapon Vendor on the Fleet. However, these items are all more expensive than buying the modifications inside them individually from the planetary vendors with the exchanged planetary commendations. If you are not interested in the custom gear, then they are a waste of commendations.

Flashpoints

Flashpoint bosses and the Group Finder Daily both reward planetary commendations. In addition to that, you stand a chance of winning the roll on custom gear for your character, allowing you to fill a custom slot if you don’t have one, or allowing you to win multiple modifications simultaneously to swap into your current gear.

Overleveling Heroic Missions

Since Heroic Missions are daily missions, you can run old Heroics on lower level planets like Coruscant or Dromund Kaas to get sets of three planetary commendations. Be careful when you do certain Heroics in the Bonus Series areas on places like Alderaan though, as they were originally over the level of the planet (i.e. Alderaan is 30, the Bonus Series is 40). They did not hand out Alderaan commendations (because they would be useless at level 40), so they probably were not updated with planetary commendations when all of the planets’ commendations were consolidated in Update 2.0. This is conjecture though.

Crafting and Reward Choices

While leveling, take Cybertech. Keep up with your level by making armorings only. At level 50, you can drop Cybertech if you want for a new skill (I would recommend Armormech if you don’t want to regrind anything but the main crafting skill, since it uses Scavenging and Underworld Trading).

Take companion gear as a mission reward only if there is a larger difference than 10 in the main stat for your current companion only. Otherwise, take the planetary commendation.

Always take the planetary commendation over regular gear, unless it is giving you an armoring, barrel, hilt, mod, or enhancement that is actually an upgrade. If the modification item is not an upgrade, take the commendation.

If the mission offers custom orange gear, then check the modifications inside to see if they are an upgrade. You can always rip them out. If you don’t have orange gear for that slot, go ahead and take it, obviously. Otherwise, take the commendation.

Obtaining Custom Gear

Custom gear is the orange gear with slots to upgrade using armoring, modification, etc. You can buy cheap custom gear from the GTN, if you don’t mind how you look, by shopping in the “adaptive gear” section.

For about 1000 warzone commendations, you can get the level 20 or 40 chest and legs that generally look pretty cool. They come pre-slotted with mods, though buying the mods piecemeal is cheaper (see Warzone section above). There are also level 40 boots, gloves, and head items, but hopefully by that point you have accumulated all of the orange slots.

Try to get custom gear in all seven clothing slots (chest, legs, head, gloves, boots, belt, and bracers) and the two mainhand/offhand slots.

Custom orange offhands are often found in Flashpoints and sometimes on the Equipment Commendation Vendor in the Supplies section on the Fleet. They are also usually available on the GTN, but for a price, and they usually have a minimum equip level.

Spending Commendations on Upgrade Modifications

Where Do I Buy Things?

From level 20 on, you should upgrade gear on the fleet for all of your items. Do this by going to the Supplies section to the Modification Commendation Vendors. You can spend commendations at vendors from planets you haven’t reached yet, depending on what they are carrying. For example, Skill barrels are better than Patron barrels for DPS, but they are always lower in level than Patron barrels on the same vendor. Sometimes, you need to go to the vendor for the next planet to get the Skill barrel for your level.

When Should I Upgrade?

I would recommend upgrading at the following levels:

19, 25, 29, 33, 37, 41, 45

Then try to make it all the way to level 50, and save as many comms as possible. At level 50, upgrade using the Makeb vendor to get quality level 58 items, which make it possible to do Hard Mode level 50 Flashpoints, which will get you quality level 61 gear. It also gets you prepped to level on Makeb.

Which Selections Should I Make?

To level through the content more quickly, opt for the following items for your mainhands and offhands, as they have a larger proportion of your main stat vs. endurance (aka health stat). This leads to more DPS.

Smuggler/Agent: Skill Barrel
Trooper/Bounty Hunter: Reflex Barrel
Jedi Knight/Sith Warrior: Might Hilt
Jedi Consular/Sith Inquisitor: Resolve Hilt

If you are dying a lot, or if you go tank spec, then opt for the following items:

Smuggler/Agent: Patron Barrel
Trooper/Bounty Hunter: Commando Barrel
Jedi Knight/Sith Warrior: Guardian Hilt
Jedi Consular/Sith Inquisitor: Force Wielder Hilt

For mods, go for anything with power on it instead of critical rating for quick leveling and DPS. Some good options, when you can get them are:

Smuggler/Agent: Artful Mod
Trooper/Bounty Hunter: Agile Mod
Jedi Knight/Sith Warrior: Deft Mod
Jedi Consular/Sith Inquisitor: Aptitude Mod

For enhancements, the options increase as you go up. Around level 17, you get your first option besides just straight endurance with a Rage Enhancement 6 available for purchase, which gives a little power in addition to endurance. After that, accuracy or surge on enhancements with power is the best way to go. Focus on Adept, Discipline, or Efficient, which all have power and surge as bonuses in addition to endurance. If you want accuracy and power, go for Initiative or Proficient enhancements.

How Much Will It Cost?

For each time you upgrade, if you have all seven clothing slots and both the mainhand and offhand slots, then you will need the following number of commendations for a full upgrade purely through commendation spending:

Item

# of comms

Armorings (7)

49

Hilts/Barrels (2)

14

Mods (9)

18

Enhancements (7)

14

Total

95

You can see then why we don’t want to spend completely through commendations, ESPECIALLY with armorings. That is why I recommend taking Cybertech to help with this. Just keep up with your materials and plan ahead, and you can take armorings out of the commendation grind. Then you get the following spending chart:

Item

# of comms

Hilts/Barrels (2)

14

Mods (9)

18

Enhancements (7)

14

Total

48

This is much more achievable.

You can also eliminate costs on a case-by-case basis now that mission rewards are displayed in the mission log. Check your current missions that you are planning to finish soon, and see if any modifications are going to be given as mission rewards.

At level 50, you are able to purchase gear from the Makeb Modification Vendor that will help you get from 50 to 55 without too much trouble. You will need the following amounts for these items:

Item

# of comms

Armorings (7)

70

Hilts/Barrels (2)

20

Mods (9)

36

Enhancements (7)

28

Total

154

If you are thinking what I am thinking, you are thinking “DANG! That is a lot of comms!” And you’d be right to assume that once again, it might be better to craft the armorings instead. Crafting these armorings is slightly harder than with their predecessors. These armorings require Advanced Cybertech, and you can learn the recipes at the skill level 410. You will need Grade 9 Scavenging materials as well, and for the Prototype- or Artifact-level ones, you need Grade 9 Underworld Metals from Underworld Trading. These are very expensive, especially considering that you just spent a ton of money getting all of your level 50 skills.

Since the cost to create these may be prohibitive, one possible method of getting around the cap of 100 planetary comms is to grind until you get to the cap for planetary comms and grind an additional 2160 Warzone comms. Then when you hit level 50, you spend the planetary comms and trade in the Warzone comms for the rest of the 54 planetary comms. If you are saving Warzone comms for level 55, however, this is not an option either.

The final option that doesn’t bankrupt your PvP account is to upgrade the following items:

Item

# of comms

Armorings (3)

30

Hilt/Barrel (1)

10

Mods (9)

36

Enhancements (7)

28

Total

104

This allows you to upgrade the Head, Chest, and Legs (which have the highest armor values), your mainhand weapon, and all of the mods and enhancements. This is easily achievable by completing a Heroic quest or two and not turning it in until you spend some comms to get under the cap.

As you level on Makeb, you will get a lot of planetary comms, which can then be spent on the rest of your armorings and your second hilt or barrel. Or you can run Hard Mode level 50 Flashpoints to get even better gear than the Makeb vendor can provide.

Well, that should get you from the early levels all the way through to Makeb! What do you think? Any suggestions for gearing as you level?

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  1. June 13, 2013 at 6:38 am | #1

    Great guide. :) I do love the new planetary commendation system as I frequently overlevel planets, and it used to be quite annoying to, for example, end up with 100 Taris commendations which could only be spent on gear that was now 7 levels lower than me. Under the new system it doesn’t matter which planet I’m actually questing on, I can always buy gear appropriate to my level.

    Only thing I would add is that orange gear doesn’t just come from the adaptive armour section on the GTN, but simply from “custom”. That’s where crafted orange gear gets listed (since it’s not adaptive) and many very nice models are available for cheap there.

  2. June 15, 2013 at 6:34 pm | #2

    Oh, and another tip from my point of view: if keeping the mods in all those custom gear slots upgraded seems daunting, belt and bracers are two slots where it’s easy to just upgrade your gear with a random blue from the GTN every so often as an alternative way of gearing.

    • June 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm | #3

      This is true. It is less potent, so it isn’t preferred, especially if you are producing armorings with Cybertech. If you have Cybertech and make armorings, then the mods for the belts and bracers only cost 2 commendations each, which is nothing practically.

  3. Ancaglon
    December 3, 2013 at 11:07 am | #4

    On certain planetary vendors, it’s possible to buy a fully-modded (armor, mod, enhancement) piece of gear (e.g. gloves or boots, usually) for less than the 11 comms cost of the components — since these are not tied to the slot, you can use them to fill out your gear fairly cheaply.

    If you’re a Vanguard or Powertech, or you want to gear up your AIM tank companion (possibly Treek?) then you can get even bigger “discounts” — keep an eye out for some bargain moddable droid parts. For example, there are some level 42 droid pieces that sell for just 6 commendations, as opposed to the 11.

  4. Rizenfell
    December 27, 2013 at 1:05 am | #5

    This is a wonderful guide; and I use it almost religiously. One suggestion:
    > I would recommend upgrading at the following levels:
    > 19, 25, 29, 33, 37, 41, 45

    I agree, HOWEVER: i have found that from a certain level, for many alts, it makes sense to upgrade as follows:
    Hilts, Barrels, Armorings, Mods: 19, 25, 29, 33, 37, 41, 45
    Enhancements: 19, 25, (29), 31, 35, 39, 43, 47

    The reason for this is that enhancements with special effects such as +Crit or +Def or + Shield seem more available at these ‘off’ levels. Such mods make a nice quality-of-life for many classes while levelling. it also spreads the comms-spend more evenly.

    Check out the comms-vendors carefully to see what I mean!

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