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Zephryl (Member) 1/5/2013 12:04 AM EST : Zephryl's guide to gearing up as a level 50 F2P/Prefe...

Zephryl
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As a F2P/Preferred player who reaches level 50, you'll soon find that a lot of options are restricted, or outright impossible, for you to achieve. Because of these, you may get a bit confused about what gear you should be aiming to get, and which are completely out of your reach. 

This guide aims to let F2P/Preferred players know their options, and what they should be aiming for.

Heroic 1: Level 50 Preparations

Before reaching level 50 there are some things you'll need to be aware of.

1) The "Recruit MK-2" armor set that all level 50 players receive as part of a quest isn't available to F2P/Preferred players, so you may want to start buying level 50 "Recruit" armor with Credits, or save up Warzone Commendations to buy pieces of the more advanced sets.

2) Artifact Quality Gear. The overwhelming majority of PvE (Player-vs-Environment) gear at level 50 is of Artifact quality, which means that without the Cartel Market Authorization you'll receive little to no benefit to having the items equipped.

3) Crafting. If you've bought the third Crew Skill Slot (The second being made available upon becoming Preferred), then you'll likely have a Crafting Skill. Each of these has an item or two with "Rakata" in the name, they're generally fairly difficult to craft but are amazingly good. Craft these ASAP.

4) Warzones. These will be a lot easier before you hit level 50, and it's a good idea to have some Warzone Commendations ready to spend when you hit 50, so try as many of these as is convenient for you.

5) Corellia Mods. You should be doing this anyway, but upgrade your Mods as much as you can with Corellia Commendations.

Stage 1: Just reached 50

The first thing you'll want to do is grab your Tionese set. As of Version 1.6 every level 50 player receives 99 Tionese Commendations, enough to buy most of the set. However, as a F2P/Preferred player, you'll be capped at 60 Commendations, enough to buy around 3 pieces of the set.

Make sure to check the set bonus of the pieces you're buying, to ensure you get the right set of armor for your Class and play-style~

Any slots you don't put Tionese Armor in, you can likely fill with Recruit PvP armor instead. It won't be perfect, and should be replaced with Tionese ASAP, but should be enough to start you off in Hard Mode (HM) Flashpoints.

If you've been playing Warzone's, you should have a nice stash of Warzone Commendations, which you can use on a "War Hero" PvP Relic, because of the Commendation Restrictions both the "Campaign" and "Dread Guard" Relics are unavailable, which make these the "Best in Slot" Relic. You'll also want to follow this guide to learn how to make a Matrix Cube, which should be a massive upgrade over any relics you already have equipped.

While you're on the fleet, make sure to pick up any Daily/Weekly Quests related to Flashpoints, or PvP, from the Terminals in the "Supplies" and "Combat Training" sections of the Fleet.

Stage 2: I'm geared, now what?

Now that you have your basic Level 50 Gear, you should head off to Belsavis, Ilum and Corellia (Section X too, if you've unlocked it) to begin doing their Bonus Series/Story quest, and unlock the Daily Quests in each areas, to start your Daily Commendation farming.

The goal with the Daily Commendations is the "Rakata" series Implants and Earpieces, all of which will cost you an impressive 150 commendations each. However you may also want to consider upgrading some of your Mods, you can buy some excellent ones for 10 Commendations each, but this will of course make it take longer to gain your Rakata gear.

Farming for Daily Commendations is also an excellent time to learn how to use "Group Finder", if you haven't already. The Group Finder tool will automatically add you to a balanced group (2 DPS, 1 Healer, 1 Tank) based on the options you select, and allow you to instantly travel to and from Flashpoints, as well as being incredibly useful, it also has two Daily Quests available within it. The first of these quests is for the Flashpoints of level 45 and higher (Red Reaper is the lowest level one available) and rewards 5 Daily Commendations for successful completion. The second is the more important, as it is probably the best way to gain Black Hole Commendations, and is for Hard Mode Flashpoints.

(Please note that selecting anything but the full range of Flashpoints will not allow you to gain the Group Finder Quest Reward, but can be good to ensure you get a Flashpoint you're comfortable doing)

Black Talon/Esselles is the easiest of these Flashpoints, but even so it shouldn't be attempted with anything less than a full group of 4. Most of the others available through the Group Finder Quest you may not be familiar with, as they're all fairly high level Flashpoints, you'll definitely want to run these through on Normal Mode first, as knowing how the Flashpoint works and how to deal with each Boss is vital in Hard Mode.

If you don't want to use Group Finder, or have already done the Quest, you can just go to the relevant NPC to obtain the Flashpoint, you can select the Hard Mode option when receiving it.

Since you should now be running at least one HM a day, even if it's only a non-GF Black Talon/Esselles, you should be getting a steady income of Tionese Armor Drops, as well as Tionese Commendations + Crystals. Use these to steadily upgrade your gear until it's all Tionese, or better.

Final Stage: I think I'm turning Tionese...

Now that you're hunting the rest of your Tionese Set, you should be aware of all the "End-Game" armor, and start aiming to improve your gear.

Tier 1

Set Armor - Tionese

Having parts of these equipped at the same time will provide benefits, these vary depending on which of the sets it is so make sure to get the one aimed towards your class!

Non-Set Armor - Xenotech

These are the same quality and give the same armor/weapon rating as the Set Armor, however they don't count towards the Set Bonus.

Summary:

With Tier 1+ you're ready for all the Hardmode Flashpoints, though you may still want to learn them in normal mode first!

Also, you may want to wait until you have a large amount of Tier 2+ stuff equipped before tackling "Lost Island"

Tier 2

Set Armor - Columi

While doing your Daily Quests you may have noticed you were getting Columi Commendations as well as Tionese and Daily, you can exchange these for Helmet, Armor, Lower or Boots of the Columi Armor Set. Also, during Hard Mode Flashpoints you may have noticed something like "Unassembled Columi Bracers" drop, these can be exchanged instead of Commendations and are the only way of getting most of the Columi set.

The following lists where to get the Unassembled versions of each piece

Slot Hardmode Flashpoint
Head Kaon Under Siege
Chest False Emperor
Gloves Boarding Party/Taral V
Bracers Black Talon/Esseles
Legs Directive 7
Feet Foundry/Maelstrom Prison
Offhand Ilum
Mainhand Lost Island

Non-Set Armor - Exotech

Like the Xenotech, these are of the same quality but lack the set bonus. You can remove the Mods and place them in your Tionese gear, to essentially upgrade to the Columi version.

Summary:

With Tier 2+, you can start doing Operations if you have a Weekly Pass.

Tier 3

This set doesn't have a non-set version, so if you can't do OPs you'll have to skip straight to Tier 4.

Set Armor - Rakata

The Implants/Earpieces are available from the Daily Vendor, for 150 Daily Commendations each. The rest of the set is dropped exclusively from Operations, and is basically unavailable for F2P/Preferred players, unless they've purchased a Weekly Pass from the Cartel Market.

However, the Chest Piece of the Rakata set is available through "Lost Island" on Hard Mode, a very difficult Flashpoint.

Summary:

With Tier 3+ you'll be ready to do "Explosive Conflict" in Hard Mode

Tier 4

Set Armor - Campaign

The Unassembled component drops from Hard Mode "Explosive Conflict", however the Boots can be found from the very difficult World Boss fight on Voss, the "Nightmare Pilgrim". Unlike the other sets, the bonus for this one is tied to the Armoring Mod, not the actual armor itself, and that Armoring Mod can be purchased with Black Hole Commendations. 

Weapons are only available through Unassembled components, so you'll need to rip out the Mods from a Black Hole item to put inside a Moddable Weapon.

Non-Set Armor - Black Hole

Simply enough, these are purchased with Black Hole Commendations. Despite the large amount of restrictions placed upon the Commendation system for F2P/Preferred players, all of the Black Hole set is purchasable.

Summary:

With all Tier 4+ armor you can do all Operations on all difficulties, however it's advised to get some Tier 5 from Hard Mode "Terror From Beyond" before trying "Explosive Conflict" on Nightmare.

Tier 5

Set Armor - Dread Guard

These drop purely from Hard Mode "Terror From Beyond" and Nightmare "Explosive Conflict". The Dread Guard Relics, currently the best in the game, are available for Daily Commendations, but cost more than a F2P/Preferred player is able to hold.

Non-Set Armor - Hazmat

Currently this set only has Implants, I'm unsure if there's any plans to add more, and they are available for Black Hole Commendations, though like the Dread Guard Relics they cost more than a F2P/Preferred is able to hold.

Summary:

With a complete Dread Guard/Hazmat set, you have the best armor in the game. From here you can wait for the upcoming expansion "Rise of the Hutt Cartel" or focus on Warzones.


Bonus Stage: Ranked Warzones

At some point you might consider checking out Ranked Warzones. By playing in Ranked Warzones you can gain Ranked Warzone Commendations, which can be used with regular Warzone Commendations to purchase the "Elite War Hero" PvP armor set, the Relics of which are the best option for F2P/Preferred players.



Due to the server rollback recently, I had to load this from the one backup I had so there may be small parts missing. Please let me know if you spot any inaccuracies!

Also, my older guide "Zephryl's guide to F2P/Preferred and how it affects Subscribers" did not have a backup, and will take me longer to recreate. Stay tuned!


March 12, 2013 - F2P/Preferred no longer have a Commendation Cap, as such some text has been made invalid, and is marked with a "Strikethrough".

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Evgen88 (Member) 1/7/2013 3:03 AM EST : RE: Zephryl's guide to gearing up as a level 50 F2P/P...
Evgen88
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Nice guide Zeph!
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Zephryl (Member) 3/13/2013 2:20 AM EST : RE: Zephryl's guide to gearing up as a level 50 F2P/P...

Zephryl
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This, and my other guides, have been updated to reflect the new changes that Patch 1.7.3 brought.

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