Hi Friends, here?s a guide to all your gear options from 55-60 I will be skipping Makeb, CZ and Oricon since that?s old content, but if you need it for fresh 55s it?s an option (Oricon Story and Dailies also award a lot of EXP if you?re falling behind for w/e reason).
162 Gear ? A full set of 162 gear is awarded for players who have not previously completed Forged Alliances and are running it on solo mode. If you have completed FA already it likely means you have 148-156 or better gear (since you would?ve had to complete a series of group Flashpoints pre-3.0 to complete the quest). This means you will miss out on this set of gear, but your starting point for Rishi in either 148-156 or 162 gear should be roughly equivalent.
168 Gear ? First half of Rishi awards these pieces from quests, a full set can be assembled before you get to the second half of Rishi.
176 Gear ? Not exactly gear, but there are vendors on Rishi that sell mods for 176 rating. It?s generally not worth it to buy these as the 168 gear you get from quests is more than suitable to carry you to the 178 quest rewards shortly after and you need your comms for when you get to 60 (both for gearing yourself and also gearing companions if necessary)
178 Gear ? Second half of Rishi and first half of Yavin 4 award these, this is the baseline gear that is expected for doing Hard Modes and completing the SoR story will award you a full set. Additionally, Tactical Flashpoints drop 178 gear should you require different sets for different specs or companions.
184 Gear ? Hard Mode Flashpoints drop 184 Gear, except for the last boss which drops 192 gear (Bonus Boss was possibly bugged last week as each time we killed it it didn?t drop anything but 2 basic comms, so I don?t know what he drops, but it?s probably one of these two). Hard Modes are very hard with 178 geared toons.
186 Gear ? All crafted Artifact gear is 186, but the primary source of this will be Basic Comms, if you saved up your planetary/elite/ultimate/basics from pre-3.0 you?ll find you are likely over the cap after conversion, it would be in your best interest to stay near 1400/1000 comms if possible as a full set of gear will cost you nearly that much. Arriving on Rishi awards you with 3 boxes of 99 comms each (Subscribers only), save these and don?t open them until you drop below 1000 comms. The quests on Rishi and Yavin additionally are worth ~250-300 comms (depending on how many dailies you do and how long it takes you to get to 60), which means if you?re at 1400/1000 it might be beneficial to stay at that number rather than dropping to 750 and earning another 250~ or so. More on this later.
192 Gear ? Elite comms or the final boss of HM Flashpoints give non-set 192 gear. Story Mode Operations give 192 Set bonus gear. For companions, a daily on Rishi awards you with a 192 companion only offhand and the final story quest (along with a repeatable weekly version of it) awards you with a 192 companion only mainhand.
198 Gear ? Hard Mode Operations give 198 Set bonus gear. Ultimate comms can be redeemed for 198 non-set gear.
Gearing at 60
The fastest way for existing 55s to have geared up at 60 is to have saved all their Basic Commendations, you need the following to buy your 186 pieces:
Head ? 120
Chest ? 120
Gloves ? 120
Belt ? 80
Bracers ? 80
Legs ? 120
Boots ? 120
Earpiece ? 100
Implant ? 100
Implant ? 100
Offhand ? 120
Total ? 1180 Basic Commendations
There is no Comm vendor for 186 Mainhands or Relics, for mainhands, you can buy an equivalent offhand or armor piece and pull the Mod/Enhancement and then find an Artifice or Armstech to craft you a Hilt/Barrel, if you choose this option you?ll have to add an extra 120~ commendations to your cost. For Relics, you either have to PVP, raid Operations, or find an Artifice to craft them for you.
Additionally, if you want to save comms, Biochems and Cybertechs can craft 186 Implants and Earpieces respectively, the Reverse Engineering Process has been improved (no more mixed dps/tank stat pieces clogging up space) so it?s easier for the crew skill professions to find optimized 4 stat recipes however the crafted pieces have equal parts primary stat and endurance (which means for tanks less endurance and for healers/dps less main stat) and slightly lower total stats than the equivalent comm options. You can save in other areas by RE?ing their respective professions to purple as well but the inability to customize and lowered total stats of purple armor and weapons makes them less desirable than spending the comms.
With this in mind, even though you don?t earn comms while being over the cap at 1000 (due to conversion) you may still be better off not going under the cap until 60 when you can buy your 186 gear, especially if you need to buy a piece to pull mods for your mainhand. The alternative?is to move comms around your toons to keep earning them through the quests and then move them back after spending them at 60.
Additionally, current 60 HM FPs only award Basic Comms on drop (while 55 HM FPs still award Elite Comms), 55 HM/NiM Operations continue to award Ultimate Comms on drop.
tl?dr: 1000 comm cap + 297 from the 3?99 packages (don?t open these until the very end, subscribers only), Rishi/Yavin quests give ~250-300 Comms, no need to spend to get these unless you?re already going to be below 1000 or plan to move them for storage on alts. Resist the urge to buy the 176 mods with your comms when you first get to Rishi, you?ll outgrow those in 1-2 levels. 1180 or 1300 total comms required to gear out in 186s at 60.