If you’re a new player or a beginner, then the SWTOR gearing system in this MMO may feel pretty complicated. While it can be, it doesn’t have to be. What follows here is my Beginner’s Guide to Gearing Yourself in SWTOR. There are a number of ways to go about this. While I doubt I have covered all the options I have tried to give you a broad-enough range of methods as to be helpful for you. If you have any questions, feel free to add them in the comments (while comments are open) or via Social Media. Let’s get to it!
Using this Guide
There’s a lot to cover here, so if you want to skip to a particular section, just tap the link below. You can then flick quickly between sections. All screenshots are provided as thumbnails to improve load time, but can be clicked to see a larger version.
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- The Different Gear Slots
- Mix and Match
- Normal Questing to Gear Yourself
- Moddable Gear
- Where to Get Moddable Gear
- Filling Your Moddable Gear Slots
- Crafting Whole Items
If you’re a beginner or newbie to Star Wars: The Old Republic then let’s start at the beginning! What are the different equipment or gear slots? I’ve illustrated these on the screenshot below – just tap it to load it full screen.
- Armour Slots × 7: Head, Chest, Wrists, Hands, Waist, Legs, Feet
- Weapon Slots × 2: Main Hand and “off-hand” (i.e. not your main hand). Off-hand may be another weapon, or another item to help in combat. For tank classes this may be a shield, for example. Non-Force Users may have a generator. One-handed Force Users (e.g. Sage, Sorcerer) can use a Focus.
- Earpiece × 1: yes you have two ears, no you can only equip one performance enhancing device!
- Implants × 2: you can have stat bonuses on two implants in your body. Nice.
- Relics × 2: consider these as like charms or gems you have in your pocket.
- Tactical Items: This is a new gear slot introduced with Update 6.0. It is used to tweak how your character, and sometimes companions, function. This is part of the Play Your Way philosophy. As I understand it, you do not need to worry about this until Level 75. More info on Tactical Items can be found on swtorista’s website.
We’re coming shortly to the different ways you can gear yourself in SWTOR. However you do not need to pick only one method – you can mix and match.
So in my Level 35 character below, I have a combination of
- Loot (Head, one Implant and Boots)
- Crafted Chest, Belt and Legs (Armormech)
- Two moddable weapons from the Cartel Market or GTN. Or in this case, from my Collections.
- Mods from the credit vendors on Fleet.
- The rest is made up from quest rewards
The simplest way to gear yourself it so let it happen at random. And to a certain degree, on the base planets (up to Corellia) this can actually work just fine. However gear drops from loot do seem rare, but when they do occur are scaled to your level. So if you’re Level 60 on a Level 24 planet, for example, you’ll get Level 60 drops. Here’s an example item:
This approach is certainly viable. However, if you want to participate in other content such as flashpoints or Heroic Missions you may find this insufficient, because of additional difficulty. You may be fine, too! I assume most gamers are more skilled, or have better reflexes than I do. So if that’s you, then if I wore a hat I would take it off to you!
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A few years ago, you could pick up gear and neat planetary-specific outfit pieces as mission rewards. I believe, since Level Sync was introduced that this is no longer the case. However, there are a number of places you do get gear as mission rewards.
If you’re a beginner to SWTOR, then the original planets are those that
- Begin With: Tython, Korriban, Hutta or Ord Mantell.
- End With: Corellia, then Ilum
However, on these planet you can obtain “stat gear” by doing the what I call, the ‘core stories’. So, up to Corellia:
- You can get pieces of an armour set and weapon by completing the Class Story
- The rest of the armour set can be obtained via the Planetary Story Arc.
- Sometimes other quests (not usually ‘Exploration’ missions) grant stat gear – e.g. relics.
(Thanks to @Rurokar for letting me know Ilum was part of the Vanilla planets).
The screenshot below shows the stat gear you can obtain by completing missions on Tython. This is the Jedi Consular set. Jedi Knights get another set. This is both stat equipment and can be used as a cosmetic outfit.
Other Stories That Grant Gear
As you work your way through the immense amount of content SWTOR has to offer, you can gear yourself from quest rewards. Here are some examples.
- For Rise of the Hutt Cartel on Makeb, some of the core (“Purple”) missions grant stat gear. However I have yet to find all the pieces of that set. It is called “Fractured” (.e.g. “Fractured Force-Lord”).
- For Shadow of Revan planets, you can get gear rewards for missions on: Rishi, Yavin 4 (I need to double check Yavin but I think that’s right) and Ziost.
Pro Tip: you do not need to purchase gear from the Space Station over Ziost. If you do all the missions both before and after its destruction, you will earn that gear. Save your tokens for the Ziost Tromper Mount!
- During Knights of the Fallen Empire (KotFE) and Eternal Throne (KotET), gear rewards are given at key story stages. (e.g. you get a new weapon when you first arrive on Odessen). This is likely because KotFE and KotET Chapters are repeatable, so it makes sense that the rewards are not granted every time you grind a chapter out.
- At the start of Jedi Under Siege, you get a new, whole gear set granted to you.
- Completing the “Weekly” on Ossus gives you a purple gear reward (requires Artifact unlock)
- Completing various stages of the Onslaught story line gives you a basic set of upgraded gear. So far I have found this to be better than Tier 1 Galactic Command gear.
Heroic 2+ Missions are higher difficulty quests than normal planetary ones. They can be picked up from
- Terminals or NPCs on each planet.
- the terminals in the Supplies section of your Imperial or Republic Fleet. The mission can automatically transport you to the location for that Heroic.
- the Activity Pane (Ctrl+G). However @rebelrealcanon points out that
“it WILL always zap you to the location of the terminal – even if you’re only 10 meters away from the terminal. So it’s best not to click it until you’re ready to jump there. Also, the activity pane doesn’t include starter planet heroics (though the terminal on the fleet does)”
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From the moment you first arrive at either Imperial or Republic Fleets you can come across moddable gear. Moddable gear is basically a “shell” with no base stats of its own. You can then customise each piece how you want to, by filling it with
- Armoring × 1: give Armour rating, Mastery and Endurance
- Mod × 1: there are a wide variety of stats you can choose from for mods. What you choose depends on your play style and whether you’re a damage dealer (DPS), a Tank, or a Healer.
- Enhancement × 1: has a bit of overlap with stats on Mods, but usually has additional stats not found on mods, such as Critical Rating.
- Dye × 1: (Not on Weapons, other off-hand items, earpieces, implants etc) if you craft, or purchase dyes then you can choose to dye each part of an outfit separately.
- Augments: these are purchasable or craftable items that boost certain stats. You don’t need to initially worry about Augments except maybe if you do group content. Once you reach harder content (from KotFT onwards, maybe) then you may want to consider these for an additional boost.
It’s not just ‘outfit’ slots that can be customised either. Many weapons and off-hand items also come with slots, such as this focus:
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Where Can You Get Moddable Gear?
Once you start looking for these moddable “shells”, you will find them everywhere!
You can also find moddable gear from the Light and Dark Vendors on your faction’s fleet. Just be aware that they have minimum Force Alignment/Attunement to use. So you may not be able to use these on lower level characters, or neutral aligned ones for that matter!
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All Cartel Market outfits are both cosmetic looks and shells for modding your gear. You can acquire these from the Cartel Market itself, or for credits from other players via the Galactic Trade Network (GTN).
Some gear shells can be crafted too.
My life, you can get tons of gear “shells” from Alliance Crates! You can pick up these crates from Heroics (once you reach Level 60) or undertaking some Alliance Recruitment Alerts. You will then need to send these to a character who has reached Odessen in Knights of the Fallen Empire. Crates are turned into your Alliance Specialists and very often contain moddable armour.
Star Wars: The Old Republic regularly rotate
- Rakghoul Resurgeance
- Bounty Contract Week
- and Relics of the Gree.
Each of these have an option to turn in the special barter currency and/or credits for gear “shells”. Note, you may need a certain level of reputation with each of the groups to acquire all the pieces.
And from sometime in December and into January, SWTOR hold a Life Day event. Although outfit pieces (such as the Life Day Vestments) are not fully moddable, you can dye them.
There are loads of reputation factions throughout SWTOR. The first one you encounter is the Voss. Some moddable gear will be available for credits, others may require the local ‘barter currency’. Ziost, for example has tokens.
Here is an initial list of places offering moddable gear
- Yavin IV
- Ziost (No reputation, you just need the right amount of currency)
- Daily areas: CZ-198, Section X, Oricon, Ossus
- Galactic Solutions Industries (GSI): The Vendor is on Nar Shaddaa, but reputation can be gained on Tatooine, Alderaan, Hoth and Makeb
- By repeating the Crisis on Umbara flashpoint, you can acquire Alliance Recon Data. These can be turned in for moddable gear in the Alliance Staging Area on Odessen.
TOR Fashion have an excellent overview of the cosmetics look of gear from different reputation vendors.
- Assault on Tython and possibly Korriban Incursion gives the chance to drop ‘Relics’. These can be turned in at the vendor near the Flashpoint entrance on Fleet. An example, moddable gear piece is the Tattered Mystics Robe (pictured below). Note these drop as quest rewards for completing parts of Shadow of Revan storyline. I think they can drop as loot if repeated with a group. Or you can bank these up until a few of your characters have acquired them through Solo content.
- Depths of Manaan has a chance to drop Manaan Research Data. These may be turned in to the local Selkath vendor. He offers cosmetic gear and moddable weapons.
At higher levels you can repeat Flashpoints to get drops of Moddable Gear from Bosses:
- Traitor Among the Chiss (more than one variation of gear available from here)
- Nathema Conspiracy (Order of Zildrog Armour)
As most of the moddable gear you pick up in SWTOR is empty, the next stage is to fill it with components. As I said earlier each piece will take a combination of some or all of: Armoring, Mod, Enhancement and Dye. Items such as a belt do not take Enhancements, while weapons and off-hand items do not take dyes.
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The quickest and easiest way to upgrade your slots is to visit the Supplies section of your faction’s fleet. Choose the vendor that’s at, or close to, your character’s level.
You can extract any item from a piece of moddable gear, except dyes. This allows you to place it into another piece of gearing. You will be charged credits to extract the item, so weigh this cost versus the equivalent cost to buy something new. Non-subscribers will mostly need to use a Modification Station to do this. Current and former subscribers can both, I believe. They can extract components anywhere in the galaxy.
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I’m not going to go into details on crafting in this post, but this summary should help.
- Armorings: Armormech and Synthweaving
- Armormech: Mastery, Shield Rating, Absorb Rating
- Synthweaving: Critical Rating, Alacrity Rating, Defence Rating
- Mods and Enhancements: Cybertech
- Dyes & Weapon Crystals: Artifice
- Blaster and Cannon Barrels: Armstech
- Synthweaving: Makes whole pieces of Light Armour designed for Force Users. These (usually) are not moddable, but can take a dye module. You can also get good, almost-free cosmetics outfits from Synthweaving.
- Armourmech: Makes Medium and Heavy Armour sets. These (usually) are not moddable, but can take a dye module. You can also get good, almost-free cosmetics outfits from Armormech.
- Artifice: Lightsabers (and Staves), Generators (for classes like Trooper and Hunter) and Foci – plural of Focus, for Jedi Consulars and Sith Inquisitors. They also make Relics. Though you can get free relics from Mission Rewards. You don’t really need to worry about these until later content (Shadow of Revan onwards, maybe. Fallen Empire onwards you need whatever advantages you can get!)
- Armstech: Blasters, Sniper Rifles, Assault Canons, Shotguns, Vibroblades and Electrostaves.
- Biochem: Implants
- Cybertech: Earpieces
TL;DR SWTOR Gearing – Performing Well, Looking Good!
When considering SWTOR gearing, there are many ways you can acquire, or create your own stat equipment. From drops from loot and quest rewards, to crafting and taking on challenging content. Both quest rewards and crafting can also provide you with low-cost cosmetic outfits. So when you’re looking at gearing yoruself in SWTOR, have a thought for the look you want as well as any statistical bonuses. I hope this guide has been helpful. I have not included anything from Galactic Command and this was intentional as this was meant to be a ‘quick start’ guide for beginners. But if you have anything else to add, let me know!