When you hit 55 on a new character, or start to do something new in game, gearing can sometimes get a little overwhelming. Sure, you can go find the guide written by (insert name here), but you’re so far from BiS you haven’t even seen Dread Fortress or Palace. Raptus who? And let’s be honest, gearing is expensive as hell. Augments aside, crafted gear, token gear, it can take a while to gather it all. Not to mention confusing to keep it all straight. If you’re just starting out or dabbling on an alt, here’s some basics you should know and a few tricks to help you out.
This stat only concerns PvE DPS. But if you’re gonna do endgame in SWTOR you NEED to have it. 110%, no discussion. Enhancements should be your priority when gearing for Accuracy, but you can use a few Augments. You should not primarily gear Accuracy through Augments though.
Critical Chance/Rating is how often your spells critically hit and is a very interesting (and honestly kinda complicated) aspect of gearing. Crit Chance is the percentage on your character panel, and rating is the number in parentheses. Most specs in game use about 20-28% Crit Chance so thats a great place to start. As your gear level increases, you will find that you have to gear for Crit specifically less and less. This is because your Main stat affects your base crit.
As to why Crit is complicated, it’s because there is a lot of wiggle room in this Stat, and therefor debate. Many players fluctuate their crit slightly (especially healers) until they find a place that feels good. The guides out there will help you out, but make sure to see what works best with your playstyle.
Surge is your Critical Multiplier and as my friend Chyms explains it, “It makes your numbers bigger.” Most specs use between 70-75% surge. I know it’s tempting to think, “Oh! I’ll just stack a bunch of this and get REALLY big numbers,” but it doesn’t work that way. Diminishing return rears its ugly head and renders too much Surge useless.
I love a good graph.
Gearing for PvP ups the complication factor by adding in Expertise, the PvP Stat. Add to that Bolster, which gives PvE gear Expertise and it can all give you a headache really quickly. If you have zero PvP gear, your best course of action is to just go and buy the basic PvP set to get 2018 expertise. Don’t worry about upgrading mods or enhancements, just get yourself to at least 2k Expertise. Always buy your left side first (earpiece, implants, relics) and then Main Hand Off Hand. Get those power crystals out of your PvP gear as well, they really mess up bolster. If you have Expertise, use an expertise crystal.
When you are in a better place gearwise, you can use bolster to your advantage. For many classes; Ops, Snipers, Maras, Sorc heals, and Arsenal Mercs the 2-piece PvE set bonus is a need to have. But, with bolster, some PvE gear adversely affects your Expertise via Bolster, specifically higher level gear. Usually, some combination of (146), (156), (162), and (168) Armoring, Mods, and Enhancements will Bolster close to, or at, full Expertise. Just try to keep the added value of all three slots below 487 for the best stats.
You’ll want to use all PvE A/M/E, do not mix PvE and PvP.
Why Expertise matters (Edit: Outdated graph. But the point remains the same.)
Lastly, and I’ve talked about this before, is Augments. While they’re REALLY expensive for the kits and Augs themselves, they are a NEED TO HAVE. Purely numbers based, the impact from your Main Stat increase it basically like jumping ahead two gear sets. I’ve found the best thing to do is have customizable gear for both PvE and PvE that always stays the same, and I just add my upgraded slots to that. Then I only have to augment once. That’s especially important with PvP because you have to hand in the old gear to get the next upgrade. Don’t let those vendors have your Augment kits.
If you follow these basic starting points, you’ll get less flack from other players. You’ll also probably get some better numbers. When being BiS starts to matter, or to find out specifically what’s best for your class/spec, make sure you check the guides out there and TORParse to find out who the top individuals of your spec. Don’t ever just accept the first guide you come across as fact. Talk to the people who are the best (they’re often willing and excited to help) and find out what they. You’ll find it’s usually a little different from what the straight math suggests. AskMrRobot is also a great resource because you can find player’s specific gear builds there.