I downloaded the 1.6 PTS today and was immediately presented with a major surprise when I saw the following on top of the patch notes:
"Battlemaster PvP gear is no longer attainable in game."
But of course then I realised: they are doing another gear reset. Battlemaster goes bye-bye, War Hero becomes the new medium tier, and Elite War Hero will be the new set to work towards. I have to say I'm feeling very ambivalent about this.
Some people on the forums are complaining that "all their hard work" will be diminished when the gear sets for which they saved up for months will decrease in value and effectiveness and need upgrading again. I can sympathise with that. After all, I wrote a whole post about how happy I felt when I finally completed my own War Hero set after months of grinding. And in PvE I've kind of come to loathe gear resets.
However, PvP is not the same as PvE. Cutting out a tier of gear doesn't obsolete any actual content (zones, raids) - we'll still be running the same warzones as before, plus the new one, so nothing changes there. And well, to me grinding for gear is honestly kind of part and parcel of the MMO package. After spending my commendations on hundreds of warzone medpacs for my alts for the past month, just to spend them on something, I appreciate the idea of actually having something slightly more interesting to save up for again.
I remember when 1.2 made my not quite completed Champion set obsolete and how sad that made me feel initially, but then I was actually pretty happy about getting to start on Battlemaster right away. I expect that it will be the same in this case, and this time I can't even complain that I didn't have enough time to enjoy what I earned.
The only thing I consider a slight downer is that Elite War Hero will use the same model as War Hero, and at least the trooper gear isn't even recoloured in a particularly interesting way. Then again, I can't blame Bioware for wanting to get some more mileage out of the look before replacing it, especially since the current Battlemaster models were used for a total of five gear sets (Centurion, Champion, Recruit, Recruit MK-2, Battlemaster) before going the way of the dodo.
One interesting side effect of the Battlemaster vendors being removed is that the schematic boxes for the orange versions of the gear are going with them. I checked on the PTS and at least in its current state, the boxes haven't been moved to any of the other PvP vendors. While this could still be subject to change, it wouldn't be unlike Bioware to remove those schematics from the game to make them rarer. Currently the crafted pieces aren't going for a lot on the GTN, partly because of the valor rank requirement to wear them, but partly also because they are so common. I could imagine them becoming more valuable over time if the schematics are truly going to disappear with patch 1.6.
In summary, start saving up those commendations for 1.6, as you'll be getting more bang for your buck once the patch hits, and if you have a Synthweaver or Armormech, make sure to buy any of the orange Battlemaster schematics that you think you might want to craft in the future while they are still available. If you get them all (like I did), it will set you back a few hundred thousand credits, but you can always think of it as preserving history.