Gearing in Legacy of the Sith

When Onslaught came out in October 2019 (gosh, has it really been that long) and introduced the Spoils of War gear system, I was fully equipped with the new maximum gear rating within less than two weeks. Aside from chasing more set bonuses and trying to optimise my amplifiers, I had essentially already acquired the gear that I was then going to wear throughout the whole expansion. And I was really quite content with that!

When Bioware revealed that they were going to revamp gearing again with Legacy of the Sith, I was not exactly thrilled, though I didn't mind the idea too much either. The thing that stood out to me the most was that it sounded like gearing was going to become a lot more complicated again, oddly reminiscent of the mess of currencies and vendors that we had at the end of Eternal Throne and that both devs and players had been keen to get away from.

Three weeks into Legacy of the Sith, I'm not at the new max-level item rating yet (though I'll also confess that I haven't been grinding very hard - guildies who have are much closer to being maxed out, if not fully there yet either). I don't really mind that - while I was happy to gear up super fast last time, it did go very quickly, and I'm fine with the process taking at least a little bit longer this time.

The complexity is close to what I expected though, and that's not great. It's not exactly a problem - we've had to deal with vendors and currencies in the past - it just feels like a downgrade from Spoils of War to be honest. I mean, look at these guides trying to explain the gearing system. The sheer length of them! The number of tables! There's just too much going on, and to be honest there are aspects of it that still confuse me even after three weeks. I've been struggling with how to structure this post because as soon as I'd get to the point where I'd touch even vaguely on how it all works, things would get derailed and I'd just end up confusing myself, as embarrassing as that may sound.

I'll just try to list some non-comprehensive bullet points:

  • When you hit level 80, you'll want to do a quest for a Twi'lek on the fleet to unlock access to the legendary implant vendor - these have special effects on them that replace the old set bonuses and are about the only aspect of this whole thing that's perfectly clear to me.
  • Otherwise you get gear from a mix of boss drops (group PvE) and out of reward crates that you get for completing weekly missions. One thing they kept from Spoils of War is that the item level of these drops is affected by what you're already wearing, though instead of comparing to your average it just compares slot by slot (so if your crate contains a belt, its item level will be determined based on your current belt).
  • Getting an item level upgrade from drops is mostly not guaranteed, but you can also upgrade each item at a fleet vendor, using certain currencies.
  • Where the Onslaught system had you work your way through thirty-odd item levels (even if it was very quick), things are much more condensed this time. Endgame gear starts at 320, and the absolute highest it can go at the moment is 330, but that's only for master mode ops right now. Most gear stops at 326.
  • Each "gearing track" (Conquest, master mode flashpoints, PvP etc.) has its own gear set with slightly differing stats. You can mix and match what you wear, but different tracks have different item level ceilings - these aren't clearly apparent in game, which is where a lot of my personal confusion comes from.
  • There's a lot of min-maxing advice flying around about how you should first get gear from one track while saving up boxes from another and what not, but again, this is just giving me headaches. I just equip whatever I can get and upgrade whatever I can afford at the time.
  • The one thing that irks me about the vendor upgrades is that one of the currencies comes almost exclusively from dailies, and is required in large amounts for all gearing tracks. This has the bizarre effect that this new system that's supposed to let me gear up by simply focusing on the activities I enjoy the most is forcing me to run more dailies than I've done in a long, long time, because it doesn't matter whether I do flashpoints or PvP, daily currency is mandatory for all gear upgrades. I don't mind the occasional daily round, but considering how rarely I used to worry about doing these, the sheer amount of dailies and heroics required to collect enough of this currency irritates me somewhat. What was wrong with just letting raiders get raiding gear through raiding?
  • One thing that's nice for raiders though is that they brought back the looks of the old Tionese, Columi and Rakata sets, so if you weren't playing back in the day or sold your old pieces, this is your chance to (re-)acquire these classic looks. I say this as a trooper, because personally I think the Rakata trooper gear looks ace (except for the silly snow trooper helmet, but you can hide that). Then again, perhaps you main a Sith inquisitor and don't really miss looking like this... I'm definitely building a nostalgic fan-hat and banana-shoulders set for my consular though!

Interestingly, while I was finalising this post, content creator Aviriia started up a discussion on Twitter about how she's already feeling kind of burnt out from the gearing process and asked whether others were feeling the same. Honestly, this is simply why I avoided going too hard on the gear grind from the beginning, because I saw some guildies go into the same kind of frenzy that absolutely poisoned the launch of WoW Classic's Burning Crusade for me, and I know not to buy into that sort of thing anymore, but it seems some people just can't help themselves. I don't know what the answer to this is from a game development point of view - you can always restrict things more, with lower weekly caps and such, or just reduce the required effort altogether, but then people complain about "time gating" or that there's nothing to do.

Personally I'm OK with upgrading my gear a bit more slowly over time... and things are still legacy-bound, so getting additional pieces for alts will go a lot faster. I do think that's very much Bioware's intent here as well: master mode operations bosses - and to some degree even veteran modes - feel crazy tough right now, but unlike in Onslaught, where we were stuck with the same gear forever, we already know that the new operation and beyond will bring more upgrades, and as we grow in power it'll help us overcome these challenges. That is something that I'm very much okay with.


  1. I agree with what you've said, but then I know you've seen what I've tweeted. :)

    I think we're seeing a lot of push on Heroics for a few reasons.
    - One is that all MMO developers like to see players out in the open world. It makes the game look alive and seems to have an active player base. Few games do well with empty zones (other than Secret World, but empty zones fit that setting).
    - Two is that they implemented shared tagging (yah!). That makes certain Heroics much less painful. Now if they would just fix the respawn timer on the clickies. Clickies are a big reason I still do open world Heroics in the PvP instance.
    - Three, it might just be that the bulk of the player base mostly does Heroics for the credits and the crates. Without knowing the breakdown of 'Activities Done' across the player base I'm assuming a lot of what gets pushed is based on what the players actually do. That would explain why things such as GSF and PvP tend to be on the back hoof.

    1. Yeah, I have no doubt that I'm very much in the minority with my complaint about having to do dailies, since for many solo players they're their bread and butter gameplay and how could anyone not like them?!

      And I don't mind Bioware incentivising people to take part in different activities, but this setup does stand very much at odds with their "you can just focus on the content you like" mantra. I just want them to be straight about it I guess.

    2. I guess I just view those types of mantras only being in force during an expansion. It's the Wow Curse. With a new expansion things need to change to make enough things seem new again and pull people back in. Having more of the same is just for within an expansion.

  2. It absolutely is nice to return to a slower gearing system, although of course the RNG for loot from Ops bosses is still a bit of a nuisance. Ah, well.

  3. They've replaced Spammer Station with GSF, and TC with MM Nefra. In the process they effectively killed FPs. SM Ops are ironically only useful for MM raiders to farm currency to upgrade their Rakata gear.

    I'm being harsh but it does look to me like they had a vision of how they wanted people to play and progress without thinking about how it would actually play out.

    The bugs I can forgive because most will be fixed but design choices that are in my opinion bad and we may well be stuck with for a couple of years. Those are intentional and are making me question whether I should take an extended break.

    1. Hrm. I don't want to disagree with the general gist of your comment, but the comparison between HS and GSF and TC with Nefra feels very off.

      Both Hammer Station and TC were single pieces of content that you could run over and over. GSF is a game mode, so people taking part in that still serves up more varied gameplay that a single instance. And MM Nefra is something you can do on one character per week and it does at least require a small amount of co-ordination.

      Either way, I'd prefer it if Bioware didn't fall into the trap of trying too hard to make people play a certain way. It's one thing if a certain piece of content or game mode is totally busted, but certain people spamming the same instances over and over again because they don't want to do any of the others doesn't feel like it should become the entire player base's problem...

  4. Just read Chris Schmidt's latest dev post and it seems we don't have to wait two years for design choices to be rolled back. I guess my cynicism was misplaced, it's good to see that they're listening and are willing to react relatively quickly.


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