Game Update 7.4
"Holiday Season 2023"

The Road to 344

It has been a long road in 7.0 and with the announcement of our gear now being able to increase to the 344 mark that road now goes a little further.  I have been scratching away with ideas on how to best prepare myself/my characters to get into this new 344 gear as quickly as possible.  The release of 7.4 on the PTS last week gave me an opportunity to take a look first hand at just what I/we will be up against, here is the result of that experience and a bit of brain power.

12/1/23 - SWTOR Dev team just announced that 7.4 is coming December 5th!

What can we be doing now?

With the expansion a few weeks away and another grind ahead of us, the question I asked myself is, how I can I best set myself to get ahead of the grind day one.

The answer: Resources.

We are going to need a ton of Tech Fragments, OP-1s and R-4 Blue Veteran Tokens right out of the gate.

My plan: Horde.

I have cleaned house a bit and am now stockpiling any gear I get from Ops clears.  My best estimates in messing around in PTS is that a full Legacy Bay of Ops gear is around ~ 800 OP-1s (Depending on rarity).

I plan to hold onto weekly ops missions once they are completed, instead of turning them in, just leave them in your log (do not collect rewards).  This may impair your ability to collect rewards for other missions, but if you have toons you just farm on, do ops on those and hold onto the mission rewards.

We are going to need 39,000 tech fragments for our first set of 2 Legendary Implants.  Seeing as how we can only hold 11,000, they seem to be our biggest limiting resource.  Assuming you play more than one spec, it is another 15,000 to upgrade your next character's set.  (assuming they still give us the price break after we equip two 340 implants).  The tech fragment issue becomes a larger time sink the more alt specs you play.

My aim: use the alt army! - I am completing the GSF and PvP weeklies on every alt I can and holding the mission.  Same for conquest rewards.  Once they pop, do not claim them.  Leave it.  Same with logging back in the week after.  Right there is about 5000 tech fragments you can horde per alt.  We have some time now to work on filling our alts up with completed missions to turn in on day one for upgrades.  Keep in mind that you will need 100 conquest comms per legendary implant upgrade as well.  These can be hard to bank, and will take time.  Let them stockpile until 7.4.  You can hold 4000.  Plan out 100 for each implant tier you will need to upgrade and turn the rest into tech fragment bags and hold them.  (600 conquest commendations for the initial 2 implants, discounted to 360 after that [assumption].)

If you're fortunate enough to be able to clear the weekly Master mode Op in the console each week, you can hold onto that as well (the upgrade box you get will get you to 344, assuming you can get your R-4 gear to 342 out of the gate).

R-4 - If your gear is already Purple R-4 gear, you will need more Blue Tokens to take it from 340 to 342.  This process will make it 342 Rakata so it will be able to be upgraded with normal op-1 materials after that.  The more purple R-4 you have, the faster you can get to 342, assuming you have the blue tokens.  Blue R-4 gear will not be able to go past 340.  So you are either upgrading from 336 Rakata, or farming the gear with an alternate strategy.  (Master Mode Ops clears).

Extra R-4 Purple Tokens seem to be mostly useless.  I wish there were a way to cash in a purple R-4 token for, like, 3 blue tokens.  The ONLY use I can think of for Extra Purple R-4 Tokens is to unlock the Hyde and Zeek Store.  Turning them into two pieces of purple "artifact" gear, then taking out the quest from Hyde and Zeek for the 340 store unlocks, will take care of the requirements for both of those missions (assumption being that nothing gets changed from the current system).  This would lead to one potential gear path for a new player, or a player that does not have access to Master Mode raiding.  New players could potentially be taken through Watch Dog and Kanoth.  I would imagine most raiding teams could 7 man watch dog and/or kanoth by now.  Even more so with 344 gear.  Give the new player all the purple drops, and they would be completely 340 with just a couple clears.  (2 Watch Dog for the relics, 1 Kanoth for the Ear, then 2 of "Any" for Hyde and Zeek to 340 the rest).  So 3 clears of HM R-4 bosses and you're setting on purple equivalent 340 gear.

So that's my "Prework" stage of the strategy:

-Stockpile Ops Gear
-Stock up on Tech fragments (you can keep the bags of 200 tech frags in your inventory if you cash in WZ/Flash point/Conquest Comms).
-Hold Upgrade boxes (Master Mode Clears, super helpful)
-Have a couple Purple R-4 Tokens lying around to unlock Hyde and Zeek for my Alts

7.4 Day One

Looking ahead to release day, assuming we have managed to pull off the above prework and stockpile what we need for a successful upgrade day, here is the plan:

Upgrading from Purple R-4 Gear - Head to the Upgrade vendor, same one you have used to get your Purple 340 R-4 gear.  If you have a full set, you will need 14 Blue Veteran R-4 Tokens and around ~ 1040 Op-1s and a chunk of credits.

Upgrading from 336 Purple - If your purple gear is Rakata, you'll need an absolutely mountain of Op-1s, roughly 1040 per set of upgrades to get you to 344.  If your purple gear is Hyde and Zeek, you're on a whole different path to getting upgraded.

The in between - Most of us will probably land somewhere in between of the above two options.  Having some R-4 Purple gear and needing to grind for more.

This to me is where those upgrade boxes are going to come in handy.  Say I have a nearly full set of Purple R-4 gear, but I am missing 2–3 pieces.  Upgrade your Purple 340 gear as above, then open and equip those upgrade boxes.  The upgrade boxes guarantee an upgrade for your lowest gear items.  (in this instance, our 340 Blue R-4 veteran gear.)

Then we just need to get (or have) the mats for 342 -> 344.  Puts us in a nice best case scenario.

What can we look forward to in Stats?

Below are some screens I grabbed from PTS, so subject to change, though I find that unlikely.  The stat increase seems to continue in a predictable linear progression.

Version 2 of my Stat Planner has launched for the site's supporters to test out and will be released with 7.4 alongside the new recommendations for gearing to 344 and 344, as both will be easily obtainable.  Below is a screenshot of the planner.  This tool will allow the user to input what gear they have and be able to manipulate it to see what options are available.  I have also cooked up a "Recommended gear for 344" that is set to replace the existing "Recommended gear for 336" Page.  This new tool will be user selectable.

The Road beyond Day 1

My excitement for this gear progression lies in what happens when we hit 344.  Once we get one toon to 344, Rakata gear we obtain on that toon will be 344 as well.  Right now, I would be that most of us either have one - two sets of gear that we are transferring from toon to toon to toon as we play (which is VERY annoying).  At best, we have made up sets for our alts with the 336 Hide and Zeek Vendor.  Who wants substandard gear for their alts though, right?  Though it will take some time, all of our toons will be able to obtain 344 gear as we complete content dropping Rakata Gear.  Personally, this will be my favorite part.  I hate gear swapping, so having an easy way to get all of my toons in 344, I am all for it!

There's the plan and what is in front of us.  Happy gear grind!