That's a shame. I'm rather disappointed in the gear drops from Story Mode EC then. : (
Looks like it's just there to farm black hole comms to use for: ???
You're supposed to be able to jump into HM EC with just Rakata gear. However, the black hole commendations (if you buy the right itemized pieces) can be gear upgrades if you're having problems getting over the hump. And I'm guessing that, down the road, Bioware will nerf HM and SM content (probably close to NiM coming out or later) so that the "casuals" can see the operations w/out the "elite" being so hurt.