Let me explain it again:
1) Get to lvl 50
2) Do regular lvl 50 FP's to get some better than starting lvl 50 gear
3) Do HM FP's to get Columi gear. You don't want to do HM FP's, then do SM EV/KP to get Columi,
4) Do HM EV/KP to get Rakata. Or you can do SM EC/TFB (Please notice in the patch 1.4 notes that SM EC was really nerfed).
5) Do HM EC/TFB.
So, you can get from 1 --> 5 without doing a single story mode. Got it?
And once again SMEC/TFB has no point.
Literally. "Oh but you can learn the fights."
No. No you cant. HM EC and TFB(presumably) introduce new mechanics into the fights. Or the mechanics that you previously heal through must be mitigated somehow (tank swapping in EC for the Firebrand) So what you learn in SM EC/TFB can have little to NO application in the HM versions.
Do HM EV/KP. Easier Operations.
No matter what they say that that SM EC/TFB is tuned for Columi that is blatant lie. My guild has carried a columi tank through SM EC and that **** was hard as hell. The rest of us were in Rakata/Blackhole. Maybe now that SM EC is nerfed but even then I would expect the fights to still be harder then EV/KP.
So whats the point? Why would I want to incur the repair costs and the frustration of trying to get SM EC done when I and my guildies can easily blow through EV/KP for what is essentially the same gear?