you're right, it has changed. you get free recruit gear.
and i was going against champion/centurion 50s as a level 10-49
What this guy said, except add in:
Now you get a free MK2 recruit with 2 BM relics for 50, WH weapons and Offhands are 2k ranked comms only -and- You can start saving up comms for end game gear as early as 40.
-.- buy ya, we better make it even easier for newbs