apologies if this had already been discussed
I'm a new player trying to decide how to gear up while leveling. It would seem custom gear with mods is the best stat wise, so I've been artificing what I can and spending commendations on what I can't. but I'm seeming to level too fast to keep up (lv 23). should I continue to accept commendations from quest rewards or accept more gear rewards?
what strategy do you guys use to gear up whIle leveling?
If you want to keep your crew skill level equal to or ahead of your character level, so you can craft stuff for your level, you need to use the mission feature of your skills that feed your craft. In your case, you should have archeology, and Treasure Hunting as your other two skills to feed your artifice crafting. You should be sending companions on missions to acquire materials so that you can craft items slightly above your level. This will give you time to RE to get better schematics. The intent is to have the enhancements, crystals, etc waiting in your cargo hold when you reach a given level.
Even on a 1st character this is possible. But you may be a little credit starved. I did this on my first character, a JK with synth, arch, and UT. The only issue I had was that I was unable to buy faster speeder training right away.
As for quest rewards, while modded gear is generally better there will be times when the armorings, hilts, and mods you can get from comms are insufficient and the quest rewards or non-moddable drop is better than what you have. So what if it only lasts you a level or two. that is a level or two that you had better stats
I also watch out for companion upgrades. One planet comm is not worth sacrificing your companion's ability to do what he/she is supposed to do. So I always compare quest rewards to the gear my active companion has.
The point is a balanced approach is best. Do not get tunnel vision when it comes to what type of gear is better than another.