Now, if purple gear was fully moddable, players would simply farm the first boss, acquire 5 pair of boots, extract the armoring, mod and enhancements from the boots and slots them in their favorite Custom items. That actually sounds cool, but it really isnít. Letting players extract the armoring mod from the purple items would trivialize end game gear progression and stop rewarding successful and dedicated players for their efforts.
So, instead of letting that happen, we prevented the Armoring, Hilt and Barrel from being extracted, but we also made sure of dropping purple Armoring mods of equivalent power as Operation loot. This means that players going the mod route can still take their favorite orange armor and make it as good as a operation purple armor (with some temporary caveats).
There are alternate solutions to this problem. For example, they could make the first items dropped in a raid come with a lower armor/weapon rating than the final items dropped off the last boss. If raid boots come with a rating of 88 and drop off the first boss, then a chest piece dropped off the final boss would come with a rating of 92, for example. That way, you'd still need to get to the last boss to acquire the best mod for your chest piece. This would also mean that any further chest piece you looted could be used to upgrade the boots you looted previously, allowing redundant loot drops in a raid to be put to some use (redundant loot drops will be more prevalent in this MMO versus, say, WoW, because of the smaller raid sizes.)
Furthermore, their fix isn't a fix. Currently, if an Operation drops a purple item that you like the look of, tough luck to you, buddy. Since the armor/weapon rating isn't upgradable, you'll be discarding it when you find something better. Yes, we can take our favourite orange armor and make it equivalent to the operation purple armor. But, we CANNOT take our favourite operational purple armor and make it as good as the next tier up. Since that armor is obviously going to be unique in it's design (at least, I hope it is, if it's raid loot) you aren't going to be able to find that look anywhere else.
And further still, their fix does nothing to address your character's appearance while leveling (for a game that promotes the creation of alts and experiencing every storyline, as well as the tons of money they spent on the cinematic quests and stories [more than other MMOS spend on leveling content] you'd think they'd place a higher level of priority on the leveling process than other games.) You are either A) stuck with throwaway green items that you like the look of, and are forced to take a stat hit, B) use the best item available to you, which may or may not be an item you like the look of, or C) use one of only a select few modifiable orange armor/weapon pieces at lower levels, which again may or may not be a look you desire.
Perhaps, by the time we get to end-game, we'll have found a full set of armor that fits our preferred style. That's no guarantee, but it's certainly possible. That doesn't change the fact that we don't have nearly so many options at low or mid-levels. While leveling, we have three options, two of which don't offer a reliable system of gear that we're guaranteed to like the look of, and one of which forces us to take a hit to our effectiveness.
Before, under the old (and arguably far superior) system, you were almost guaranteed to find a full set of armor that you both liked, and was fully -or nearly fully- modifiable by level 15 or so. AND you'd also have some modifiable items for your companion(s), too. Which was really great, as managing the armor sets for multiple companions can start to become a hassle, especially since you can't see the armor rating or armor stats of the armor equipped to companions who aren't currently with you. Under this new "improved" system, you don't even find modifiable accessories (non-chest items) until the mid 20's or early 30's even, unless you get very lucky and find a rare world drop.