Thanks! I was probably misremembering a previous discussion (or it might have been accurate for a different tier of gear).
@ItachiZaku (psandak, please correct me if I missed something):
I'd definitely recommend that new 55s buy the 31 Barrel/Hilt for the MH, since you otherwise need Ultimate Comms. The Elite-Comm MH is only 30/162, costs 350 Elite Comms (next most expensive Elite item is 140), and requires Champion standing with CZ-198. I.e., you can buy 3 other pieces of Elite 31/168 gear for the same number of Comms.
I'd highly recommend the OH Hilt/Barrel, as there is no Basic Comm OH that I recall.
Caveat: If you buy the Hilt/barrel, you still need to get the mod and enh, but since they aren't locked to the slot like the barrel/hilt/armor, you can pull from much cheaper comm gear.
As psandak said, the 31 isn't necessary, and if you plan on gearing from raid drops and not just comms, you can get a good MH/OH earlier than Ultimate Comms. But if you have a few mil sitting around, the 31 MH/OH barrel/hilt is the best bang-for-buck for 31 gear.
Also: if you know what look you want, 2 mill should get you 9 MK-9 kits and purple augs for them (mh/oh/+armor).
with 2.4 and the Oriconian story, daily area, and operations, the gear offered for comms shifted down:
- Campaign gear (grade 26) is still available for classic comms
- "Artifact" gear (grade 28) is now available by running the Oriconian story (completing the quest line gets you five or six pieces of gear). And all grade 28 gear and item modifications can be crafted (different stat distributions, but equivalent gear level).
- Black Market gear (grade 30) and "artifact" (Dread Guard) relics are available for Basic comms
- Verpine gear (grade 31) is available for Elite comms
- Oriconian gear (grade 34) is available for Ultimate comms
NOTE: For both grade 31 and 34 MH weapons, implants and relics are not available for comms
NOTE: Grade 34 item modifications cannot be reverse engineered for schematics...YET. That will probably change when NiM DF and DP come out.
- Level 55HMFPs bosses drop Black Market gear and elite comms
- the Czerka Core Meltdown final boss drops an Arkanian ear piece token.
- Set Bonus gear (Arkanian, Underworld, Kell Dragon, and Dread Forged, are only available from Operations
NOTE: Kell Dragon gear is only available through NiM operations and will therefore never be able to be reverse engineered for schematics.