This question is directed to you Admirals. As a Lieutenant Commander, I'm having a very difficult time deciding if I should Fabricate all my items, purchase them at the Auction, turn in badges, or a little bit of them all. My goal is like most, to have the very best equipment for my level at any given time, in the shortest time possible.
Which is/was best for you and how did your decission effect you by the time you got to Admiral?
Well, if you have the EC for it, the exchang is the way to go to get the best equipment fast.
Downside is that it will cost you big time at each level, to have top of the line gear.
Using emblems/marks is a little more timeconsuming, as they are harder to get. It does however allow you to know exactly how many you need to get the gear you want. However: You will not be able to get top of the line gear, as thoose are not sold for Marks.
Reshearching... The way you get the high end gear at all times, and benefit yourself as you will be leveled up in reshearch when you get to Rear Admial.
This is however the most timeconsuming part of the process, as you will have to grind alot. It does get you the Very Rares at most ranks though.
Now... with that somewhat sketchy way of doing things, Heres what I suggest:
Use whatever you pick up along the way, stick with whatever samples you pick up along the way, and then at VA, start grinding emblems.
It's a little hit and miss, depending on the relative time needed to farm data samples, badges, and credits at each level. I rely solely on badges and farming to get my gear on leveling toons, and I just feed loot to the replicator to get enough credits for stuff I have to buy from vendors. Generally prices on the exchange are absurd for most stuff, unless you spend a lot of time buying and selling or farming those things that you can sell for the same absurd prices.
The one thing I would say is never, ever use rare traces for anything except Mk XI gear. Data samples are plentiful at every tier, but you should save all the traces you find on the way up in order to have a good start on your purple gear when you hit VA1. On the way leveling up, I tended to do explore missions to get all my consoles, and craft most of the gear for my ship and crew.
I think you sort of have to look at the individual items at each tier available through each channel, and then decide which ones to get through farming or badges / emblems. I crafted all my consoles at VA1, because it seemed a lot quicker than grinding emblems for them (this is true only because the emblem consoles are exactly the same, and you can craft all of them without needing any rare traces). But I bought all my DHCs with emblems, because I liked the mods on the emblem shop ones better than the craftable ones, and grinding emblems there was quicker and easier than waiting to get my hands on twelve antithoron traces.
By the time you get to VA, you will have a good feel for the relative time it will take to get 30 emblems vs 3 rare traces, so it will be pretty easy to decide which things you want to get through which route. Just remember to save all those traces.
CaptainBludd has a good point though, that whatever route you take, you will pretty much outlevel your gear as soon as you're done getting it. When I did just explore and story line missions, I inevitably dinged the next rank as soon as I was fully geared for my current one (another reason to not waste rare traces on lower tier stuff; you will never get the benefit of it).
Thanks for the info. At first, I wanted to Fabricate all my items until I saw the prices for basic data samples at the auction. I then sold all my data samples, bought all the best gear for my level and had a few hundred thousand credits left over.
I'm not in any hurry to get my level cap. Once I reach the next level, I would like to get the best gear I can first, then take my time and do all the missions. I like exploring and PvP for hours on end, but I LOVE the missions. I think I will do that first before the missions. Sort of like eating a good dinner then saving the dessert for last.
Run loads of exploration while you're leveling. Collect & sell all the anomalous data you find (crafting is not worth it). While you're exploring, you may use the badges in exchange for the items available in the shipyard (space)/middle of ESD (ground).
If it's not available from the exploration badge vendor, buy a common version of the item from the exchange. You don't need blue or better items to level. Exploration badges will give you green items (and blue shields, although completing 'Skirmish' from Captain Drake in Eta Eridani will get you a rank-appropriate blue covariant shield array [Cap]x2 and bypass the high badge price for shields)
At cap, brace for a heavy emblem grind. Your data sales as you level will help offset some of the costs.
If you're planning on creating and levelling additional characters in the future, I'd suggest investing in even numbered common items. You won't get the bang for your buck you do with uncommons/rares/very rares but you can save and resuse them on new characters.
Honestly for leveling on fed side mission rewards are 9/10 your best options (1/10 being consoles). We really need to compile a list of quests for complete gearing out I'll see what I can come up with. Auto Leveling gear is your best option before you reach Mk XI. The FEs can provide you with a fair amount of auto leveling gear. Not enough to fill all your slots but enough to cut down on crafting/cash/farming. Even the none Auto leveling stuff is good and can be acquired again as you advance. (See Reman Shield prototype)
Next do your homework. Before you keep advancing go read about the ships, understand what those stats represent, read about the BO powers. Your gonna get the majority of your BO while your leveling You NEED to understand what those are all about. Understand what efficiency and the power system is all about. stowiki, is probably the best source for specific answers, at on more basic questions of what X,Y or Z does.
You don't need to spend a single energy credit to get geared. It maybe faster but if you get used to running to the Exchange you will have a hard time build up the seed capital it takes to really gather EC at the top end.
Honestly for leveling on fed side mission rewards are 9/10 your best options (1/10 being consoles). We really need to compile a list of quests for complete gearing out I'll see what I can come up with. Auto Leveling gear is your best option before you reach Mk XI. The FEs can provide you with a fair amount of auto leveling gear.
Not anymore. The only leveling items on the ground now are the Devidian Ghostbuster Gun, Breen Freeze Cannon, and the useless Fed Type 1 Phaser. The lovely Fed Type 3 and Type 2 phasers are now Mk crippled, as are the in-game-obtainable versions of the "Retrofit Phaser Beam Array" and the new Romulan Disruptor pistol and rifle from the most recent series. (The leveling phasers that come on the TOS Connie, however, still level with you all the way up).
You can still equip two of your away team with the Breen / Devidian weapons, but since they're now unique, that's about all you can get for one toon now. And there are no leveling space weapons that you can get through in-game means, other than the oddball Breen Cluster Torpedo and the new Cloaking Tractor Beam Mine launcher (the new favorite weapon everyone loves to hate in PvP). There are also the Triolic Pattern Enhancer and Subspace Modulator, but those are even more niche items than the Breen Torpedo and Tractor Mines; and they're both unique as well.
I agree with just buying common even mark gear (max for your tier) wherever it's cheap and available. It's a little sad that the ESD requisitions vendor doesn't sell even mark levels of everything, but she does sell even marks of some basic weapons, which are probably the one piece of kit that will have the biggest effect on your ease of leveling. As soon as I dinged LtC, for instance, my first step was to go right to her and slap Mk IV sniper rifles and Mk III armor and shields on all my BOs. Then I go pick up my new ship, sell all the trash weapons that come with it back to the shipyard vendor, and buy Mk IV common beam arrays and torpedos. I usually have plenty of credits just from junk loot I have recycled in my last rank for all that. Then I just fill my console slots out with explore missions, and use any samples I gather along the way to craft some green or blue stuff if I feel like it.