Someone alluded to this in another post. I've been trying to track this down. The exchange is still empty. I've got 30k energy credits burning a hole in my pocket. Looking for lvl IV ship equipment, specifically lvl IV photon torpedoes. If you know of anyplace let me know. The Ferengi merchant ships still sell high level personal weapons, but that is all.
From what I have seen - NO. You can get those for credits only through AH. Thats how they plan to manage economy. OR, you need to grind exploration quests and get badges of exploration. When you have few hundreds of 1st order badges you can buy MKIII and MKIV on the second floor of the shipyard. Higher tier will take higher order badges, unless I am mistaken. Its easy to verify just go to second floor turbolift at the shipyard where you got your ship as a Lieut. Commander.
starbase 34, in the sierra system in alpha centuri sector.
has mark III's for pretty much most things, ground and space, but only the basics.
i would recommend doing some of the exploration missions in the Hromi cluster as soon as they open up to you, as the equipment you get from the vendors in the sol starship requisition room for the level 2 exploration badges are not only the only Mk VI's i've seen in game, but they're all uncommon items and have some fun extra effects
Back in Beta, for getting even-number gear you had to get badges from PvPing with Klingons. The Star Clusters mission chains giving exploration badges is more recent, and pretty nice too!
Exploration badges also provide one thing the PvP badges don't: access to gear like deflector dishes, shield generators and impulse drives. You can even get them as rares (blue) whereas PvP only gives you access to uncommon quality items (green).
However, bear in mind that exploration mission chains provide you with 75 badges. The things unique to exploration badges can require up to 330 to 360 badges to obtain apiece. That's 5 exploration mission chains you need to do to get one... meaning 15 systems you need to successfully interact with, every 3 with a mission from, say, Lieutenant Grell, to get your badges (because without a mission for them, you get no badges that I know of).
its a bit of a pain the way they worked out the amounts as well, weapons cost 77 badges and you get 75 for completing 3 missions >_> and while the "explore 3 systems" missions are repeatable, they're not instantly repeatable.
my tactic is to grab a patrol in the ajoining sector, do the three systems, do a couple of planets in the patrol and check back with the exploration mission giver, once its available again i take it and go do that right away, getting back to the patrols once i've done that.
level 2 badges for the mk III and IV equipment can be got from the Hromi cluster and the Khazan cluster (which comes from another NPC)
To be able to use the Higher Mark Lvl equipment, do you have to be a certain lvl?
mk I and II are Lt only, Mk III and IV are Lt Cmdr, Mk V and VI are Cmdr level.
thats what i can confirm, never got above commander in beta.
i would imagine this carries on however, so Mk VII and VIII would be captain, with IX and X being admiral.
the good thing is however that your ships and BO's can accept equipment at the same level you do, so when you rank up to Lt Cmdr you can put Mk IV weapons on your miranda if you wanted to, and your BO's can use up to Mk IV weapons/equipment too.