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How to buy PvP gear in SWTOR

Star Wars: The Old Republic  - 874536

While I don’t disguise my enjoyment of Star Wars: The Old Republic, I have to honestly admit the PvP gear buying system is complex.  Hell, it’s downright confusing.  No matter the game, I’m a huge fan of PvP (Warlord in vanilla WoW).  While I may not have PvPed my way to 50 in SWTOR, I enjoyed a fair share of it on the way up.  Once I got there, with my hands full with Warzone Commendations, I stared at the 18 different PvP venders in sheer bewilderment. 

Eighteen venders is not an exaggeration, there are in fact 18 PvP related venders for each faction.  Where do you even start?  What do Warzone Commendations even do?  What’s a Mercenary Commendation and why don’t I have any?  Why does all the level 50 purple gear require these Mercenary Commendations yet I have zero of them?  Why is Battle Master gear so awesome?  Are these daily / weekly quests worth doing?  The purpose of this guide is to answer all these questions, with pictures!

***Skip to end for SparkNotes/condensed version***

Basics:

It all starts with Warzones and Valor.  Warzones are PvP instances that you can queue from anywhere in the SWTOR universe from the bottom right of your mini map.  The red box in the picture shows the location.  For Republic players, the icon will be the Republic symbol instead of the Imperial symbol.  You can queue solo or with a group.  There are currently three different Warzones, even though it seems like Hutt Ball happens every time (39% according to BioWare).   

In these Warzones you acquire Valor points and Warzone Commendations.  You can think of Valor as your PvP rank – maxing out at 100.  Valor is gained though Warzones, world PvP, and through PvP quests on Ilum.  Titles can also be unlocked through your Valor rank.  Warzone Commendations are gained though completing Warzone matches.  They max out at 1000, so they need to be spent often.  Spending them is pretty easy though.  The picture below shows the end of a Warzone match; you can see how much Valor and Warzone Commendations are gained.

***EDIT: it was pointed out to me by Michael Irigoven on our site and Reddit user "Quagmire_" that the Valor cap is 100 and not 60.  This is confirmed so I changed it in the guide.  Valor 60 is still the minimum level to use Battle Master Gear though.  Thank you.***

There are three tiers of level 50 purple level PvP gear.  The order is Centurion < Champion < Battle Master.  Why do you want level 50 PvP Gear?  The answer is expertise.  Expertise is the PvP specific stat that makes you better in PvP situations.  This one stat makes you do more damage, have better heals, and take less damage – in PvP.  Not to mention the stats on this gear, especially the Battle Master Tier, is top end.

Spending Warzone Commendations:

On your faction’s fleet, in the “Combat Training” area there are the 18 PvP vendors.  While 18 vendors can be intimidating, only 6 of them pertain to you.  There are 4 class-specific vendors in this area, 1 item vendor, and 1 weapon vendor.  All these vendors are in somewhat close proximity, you just need to talk with them to learn which is for your class.  The vendors look like members of your class – Jedi Knight vendors look like Jedi and Smuggler vendors look like Smugglers etc.  The 40’s PvP gear can be bought form one of these vendors with Warzone Commendations.

For now, let’s ignore the 4 class-specific vendors.  The vendor to focus on right now is the item vendor I mentioned.  His official title is <PvP Items>, for the Empire his name is Jensen.  The <PvP Items> vendor is on your faction’s fleet Combat Training section standing next to the PvP daily quest drop box.  The picture below shows the <PvP Item> vendor and the drop box next to him.  While this picture is of the Imperial Fleet, the vender and drop box will be in the same location for the Republic Fleet’s Combat Training section.

The fastest way to dump your Warzone Commendations is to convert them to Mercenary Commendations.  Why?  Mercenary Commendations are used in conjunction with Warzone Commendations to buy Champion Gear Bags.  Whoa, yea, I’ll break that down more.   

Mercenary Commendations are bought at the <PvP Items> vender with Warzone Commendations.  The conversion rate is 10 Mercenary Commendations for 30 Warzone Commendations.  So dump your Warzone Commendations into Mercenary Commendations to make sure you don’t go above the 1000 commendation limit.  You are going to need a lot of them.

Now to the more confusing aspects of this PvP gear system.  Champion Gear Bags are bought from the same <PvP Items> vendor for 200 Mercenary Commendations and 200 Warzone Commendations (800 Warzone Commendations in total).  These bags are unique, so you can only carry one at a time.  This isn’t a big deal because you can just open them as soon as you get them – granted that you are level 50.  These bags are how you get Champion and Centurion Level PvP gear.

Champion Gear Bags have a random chance to have an “Unassembled Champion" item.  Think of Unassembled Champion items as tokens that you trade into <Champion PvP Gear> vendors, for your specific class, for wearable versions of that item.  You will only ever receive tokens for your class, but you can get duplicates of an item – it is totally random. 

Let me explain with an example.  The picture below shows the “Unassembled Champion Master Force Boots” item in my inventory.  I received this from a Champion Gear Bag.  I take this item to the <Champion PvP Gear> vendor for Sith Inquisitors and trade it into wearable boots.  The reason you trade this token in is because there is a choice of three boots for my class.  In a nut shell - there are Sorcerer boots, DPS Assassin boots, and Assassin tank boots. 

Remember, the Champion Gear Bags do not always have Unassembled Champion tokens in them.  From what I’ve read and experienced, the drop rate is only about 10% -- though I cannot confirm this.  When there is an item, you get 1 Centurion Commendation, while bags without items have 3 Centurion Commendations in them.  A Centurion Commendation is used to buy Centurion Level PvP gear.  If you get unlucky with Champion Gear and never get a part of the armor you don’t have, you can buy the lower tier specific item with Centurion Commendations.  The picture below shows sets of duplicates of Champion Level gear.  You can see that an item can be bought for 1 “Unassembled Champion” token or for ~67 Champion Commendations (these commendations come from Battle Master Bags - covered later).    

Champion Gear Bags can also be gained though the daily and weekly PvP quests.  Each daily quest will get you 1 Champion Gear Bag, and each weekly quest will get you 3 bags – so completing them is very worth it.  There are 4 PvP quests at 50 (currently).  There is a daily quest to win three Warzones and a weekly quest to win 9 Warzones.  Also, there is a daily quest to ‘Help the War Effort’ 5 times on Ilum and a weekly quest to ‘Help the War Effort’ 15 times on Ilum.  PvP armor also has ‘set piece’ bonuses.

Battle Master gear is the top tier PvP armor.  Bags for Battle Master armor can only be achieved through completing the daily and weekly quests.  These bags work just like the Champion Gear bags and are also unique.  These bags can only be opened once you’re level 50 and have maxed level 60 Valor.  A Battle Master Bag will have an “Unassembled Battle Master” token in it or Champion Commendations.  This is the same exact system as the lower tier items, except the ONLY way to receive Battle Master armor is though the tokens from the bags received from doing the quests. To me, the SWTOR PvP system seems to guarantee you Champion Level Gear if you’re dedicated and have valor 60.  Battle Master Gear seems like a bonus.

So, that is the process of obtaining PvP armor sets.  It's confusing but there is a method to it.  I hope this guide helps you whether you wield a lightsaber or blaster riffle, are a casual or hard core PvPer, or if you’re Republic or Empire.  I’m going to end this guide with all the information in one bullet chart.  Happy hunting.

Recap (Spark Notes):

  • Do Warzones and Collect Warzone Commendations (WC)
  • Talk to your faction <PvP Items> vendor
  • 30 WC convert into 10 Mercenary Commendations (MC)
  • Buy (200 WC & 200 MC) or PvP quest for Champion Gear Bags
  • Receive ‘Unassembled Champion” tokens and Centurion Commendations (CC)
  • Talk to your faction <Champion PvP Gear> vendor
  • 1 Unassembled Champion” token for Champion Gear or ~67 CC for Centurion Gear
  • Get to level 50 and Valor 60
  • Complete PvP quests, receive ‘Unassembled’ Battle Master tokens and Champion Commendations
  • Talk to your faction <Battle Master PvP Gear> vendor
  • 1 ‘Unassembled’ Battle Master token for Battle Master Gear or Champion Commendations for Champion Gear
Ac
Andrew Clouther Human, historian, teacher, writer, reviewer, gamer, League of Pralay, Persona fanboy, and GameZone paragon - no super powers as of yet. Message me on the Twitters: @AndrewC_GZ
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