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When comparing these two items Mantellian Smuggler's Tunic and Spec Ops Jacket, the only visible difference is 113 armor. Is it just me, or is there very little point in upgrading these, rather than just changing mods? Are they intended to act like heirlooms in WoW, or do they have level caps on mods?

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Are you sure that the details are the same ingame as on the site, and that it's not just a submission error? –  FAE Dec 27 '11 at 12:30
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Yes, there are plenty of orange items from vendors. If you remove their mods, they'll end up like these, with no stats except armor. –  snurre Dec 27 '11 at 12:32

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Orange items are items that can be modified with various mods, like lightsaber hilts, armor, augments, crystals, etc.

The order is:

  • Gray
  • White
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Dark Blue

Note that orange is not in that list. Orange just means you can modify an item; it does not indicate a specific rarity level.

Some orange items have base stats included in them, some do not. The whole idea behind the orange items is that if find gear you like, you can keep upgrading the mods to keep upgrading your stats as you level, but allow you to keep that same armor/weapon type.

There are no level caps on mods per item, as long as you have achieved the requisite level for the mods.

UPDATE:

Regarding inherit stats with orange items: We have been granted more knowledge by the SWTOR devs. See the answer at http://gaming.stackexchange.com/a/45457/1134. In short, yes, there are inherit stats to fully-moddable orange items... but not exactly. See that link for the confusing details.

UPDATE 2:

From the official forums:

Orange Armor gets it's armor value from the 'armoring' mod you slot in. If you exchange it for something better, the armor value increases along with the stats.

It's always the first mod in the list that determines the intrinsic properties of the orange items (e.g. armoring on armor, barrel on guns, etc.)

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Non-orange (that is: green/blue/purple) crafted gear can 'crit' when crafted and receive a single augment slot. –  Sjoerd Dec 28 '11 at 16:36
    
@MatthewRead: I think that depends. I think they're bugged. I've seen modifiable items (which should be orange always) show orange, purple and blue. I think if all the mod slots are filled, it shows them with the color if all the mods are the same color. But if there are any empty or there are any mismatched colors, then it shows orange? Not sure about this yet though. –  Mufasa Jan 3 '12 at 18:58
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no the 'color' of the orange is basically the color of the driving mod. For armor, it's the armoring mod, for weapons it's the hilt/barrel. If the hilt is purple (even if it has no 'mod' mod or enhancement or even a crystal) then it'll show as a purple weapon for example. –  Rodolfo Jan 13 '12 at 20:51

Orange items are customizable with mods. They have no stats of their own, and are designed to allow you to keep a particular 'look' for your character even as you upgrade your gear and improve your stars. Putting in level appropriate Armoring will increase the base armor to the right level, and between that, a Mod and an Enhancement, the item can have exactly the mix of stats you desire and be equivalent to the drops, quest rewards, and crafted items you'll come across.

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New details emerge from the SWTOR devs: Orange items sort of have stats on their own, but not exactly. See gaming.stackexchange.com/a/45457/1134 –  Mufasa Jan 4 '12 at 1:52

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