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My roommate and I are having an argument about whether or not orange gear (the fully moddable gear) has any inherent stats. Looking up the gear on the various websites has been less than useful so far and I still lack enough gear to do the comparisons myself. So, do all oranges have the same base stats and the mods are the only place that they get abilities from? Is the difference really just how the items look?

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It's actually sort of confusing. There is a lot of posts out there, including from official SWTOR sites that don't tell the whole story. Most of them suggest that there aren't inherit stats. Which is sort of true, but not totally:

From SWTOR Stats & Attributes:

Due to the extreme amount of gear customization in TOR, developers want you to be able to take any orange item (orange = fully moddable) and use it all the way to max level if you prefer. In order to achieve this, weapons and armor both have a dynamic stat on them which changes based on the level of the mods you have placed inside the item.

  • Rating – Increases the damage done on a weapon. You’ll see this listed at the very top of a lightsaber or blaster’s tooltip. The stat itself does absolutely nothing except increase the damage done — think of it as the ‘item level’ stat you’re used to seeing in games like World of Warcraft.
  • Armor – Armor, which you should be more familiar with, increases Energy and Kinetic resistances (more on that later), is the dynamic stat increased on pieces of equipped gear.

So, for an example, if you take an orange lightsaber with all level 1 mods in it, compared to the same lightsaber with all level 10 mods in it, the Rating stat will be much higher, and thus so will it’s damage. Same goes for Armor on those pieces with Armor on them.

(Which is a good summary from this really long SWTOR.com forum thread that did have an op post in it that clarified the situation to what we know now.)

The op explained that this dynamic stat is important so that modded items can drop from bosses on instance and still have some inherit value so that the first boss in an instance isn't farmed over and over for only the mod pieces.

The above SWTOR.com thread also discusses one important bug that is confusing a lot of people. If you do not equip the weapon/armor or relog after modifying it, the tooltip will not accurately reflect all the correct stats based on this dynamic stat modifier. Depending on what you change, when, and what is in it now, the numbers in the tooltip can be a lot higher or lower than they really are.

UPDATE:

Some additional clarification from the official devs:

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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Personal guess: I think there is still a lot of debate internally with the SWTOR devs about this whole modification weapon/armor rift. Balancing making your avatar look good, encouraging players to play high-end operations, and maximizing stats. High flexabilitiy with low exploitability. It's a tough challenge with such a new and very complex game dynamic that is being tested on some of the most demanding and disparate set of gamers — RPGers. I fully expect the exact details of this game system to change sooner rather than later. –  Mufasa Jan 4 '12 at 1:47
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Yes. I believe the base stats are the same so that you can wear what you think looks cool and still have nice stats to go along with it.

If you took out all the mods, they would have no stats on them.

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do you happen to have a source for that? –  user4139 Dec 27 '11 at 18:12
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here: swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=49704 –  Krazer Dec 27 '11 at 18:28
    
This is why all the "social" gear is orange and sold with no mods loaded into it - so that you can spec it out to your current level and continue to wear it as you level up. –  warhammerkid Dec 28 '11 at 16:07
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As a side note, there's a class of customizable gear past orange that has the customization slots azs well as some bonus stat(s). It's dark purple. –  Kara Marfia Jan 2 '12 at 5:13
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"Orange" gear in SWTOR is in the game so that players can differentiate themselves aesthetically whilst still maintaining a high degree of in-game effectiveness through the mods that they fit. Orange equipment properties are derived from their mods and attachments.

There are rarer, more prestigious items in-game with fixed attributes.

All categories of currently equipable items have "orange" items. Also see the game manual entry for items:

http://www.swtor.com/gamemanual/how-to-play/items-and-equipment

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The only difference in orange gear is the base armor with the Light, Medium, and Heavy armor. Other items such as weapons etc do not have any difference. All that is derived from the mods are attributed to more armor or min max damage and stats.

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