Don’t forget to spend your Fleet Commendations! As you complete Space Missions (especially the daily “Operation” missions) you can earn these special commendations that can be exchanged for a wide variety of unique upgrades and orange level social gear. The vendor for these items is on the Fleet, in a cubby across from the GTN. At first the offerings may seem underwhelming and unnecessary, but rather quickly the difficulty of the missions ramps up and using the various commendation rewards can significantly aid you. There are four unique starship upgrades that you can use:
- Power Conversion Module (30 Commendations – Level 25 Req.): This should be your first purchase, as it greatly increases both your offensive and defensive power. When equipped, this grants two abilities (bound to the 1 and 2 key) that allow you to shift your energy either fully towards your blasters or fully towards your shields. Since your shields don’t regenerate while firing, you can greatly increase your output by focusing entirely on blasters while you’re actually firing, then shifting entirely to shields whenever you aren’t. Even a few moments of increased shield regeneration between enemy waves can save your skin.
- Electronic Warfare Pod (35 Commendations – Level 35 Req.): Another important purchase, this grants 10 seconds of invulnerability to enemy blaster fire on use. The cooldown is long enough that you can generally only use it once or twice per mission, but with a little planning this can turn a highly damaging rush (such as the mid-point meatgrinder of Drexel Sweep) into a blaster fire filled jaunt. Most missions have a “oh crap!” moment that can be nearly nullified by judicious use of this powerful item.
- EMP Generator (150 Commendations – Level 45 Req.): With a long cooldown and limited range, this item might not seem all that useful at first, but in certain scenarios it can ease up on objectives. Using it emits a powerful short range burst of energy that will kill anything close to your ship. It does have a short ramp-up time, so you need to plan a little ahead before hitting the key. Since it’s rare to have more than 3-4 targets on the screen at once, this item is best used against capital ship turrets and minefields, where you can take out upwards of 20 targets with a single blast.
- Proton Torpedo Tube (50 Commendations – Level 50 Req.): Waste your missiles no more, as Proton Torpedoes allow you to take out high value bonus targets with a single massive attack. You start with 4, 3 in reserve with 1 in the hole, and each shot can fully eliminate a bonus target that previously would’ve taken upwards of 20 missiles. The command centers and shield generators of capital ships, such as the main target of the mission Zosha Advance, are the most immediate use. You can also use these to destroy the upper and lower communication arrays of stations as well. You use it by holding down the right mouse button on a target for 5 seconds, after which the reticle will flash. Release the mouse button to let fly screaming proton death. Don’t worry about wasting them either, as you’ll only get the reticle on targets that you’d want to use them on.
An important note regarding Proton Torpedoes: Once you run out, right clicking on a target will still bring up the reticle, making it impossible to shoot missiles at it. If you let the lock complete then release, you should be able to then fire missiles as per usual.