First, here are the details on how gearing will work at level 70:
- Once you hit level 70, the source of end-game gear will be Command Crates from Galactic Command.
- Most activities in the game will earn Command Experience Points (CXP), which will earn you Command Ranks. Each time your Command Rank increases, you earn a Command Crate.
- The higher your Command Rank, the better gear that will drop from your Command Crates.
- The highest difficulty Operations and Uprisings, along with Ranked Warzones are intended to be the fastest ways to earn CXP. This means they are the fastest way to get the best gear.
- Both PvP and PvE gear will come from Command Crates. Their gear is now shared as Expertise is being removed (head to this thread to discuss PvP/PvE itemization specifically).
- Gear will no longer drop from bosses as all gear will come from Command Crates. All cosmetic/unique drops will still remain on those bosses (Stronghold Decorations, Wings of the Architect, etc.).
- Players will be able to craft comparable item level gear without set bonuses.
This system reminds me of the loot system in Overwatch. All activities give CXP, and every level you get a loot box. Gear that comes from the loot box is based on your endgame level.
It essentially converts gear into a straight currency system, albeit one with a some randomness in reward. It heavily simplifies the endgame gear system, and unifies it. Now you can do whatever you like, and you'll still earn experience. It prevents content from becoming entirely obsolete once you've out-geared it.
The downside is that some "easy" activity will become optimum for grinding and gaining levels, and then people will insist on doing that non-stop to earn levels. The advantage of harder content giving better gear is that eventually you have to challenge yourself if you want to improve. This system makes it easy to keep from challenging yourself, and contenting yourself with content that you know you can succeed with.
The normal PvE mindset is that quality of reward is intrinsically tied to difficulty of content. I wrote a bit about this a long time ago, though more in the context of PvP versus PvE. (See Raider Perspective on Rewards, and Why Does the Reward System Matter?) I am not certain that breaking this link will be healthy for the game.
The other problem is that reward is now greatly tied to time spent in game. If you play twice as much as someone, you should have twice as many levels, and thus twice the gear and further into the higher level gear. But maybe making this explicit is more fair than current games. And I suppose you can tweak the XP gained to mitigate this. For example, the first time you do a piece of content each week, you get a big bonus to XP, etc.
Still, it looks like an interesting experiment, and it will be interesting to see what sort of effect it has on the game and the players.