Here are some answers to some of those question marks that are floating over your heads!
* Upgrading Item Mark is Always Successful
When your item gains enough Tech Points to upgrade to a higher Mark, this operation always succeeds. Your Mark 12 Breen shield will become a Mark 13 Breen shield with no failure chance. It’s only when your item reaches maximum Mark and you are trying to improve its quality (color) that there is a chance that the upgrade won’t succeed — but even then, you keep your quality improvement chance and add to it for the next upgrade, and eventually you will reach a 100% chance of quality improvement.
* Item mods are not re-rolled
Your item’s mods don’t change as part of the upgrade, so if you like the mods on your Phaser Beam Array [Acc]x3, you won’t lose them. You just have a chance to get a new, extra mod. You might turn your array into a Phaser Beam Array [Acc]x4, or Phaser Beam Array [Acc]x3 [Dmg], or Phaser Beam Array [Acc]x3 [CrtH].
For most items, if you get a new mod, it is randomly selected. Set reputation gear does not get a random modifier; instead, the mod gained is always the same for a specific item. When you upgrade a MACO deflector to ultra-rare (ultraviolet) quality, for instance, it will always get one specific mod. That way you never have to worry about a random mod and having to grind out another piece of expensive rep gear and then upgrading it again — once it improves in quality, you know that you have gained the one upgraded version.
* Epic (Gold) items have special bonus mods
The bonus mod for an item at Epic (Gold) quality is a unique special mod that doesn’t otherwise appear, generally more powerful than other mods. These are:
Space Shield: [Cp/Rg] Combined capacity/regen boost
Space Impulse Engine: [Drv2] Overcharged driver coil, double coil bonus
Space Deflector: [SS/SI] Interlaced integrity, structural integrity/shield systems combined bonus
Space Weapon: [Ac/Dm]: Bonus accuracy/damage combo
Ground Shield: [Cap2] Double capacity bonus
Ground Armor: [ResAll/HP] Bonus HP and bonus resist all damage
Ground Weapon: [Dm/CrH] Bonus damage and critical chance combo
* Your item can’t accidentally out-level you
If you aren’t a max level captain, you can’t upgrade an item past the Mark that you can currently use. You don’t need to worry about accidentally making a good piece of gear unusable.
* Making Tech Upgrades doesn’t cost crafters dilithium
Tech Upgrades do not require dilithium to make; the dilithium cost is on use. This means that crafters don’t have to worry about spending their dilithium to make Tech Upgrades for their friends and fleet, or for sale on the Exchange.
* Set Gear
As part of the upgrade system implementation, we’ve made set bonuses Mark-independent. This means that you can have Jem’Hadar shields Mk 10, deflector Mk 11, engines Mk 12, and still get the three-piece set bonus.
* Levelless items
Many pieces of levelless gear will stop receiving bonuses at level 50. After this, you can upgrade the item and it will gain a Mark, and will then improve after this. This will allow your levelless gear to actually keep up with your other gear, since Mk 12 gear is actually above level 50 and Mk 14 is even better than that.
* Special Mission Rewards
Almost everything you can get should be upgradeable. As noted in the blog, you can upgrade Breen set gear, caustic plasma beams, Hargh’peng torpedoes — if you’re on Tribble and you find something that you can’t upgrade, post on the Tribble forum.