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Bottom line, there isn't enough gear to find or buy in this game. On my first play through I went spoiler and wiki free to experience the game and the primary thing that stuck out to me was the lack of weapon variety. I cringed a bit inside when I saw "mk2" and "gold" or "ultra" tacked on the end of the same gun I already had with it's only improvement being an increased item level. I held out until the end hoping there would be endgame gear but...

As it sits 
2 assault rifles, 2 pistols, 2 revolvers, 2 plasma rifles, 1 bolt action rifle, 1 semi auto rifle, 1 light machinegun, 1 heavy machinegun, 1 grenade launcher, 1 plasma caster, 1 electric heavy gun 
With most not being a direct upgrade but a different play style of damage and magazine size. Wasting a lot of money tinkering to the same level as an "ultra," a gun you've been carrying from the starter area will do the same damage.
Rare variants are same model same texture too. 

A quick, partial fix would be new gun models for the second tier of weapons, but even that doesn't address the massive dead zones where you don't upgrade or swap out your gear if you aren't specced for tinkering. The game at it's current size and number of planets could easily fit 5+ different guns per type. We expected something more like New Vegas's gun runners arsenal.  Even the F- of a game that is anthem has pallet swap custom textures and custom effects on their same model diceroll abilities weapons. 

Narratively I can see why you're trying to get away with all the corporations using the same armor and weapon models, but it doesn't mesh with the established corporate rivalries. Spacers choice wearing top of the line aramid ballistics heavy armor in a backwater? Immersion breaking. There should be more armor variants that aren't just paint jobs. The deadzones of upgrading mean gear you found 10 minutes into your playthrough will be on your character at lv15+ 

the current weapons/armor table makes the game seem very empty when your inventory regardless of planet/region gets filled up with the same low sell price gear dropped by the same enemy types. 

 

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It is an odd system I think the time constraint and limited assets have a lot to do with it.  To add to what you said with mods you can make any weapon use plasma, corrosive, or electrical damage.  Since you can't remove mods it is even more of a motivation to keep a low level weapon to tinker up to your level, there are of course a ton of mods so it isn't really necessary.  Watching people stream it becomes obvious that the pack rat mentality that fits most RPGs  doesn't' really work in the TOW as I think the idea was for a player to break down the majority of the equipment to use in repairing the items they where modding and tinkering with.

There are some named weapons you can find or buy but usually they are weaker then the regular weapons you find and are stuck with whatever mods are on them. 

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I would like more variety as well. It seems there a lot of the same armor, but with different paint on based on factions. I could see it maybe on the same planet, but would expect some differences going to other planets.

What I thought about today while playing as a lot of the gear is same, just painted the same, I would be nice if they added some tools do create our own color scheme so that you could make them Unreliable brand armor.  I'm only halfway through the game though, I think I saw a YouTube video where the title said something about unique armor you come across, maybe there will be something kick-butt later on in the game.

 

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