Is it really Wednesday again? Indeed it is and that means it’s time for another edition of Cut the Chatter. This weeks chat is about HK-51. The original question, which I apparently didn’t capture was, “is HK-51 worth using to level?” The responses as you can see were a little mixed.
The long and short of it is this. HK-51 is an overall great companion, but he has some issue. The main problem, as someone in the chat pointed out, is that he’s a pain in the arse to gear. I recently acquired him on my level 42 Smuggler, and I probably won’t start using him until I hit Makeb at level 50.
HK-51 comes with a full set of orange gear, but it requires level 50 to use. Any level below 50 and he doesn’t benefit from any of the stats on the gear. It’s moddable, but even if you rip out the mods and put in level appropriate ones, the gear still has that level 50 requirement. So if you get him for leveling you pretty much have to gear him out. He benefits equally from cunning and aim which takes away a little bit of the sting of gearing him up.
Even beyond level 50 he’s a pain to gear. You can put any mod or enhancement in his gear, but armoring is another story. Armoring is slot specific and head, chest, legs, etc., don’t correspond to any droid parts. In other words if you upgraded from an Arkanian chest piece to an Underworld chest piece you can only upgrade HK-51 with the mod and enhancement. The armoring is bound to a chest slot which the droid does not have. Patch 2.3 introduced new high level droid parts to help get him and other droid companions gear up.
The other downside of leveling with HK-51 is that he’s not integrated into your class story and you’ll be missing out on some good dialog as well as affection gaining opportunities by using him. Now you can always just use him for combat and switch him out for conversations, but it’s tedious and something you have to remember to do.
The good news is you can get him at level one and he has his full set of abilities, and he does great damage. Early on he’ll mow down targets even without the benefit of his gear. He’s also just plain fun and says witty things like, “Eat hot efficiency!”, and his animations are cool. The other benefit of having him is Crew Skills. It gives you an extra companion early on to send out on crew missions or craft items.
Now that Treek is in the game I’d choose her over HK-51 for levels 1-50. After that if you want a nice DPS companion at your side, he’s fine for Makeb. One you hit 55 you should seek to get some of the new droid parts and really kit him out.