Just a little heads up for the fresh level 30's in the house. If you are free to play and can afford the $9.99 you really should purchase the Battle for Earth DLC. This DLC gives you access to the South Gotham Union daily quests which yield about 20 Triumph marks a day. Purchasing a DLC also upgrades your account from Free to Premium which has it's own benifets.
Tier 1 iconic sets cost between 26 to 39 marks each, so in theory you can get a piece of Tier 1 gear every two days without doing anything else besides the South Gotham Union quests. If this isn't fast enough for you then throw in the weekly solo challenges, there are 5 of them, and you'll be able to get an extra piece of Tier 1 per week. If you are completely lazy like me you can have full T1 in a maximum of14 days if you do all your solo chalenges once per week. This may seem like a long time but keep in mind any duos or alerts you complete will also yield Triumph marks. The more triumphs you compile the faster you'll get to Tier 1.
What I did when my hero hit 30 was head to the PvP vendor and purchase two DPS rings, the DPS neck piece, a DPS trinket, a DPS mask and a DPS PvP weapon. The above items will not contribute to your combat rating at all. What it will do is keep you alive while you earn Marks of Triumph to purchase the rest of your gear. I do not recommend using a full PvP gear set for PvE questing, PvP gear has toughness on it and no defense. Enemies will cut thru you like wet paper when you have no defense to protect yourself. So avoid the tempting and affordable full PvP set for questing. Be mindful this is for a DPS (damage) set, you can focus on your speciality role when you actually start to purchase your Tier 1 gear (or stick with DPS if you like).
Next I chose to run a couple of solo challenges. I picked the solo challenge based on what renown I needed to get cooperative with. After I finished the challenges I used the renown tokens and was deemed cooperative with the sentinels of magic (the faction I chose). I then high tailed it to the Magic Wing of the JLA Watchtower to purchase CR34 gear form the Sentinels vendor. The full set of CR34 gear cost 8 triumph marks and some cash. Using the CR34 gear and PvP accessories as a foundation I was able to easily complete South Gotham and the rest of the solo challenges.
On a side note DO NOT throw away any gear you get from solos, duos or alerts. Put them in your bank as they can positively affect your CR. Once you purchase a Tier 1 gear piece you can sell the duplicate slot items from your inventory.
Side note #2: If you get any purple "integrate on equip" items form solo or duos do not equip them. They are inferior quality to Tier 1 gear and usually sell/trade for a fairly good amount to people looking for their styles. Just because it's a purple doesn't make it good gear. Think profit!