hm, proxy mortar could be called p2w, if it were not just effective because of its surprise damage against spawn rushing thargas. thats the only thing i bought, i would consider an unfair advantage to others - but it isnt a huge one, and it is probably coming as a normal weapon anyway at some point.
the free2play games have since forever excused their own ideas by saying “others have done it”. Usually not even themselves, but the players.
but to be blunt, the most successful f2p games were actually developed as if they were boxed titles, and you might not even count them as f2p in your head. then there is always people justifying f2p grind as if it were necessary, for them to get some money, but in fact its just usually bad gamedesign. while again, most f2p titles make - in short terms - lots more cash than boxed titles. It is usually just, that teams working on boxed titles, usually are better managed, less greedy, more devoted, less interested in appealing to the masses, but to their core player-base.
After all, the biggest failures of the free2play market were re-released boxed titles, that didn’t sell. It is, how this market was bloated up.
And by now, people regard boxed titles often as some token of quality, even if it makes no sense - development costs are often very little different, while the profit actually for boxed titles is always directly decided at release, while f2p evolves usually in a self running cash machine, that just needs “new pop”.
Obviously, SC is guilty of some of this stuff, but actually, for a f2p title, it has a very good core quality to it. And I hope actually, that the makers of the game just got a bit burned out over the years, but are in fact idealists, who want this to be a very good and successful space-game.
In both market types, there are lazy and bad implementations, which are hyped up with promotions, and good well made games. and the occasional good game, that gets made bad by bad marketing.