How is it gouging? Are the lockboxes required to play? No. Will you be able to get stuff in the boxes that give you an advantage over someone that never opens them? Probably not.
You don't get it, do you? They're going free to play, which means what they used to have as revenue they've just given away for free, meaning that instead of focusing on content for subscribers they're going to try and find ways to gouge money from FTP'ers that they would have gotten as subscribers, maybe even more. That's why they're going FTP, it's a cash grab.
But alas, if it's like you say, that the stuff in the box isn't really worth all that much overall, then what's the incentive to buy it? If there's no incentive, people won't buy it, meaning no more money for EA( Forget Bioware, they're gone). Meaning? There is going to be stuff you want, in those boxes. Eventually, you'll find things that'll make it a P2W system, it's inevitable.
You want an example of the stuff that they've actually said will go into these boxes at launch?
There, stuff that we WANT and will most likely end up paying for to get.