Good luck if you are a raw lvl50 noob with no purple gear and no experience, because the deadly serious matter of garnering loot requires that you have both before you can pug on a HM LI WTH LOL with the twelve year olds on Fleet.
My question to you is why is "a raw lvl50 noob" queuing for HM LI in the first place? SM FPs generate Tionese gear, HM tier 1 FPs generate Tionese and Columi. A "raw lvl50 noob" should be doing those FPs not HM LI. Heck, I have the gear and the experience and even I do not pug HM LI anymore.
As a matter of fact, just the other day I ran an LFG HM False Emperor where the Jedi Sage got a TON of upgrades. Every boss dropped willpower gear. Even at the top end of Tier 1 HM FPs that "raw lvl50 noob" could hold his own.
Getting back to the topic at hand...
I disagree with your assessment of "crafters are taken out of the picture entirely by the quest reward system. They don't even let you have lvl50 schematics for Armor, Mods or Enhancements."
In fact, if you compare the stats, crafted, non-moddable, artifact quality armor is slightly BETTER than Tionese equivalent. I have both Armormech and Synthweaver, and skipped over Tionese on my level 50 characters because I could craft better.
Yes, after that point, it is all about HM FPs and all Operations, but ask again, that is not good enough?
Yes, Yes I know that in SWG a lot of the best gear available was crafted. Just because one game does it that way does not mean ALL games have to do it that way too.