Yeah this is absurd!!! What's to stop them from providing all content via store now??? New class --> store... New race --> Store... New gear ---> store.
Basically this is a scheme to get more money even from subscribers. Say what you want but this is NOT OK!!!
This is not new. MMOs have sold this kind of content in pieces like this but usually as part of an expansion. Some of the old ways were probably more due to the limits of technology at the time and the marketing. Shelf presence is not the sole way for MMOs to gain attention or sell. It is now just a different way of getting subscribers to pay additional money.