Correct, but for most people, they cannot complete the new missions without the gade 7 stuff. So they have to grind out for a month to get the upgrades or take the easy way and just buy the gear. I am afraid that many will simply just buy the gear and this will just encourage EA to put in more p2w stuff in the game.
This is exactly my concern as well.
The other thing that bothers me here is that they didn't just take an existing obstacle and then give you a P2W path around it ... they created a new obstacle, and gave you a P2W path around it.