So if you could buy HM Flashpoint gear or low level OP gear what would you call it? (although in fairness this stuff is TOP level so it's basically top level OP gear to be a fair comparrison)
All that does is speed up your rate of gear progression, so that wouldn't be P2W either?
If I could buy Rakata/Black Hole now for real money, I would not consider that P2W. This is because it is the 'set behind' what you achieve in the endgame raiding right now and is required to perform that task. All that buying that gear does is save me the time of gearing a character to be ready to do this endgame content. PVE is not a competitive format with other players, but vs the game. So being able to save the time of grinding to be ready to start attempting to do actual endgame is, to me, merely a time saver.
But, I also see how for people who are not 'full on endgame' but more the '1 step behind' raiding crew (which is always multiple times bigger than the full on endgame crew) it could be considered P2W as it means people can buy the gear they are still grinding for.
I guess.. in conclusion and the current game situation.. I would consider buying Columni (2 tiers behind) not P2W.
Now, the fun starts. PVP:
If I could buy War Hero now for real money, I am initially leaning to naming that borderline P2W. Let me explain why:
Yes, It is also the set behind the actual end set, but unlike the raiding example, you don't need War Hero to PVP as you already get your 'get ready to PVP' set in Recruit Mk2 for free in game and it is better than what your competitors get.
But again, going back to my general description, it does not give you the end result of PVP (gear wise), so I could consider it not P2W. This has more to do with the current ease of getting full War Hero since 1.6 than anything else. Though I'd prefer War Hero to be the level of the gear you get for free at 50 for PVP balance reasons (another subject).
Important factor for PVP is that the required end result is not only getting the better gear but it is beating the other team each game. While for PVE, after beating it the first time, you continue to play just to fill out your gear with BiS pieces. War Hero gear gives you an edge over non War Hero players in that aspect of constant competition vs other players. So the line for what is P2W is a lot lower in a PVP game aspect (where the smallest edge can make a huge difference).
So to conclude, buying War Hero is what I would consider P2W.. buying Battlemaster in the current situation is something I would consider not P2W because the edge of that compared to Recruit Mk2 is minor as well as the fact that for very little effort in game you'd get better gear in the War Hero pieces. That would basicly be Pay 2 Be Less Bad When I Just Dinged Fifty (P2BLBWIJDF... doesnt have a nice ring now does it? :P )
These mods are the "end game" gear of the space game, there is nothing higher you can get, they also then help you with the ground game.
This I agree with. And that's why I say that for the current Space Game, these items are P2W. And I will not pay Bioware for these items because I feel that is not a good thing to do.
Speaking with my wallet, so to speak.