I've spoken to the design team about the issue of Grade 7 ship upgrades and the cost in game (resources and time) versus the cost on the Cartel Market, since this concern was raised by a number of people on our forums.
Our Lead Designer for the game, Damion Schubert, has this to say:
Unfortunately, there is, in fact, a great disparity between these two costs. We want to apologize for this, as there was a miscommunication internally on how valuable these upgrades were, how challenging they should be to earn, and how fast a player should be able to earn them.
We are currently looking at solutions that cause the least amount of frustration for all players affected, while keeping the integrity of both the Cartel Market and the game intact.
It is not our intent to make the Cartel Market the “way to play" the game—we want you to feel that both the Cartel Market and earning gear in game are viable options as far as value goes, neither being far more efficient or effective than the other.
We truly hope you enjoy the challenge of the new Heroic Space Missions and apologize again for what we hope is a small distraction.
I want to reiterate that we are actively looking at solutions and they will be communicated to you as soon as we have a solid plan.
Thank you for your patience.
I'm sorry, but this response did nothing but make me more concerned.
It was said that there would be no pay-to-win items on the Cartel Market, that it would be cosmetic only. It's starting to look a little like Animal Farm with the pigs slowly changing the writing on the wall.
I'm not really fussed about the ship parts since it's essentially a mini game with no competition from other players, but it's still a bad move because it trivializes both play time and crafters' efforts.
But what really concerns me is this quote:
"It is not our intent to make the Cartel Market the “way to play" the game—we want you to feel that both the Cartel Market and earning gear in game are viable options as far as value goes, neither being far more efficient or effective than the other."
, I don't want to feel that both the market and earning in game are viable options. Cartel Market should not be an option for earning end-game gear of any kind. End of story. Don't even think about it, unless you really do want to drive away all your loyal players (what's left).