Story mode is for story, Hard mode is for gear most of which is pointless now so to those who want your "immersion" go do story mode not harang 3 other strangers who just want their comms.
I suppose that's an understandable complaint. Seems like the better solution, then, would just be to have a node where you click on it and after standing quietly beside it for several minutes, the comms are added to your collection automatically. It would save you from all that running around nonsense. Farmville and etc run on a similar model, and are quite successful, so I'm sure you're on to something.