Some people talked about HM version. This one I can see asking for a min gear requirement (beyond any level 50 gear) especially from tanks and healers. Tanks get hit hard and healer need to work to keep up.
I agree with all of your post except for the part about healers needing gear... On my Sage, I healed HM TFB (8-man) with another Sage who was in unaugmented Columi gear. I definitely carried him through a lot of fights (doing 250k or more healing than him), but he did well enough that we only wiped twice in the entire Operation... and I even felt comfortable enough on some fights to slack off a little. Healers who have half a brain that functions can heal through almost any content as long as they have at least full Columi gear. The only fight they would struggle on is NiM Kephess, but by then I'm hoping they have more gear
On to the topic at hand... Honestly, this game was designed in a way that makes it so skill > gear for most PvE content; again, this is minus NiM Kephess because he was designed to be difficult. So, throwing someone out of STORY MODE content because they "lack" gear is extremely stupid, selfish, and not even worth defending. Repair costs went up? You shouldn't be wiping on 16-man SM content if you have at least 8 absolutely capable, over-geared players which it sounds like there were from the OP. If you do kick one person from 16m SM content for being "under-geared" then you're proving that you
are the bad player, imo. It's SM content, the other guys aren't even carrying the under-geared guy because the SM content was designed specifically for the under-geared players!!!!! ... rofl