As a subscriber, I feel that the nickle and diming there is unnecessary considering someone will be spending cartel coins on so much other stuff for the strong hold.
There's an old saying goes "they won't buy the cow if they get the milk for free."
Their goal is not to let people play the game for free.
The goal is to get people to subscribe to the game.
You do that by making the subscription option the more attractive option.
It's easy to cry 'nickel and diming' when you're not the one fiscally responsible for the business.