I've been thinking about the nature of the problem & how horrible the methods they've gone to ensure pay to play dominance & all the miserable changes (sim changes, how Malak was released) which have angered the community.
The solution I'd suggest would be....
Release two meta characters at a time, it's only possible to get one F2P via high arena ranking - to get both requires whaling.
So F2P players get to keep in with the meta (with hard work), whales get 2 meta defining teams at once.
Then add in a game types that give an additional reward if you have both groups (a PVE grand arena mode which having 2 meta defining squads increases payouts to further appeal to whales but still provides a boost to everybody else).
Imagine if they let us know in advance this was the plan.
"Hi people, we are dropping 2 Ancient Journey characters on X date
Jedi Knight Revan
Requires 7* - Bastila, T3M4, Bindo, Mission & Zalbar
Requires 7* - Canderous, HK, Emo-Bastila, Juhani & Carth
Pick your path, will you fall to the dark side or be redeemed in the light?. Fight legendary battles across the KoToR landscape & take these powerful sith empire & Jedi leaders as a reward.
What's more - 1 month after the end of this event we will be releasing a new legendary character to match these two events together to form a final conclusion to our ancient journey events time-line."
Whales get a good bonus, regular players can still climb in arena (Tho may not be dominant as having a choice) whales get extra rewards for a new game mode to reward having 2 meta teams, regular players are happy.
As a F2P player, I would have had to pick between the two events - but I'd be happy to pick between 2 more balanced in power leaders if they are done together. Whales will want both & will pay to get both.
Getting even one would require high arena ranking & good resource management - but this way they don't have to keep ramping up the difficulty as by making it require 10 characters at once for one event means there is no way non whales can get both (Without running out totally & having to pay in the future).