The solution seems simple to me, just tell the whales that spending money will not guarantee that they will dominate. Strategy must still be utilized in battles, modding, gearing, and farming in order to truly dominate. Money can be used as a great time saver, and give you exclusive access to characters that are extremely hard to get (but still obtainable ftp), but it shouldn't gurantee domination. I have spent a lot of money in this game, more than any other game in history (gaming since 5 years old). It was an efficient way for me to catch up with the top tier players in my shard, and helped me to get recruited to solid guilds which further sped up my development. This will encourage new players to start playing/spending , which is the exact opposite of what you are doing now.
The second you start making this game purely pay to win, (which is what was the clear case with Malak) the game becomes ruined, and unappealing. I know it must be frustrating dealing with all the different types of players. And it's because your main problem is that you (CG) are making decisions reactively, instead of PROACTIVELY MANAGING PLAYERS/PAYERS EXPECTATIONS. Just have a policy that no one purchase will guarantee absolute domination, players still have to PLAY THE GAME. People who just want to pay money so they can win on full auto just baffle me, and aren't real gamers. Just create that policy, and communicate it clearly to the players.
By proactively managing expectations this way with clear communication you take away the grounds for complaints. Ambushing players with panic purchases, followed by sloppy development is a surefire way to **** everyone off. I understand you have to make money, but that doesn't mean you have to become shady, and try to fool players into purchases. Creating pay to win characters will just straight up destroy the competitive nature of this game. Money should be understood to function as a TIME SAVER, not a SUBSTITUTE FOR SKILL.
That will protect the integrity of the game, and will keep players playing/competing/purchasing for many years to come. Create a standard, communicate it clearly, and STICK TO IT! No 2 day notifications for a 2 day event, after promising a weeks notice. Properly manage players/payers expectations, and you won't always be loved but you will be RESPECTED. Operating the way you have been recently will do nothing but anger people, thus resulting in all the rage you are receiving now...