Releasing characters via Marquee event is the best thing to happen to this game. You get the character to 3* for free, you get a chance to test them out with any squad, you get a bunch of mods that you're probably going to sell but sometimes get a few to keep, you get an omega. i wasn't paying attention to the amount of credits I got off this one, but in the past I remember getting a few hundred thousand. If you like the character there's a bundle you can get for an instant boost, and if you really like the character you can guarantee yourself 5 shards for a bunch of crystals. But, if you're like me, your job doesn't pay enough and your landlord wants too much, so you don't buy these bundles or packs. Instead, in 4-6 months you farm them up free. In the meantime, you get them to G11 and work on their abilities--That's a lot of gear and an increasing nuber of zetas each time, but you have a minimum of four months to do it. There's time.
There's a myth out there that there was a magical time when characters were released in other, better ways. It doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Pao, Chopper, Bistan, Scariff Rebel Pathfinder, and Dengar were released through the daily login, giving you 30 shards if you logged in every day. Chopper and Bistan had separate events every day for their release month where you would get an additional shard if you completed it. The consensus was this was too slow, and the one shard a day events were "a slap in the face" because no one who plays this game has ever actually been slapped in the face and doesn't know how silly they sound to those of us who have when they say that.
Baze and General Greivous were released to the Shard Shop--Baze for a limited time, then moved exclusively to Chromium packs and shipments. The consensus with shard shop characters was that they only rewarded "whales" because no one else had that many 7* characters laying around. (Fun side story--I started farming Greivous the day he came out despite having only been playing for about 6 weeks at the time. I already had at least one 7* character in each store and figured, eh, why not?) Baze made people suuuper mad because he was a limited time purchase and people felt that since he was so good, they were being forced to spend.
The only time you were actually forced to spend money to unlock a character (and even then, "forced" is a bit of a strong statement, since you could always just not unlock it) was Chief Chirpa, who was given a pack that cost $5, if I'm remembering correctly, as part of an Earth Day charity promotion. All proceeds from his pack went to the World Wildlife Foundation to, I don't know, feed pandas or whatever.
Technically you didn't have to spend money to buy Aurodium packs, since they were bought with crystals and crystals are given freely in the game. But in order for Aurodium packs to show up in your store you had to first spend $200 in the game. If you were free to play, or even if you were just a light spender, too bad, so sad, you didn't get a chance at Aurodium packs, which is where Tusken Shaman, Wedge, Geonosian Spy, and B2 all debuted. I have to admit that I'm a little more iffy on the history of Aurodium packs because I hadn't spent $200 and wasn't even allowed to look at them with my dirty unwashed peasant eyes, so I'm reconstructing it from Game Updates and what I remember people talking about on the forum at the time.
When Guilds were announced they gave us four new characters, and people were mad. They were mad that it took dozens of Heroic Rancors to unlock Han Solo, and then they were mad that he was bad, and then they got mad again when they made him good much later. They were mad because Gamorran Guard and Jawa Engineer shared a slot in the Guild Store. For funsies, search for "Has Engineer Been Removed" on the forum and take a look at how many people were certain that the Engineer was stealth removed. Sun Fac was also added at this time, but not to the Guild Store--no, he was put directly into Chromium packs along with nearly every other character in the game at the time, albeit with increased odds of opening him. So the only way to get him was to buy Chromium packs and hope you got him 10 shards at a time--but don't unlock him! Once you activate a character, if you open the full version later you got less shards, so it behooved you to hold off on unlocking him until you'd cracked enough packs that the full 4-star character unlocked. On the plus side, you'd get shards for a whole mess of other characters, which you could then turn into shard shop currency for General Greivous or Baze Malbus.
Sun Fac wasn't the only character exclusive to Chromium packs, though. Lando, Rex, Maul, Aayla, Old Ben, Qui-Gon, Cad Bane, Leia, Kit Fisto, Tarkin and probably others were Day 1 characters, but they took their sweet time trickling down into cantina nodes and stores. For that matter, Sun Fac wasn't even the only character released directly into Chromiums--Echo, Zam, Cody, (and more, but I've been at this for too long) were all exclusive to the packs.
So who got put directly into a store upon their release? Well, historically speaking, Baze and Greivous in the Shard Shop; Chief Nebbit in Arena, Jawa Scavenger in Cantina. Bodhi Rook was a free gift to us, and then put into Galactic War after a little while.
Not going to lie, there might be more, and if there are bring them up and we can discuss them individually. But I started this post 72 minutes ago and I'm only through August 2017's Game Updates, (and I haven't even touched on Tournaments yet!) so you'll forgive me if I'm a little tired of opening new tabs to see who was release when and to where. So let me sum up to my main point:
Marquees own bones, guys, don't even act like they don't. Is it annoying that you have a level 85 3* character for a couple months? Of course. But it's better than the alternative that we've had in the past--dozens of characters that released initially and exclusively to players who had spent $200, then trickling down to players who spent crystals for a chance at them, and then onto the board or into stores. It would be nice to have more Legendaries and Hero's Journeys, but do you remember what the board is like when those first launch? Because I remember each one distinctly--"What a blatant money grab, forcing us to farm Phoenix Squad for Thrawn, when they're useless everywhere!" "What a blatant money grab making us farm First Order Stormtrooper for BB8!" People always want more Legendaries, and then get upset when they don't have the characters for them because those characters weren't on some reddit checklist of "Get These, Ignore Everyone Else."
Marquees are great. This post is taking too long and already crashed once (thank you, Drafts!) so I'm done.
Ceterum censeo Patientia esse meliat.