I have been paying this game for 13 months at this point. I will qualify this time as 1 year simply because we all know how different playing from the start is vs playing the game once you are at level 85. I now complete all my tasks, attack raids, and do the things that make guild leaders happy. I am trying to break this down and submitting it as feedback, given how many comments there have been lately about needing to ease certain things to allow new players to catch up (and enjoy the game) more easily. I have had 3 friends who started the game, got sick of it, I am the one that enjoyed the strategy elements and stuck through to 85.
GP: 2,090,337 (1,175,684 Character / 914,653 Ships)
Legendary/Journey Characters Unlocked: Thrawn, EP, GMY, BB8, R2D2, JKR, CLS
Note: Very close to finishing Darth Revan Event Requirements
Arena Rank: 187
Ship Arena Rank: 81
7s Capital Ships: None
6s Capital Ships: 4
7s Ships: 14
6s Ships: 6
7s Characters: 69
G10 Characters: 6
G11 Characters: 4
G12 Characters: 8
10+ Speed Mods: 64
20+ Speed Mods: 3
100+ Offense Mods: 10
6* Mods: 20
I feel like the year I experienced, entirely F2P, is one that has shown me a lot into the insight, depth, and formula for this game. I experienced nearly all of the Old Republic grind that everyone has been facing, I had 8 hard node attempts for a period, and have spent a large majority of my time simply learning how to grind out characters. The first 6 months were filled with unlocking teams I liked, not understanding the importance of 7s characters, not knowing about needing g12 characters, and trying to grind out mods efficiently, only to find 3 that are competitive at my arena position. Keep in mind, that's 3 total. Not 3 useful primaries, not 3 that I want to place on my arena squad, but 3 that have the stats to stay at pace within the top players in my shard.
I think nodes need to be bumped up from 5 (to 6 perhaps?) simply to allow players to be competitive and enjoy guild content. Guilds that do well in TW/TB require very high GP. You need those guilds to grind out the gear pieces and get the g12s simply because I am not going to place highly in raids (the pit raids are almost always on Auto now and lower tier gear at that). Having g12s isn't enough now, and the biggest advice I would give the developers is to make g10-g12 move a bit faster. I am perfectly fine having to grind out g12s, g13s, but for the sake of allowing new players to enjoy the game, stun cuffs, mk5 stun guns, carbanti, etc.... are frustrating to a deficit when you get through g8, g9 with having to grind out 50-150 of each (x5 for a squad) and then having to do double, triple that amount in some cases for the next gear level. One player may need 50 at a tier, but then next tier he needs 50 of all 3. Theres 2-3 pieces of gear that simply need to be easier to get as you progress in the game. Especially if you want me to stick around for new content, TW, grind out TB teams, grind out new legendaries starting from nothing on hard nodes.
I have accepted that grinding 7s characters takes a lot of time, and that hard nodes will take forever. I spend 10-15 minutes at most per energy refresh in the game and nearly every other moment through the day my energy is empty. I would either allow players to regen more energy, or allow them to buy more and alleviate the limits on the nodes. I think if people don't see that adjusted, they will simply get frustrated, feel like they aren't making enough progress, and just leave. If I spend 2-3 months grinding a team, they shouldn't be obsolete because because a team or character was released. It seems cheap when an update like that has occurred. The way I see it, 2-3 months of effort, irregardless of having the ability to pay for that same thing and have it in a day, I shouldn't have characters obsoleted (or not updated) because of newer ones. I would hope to see a lot more updates to skills, abilities, kits, in the hopes of allowing teams to be useful for GA. There are plenty of characters I would love to see added, of course, but I also want it to make sense given what is added to the game. (i.e. all lightning users gain the shock debuff ability when that debuff is added to the game, or updating Boba's BHR to match Jango's, instead of requiring a zeta on one and not the other).
Needless to say, I hope the insights help. I hope new players who join the game and are frustrated see my progress and understand there's things to learn and it isn't difficult to see progress on good teams, you just have to know how to do that without getting scattered elsewhere. Focus on the events, getting simmed events completed (so you get those top tier rewards flowing easily) and don't be afraid to save gear, omegas, zetas for when you need them, not when you have a ticker telling you that you can place something on 3+ characters.