People who spend a lot of money as opposed to the 90%+ people who never spend a dime are called "WHALES" for the so called "social games".
Now here is the beef: It apparently doesn't matter if you burn them out.
-> Because whales get hunted and slaughtered to make $$$, not pampered.
But STO isn't a small "social game" that just gets discontinued when its no longer profitable or run with one part time developer and never updated. Or is it?
Bottom Line, even if the system is really not ideal for (F2P) MMOs, this kinda of lock box economy exists in OODLES of F2P MMOs and is working very well.
I would also like to point out that while content updates are still rather small, things are nevertheless getting better compared to the pre-F2P times.