To me it seems that subscriptions really drove the development of games, because if you didn't produce interesting things for the players to keep them in the game, they left and found somewhere else better to go.
While this is true for F2P, given these Online (greed) stores, the development is focused more on fluff than actual content. Just look around, we got all these interesting toys, but playing the same stuff for nearly 3 years. And the new zones that they added are just not fun after a few times (Nukara, Defera Invasion) or it's involved in constant grinding (Fleet Events).
So I get the impression the new generation of MMOs are just by-night operations that want to get enough intiital ooohs to get people to try it out and buy some stuff, and just leave it to die as they move on to another project. And STO is seeming more like a theme park than something that's going to last years, because they are focused on short-term than the long-term in means of player interest.
I agree and think it's a problem Stahl has to be facing: content is very important to western market games and integrating that with F2P and an edict that content MUST be free probably creates challenges.
I think the idea of a reputation system has probably been on the devs minds since we were requesting it back in Beta and probably got elevated as The Next Big Thing because it's a game system that emphasizes, feeds on, recycles, and delivers content.
It's a real challenge for PvP and PvE over the long term... and the "by-night" aspect you describe doesn't mesh with Cryptic. It's a culture which is centered around a hatred of laying off people. That's ultimately why Cryptic exists, why they emphasized rapid game development, why they pushed for the sale.
I can see an answer for PvP and that is to take it back more to something of a hybrid model, with paid, balanced PvP tournaments. It's a model other games (including paid ones) have adopted. You know, pay $35 to get in tournament and get a ship. Only ships released with the tournament can be used in the tournament.