Well I think I know what Cryptics original plan to slow down progression was and I preface this by saying this is only what I think they were planning, but I could be wrong. So here it is in a nutshell
You know the more I think about some of the previous information we were given i.e. remastering the story missions and increasing feature episode production as well as folding them into the storyline and the current info we have about game changes ie chaning story missions and making leveling slower I think I know what the ultimate plan was.
I think that they were always planning to chain the missions which may have been done at remastering them and then placing them within the storyline to lengthen and then slow down progression while still giving us plenty to do.
the problem is that they are trying to impliment what I think their final plan is without a large chunk of the planned components and as such this is why it is such a bad change. If they had finished all the needed parts before implimenting this chnage it would possibly have slowed down content while steal giving us plenty to do so it wouldn't have really felt like a grind.
Though this is just what I think about this based on what I remember from previous Dev posts so I could be wrong.