Those arguments are pretty much why I changed my whole gameplan to: don't wait for content, make your own.
Cryptic may officially disagree, but they turned STO into a sandbox game and I treat it as such. Hence me founding a Roleplaying fleet, where every event is an RP based event.
Haven't had such a blast in a long time with the game.
Now I don't even mind the grind in between, because suddenly there is a purpose to it.
I don't mindlessly grind anymore for some mythical piece of loot that won't enhance anything of value really.
The starbase system by itself is completely redundant and just a resource drain.
It gives people something to do as a group, but to what end?
Now the Phoenix Alliance works on the base too, but every project completed is one tiny bit more of immersiveness that helps our goal to have good RP in it.
I can only advise everyone to try it sometime...
Paying something for a shiney new ship is the same. technically you don't get anything of physical value, but the immersiveness can be infinitely better if you fly a ship that actually fits your character and story and is therefor worth it.
My new RP toon flies an Excelsior with a tactical edge, something a min/maxer would never do, they'd fly an escort.
For my character it fits, but somewhere along the line I would like to get my character an RP promotion with a shiney new ship of the line, and a Soevreign Refit would fit the bill. By the time the story is ready I will have enough Stipend points to pay for it, or invest a little dilithium to get there a bit sooner.