THE REAL PROBLEM: The gameplay for Recruit is COMPLETELY different than Veteran. A player that just wants to play casually and fly around in the middle of the map and approach a group directly is going to have a very very bad day in Veteran. Yes Tier III is underpowered compared to T4 but I also see A LOT of "these" players walk their ships right into a lions den.
Another ( unavoidable ) problem is that this game asks you to play competitively but then also wants you to work on ships and grind out points so you can unlock stuff. The players that need to do this are going to die a lot. - A Tier IV example of this is using a brand new unlocked Kochei. Good luck with those stock modules
Why remove squads? That makes no sense to me. What they should do is make getting into a squad much easier. They should allow players to just "tag along" and group with other players and if those players don't like you allow them to vote or "kick" you out.
I mostly "lone wolf" and I generally don't like squadding because I have to become friends and talk and say "hi" and all this uncomfortable social stuff. - I'm not playing stupid spaceship game to be social ok?
In my experience the MM does appear to set squads or group higher level players against lower level tiers. I think it does try to separate lone wolf players accordingly but overall it is poorly executed. The problem may be mitigated by making it easier to squad up.
To BB's point, I do not mind the current not at all perfect system. I know how to play. I know how to compliment other players and play a role. I usually do very well despite how one-sided a match may be or look.
Again I play on PS4 so meow that into consideration