I absolutely love the game.
It is not however, fine as is. The t3 to t4 grind on one ship(the t4 heal ship) has so far taken me 5 days at 6-8 hours a day. for one ship...that is a full time job. I'm 29, work full time and go to college for 12 credit hours. If i was not on break that would take me a month. Then suddenly i can't play with the friends i've made in the beta here. I would leave if that were to happen.
if they simply fixed the maintenance cost thing, make it flat rate like 200-400 cred per battle so even with a loss you can earn something.
if they cut the exp and cred cost of ships by say 30% as well it would not be so bad to grind that out.
I have 110,000exp on a trafalgar and another 70k on a t2 heal ship, and 60k on a corvette. that i will never put to use because of this grind Unless of course i spend 70$ to convert it to free exp...
I would however easily spend 10$ to convert that to exp. (food for thought greybox)
the gameplay, and graphics are a lot of fun. I support this game and where it is going. Many things in the quality of life side of things need to be fixed. If not you will lose your player base. No one wants to feel pressured into paying for a free to play game.
here's another idea for you greybox. Consider a subscription service. 10-15$ a month gives a month of "elite status" which is just slightly less beneficial than vip. Say drop the stats on vip by 20% or so. and give a GP grant of like 400 GP a month. You would have people subbing like mad for that.