I played PSO2's JP release for literal years without ever spending a dollar on premium, and that was back before leveling was easy and they handed out triboosts like candy so I didn't have literally a hundred or more 50% and 100% triboosts at all times. You people are vastly exaggerating its impact on the gameplay experience.
Hell, we don't even have premium block space in NA.
One of the biggest fearmongering things about premium seems to be the lack of trading, but like. Why? What do you people even need to trade that badly that it's become such a game breaking issue? Earning meseta is easier than ever, so you don't even have to give people a starter loan when they join up since they'll get a free million just for doing the daily+weekly quests. Most weapons are cheap and easy to get, and unless you're doing end game difficulty UQs you can get by with what you find (and even then the badge weapons are solid choices) and most people don't really learn how to play a game if all you do is hand them items anyway.
Nothing obtained by premium is really locked away to non-premium users. You can get shop passes and such through FUN, they hand out a ton of salon passes. The bonus inventory is nice, but learning how to keep your inventory from getting cluttered in the first place is an important skill to learn.
Also like, you guys put way too much emphasis on item drops. PSO2's endgame has always been fashion, yo. The power creep is real and always shifting, in JP some of the common items you get dropping every day from frequent emergency quests used to be the strongest rarest drops in the game. Those SHAQ units won't be worth anything soon enough and people who spent millions on them will probably get mad when there's a new unit to chase or those things become commonplace. But, like, it's just kind of lolworthy to put any stock in the RNG at all. This is something that dates back to the original PSO where I know people who spent years, genuine years, hunting specific items that never dropped for them but dropped for me by accident when I wasn't even looking for it. Trying to turn it into some big conspiracy isn't going to change anything.
For an amusing anecdote: I once saved up a bunch of 400% drop rate boosts that were handed out for free and used them all in a big party wide grind session, and I was the only person who didn't get any 14* items. My friend, who wasn't running any boosts at all besides his shifta drink, got one and a few 13*. The next day, however, I got the best sword in the game (just in time for them to introduce a better one).