You must have been playing a very different version than I've been playing. Your entire post is so off the mark!
They were selling all of the mechs people want to play with for cash. The entire stable of mechs. All for sale.
The entire stable of mechs are purchasable with real money, yes. However all but a few are only purchasable with real money, and those are only variants of mechs that are available with in game currencies. And the vast majority of those are considered to be sub-par. You can purchase every single chassis with in game currency you earn by playing the game.
Can you download and drop into an atlas and go killing? Hell no.
If an Atlas is one of the trial mechs, then hell yes. If not, then hell yes - after you earn the in game currency to buy one; and with the cadet bonus, that's 25 games.
Almost the entire point of the mechwarrior series was behind a credit card. Thats not any sort of free to play.
I've been playing the game sense closed beta, and I have no idea what the hell you are talking about there.
The entire point of the mechwarrior series?
Do you mean Community warfare? Because that isn't even out yet, so it can't be behind a credit card.
Stompy giant robots blasting each other? That's there and free to play.
Every battle quickly shaped up to be paid players stomping the shit repeatedly out of free players.
No, wrong, wrong, wrong! It wasn't paying players that were stomping free players, it was organized group players stomping PUG drops. Payment had nothing to do with it at all. You didn't need to pay to drop with other players, and paying didn't make you instantly have a group to drop with.