This has been a pretty contentious issue since the update so I thought I’d give my thoughts and explain what I see to be the devs’ intentions with these changes. There are two driving factors here that make a lot of sense when fully thought through.
1. Shifting Gear Focus
Before, the promotion bottlenecks were primarily the ‘add-on’ items. Throwing Stars, Throwing Knives, Fuel Cells, Batteries, and Canisters were the main ones, depending on which stage of the game you were in. Getting these was tedious, repetitive, and uninteresting. Farming for any piece of gear felt exactly the same, no matter what it was.
Now, the bottleneck has shifted to the fragments for the actual gear while the ‘add-on’ items are relatively trivial in comparison. This is a good change. It adds variety and a sense of uniqueness to each different piece of gear. It also broadens the missions that you find yourself farming. No more mashing the quick-win button on mission 5-8 because you need endless gold throwing stars. If you adapt to the drop rate changes accordingly, then you likely already have a stockpile of them; which leads me to my next point:
2. Increased Value From Stores
Before the update, virtually nobody with any sense would buy anything from the black market, which is understandable when 100k might get you 5/40 gear fragments - barely 10% of the needed amount. But what if 100k gets you 5/14 instead? That’s more than 35% of the requirement and makes a very meaningful difference. Today, I had this exact thing happen. 5 platinum throwing stars for 100k.
By reducing the crafting requirements so dramatically, there has been a massive boost to taking advantage of stores. Most people complaining about low drop rates for throwing stars & knives are failing to adapt. The gauntlet and alliance stores are similar. Nearly all of these add-on items are available without using stamina. You just need to know where to look and adjust the predisposition that some stores are useless.
Note that this also applies to the value of crates. Gear frag rewards are now substantially more valuable out of crates in a similar vein to the store changes. There is an obvious push here from HHG to encourage more crate purchases.
The update changed a lot of things and was a shock to the inherent value of things that most players have ingrained into their mind of things. It shifted bottlenecks to more reasonable areas and pushed some much needed value onto the less used shop options. By adapting to the changes and planning upgrades accordingly, this can be a huge overall positive change to how farming and grinding are done.