Sadly this is the truth of the matter. But just because you need to incorporate unlocks doesnt mean you have to crap on your entire game design.Because in this current era of gaming why would people continue to play your game if you don't have things to continually unlock?
My take on this is the fundamental game systems should be locked in place and available. Players will be 'blown away' by the sheer amount of options open to them. When a game launches fully featured it's almost never a negative.
BUT - to satisfy the unlock crowd (which is basically all modern gamers these days) - concentrate the unlocks on cosmetics. Armour appearance/colours/addons/voice packs/emotes/vehicle appearances/yadda yadda yadda. TA should have done this. I bet the most money they made post-release was from their voicepacks and similar.
The other super important cosmetic is prestigious items - ie unlockable elements that make your armour look better/more badass than newer players. Simple things like gold trims on pauldrons to winged helmets. Players LOVE this shit.
You can look at a game like League of Legends for a success story when it comes to cosmetics. Addictive gameplay aside, how much money do you reckon Riot Games made from skin sales? I'm thinking somewhere around the bajillion mark. I'm willing to bet it played a giant part in the games rise.