exactly, thats the whole point.
In all the good games I know, it takes months on top of months (if not years) of grinding to get the best gear.
You did not take months on top of months of grinding to get the best gear. In fact, I boasted about how much IM you used to refine in other post. You cannot compete with other players in normal ground thus requesting the the unfair advantage wile other players only ask for a fair ground.
As for Leo, let's assume your refine test is correct because I still think you are very luck to success with a little more than 700 tries. Based on your test, to refine one time to (15), you have consumed all lisents U that market has. I am not sure how many people, in game, has 7 stacks of Lisent U in their inventory. By the same logic, a full set of armor would need 28 stacks of lisents . Another 21 stacks are need for weapon, back, and shield. The total is 51 stacks of Lisent U. Do you think we have that many Lisent U in both inventories and shops? And that is only for 1 set of EQ, per char, per account. If we look at the multiple set of EQs, multiple characters, multiple accounts, and multiple players, I do not see how we can live without without IM. The only exception to that is we have to accept less refined EQs, and we have to let the IM users drive over our non-IM users' heads. If that is the case, is the current system that you are talking about is the "Paid for convenient" system or the "Paid to win" system?