Double versus the ultra chad club member with a permapad who probably has like a dozen tiny little perks that come with it. Those have always rubbed me a little bit the wrong way - I've seen some pretty incredible stuff in some of them.
Several points here:
1. I agree that old style perma-pads have a ton of perks. However, most of the custom code we added for them was worked into the main game and the perma-pads were just the onus for it. There is a reason we don't offer perma-pads anymore-- it's the work that goes into them and then only people who had perma memberships could get them. We still honor the perma-pads that were purchased because it would be shitty of us not too-- but that brings me to my next point.
2. Almost all perma-pads have been converted to 'large pads' and updated to fit our current large pad guidelines. That means that some of the perks were pulled out, and some were upgraded to be in line with things we provide in any large pad. Large pad memberships have included the old style perma pads for a while now-- though we keep a few in reserve in case we need to fill a perma-pad for a returning player.
3. I said 'almost all' perma pads were converted to large pads. There are some exceptions as was mentioned in the post where we announced last year (I think it was last year anyway). Several of the permas that were way too good have been converted for use by micro factions. Vehicle perma-pads have been deprecated entirely, and are things used by factions or that are attained ICly (so they can be stolen and such). This has evened the playing field for pads pretty well.
You still have to maintain that cube - lapse a day or two because of work or IRL concerns or just bad hustle and you're out on the streets, maybe minus all of your stuff. Membership means you don't have to worry about that, you have a place available for you at the end of the day (99% of the time) no questions asked.
Sure, that's part of the game. It's always been part of the game. Before we had memberships, everyone had to deal with that. My view on this is: If you can afford to have gear worth protecting when you sign off, you can probably afford a cube for a week. If you can't, there are plenty of less traveled places in the game to crawl into or barricade yourself that you will possibly be safe.
You can't be sleep killed (this used to be possible) so at worst you are going to lose some of your gear if you can't login to pay your rent.
In the cases of folks who have to go away for extended periods of time (work, military service, etc) we typically will coffin/void you if you aren't going to be on the game for a while due to real life circumstances. This is of course, as long as we don't see it as a way for you to avoid consequences.