Even if they are for MTX, there will OBVIOUSLY ones that can be earned through playing the game. Like am I the only who realizes that? They're not gonna lock EVERY SINGLE coating behind a price tag. How do I know? Because literally every game that has MTX has similar items that can also be EARNED.
Being meant for microtransactions does not mean there won't be unlockables. You're just assuming no one else does not think there won't be because no one puts disclaimers in their posts about unlockables when talking about coatings being primarily meant for microtransactions.
Maybe you're relatively new to gaming? But over the years monetisation of gaming has reduced quality, removed features from players selling them back to us, or outright changed systems for the worse in order to make money.
Unlockables in games featuring microtransactions where items of the same kind that can be unlocked, have generally higher grind times, potentially horrible drop chances and so forth in order to make players more likely to spend money on items they want or need.
Newest thing is fear of missing out, exclusive items for a limited time, just look at these current promotions, or the Reach coating. We've got battlepasses which cost money, and are time limited as well as an extreme long progression system. Stressing through one just to get what you want takes the joy out of the game, and gaming overall.
Not to mention, in a lot of cases, unlockables tend to be of lower quality to purchasible ones, so you can say they have unlockables, and so that the better ones are things you pay for, or pay for and then grind for if it's in a timed battlepass.
Coatings are not restrictive because they thought it was too difficult to make it so you can mix colors on all channels of a coat.
They're restrictive because i343 can make ten different color variations and sell them to you, either as direct purchases or pad a battlepass. Instead of allowing you to make tens of thousands of variations at your leisure, for the coating you've selected. That is the reason they're primary use will be microtransactions / battlepasses, some are thrown in as unlockables as to "throw us a bone", and give apologists some scares ammunition in a discussion like this.
Even Destiny 2, (a game I heavily play), a game that everyone is comparing this new system to even though nobody has any understanding of how Destiny works, has shaders that can be unlocked by playing the game. In my Shaders tab there's a "Activities" section where it shows me Shaders and what activities they come from: https://imgur.com/a/dXjym52. Yes, Destiny 2 also has Shaders that can be bought, but my point is even if you can buy Shaders there are still others that can only be earned from playing the game.
Ah yes, anecdotes.
I played Destiny 1, skipped Destiny 2 because of where it was headed, and I can't say I regret it.
Do tell, did Bungie revamp the shaders in Destiny 2? Are they still single use? And you need four to get an entire armor set the same colors? Do you inconveniently earn them in packs of three?
See, in Destiny 1 you unlocked a shader and could access use it an unlimited amount if times, and you could use it for all armor pieces. It was a permanent item, not a consumable. Now Destiny 2 made them consumable, made it frustrating as you got three instead of four, and you could purchase them. All of those are tricks in an effort to make you spend more money. Bungie created a problem and are selling a convenient solution.
You may be getting your third color, but it's going to be static. It's entirely possible you'd have the possability of unlocking a nice looking Coat which has two out of three colors you want, but the third color isn't one you like, and/or according to color theory, a third clashing color which makes the entire coat unappealing to you. It could be a horrible to you coat with all the right colors. Then the one you want is locked behind a paywall, or massive amounts of time-limited grind which you may not complete. It could be a time-limited offer in the store, seasonal reward which you have to wait for the specific season for.
Every time you see a coat where you dislike the color choice, and think another pairing would be better, it's either another unlock you have to grind more for, it could be something you can only purchase, or you need to purchase and
We are getting far less than what i343 is capable of doing, heck, other studios have done it before. PGI's MechWarrior Online feature camos for your mech and you're able to colorize them in three slots. Hero mechs have unique skins you can customize.
Yes, the current system isn't deep, and leaves a lot to desire. But the coating system isn't any better, and you'll have to be extremely lucky if there's a pattern you like, with the exact colors you want.
i343 can make it customizable, they can make it deeper, but they won't because they want to sell you the pattern and color combination you want, they don't want you to be creative, they want your money, and they do anything they can to get it.
Do not settle for less ( coating ), when they absolutely can make it better ( coating + color customization ).
Other studios have both ( PGI's Mechwarrior online ), and i343 have patched a similar design choice before to be more customizable ( Halo 5 launch Emblem set colors ).