Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Rebellion is bad. There's enough content to justify spending $20 on what essentially comes across as an expansion. At the current price point of $40 there's not enough new stuff to make me want to enthusiastically promote the game to friends like I did with the original release.
I agree, if you already have Trinity Rebellion is over priced. But as a modder I can tell you, you really can't hold a small development team to the same standard. Every change they do theoretically has to be told to some guy at the top, I can do anything I want just because I want to. Those changes then have to be checked for quality, which is part of what the beta is, but they need to do some degree of internal QA. Personally as a modder I do try hard to test and break my stuff, but my private suspicion is that many others just try it once in a typical scenario and if it works they call it good. And as a modder thats more than fine because they are doing it for free and if it doesn't totally break the game, people will understand and it will get fixed later. For a company, fixing things later means money, so they try really hard to keep that to a minimum, while modders are working for free anyways.
Also while there are a few genuine mod teams out there, in my case my mods are mostly a one man show. I know every single file that went into it because I added it or I inherited it and eventually learned everything that was there, and am certain no one added to it. The Sins engine is 5 years old and even though its team was small, even in the files you can see clear signs of the game changing hands with different styles. Professional programer try hard to keep this to a minimum, but its unavoidable, and when you get into complicated engine code, it can be very hard to fully understand what your changes will do, as the game engine has probably taken a life of its own by now, and if your code does something unexpected it can take hours of going through internal game code someone else wrote to figure out why. That the engine was first written by Ironclad but Rebellion is being developed by Stardock certainly hasn't helped things.
Point is, the extra bureaucracy that the work environment adds does make a real difference when it comes to adding new content and differentiating things. Modders can do it on a whim, game programmers can't. You're completely right to feel that you over payed if thats how you feel, but comparing it to what modders do is a poor argument in my opinion.
I gotta disagree with you on that.
And I'm afraid I have to stand by my claims.
Warp Null is a great modeler, but the fact is that the Mon Calamari cruisers aren't as complicated as the vanilla titans are. Also most of its texture looks like its just been wrapped on it where convenient, the Sins models and Evil Jedi's Star Destroyers have been delicately UV mapped on textures made exactly for that purpose. That and unless you've mastered tangents (and I doubt any modder has at this point), the lighting on the vanilla titans will certainly be more detailed.
Also while the Ankylon is great for demonstrating the engine shadows, I think Ragnarov, Eradica, and Vasari Loyalist Titan are the best looking ones in the game.