I'm not an Ace Combat veteran so maybe I'm off base here, but I feel like the tree is starting to wind down. To the point that the one year mark (end of May, beginning of June) could be the final update. Here's why:
The last two planes added, R-101 and XFA-27 are ridiculously expensive to purchase and upgrade. I've been playing consistently since July/August and have only acquired half of what it would take to get either of those planes to level 10, total. That feels like a final 'reward' for hardcore players, since acquiring those planes and upgrading them fully is practically insurmountable for the more casual player.
Also, the X-02 Knight and XFA-27 Scarface have 37 part upgrade slots, meaning if you could get those planes to level 15, they would have the maximum number of part upgrade slots (40). So it seems like 850 must be the max level 1 value for a multirole. Seeing as those planes have only been available as top 200 prizes, it makes sense to me that they'd make the very best planes in the game available only to the most skilled and most hardcore of players.
What I feel like they're going to do is maybe add an 825 attacker with a similar upgrade price to the XFA-27 and R-101, then have one last tournament with a new 850 plane as a top 200 or even top 20 prize, and lastly have a final update that fills in the the tree with upgrades and opens all planes (special planes included) to level 15 upgrades. Then the tournaments will 'reset' with the beginning of June having the same tournaments as last June, and the expansion of the Tree halting completely.
So what's your opinion on the topic? Do you agree that it's winding down? How do you think they're going to end it, or if you think it will continue for awhile, in what capacity?