We all know that Events will happen in Vega. We also all know that special prizes will be unlockable. These prizes will have prerequisites that have to be met to unlock them.
In War Commander the prizes were unlocked by having just the 1 unit necessary. So I could rush to unlock the unit (say raptor) and never level it again and get the prize.
War Commander just recently added unit customization so I cannot speak towards that.
In Vega Commander prizes will probably take the form of ships, Weapons, Shields, Armour, Special mods, Engines etc. Events are a boon to the bottom line of the company. Simply put they generate Revenue while providing us with more Toys. It has to be a Win-Win for both groups, players and Kixeye. Experience in other games such as WarCommander have shown me that repairs are the sticking point for most players. The perception that Kixeye changes the game to kill off our fleets more frequently to encourage more coining, and especially making the mundane and boring task of getting resources harder PISSES OFF THE PLAYER BASE! Just look at the past level 30/35 rouge base change in WC...
Players don't mind getting resources for additional items if the rate of resource acquisition isn't made lower. I'm talking about resources per minute of farming.
This being said:
I would suggest that prizes have multiple prerequisites. A weapon which is an improvement of say... Beam-Laser would need Beam Laser V as a prerequisite. Not just Beam Laser l. This means a player must actually go through and invest the time and resources to complete techs to get potential event prizes. Building requirements can also be added to module prizes like Arms Lab V, Vll or Tech Lab Vll etc.
you can also have a resource cost to unlocking certain techs that are prizes. I may want to unlock something, but then I may not have enough resources, so I attack a player's base, coin resources, or spend more time farming cargo.. all these create instances for potential coining or more playing time by players. Both advantageous to Kixeye.
For Ships I would have a Bridge, Hangar and/or Ship factory prerequisite as well as a prerequisite of a ship already unlocked to get the prize ship.
This encourages full exploration and development of technologies by the player-base. If patches change weapons or ships, then more players already have said tech finished, and can adapt more quickly and with less **** and complaining.
Also, Kixeye benefits as people who do not have a prerequisite to the needed tech level will be more inclined to coin to get to that point. Another source of revenue, which means the game will rely slightly less on making us coin for repairs... I.E making our fleets take more damage in the course of the regular game-play... Farming Cargos.