Well if thats the case, playing without horizons must SUCK. Basically renders combat off limits entirely, unless you wanna spend a week killing a bullet sponge with non engineered weapons.The game, as I understand it (and someone will hopefully correct me if that understanding is wrong), does not take into account whether or not the player has access to Horizons when creating NPC opponents. Just as it does not seem to take into account the level of engineering applied to the player's current ship when creating NPC opponents.
Even those with Horizons can choose to play in base-game mode - which means that they have their fully functional engineered ship while playing the base game.
Not everyone has the spare money to spend on an optional DLC for a video game - no matter how trivial that sum is considered to be by some players.
And it really wouldnt be an issue for people to have their fully engineered ship in the base game. When i can take a G5 Anaconda or Corvette into a wing assassination mission with nothing but gimballed multi cannons and literally just target the FDL and hold fire until its dead... its not like i need to take an engineered ship into the base game.. why would i? For what gain?