(Not to derail the conversation here, but you bring up some interesting points.)
I think you’re absolutely dead-on re: the extent to which HHN warps the value of assets, and I think the design of more recent punishment cards tacitly acknowledges that using “the runner made a run” as a precondition or balancing mechanism was not very good (and in fact may be antithetical to the game’s core principles and a great swathe of the runner card pool).
Damon said a number of contradictory things, but claiming that the game should be about making runs and then designing a card that causes the runner to lose four clicks and eight credits if he or she does is one of the more inscrutable outcomes of the Flashpoint era.
Looking at Wake Up Call as an example (note: I am not making any claim about Wake Up Call’s goodness or badness here, please don’t email me) you can see what I think is an attempt at a different way of balancing a punishment card. In the HHN exchange, the corp loses nothing. In the Wake Up Call exchange, the corp has (presumably) lost an asset that they cared about, and the runner has gained some kind of advantage by getting rid of it. It’s plausible from a design perspective, anyway, even if we all know how easily a situation can be engineered that abuses this nominal balance (Mumbad Virtual Tour, for example).
Looking at Calibration Testing and, er, the Weyland one, my interpretation is that the design team are trying something new for this cycle: assets that enable the corp to score out of a remote. I think we have been so battle-scarred by the political assets that we’re unable to appreciate a slightly lighter, perhaps healthier touch that helps corps for whom there is a perpetual “get to five points then slowly lose the game” problem. Time will tell, but it seems “assets done right” might be a theme for the cycle.
Of course, there is every possibility that this is a case in which the admission of a lesser evil conceals the existence of a greater one. Netrunner players have a limitless capacity to engineer categorically un-fun play, and I’m sure it won’t be long until we’re all back to rolling our eyes at the new super toxic IG deck. Plus ça change, hein?
Cautiously optimistic about the future of assets though, speaking purely as a private citizen.