I have been using V-Carve for years. The interface takes a little while to master, but I find it excellent for the work that I do, which is driving a CNC router. I can knock up a cutting routine very quickly from dxf files that I make in other software such as Solidworks.
Drawing in V-carve is not recommended. Line editing is not great either. Re-scaling is good.
One of the key things to understand with V-Carve in a router application is closing the boundaries. Otherwise it will cut on the wrong side of the line, unexpectedly. This isn’t such an issue with a laser.
Is it $500? I don’t recall paying that much. I have the 3D version too, but I don’t use it.
You can edit the post processing files that V-carve generates to suit most machines.