Couldn't agree more. Feels like being held hostage. I asked that specific question when I was looking at options and was told we could create our own - even if we did not know html. Fact is, you can't.
You can download some more free templates from Go Responsive for all your Marketing Campaigns .
We will be adding guided template version for these soon.
I completely agree that it's ridiculous that you can't just create your email templates using drag and drop. I used Hubspot before and it was perfect!! Even the V2 templates that Marketo offers are not helpful at all because you can't necessarily make the changes you want.
I agree that templates.marketo.com is a great place to start. You can also get responsive ones from knak. They easily tie into Marketo and you get one editable one for free (though if you sign up for the trial, you'll shortly receive a code to get free 30 days). I've downloaded them all and they're fantastic.
I'm not sure where you are in your implementation, but it's incredibly expensive to switch vendors if you already have programs running and backend work integrated into your website. Don't let this hiccup sway you
I've used Knak templates and although I believe they are an OK solution (not a 100% solution because once they are downloaded and into Marketo, if you want to make any changes to it, you have to go into the code or back into Knak and re-download and re-upload into Marketo), I don't think we should have to go to consultants just to create drag and drop email templates.
Emails are an essential part of our job as Marketers and a Marketing Automation platform should be catering to that and should be designed with their end-users in mind --a lot (if not most) of whom are not coders.