I want to try messing around with gradients in FCP X. I still have the old Motion from FCP 7. Can I create the files to do this in that old Motion or do I need to shell out the dough for the new one? I've researched online and it seems I can't make them within FCP X.
Depends on the type of gradients you want to make. You can use the gradient generator in FCPX for simple ones. Beyond that you need the current version of Motion to publish new generators. Motion is cheap and really does add to the flexibility of FCPX.
Of course there's nothing to stop you creating the gradient in the old version of Motion and just rendering the final clip for use in FCPX.