Examples of popular games from different genres across a “similar” system (not really, but we’ll go with it because apparently b2p is f2p when it comes to this):
Guild Wars 2:
Money makes things easier to obtain what you want, but not what you need. In some cases it can give you an advantage, but never prevents you from doing something.
- Buying Home Nodes allows players easy access to nodes. Long term investment for hardcore players and nice, fun thing for casual players. RP’ers may opt to get these for an added “feel” to their Home Instance, although I doubt that’s the case.
- Unlimited Tools are all cheaper than their in-game brethren (bar 250 use Gathering and Salvage tools [talking about Dissassembler + other Lyns goods, not Mystic Kit] and Silver Fed Rip-Off O-Matic) but more than make up for that cost with a steep Gem price (originally $10, now $12.50). The only exception is Watchwork Mining Pick that offers Watchwork Sprockets. However, since it’s possible to obtain Watchwork Sprockets through other, non-gem store means (and it’s not unreasonable obtaining them), this is not Pay to Win (it is, however, close).
- Boosters do not make up a paywall entrance for this game. While boosters are convenient, particularly the Crafting and Gathering Boosters, they are also attainable free™ through ingame methods. The ingame acquisition, however, is so low that it would be considered p2w if these items were significant in progressing through the game.
- Transmutation Charges are in no way, form, shape, or method Pay to Win.
- Skins… see Tranny Charges.
- Finishers… see Skins.
- Consumables, such as Black Lion Kits, Revive Orbs, etc, are all convenience items. Revive Orbs can be used to maintain a boss fight (however, it does require coordination and awareness to pull it off), but is not necessary to complete the game. It does not make the game any easier, and does not give you an advantage over players without one (but I’m ALIVE, yeah, and you have 1000 HP while moving as slow as an NPC). Black Lion Kits and other consumables are attained through Daily and Monthly rewards in addition to Black Lion Chests, meaning they are easily acquired (moreso than Boosters, at that).Upgrade Extractor this bad boy gets his own section. Why? Because he sucks. He’s not cost effective at all. If an upgrade and item are both worth >$4.75, then sure, use this. But there are very few items and upgrades that are both worth >$4.75 (looks at my Exotic Valkyrie Pearl Sword of Generosity, 2g item with a >75g upgrade. 75g is enough to make it worth it to use the Upgrade Extractor, but the actual weapon is worth 2g. Since the weapon isn’t a Karma/WvW weapon, I can use a Salvage Kit, therefore Black Lion is much more cost-effective. An example where this is useful is if you have a Superior Sigil of Generosity and an Ascended Weapon. However, even then you might be better off just making another Ascended Weapon unless you want to sell the Sigil.)
- Home Instance Node… don’t make me slap you. This thing sucks unless you’re a Human, Charr, or Norn. Also, you can just press B and get the same thing without spending $11.25
- Bank tabs, collectible expander, and inventory expansions do not turn into pay to win. You do not need them to succeed at the game. If you do, however, play the game seriously, they are good investments (to the point where at times you might think you need them), but they are not necessary in any way. You might have to change your playstyle if you don’t want to get them, but that’s a cost you have to deal with. Additionally, you can make personal bank guilds which contain 200 slots for 105g, which is less than $10 if you were to use that to make gems. Inversely, if you were to make a personal bank guild with gems to gw2 gold , it would cost you roughly $14.50 for 200 slots versus spending $10 for 30 slots. The difference is that one lets you use account bound things, the other doesn’t.
- Character slots are also not necessary to “win”. Additionally, these can be seen as inventory slots, which is more cost effective than getting a bank tab or inventory slot, potentially more (in some cases less) cost effective than getting a collectible expander, and definitely still less efficient than getting a personal guild bank.
Moving onto other games, let’s look at League of Legends.
This game is free to play, caters to whales, and still doesn’t implement pay to win. It’s entirely possible to obtain everything (bar aesthetic inclusions) for free through sheer dedication. It isn’t rng drops that are skipped through wallet tossing, but it is a slow process. However, paying for things does not inherently make you win and in most cases doesn’t do anything at all except allow you to enjoy variety at your own pace (instead of the weekly pool of free champions). If you are going to say that it’s possible but not plausible to obtain everything in League of Legends for free, I would like to disprove you and say I have every champion, 20 rune pages, and pretty much every rune I could possibly want and do not toss my wallet at the game. I did used to buy skins that I enjoyed and did splurge on a few of the champion release packs, but 95% of non-“gem store equivalent”-only items I have are attained through IP (aka ingame currency).
And no, I don’t play it that actively. And yes, I’m able to buy each new champion as they’re released even at their increased first week price.