Which is rather odd, coming from someone whose other MMO 'love' is Guild Wars - which is pretty much at the other end of the spectrum. Where what you get, you pay for with skill.
More specifically, I love how FW has built the entire game architecture around its cash shop.
Yes, it's Pay2Win, just like any other CS game.
You want the BEST gear? The BEST character? Pay for it - either in cash, or in scads of time. And it works beautifully.
It works beautifully because you can indeed pay for it in scads of time. Unlike other PWE games, there really is no NEED to use the cash shop. If you play 18 hours a day, every day, you most certainly won't need to use the cash shop. This is rather different from say, Jade Dynasty, where if you wanted to play 18 hours a day, every day, without using the cash shop, it would be so agonising as to be impossible. (Yes, I know China's JD doesn't have cash-shop-fuelled, PWE-approved bots. I don't even want to think about what JD would be like without those bots - or espers, as they're called.)
By 'pegging' the prices of RL currency to in-game currency, and further balancing that by making mobs and quests give untradeable currency, PWE has solved the inflation problems that plague this genre in one fell, elegant swoop.
And it isn't just the triple currency system which makes it shine. It's how they've thought out and integrated every single thing that has anything to do with economics, the game economy, and currency. They haven't just limited their economic controls to their trio of virtual currencies, one of which interfaces with real cash. They've elegantly tied crafting, consumables, gear drops and the player propensity to trade and hoard stuff into the system as well. And they've even created a crafting system where the crafted items are valuable at least half the time. Sometimes extremely valuable - and sometimes even more valuable than 'set' pieces even with their special bonuses. It's really nice to be able to sell the stuff you make for a decent price, to other players, and at least break even from crafting, if not always make a profit. (Gear is in the Diablo/WoW style, with both randomly statted pieces, and set pieces with random stats and set bonuses.)
What's more, it's because of this thought and integration that every single piece of gear in FW is BoE. No BoP gear. Ever. There *is* BoP stuff... but this BoP stuff is advanced crafting materials used to make potions and consumables. And it's bound because they want people to join guilds - and guess where these things can be bought? Ayup, higher level guildhalls.
Guilds (or more specifically, guildhalls) in FW require daily tradeable gold to maintain, in addition to other various point system scoreboards. For those of you who've MUDded, it's very much like the old 'rent' systems you'd find in some MUDs, with the main difference being that only guilds pay rent - players don't.
But back to the pure-BoE gear.
Even with gear being pure BoE, people do still run instances for gear because it is, after all, cheaper than buying it off the auction house - if you don't count the time you spend in instances hoping that something with stats you can use / the set piece you're looking for will drop.
What it means, though, is that you really, really, REALLY don't need to kill something(s) over and over again with people you can't bloody stand, just to get more/better stuff so you can... rinse and repeat.
But what, you ask, are you paying for, O gloriously juicy one? Are you pimping your yous out with your wallet? Should you not be buying crispy battered chicken instead?
Nah, I'm not paying to be THE BEST. On the level of cash shop whales, where spending goes into the thousands, and sometimes even tens of thousands, I have neither the means nor the desire to compete. What I find myself spending money on is mostly (lol) bags for my packrattitis, and stuff like that. Since I started playing FW slightly over 6 months ago, I've dropped US$50 on it - and I haven't even spent most of it yet. Meaning, I've bought the currency, but I think I've only actually *used* US$15 of that $50.
I do like earning my in-game tradeable cash by myself, even if it only exists because *other* people are spending money. It isn't the 'I'm too leet to cash shop' mentality - it's more of the, 'I currently don't feel any burning NEED (unless I'm feeling really lazy)'.
At levels 70-80 (my highest toon ATM is 60), I have a feeling that I *will* drop a bit of cash on my gear to bring it up to a standard of passability that satisfies me. However, PWE has designed FW so well that I know that I don't HAVE to spend that cash...
...if I play 3 times longer than I do now. XD
But hey, put it like that, and I'm suddenly very sure that I'd much rather drop the cash on it!
Interestingly, because of the odd mentality in CS games, people are somewhat more easygoing in instances than they are in subscription games, and CSing is NOT seen as being compulsory if you want to get into groups. There's a curious ambivalence when it comes to players who CS, not least because there are arena rankings as well.
On the one hand, people are happy that things die faster (as long as the things aren't themselves), when they're with a CSer. And on the other hand, there's the desire to poke one's nose in the air and say, 'All people who use the cash shop are clueless nubs, and not leet like meeeee...' But the end effect is that people in FW are pretty forgiving of gear that isn't all that good - vs gear that is poorly chosen but expensive. Poorly chosen expensive gear is met with vocal derision, due to the CS dynamic, and of course - envy! He blew all that cash on his gear, and it's stuff that's totally shit for his class? NOOOOOOOB!!!!
All in all, I'm surprisingly - and incredibly - happy with Forsaken World, despite its being the polar opposite of Guild Wars. Never thought I'd say this, but I love them both!