You can excel in any WELL DESIGNED game without money. The best balance I have seen is people who spend many hours a day in the game can keep up with someone who spends money but not many hours. The people who both spend money and time have the most advantage, but generally people who can afford to spend also have jobs and can’t be on a game all day.
The disparity between coiners and free to play is too wide in this game. Not a huge issue for me except it sucks to have to leave friends or see them kicked because they can afford time but not $.