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I've been playing this game as a free user for over 2 years. I never won gold from any of their events nor payed for it. I am strictly a free player because I don't believe in the f2p system nor support it.
After saying that, this game was and has been good for a free player. The only people who pay are those that want to compete in clan wars, and even that is bad because there is only 1 or 2 clans out there that can wipe everyone else out.
The things I like about this game:
1) progression, you always have something to progress to whether it be modules or higher tier tanks
2) you don't have to pay to compete. public matches aren't always great but sometimes you, as a free player, can win the game on your own based on your skill.
3)i don't have to pay money to win.
things i don't like about the game:
1) you have to pay money to be competitive in clan wars
2) pub matches are full of idiots, even if you kill 10 tanks on your own the other 5 opposing players are good enough to wipe our your team cause they suck
3) aiming, richochet, and overall firing performance is very random and is not based on skill but rather the RNG system.
4) there are obvious tanks that are better than others (i.e. the whole russian tree, go figure)
5) the premium tanks that people pay REAL money for always dominate the low tier matches because they are made to make money to dominate low tier people who don't want to pay money. nuff said.
6) clan wars is a joke.
7) after unlocking tier 9 as a free player you are forced to grind tier 4-5 tier tanks as a measily income to support your tier 9. you cannot possibly advance further unless you pay money.
8) you get banned on the forums for saying constructive things (as with most games..)
9) as with most f2p games, the person with the most money wins.
10) the physics engine was a waste of time. 50% of the matches i play now is for my teammate to push me off a cliff to get their jollies and reporting it does nothing.