First 55 levels are easy
Riding animals you have horses,camels and elephants
So p2w that depends on how you look at it sure you can pay your way to the top but itll take hundreds if not thousands of dollars to do that
I personally play on xbox and the only thing I pay for is the value pack which is sort of like a premium subscription it gives 10% exp, 16 extra inventory slots, like 100 more weight, unlimited use of the coloring outfits feature and you can change your appearance any time oh and a tax cut when you sell stuff on the central market (that's the trading system) now with that said I am 552 gs and the top guilds ask for 520+ so yes you can get good gear without paying your way to the top.
My favorite part of the game is killing monsters to get more silver and the occasional pvp