Catching up to veterans is quite a tricky question to respond. Most of veterans from This server are in semi-quit status, and most of players on This server which are active right now use secmanthian+zauharant combo. Some of them started to make their first galaxia pieces. Sooooo if u have time to play then it shouldn't be that hard.
As for p2w aspect, hmmmm, if u donate tons and I mean tons of money then yes u could reach high level of equipment, like +31 items. On the other hand cash ingame can be farmed from any mob in form of magic coins or in battlesquare. So it's quite balaced? Hard to say, it's better if u make your own opinion about it all when u play abit.