Once again I will re assure you, it is not pay to win, yes you can build faster, yes you can buy resources or units, but you still have to spend hours leveling them. Also you probably had no idea but their is daily rewards for free for all players for any item in the market place including units.
I could buy 100000s crowns, and I would be no better then a player with 200. You can't fight someones castle if they have a higher rank then you. This is an mmo, its supposed to be slow, your supposed to get satisfaction of building up your town. An average town with out crown spending can take 25 hrs. Your not supposed to be done in 1 hr like starcraft or age of empires. Yes their is a very steep learning curve, I will give you that, but we have so many great team members to asist you and great threads on the forum to help you out.
Crowns are so easy to earn. so many of our players can earn up to 500 a day, it's not hard at all, and i've shown the community how to do it.
And once we finish our pathfinding patch, almost done bye the way, it will be a brand new game. Keep in mind their is only 5 of us working on a 20 person project.