A quote from a NeoGAF user made me think that the F2P system in this game seems quite clever actually:
"Due to the games matchmaking, it's very much, Pay 2 Lose (IE, Pay money, upgrade, now you are playing against people who have played longer than you. Whoops!). In this instance though. I've won the last 5 games I've played, so I'm ready to match up, and open up the strategy now that I get how the combat works."
I wonder if other F2P strategy RPGs could do this?