Well, yes and no.
I’ve been playing steadily on the Xbox version for a year and a half or so and I still don’t have a definitive answer. I don’t PvP, but I’ve been assured that it is very much P2W in that realm, as the best gear is an absolute necessity.
But in PvE things are more mixed. Up to a certain point things are “pay to progress faster,” as defenders of the business model like to say. But at a certain point upgrades to things like enchantments, companions, and mounts become so expensive that keeping up with the endgame becomes downright painful if you aren’t throwing money at the game. I got stuck, unable to further upgrade my character without taking so much time about it that my guildmates had moved on to play other games until the next expansion, whilst I’m sitting there at an item level that would have gotten me into endgame content 3 months ago but is hopelessly low now.
I may need to find a better guild, but that is only part of the problem.
P2W (or pay to keep up, as the case may be) is a business model that is flooding the industry right now and it’s not all for the better. No matter how you word it, being unable to run endgame content without sinking money into the game reads very much like P2W to me. In Neverwinter you can convert in-game currency into cash shop currency, but earning that in-game currency is one bottleneck, while being able to convert it is another. On PC there is a several week wait for the conversion, and while I understand that it is easier to earn the in-game currency than it currently is on Xbox, it’s not realistic to expect a F2P player to wait to buy an item that gives you a chance at upgrading an enchantment. Much more efficient to just buy what you need.
I quit playing when I hit the wall where I felt like I couldn’t progress without spending money on the game. For me, the game is now P2W. I’m planning to pop back in and give the next module a chance, since they’ve made some changes to the economy. I don’t expect that anything will significantly change my position as the perpetual striver who never quite makes it. I’ll certainly update if that changes. For right now, though, I’m closing my wallet and playing something else.