i can definitely say this is NOT p2w game! i am loving it! but i would say only play if you are really a star wars fan. the best part of this mmo is the story and pve. pvp is fun but not really as good as other mmo's.
the story for each character in this game though is amazing. i am going to max level on every character class just for the story. that alone will be 1000 hours of gameplay easily. well worth it.
In Elite:D, you can play in OPEN mode (full MMO public mode), PRIVATE mode (joining a private group where only others in that group are in the same galaxy as you), and SOLO mode (you, yourself, and nobody).
Playing in OPEN brings the dangers of PVP, especially if you are new, you are going to just get wrecked without engineered ships and such.
Playing in PRIVATE means you either have friends you want to play with, or you can join any of the large-scale groups available such as Mobius-PVE (a large PVE only group).
For GAMERSFORGE members, we have a private group just for our community.
All you need to do is join the "GFORGE" group in the social menu (main menu -> social -> groups -> search for "GFORGE" and join!).
We also recommend signing up for Mobius-PVE-Eurasia group, as that is the large-scale PVE group we play in too (~10k members in there right now). Their website is here: https://elitepve.com/page/join )
Be sure to read all of it and make sure youd like to play there.