I took a break from killing robots to play card games. The fate of the world was not at stake ... so far as I'm aware, at least.
This isn't going to be the first time I've touched on this, and it's probably not going to be the last either. However recently I've had a bit of personal experience with the dilemma of time vs. money in terms of getting ahead in games, and I've become sort of convinced that if used under the right circumstances that there can be no wrong or right answer to this question.
I recently purchased Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 which I'll now simply refer to as Duels 13 so that things don't get ponderous. Anyways, in Duels 13 there are ten decks, you have to unlock both the decks, and also extra cards for each of them. Where the paying part comes in is that each deck has a key that you can purchase for ninety-nine cents that will unlock everything immediately (this is not counting the promo cards you get from imputing codes, however the codes are readily available online at even a most cursory search).
The first thing that I decided was that before I spent any money on extra stuff that I'd see how the game itself was. I'm no stranger to Magic, I've been playing the physical version of the game since around the time that Urza's Saga dropped, although I did leave it behind shortly after Time Spiral came out, partly due to cost and partly due to simply not being that interested anymore. Still, I have nothing against Magic, and indeed some of my fondest memories are of lunchtimes spent casting Phyrexian Negators and Counterspells (not from the same deck, I wasn't cruel enough to run Black/Blue at that age).
Anyways, getting off the road down memory lane, I bought Duels 13 to try it out, and although it's a little bit simpler -- one would assume that it would have to be, given that you can't build your own deck from scratch -- it's still a hell of a good time. I pretty much breezed through the original campaign, unlocking all the decks. I had used all the promos to get ten extra, super special bonus cards, now all that was left to do was to unlock all the rest of the cards in each deck. The thing about that is that there's thirty unlockable cards per deck, and you unlock them by winning a match with said deck.
Ten decks, winning thirty times each. I don't think that I really had it in me to grind out three-hundred wins. I did unlock all of a couple of the decks myself, but then I decided to take the plunge and buy the other deck keys. I can't say that I regret my decision, or feel bad about it either. Some might argue that I'm just buying my way to victory, and I can see what they're getting it; it would have been more satisfying to grind out all the cards, and if I were at the age where I was in high school with absolutely nothing but time on my hands (comparatively speaking) then I'd probably be happy enough to do just that.
This option though allowed me to still spend less than twenty dollars and have access to all the cards immediately. It's not an unfair advantage against people who worked to grind out the unlocks, because they have the exact same cards. It's just that I'd rather spend my time building the decks and trying them out online than I would slowly grinding them out of the game. Neither way is wrong or right in any given situation, it's just a choice.
I would have different feelings on this if paying got you super refined versions of the decks with cards that non-paying gamers would never be able to access, but that's just not the case. Like I said, it's not the right solution for everyone, but it sure in the hell works for me.