I’m even newer in the game than you are so I can definitely sympathize. It really seemed like when I first started playing that if you didn’t spend real money to buy stuff, the game slowed to an intolerable crawl. But I kept slogging it out collecting assets and doing every mission and battle I possibly could and my roster of dinos grew to the point that now even though it’s still not a game I can just play however long I want to, due to the time needed between battles for dinos to recover, and time to hatch and incubate new ones, and I definitely made a lot of mistakes early on in what I spent assets on, so have learned to better manage those to best move up in the game. For every 10 crappy rewards for PvP battles I get, I manage to land on something really good, I’m at level 28 and have a level 20 T-Rex, and a hybrid that I’m working on leveling up and at least 6 legendary creatures I need to hatch out still along with a dozen super rares. Certainly I could zip right through all of those if I wanted to pay the cash for it (or hack the game, something I have the technical know-how to do but have never been a fan of particularly for games with competitions between players), but I definitely am starting to appreciate the patience needed to grow your roster and progress through the game. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how far in the community tournaments and events I’ve been able to get being so new (landed in the top 10% in the last one, currently up to level 16 on the Boss… I would think that’s pretty good for only playing for a couple weeks, and not buying my way up). When you’re a newbie you have to appreciate the small victories and achievements and not worry about having every creature in the game unlocked because that’s going to take time. Have a goal of enjoying the journey, not be focused on the destination alone.
I agree that the VIP membership is well worth it at least when you are new if you can do that at least, some of my best acquisitions so far have come from saving up enough loyalty points to get the special packs. I’m not opposed to a company getting some of my money for a game I play religiously, so I don’t mind signing up for that monthly fee, I think I’ve gotten a lot more from that $10 through VIP packs and the loyalty packs than just spending $10 on a single pack or bundle of cash, although I do wish the game was a little less crippled particularly early on if you don’t want to dump tons of cash into it. It really was almost enough to make me quit. But I’m glad I stuck with it as I’m definitely finding that the further you get, the more you are able to do each day just by collecting assets in the game.