I am a veteran I guess lol, who has been playing since closed beta.
Well regarding the "pay to win" scenario, it does seem that way often. However, it is not completely true. You do not have to purchase AP to gear up and remain competitive in PvP. Instead of paying, you will have to be dedicated to crafting or farming gold via dungeon runs to generate an income. It won't be as easy as a person who buys AP and sells that as a source of income, but it does not prevent you from becoming OP and competitive.
Regarding, "are people meanie?", I would like to say that the community is generally friendly. However with competition, especially PvP, some people get jealous, trash talk, slander others, and just act like sore losers. BUT! Not everyone is like that : P, you will just find some in the higher bracket of PvP. Find a good guild or friends that you can grow with and get better with, and keep your head high. When finding a party it depends on the person who has lead. They might want you geared or they don't care as long as you can sufficiently play your class. As you level up, you may see people "LFM be geared please", but at the lower levels you hardly see that. It shouldn't be a problem to gear up later on if you want to be competitive in PvP. As for the lags, there are server lags sometimes and it can be a huge and annoying delay sometimes but it isn't that bad. I have friends who say they lag a lot but I don't so some of it depends on your connection and hardware.
EE personally is pretty fun to play despite that the grinding can be endless sometimes or items increasingly expensive. But as long as you have people you enjoy playing with and make connections with those you meet along the journey, you should be fine.