I've been playing WoT for around 6 years, and being a completely average player with a 49% winrate, I can confidently say that my experience with WoT has been mostly positive (4 out of 5 stars).
In these years, I've only spent money 5 times on very small purchases; the most recent one being the Ankou Panzer. Henceforth, I consider myself a mostly Free-to-Play Player.
While having only 49% winrate, all my good tanks go above average. The thing is: I don't particularly like playing the tanks I am good at.
Having said these preliminary things, my conclusion of the game is that it is a deeply enjoyable free-to-play experience with a clear bias in favor of Russian and Paying Customers.
I play at every tier, from Tier I to Tier X, and I've played every Tank Class. If anything, I do not grind Russian or American Tanks, given I just don't like their colors and designs. Henceforth, I've experienced several playstyles against different players in different situations.
This game has gorgeous and fun maps to explore and play with. Each new map takes a while to come to fruition, but the work done on each of them is astounding. I often wander around just to see what new position I can discover from where to hide, shoot, or do an unexpected attack from.
The game has several play styles that are fit for different players. I am mostly a passive and patient player. My favorite tanks are the Tortoise, the OI, the E100, the S35CA, the Alecto, and the BC 155 58 (and a special mention to the Kpanzer 50t). I do well when I can set up and rip apart my enemies, or when I can quickly reposition to do surprise attacks. I've always enjoyed that you can change your play style, and that you can mix and match just to try different things: after all, this is an Open World game where you can attack from anywhere, so exploring is a huge thing for me.
The randomness queue allows me to have an entertaining experience and challenges me to think on the spot against the variety of the teams. I've never had one game that is the same as the next one in WoT. While I enjoy when you have same tier MM, I welcome them as unexpected occurrence and would hate for that to the meta of the game. Being at the low end of an MM makes me yearn to farm exp on the higher tiers. Being at the middle allows me to work on my strategies and find comfort on experimenting new attack methods. Being at the top tier allows me to use my knowledge to beat the enemy.
While I have read and heard the fights between Arty and Non-Arty players (as well as HE vs "Normal" round players), it always catches me by surprise since the only thing I particularly dislike about this argument is the Gold Spam. Artillery is a support class that constantly misses its targets, and which needs constant readjustments to accurately have an impact on the game. HE Shells are awesome against paper-like tanks and against impenetrable fortresses; however, these shells are situational, and only counted tanks will be able to have HE shells as their main strategy. It is also a Free-To-Play alternative to the Gold Shells. Gold Shells, while I do not mind them that much, are objectively better. This is mostly due to the disparity in penetration that negates the downsides of switching shell type (given that AP rounds can be better than HEAT or APCR in situations).
The one thing I can agree about the backlash of the game is the Overpowered tanks like the Defender or the Progetto that are launched into the game. These tanks indeed make life easier for the customers to move through the game, and they can ruin the experience for many other players.
The game also has a clear Russian bias. This is technically understandable since their Main Player base is over Russia; however, it is noticeable that Russian players tend to have a bigger say in which direction the game will take than other players.
In my 6 years of playing, I've never felt pressured to have Premium time, premium tanks, or a premium experience to enjoy and win at the game. I win games when I play to my advantage. Sometimes, that is not enough, and that's okay. In a game with a winning team and a losing team, your result will go down to several things: Your Team's skill; the enemy Team's skill; your Team's tanks; the enemy Team's tanks; and Luck.
I particularly love my TOG II, with which I have a 59% winrate. I also love my Chi-Ri, with a 49% winrate, and I have a blast with my Manticore, with a 52% winrate. My ammo laid out is often 70-80% Regular ammo, 10% Gold ammo, and 10% HE ammo. Other times, it is more like this: X (Regular Ammo) X/2 (Gold Ammo), X/3 (He Ammo), with X being a random number divided by the other number.
So, from my stance, I do not consider this game to be deserving of such a massive backlash. Nevertheless, I do agree that, as with many competitive online games, the most toxic trait of the game is the community. From what I've seen, WoT Community is also among the least toxic. That does not mean the community is not toxic, and that is the only thing I particularly despise about the game. I've blocked several people in-game who just know how to insult and promote rage and unconstructive behavior on the game itself.
Besides that, I enjoy this game a lot and will continue playing it as long as it runs.
The game is enjoyable for its maps, the variety and randomness it provides, and the unique experience compared to other games out there. Its main flaws are its toxic community and the clear bias that the company has when hearing feedback. Nevertheless, in my experience, I've never felt rage at the game or felt that it was not fun. On the contrary, in these 6 years, I've only been loving the game more and more with all it has to offer.