I understand and totally agree with your opinion.
However, there are certain things that I have to say about your statements:
YES! Pay-To-Win wasn't the overall idea when servers were first becoming popular and beginning to evolve, but in the same sense as players not being able to afford ranks and certain foot-forward items, server owners must suffer from this too! Servers aren't free, and the time it takes to keep them up and running is breathtaking, and sometimes the owners of said-servers unfortunately cannot afford for the hosting. Therefore, I can understand the need to have Pay-To-Win in servers that are largely known and spacious. Now I know you're probably thinking, well they could just have donations and not super ranks and unbreakable items, but in this day and age, a given with nothing received is nothing at all, and in some cases, players don't feel obliged to donate to a server, because that is all that it is, donation. No Items, no ranks, etc. People disagree with this because people feel like their money is worth more than genuine human actions. I agree with you, and I agree with how people run their servers today, but for totally different reasons, however to answer your question. I wish we were back in the early days too!