I have been farming pretty hardcore and playing this game for about a year now almost. I'm currently able to crack the top10 at times but I did have to spend around 200USD to get a boost after playing the game without any VIP perks for the first 2 months. You shouldn't say it's not possible to do anything in empress unless you've been playing several (2+ years). However it will take almost another year for me to ever take out a top2-3 contender (Kyles, 1stSpade, GG gg, etc.)
As for what everyone is saying in here: firstly money severely helps players in this game, secondly hard work daily also helps but nowhere near where spending money monthly would, and lastly it's a huge advantage to have 6-8 accounts fighting for your spots in the top30. That is without a doubt a monopoly. You aren't infringing on any rules, but it is hell to get through your land mines when others in this game have only 20attempts to stay in the top50 while you have around 180. Realistically only Mystique can't take a shot at the top30 but all 9 others can.