I admit that I was wrong. When I first heard about Tribes Ascend, I thought "pay to win" was the name of the game. I started playing. But it's definately not like that. Everything so far can be unlocked through experience in game. Also the unlocks themselves do improve your abilities and unlock new weapons. In terms of weapons, the unlocks for those are not clearly superior to the base weapons that you start with. They are just different. The non weapon uprades do make more of a difference in improving your abilities but they are modest improvements. In fact I am shocked about how weakly Hi-Rez is stearing players into paying. I am also pleasntly surprised that after this patch, the weapons are pretty damn balanced.
Though after this patch the map changes and inventory station additions makes the jobs of Infiltrators and base raping a lot harder.