I left PoE and many ppl over there left too. Various reasons, but technical issues that prevent your progress or kill your char and a clear repetition of them over many years is a sign of something wrong on the developers side.
RNG is like the god behind PoE.
The skill system combined with socket system is overcomplicated for a certain % of the players. There are millions of paths to follow in the passive tree, yet most of them lead to chars that hit a wall and won’t survive end game. Most players are going to fail in their path, which causes frustration. I don’t understand the logic behind the tree, there are life nodes, mana nodes, attack nodes, etc spread out in every direction. You must spend not some time, but a substantial time in studying it. Are all nodes meaningful? Some nodes provide +3% resist all. What is a node like that doing there when items already can provide +10% to + 80% resist? At least for me, a node that grants the same stat that an item grants adds flexibity at the cost expense of user friendliness.
I have a feeling that smaller trees are more manageable than one tree for all. Including for the developers. Because one giant tree becomes fragile, where one change here can break something else far away due to unforseen consequences. That reminds of the butterfly effect. By one giant tree for all I didn’t meant one tree per class, but rather specialized trees for different aspects of the character. Another idea comes from “less is more”, meaning fewer nodes but nodes that can be upgraded somehow.
PoE’s tree has so many branches that I have no idea what was their philosophy behind it. For ex: node A increases elemental damage. Then a subclass node increases casting speed. Or the other branch increases fire damage. Then sub-subbranch node increases the explosion caused by fireballs. Some hierarchy like this could at least be more meaningful for players. In some ways the tree does have subnodes, but it also has detours and turn around paths that add to the confusion.
The sockets have 3 layers of RNG. Quantity + colors + links. Which means that some skills are locked out of reach unless you overcome RNG. The system creates a puzzle for you to solve, which seems to go in the opposite direction of the word ACTION. The links are sequential o-o-o-o, which naturally leads many players to think that the order of support skills matter, yet order does not matter. You can have two or three of the same support skill, but you have to learn by yourself that having two of the same support skill does not add, you can’t stack up + 30% + 30% + 30% added cold damage for instance. Not every support gem supports every other active gem. Sometimes a player is using gems that just do nothing together.
Propecies seem to be the perfect example of RNG over RNG. There are prophecies that grant you something that already exists in game, such a rare drop or 6 links. But if the prophecy itself is rare to get, what is it adding to the game other than more gambling?
Can drops be biased in one direction or must they be completely random? Most of the time you never find what you want. Kill a boss, some magic item with one affix drops. Open a chest, some alteration orb drops. You use the orb on some sword, some random affix is applied. It’s one layer of RNG over another layer of RNG. Killing a boss demands time and strenght. But clicking “roll the dice” demands patience and luck. Yet both methods have the same underlying RNG.
For ex: there could be a slow progress between +0.1% life leech till 10% life leech. And / or incremental upgrades to your gear that does not refresh the affixes every time. Diablo 2 mods do that.
There are special interventions that can happen at random anywhere. A lot of players complain that when they do not want it, it does show up. When they want it, they have to rely on luck because the game is randomly choosing to place it or not where you are. Imagine that you have 10 different unique content that can be spawned on some area (crystals, unique boss, portal to somewhere, magical chest of rewards, etc) if each one has 10% of chance of spawning, you have no idea which one you are going to encounter. If there are 100 unique content and the probabilty goes down to 1%, it becomes even more random and even more unpredictable.
In many games there is the concept of Rock - Scissor - Paper. Applying that to resistance would mean that while you can have 100% resist fire, you cannot have +100% resist all elements. It doesn’t look too much fun to watch streamers with builds that just spam a skill and grind to death without much trouble as fast as it can.
Is there a point where complex customization becomes more bothersome than fun? Damage being split in four or five classes and with different multipliers being applied under different conditions. It becomes a puzzle, a math game. What’s the difference between +10% increased weapon damage and having +10% increased [weapon type] damage? Combine the skill tree with gems, all affixes from all gear and affixes from flasks and you have like 10 million combinations.
The progression curve in PoE is weird. As you can die as many times as you want in an act boss, even if your char is underwpowered you can kill the act boss after dozens and dozens of deaths. But at the end game the game becomes like 10x harder and 10x more time consuming, it skyrockets. I remember playing PoE before act 4 was finished. I died many times because of inflicted bleeding. I came back now with Synthesis (my char was in standard, I skipped the league content) and played all 10 acts. For some reason no more mobs inflicted bleeding on me during this playthrough.
One thing left me wondering about the Azurite mine. It took me two or three deaths to understand the sulphite and azurite farming and the darkness. I was wondering: what if the darkness was replaced by poison? Poison dealing damage and killing you seems more natural than dieing because you were too far away from a light source. In the whole game the light radius plays no role in damage you take, so it was weird to die in the dark in the mine. I remember that Adria in Diablo had a speech line that would talk about darkness and treasures. Some players, including me, would missinterpret that thinking that higher light radius yields more and better drops.