I feel like you’re really not getting it.
It’s not that it’s some impossible game. It’s not particularly challenging. It’s just not fun or engaging, because playing it well feels deeply unrewarding compared to just min-maxing your equipment. It’s not like I haven’t tried the same fights with naturally-found gear and gear from going around looking for stuff, trying to barter with every NPC, and so on. I’m sure it’d be more fun with two players - everything is, but that’s not the point.
And no, you’re flatly wrong to say “that matters more than 30% damage”, because you can’t win the fight without doing damage, this isn’t the previous game. You have to break through the armour to apply the CC and other effects (an incredibly perverse design). Sometimes it’s a lot more than “30%” damage, too. And even 30% damage can easily mean killing a guy in 2 turns instead of 3 and totally changing the course of a fight.
In the previous D:OS game, which also had some obnoxious scaling on damage/armour, you would have been justified in making that claim. You could get through all sorts of “shouldn’t have been possible” fights by CCing the hell out of enemies whilst subjecting them to a horror show of conditions (on fire, poisoned, etc.)
That doesn’t work here unless you have good damage, and it will happen to you unless you have decent armour. To do good damage, you have go beyond merely min-maxing your characters. I double-checked my builds - they were correct, essentially (more by luck than judgement, I suspect, as Zephro says, transparent numbers are meaningless if you don’t know exactly what they do - I mean, Path of Exile is more transparent than D:OS2 on the numbers, and you don’t see anyone saying that makes it easy to make builds). What I didn’t have was good gear, because I assumed I’d buy it from sellers or get it from combat, like, y’know, every other game that’s gear-dependent. Instead unless you make a focused effort to obtain good gear, you rapidly fall behind where the game expects you to be, as you seem to know. Playing really well will mean you likely still win fights, but instead of them being efficient and feeling competent, they feel like a mess.
Also, as AFAIK, the end of the game, which you seem to think people are complaining about, isn’t where the big problem is. The big problem is the beginning and body of the game. I suspect by the end your gear is going to be pretty damn solid. But in the first and second acts, you’re scrabbling for gear in a way that’s totally obnoxious.
I’m fine with losing a fight because I used bad tactics or whatever, but when I try a couple of times and eventually just barely scrape through, and then I decide I used too many consumables so go back and get better gear and so on, and this time it’s a faceroll, with the same tactics? Yeah then it’s not the tactics that matter. And a couple of times I read guides or watched videos for stuff - oh and guess what I was already doing it right, I just didn’t have good enough gear (and it’s often very hard to find an upgrade for a specific piece, too, which is extra-frustrating).