I agree with you that I don’t think 2e D&D is “good”, and I don’t think anyone should use it anymore. I don’t know any other tabletop systems, but I assume that they’ve improved on the situations somewhat (we can dig up one of Armando’s panegyrics for details, I’m sure).
I think what I’d really prefer is for something “exciting”–be it a key ability in a level-up or a powerful weapon–to happen somewhat rarely for each character. And then since you have a party of a couple characters, you get “something exiting” happening at a steady drip, sometimes clustered, sometimes spaced out. And I think having a lot of little numbers that creep up really subtract from the “exciting-ness” of the system, even if it does mean that you never have an empty level-up. Like in my original example, I got a ring at the beginning of the game that’s +5 will (I think, could be wrong). This means finding another ring with +6 or +7 will is kinda boring, but +10 would be nice–so I’d prefer to just divide everything by 5, and go +1 to +2 and skip the intermediates. That said, I’ve barely found any special (magical, sharpened, whatever they call it) weapons yet, so that is promising.
(And to be clear, I’m really not judging PoE 2 yet, I have barely scratched the surface. I’m just rambling.)
I haven’t! I’ll admit I was bit put off by two things–so many folks said how great it was in coop (or was that the first of the series?), and so many folks also went on about the environmental effects in combat, which for some reason is a big turn off for me. But maybe I’ll have to try it out! I’m honestly not that excited about BG3 because of it, but honestly I don’t think I’ll be able to not get BG3…