My 2 cents - I prefer the DnD system by far.
is fair and fine, but hard part for developers is absence of "why."
Time available requires me to be painfully brief, unfortunately.
Developers definitely do not expect to be enlightened by me, nor do I expect developers to read my posts. I just posted my preference. When I offer feedback, I usually devote time which is mostly wasted as you yourself imply in your last paragraph. Anyway here are some reasons:
1) Attributes - what they affect, how they scale. You already know how e.g. a +1 strength bonus affects dice rolls in DnD. Less linear, more impactful. Theme is secondary, but I find DnD attributes much more thematically solid when it comes to what they affect.
2) Attack resolution in general. Miss/graze/hit/crit margins and percentages when it comes to the game calculating the resolution and how they change depending on the accuracy/defense gap.
3) The fact that spells go through the same attack resolution and do not feel like a unique kind of attack like in DnD.
I agree that balance concerns are definitely not meaningless, but too much attention to balance always leads to homogenization. Recognizable is not enough. Unique is better. As for unintuitive, let's not open that can of worms.
not much to go on...
1) d&d attributes is far less intuitive.... and am still not certain which d&d you are speaking 'bout. lack o' intuitiveness is not actual subject to debate, is it? 3e attributes have every second point value provide gains, so +1 does not actual necessarily provide any benefit, and the +1 benefit, when it does actual provide a benefit, provides vast different benefits depending on class choice. the benefits o' strength 18/26 v. 18/27? there is skills which is modified by strength... and size modifies strength, but a few skills which is modified by strength might actual be diminished by size. strength doesn't affect ranged thac0 or damage, save for when it does. etc.
2) is not an observation 'bout d20 or d&d. gonna need clarify, but if you are saying miss/graze/hit/crit is less intuitive or more oblique than thac0 or d20 than am gonna need more of a response, 'cause am not agreeing.
3) am agreeing that the poe combat resolution mechanics is more unified and rational than d&d, particularly ad&d. already mentioned the complete arbitrariness o' ad&d saving throws, but we can post the charts if need be. if different is necessarily superior, then you might wanna argue ad&d is superior, but is tough to find another positive other than different. d20 makes caster dc utter and complete dispositive and is suffering from clear thresholds. if you don't have enough points in your prime casting attribute, you will fail regardless o' tactics or strategies or buffs or debuffs or whatnot. etc. 'course if different is genuine important, am gonna note how poe, unlike d&d, offers much more variety o' gameplay. chanters have phrases and invocations. is a much different mechanic than monk wounds or the more traditional casters. and 'course there is cipher focus which is generated by doing damage to foes. fighters have active abilities they may start using at early levels as 'posed to being reduced to making auto-attacks overandoverandoverandover. d&d core classes is easily dividing caster and weapon combat. less variety. sure, all poe classes use same combat number crunching, but such is rational and does not change fact poe offers more core gameplay variety.
not enumerated, but the oft mentioned balance = homogenized bit is actual reversing reality. in games with poor balance, such as d&d and fallout, there is correct and wrong builds 'cause o' clear difference in efficacy. during development, poe developers noted how few different fo builds were actual utilized in spite o' the open rule system. d&d suffered similar, but worse. d20 has literal prerequisite feats and skills for a variety o' optimal builds. poe/deadfire made suboptimal builds much more viable than d&d counterparts. sure, d&d has decades o' splat books to provide options, but few such options is ever actual utilized. given the relative brief time poe has existed, the options per offering ratio is far greater for poe/deadfire. even the s'posed terrible poe options, 'according to the hardcore build monkeys, is usal not just effective but powerful.
is kinda funny, but when full poe2 were released, most o' the "rogues suck" complaints disappeared... though such threads were replaced with a few "priests suck" threads... but priestly suckage were more 'bout curiously unbalanced spell lists and not lack o' efficacy. priests has clear right and wrong options for spells. lack o' balance is what harmed priest class playability. unbalanced spell lists means all priests has a tendency to look alike. homogenized.
and why on earth would we wanna ignore the can o' worms which is d&d when it comes to being counter intuitive? simple do a google search with terms: d&d; counter; intuitive. will keep you busy for a long time.
HA! Good Fun!