What you're reffering to is what I'm reffering to - but it's become pretty obvious that ATM it's not only too difficult to figure it out, but that the game either misses or doesn't provide enough opportunity to start discovering those things. I'm sure I don't have the gods figured out completely - I discover new things about them all the time! Heck, really doing the puzzles instead of going through the solutions actually pointed me in several directions that I never explored before.
But if god's aren't figured out, you cant even begin to start getting better at the game in the way the game expects you to. And what you say is true - some degree of difficulty is absolutely necessary, but actual spikes are a hugely bad thing. We agree 100%.
And about figuring them out on your own, I'm not saying "force it onto people all at once"
I'm saying give more opportunity, give more reason to believe there's something to find there or reasons to look there. I can ussualy tell when I've used my brain to figure stuff out, and when it was pure accident and circumstance - and ATM it seems that figuring the gods out, even that you're supposed to be exploring them is something a players brain isn't telling them to do.
In other words, if this was football, and Leo Messi was trying to learn it, he'd probably hit vicious and be really frustrated by it. And then if he sank a needlessly huge amount of time into it he could discover what he was supposed to know by accident. And even if someone was genious enough to figure it out on his own, or had whatever trait you need to (stuborness, OCD, too much free time) you can't balance for the 1% if it means it's going to drive away just about anybody else.
EDIT: Otherwise you'd end up were footbal (soccer) is - a bunch of extraordinarily talented millionaires playing, the rest of the world drinking beer and watching. And the devs aren't selling beer, they're selling footballs.
And you seem to like all the changes which went in the direction opposite of that, so I guess we agree