For the most part, there is much to like in Path of Exile that should attract a lot of new players, especially when something new like an expansion comes along. However, it's not really surprising at this point to see beginners and people who are interested in playing this game to be intimidated by it. It's no secret that Path of Exile is fairly deep and complex, but it's not the most complex of all online games and its fundamentals are based on the action role-playing games of old.
It's an easy game to learn, but a fairly hard game to master. That shouldn't be that big of a deal for casual players though since there's much content and ways to play for those who aren't as hardcore as some players who treat this game as one of their primary points of interest in life. Grinding Gear Games has done a fairly good job with catering this game to as wide a demographic as a game of its kind can, which may not seem much but is still quite something nonetheless.
The very first thing that discourages new players in this game, as mentioned, is the complexity. There are a lot of details to this game that you have to bite really hard on to sink your teeth into. Its basics may be easy enough to understand—just move around and interact with the mouse—but it then dives deeper and deeper the more you play. You then learn about the passive skill tree and what gems and Path of Exile items do, then you're more or less lost in the abyss if it isn't for online guides and tutorials.
But even with help, there's quite a lot you have to do in order to get the most out of this game. Players invest a good bit of their time and energy into forging their dream characters, and the journey doesn't really end so quickly. Once you've taken your first character as far as it can go, you may want to go with a different character with a different build, or perhaps even a different league altogether. There's much to do in order to see more of the game, and even more is being added in as time passes.
To add to that investment, you'll always be on edge when you decide to play in hardcore leagues, wherein dying once means you get your character kicked down to the standard league just like that. That may not sound that bad, but the point of playing in the hardcore league is to not die, so it's a shame to put a lot of time into a character that then gets killed by a monster far into the game. But then again, that's what gives the game more thrill and excitement.
There are also some other things with this game like some performance issues and even scams by other players who may be unethical and opportunistic. With the former, Grinding Gear Games constantly battle against those; the latter is avoided through constant vigilance, common sense, and support from the many good guys in the community and Grinding Gear Games itself. Enjoying this game need not be intimidating at all.
While these may seem quite scary to newbies, do know that they're present in most other online role-playing games out there. The differences between those games and Path of Exile are the continued quality development and support by Path of Exile and the Path of Exile community at large. They're what make this game great to play even if you are the greenest of newbies.