With over 1000 passives to choose from, builds in PoE cover a pretty wide range of options.
Normally, when I come into a game like this, I tend to do a lot of research and planning, both theory-crafting my own build ideas, and reading up on what other people use, and what is and is not successful at end-game levels.
However, I was contemplating doing something different with PoE. For once, I was thinking it might be interesting to just wing it, and pick what sounds good as I go along.
I don't intend to just completely pick random passives; rather, I want to pick a couple of themes, and stick with those, while avoiding passives that are unrelated to those themes. For example, on my level 19 marauder, I've been planning on sticking with 1 hand weapons and a shield, so I've avoided any passive relating to 2 hand weapons, or even any that are specific to a particular weapon type (i.e. no increased sword damage, etc.). I'm also sticking roughly to Str only, picking up only a couple of skills that spill over into dex or int territory.
However... as a result of my "no research" policy (one which I'm having some trouble sticking to), I don't know much about the end game.
Given that PoE offers very limited respeccing options, I'm getting concerned that I'll get up to high levels of play, and find that my character is permanently unable to participate in end-game content (and by end-game, I'm not even talking about competition like PvP, ladders, or special events, but simply being able to perform effectively in basic story progression encounters).
How likely is this to occur? How much of a discrepancy exists between a well-built character and a haphazardly-built character, assuming similar levels of general gear and skill? Are some classes more or less forgiving?