I honestly can't say that I found much stuff in WK hard. Maybe the statues on the first floor and the final battle before the endboss. Yes, that fight was quite tough. But the endboss was a complete pushover. Furthermore, I thought that the game adjusts the difficulty of monsters based on your party? Wouldn't a lowlevelled party be fighting easier monsters? As for the Axe being hard to get, yes, you find it on the 4th floor, but to forge it you just need Baalor's Claw (or w/e that's called) and I think you find that fairly early in WK. Honestly, the forging in ToB has been a huge dissapointment for me. All the good weapons are in WK. Then you just grab the other piece you need which is often found in the very same dungeon, or in some obvious spot along the mainstory's missions. They don't cost much to forge either, and gold is obscenely easy to aquire in ToB. You can get FoA earlier
, but not easier
AC in BG is a bad concept overall, no denying that. I'm not sure if it's the 2nd ED ruleset which is notoriously bad at this, or just the games' interpretation of it. -12 or -13 AC really isn't that high though, honestly. To see any noticable difference against ToB monsters you need ~ -20. With such AC I've been able to dodge quite alot of blows from quite tough opponents. I think we can all agree, though, that AC doesn't really matter in this game. But saying "it's just -1 extra AC" doesn't fly with me, because you combine that AC with Helm of Balduran and its -2. Count in modifiers and it's -6. With the Ring of Gaxx and Ring of Protection it's -10. So it's not just 1 extra AC if you think like that, since everything counts you can actually get really insane AC.
HP is by far the best stat as far as tanking goes. Sarevok, as a fighter/thief currently has 176 hp when wielding that axe. Combine that with +15hp Ioun Stone and he has 191. That's quite a ridicilous number, considering he has some 12 more levels to go before maxed. HP is universal, it protects against ALL kinds of damage, not only physical, so imo every little bit counts.
As far as regeneration goes, 3hp/round is the highest you can get. Having a regen effect on your char can save your butt many times, when it comes down to just those extra hitpoints or death. Not to mention that not having any regen effect on a melee fighter (who consistently takes damage) is a complete pain.
The Vorpal hit doesn't work against bosses, but it works against most other, pesky enemies, like Hive Mothers or Mariliths, or all manner of nasty Demons. In fact, the final battle before the WK battle is one tough cookie...until Minscs walks up with the Ravager and instagibs 3 monsters in no time at all. I actually thought that was cheesy as hell and redid the fight with another weapon. Just saying that, yes Vorpal hits are powerful. Overpowered, if you ask me.
Neither Clay Golems or Trolls are particularly tough enemies. Any decent melee fighter with a staff should beat them down easily enough. And by the time you get Imp. Haste or Whirlwind, Stoneskin really shouldn't be a problem for you, either. Most Mage battles in SoA can be won by 1. Cast Breach 2. Cast Power Word: Silence, honestly. Or just use the Daystar, or FotN which goes right through Stoneskin and interupts casts aswell.
The only thing the FoA has going for it, imho, is the Slow effect which is undeniably really good. Not being able to Save against it is a huge bonus. I can see how FoA is a great boss-weapon solely for this. But does it ignore Magic Resistance? I'm not sure if it does, and that would be a real downed honestly since most bosses are immune or highly resistant to magic.
I'm not saying FoA is bad; it's not. It's a very nice wep. I prefer the Axe, though.
Foebane is probably the single best weapon in the entire game.