Ah, I understand the pain a bit better now - bending your game around a tough but just-obtainable goal, and putting in many hours, to have it ripped away by a lottery win, ouch!
I must strongly agree that the low chance of it happening is indeed what makes such a 'feature' so awful. The entire justification to much of the D2 economy was "it's ok for this item to be ridiculously uber because it's so rare..." - a design decision so hideously flawed as to not waste debating, the very proof is in the game play.
Having a 20%-ish percent chance to promote and gain a hp is a wonderful device to add variety and spice, but having a 2% chance to gain +10hp is a crime against good design.
I too hope they fix the issues, and you find a release that fully addresses these 'important but not much talked about issues' (in addition to the glaring ones) but I think that with one developer who has a strict time limit of about 4 months left on the game makes that a highly improbable event. Nevertheless, even a passing read of the RBC12 SG suite of games on Fall of Rome shows there's enough fun and interest for a number of folks, and sharing the joys and frustrations with a like-minded group adds to it immensely.
PS As a complete aside, Sirian, will you ever get back into FRFR?! :P It's low odds to ask, but it would be neat to see that finish (heck, there's even a 'redux' game with those rules by another SG group). (If 'no' however, would you object to a skip or two? It was a great variant design of yours, and the poor Indians deserve closure!)