"Unanswered questions such as the optimal way to experience the game"? Now that is a funny idea, that there is one objective optimal way to enjoy something. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me how to optimally enjoy chocolate.
I'd say you bought it too late, because it was stable on release. Ran like a clock. A dodgy clock, mind, but a clock. But yeah, this is not the optimal time to play the game, of that you can be sure. As for why it is, I'd say it's 100% due to bugs that cause grievances, for I have not seen a single part of game outside of the mechanical issues that have upset me.