Avatar customization is actually a thing many people care deeply for, as proven by years of heated discussion about it. I do believe and hope it’ll eventually come, thus far I’ll consider myself lucky in that I enjoy the fantasy of an old mage and a… druidy druid, while not caring for the other classes much.
That being said, PoE comparisons do not stand. In PoE, you can play the same fantasy on different characters, with very few exceptions, and with different pros and cons - I’ve played the same exact fantasy (RF) with a trickster (young male), an elementalist (young female) and a hierophant (old male), with equal degrees of success. That’s point one.
Point two is that you can make your character look like anything, making the gender and age of your avatar a non-issue - hell, all of my characters look like the Elder (an eldritch abomination with tentacles, for those not familiar with the game) because I’m a huge Lovecraft fan. And that’s just one example, there are cosmetics for just about any absurd fantasy, so people are free to don whatever guise they wish (for a price). LE currently lacks that degree of customization (which is also what fills PoE’s coffers, people love to say that most people only buy stashes in PoE but never have I ever saw a hub without an angel, another kind of angel, at least a couple of demons, a lich, some blood abomination, a lovecraftian abomination, a skeletal pirate &c.), so the comparison quite simply does not stand.
I do understand there are other priorities before launch, obviously. PoE didn’t launch with the amount of cosmetic option it has now, either. Still, I stronly hope LE will follow a similar route, while hopefully also adding more customization options for the avatar as well aside from transmogs/cosmetic MTXs. And that’s because I want the game to succeed, nothing more, nothing less.
P.s. since I mentioned PoE, I’ll also mention D4. It succeeds in one field: maintaining revenue despite being a disaster gameplay-wise. That’s in part because it appeals to a very different and broader audience, granted. But to claim that character customization doesn’t play a big part there too would just being disingenuous, and that affects “casuals dads” and the “sweaty & disgruntled”. Because what is it that generates revenue among the casual D4 players? Cosmetics. And the casuals are those who stay and play over a longer period of days, as opposed to people like who complete the seasonal journey in 3 days and only go back to check whether a patch did something good, and/or for events.