I think I understand your problems with the spell and I disagree with your analysis in the context of D&D 5e and how it defines the pillars of play. Upthread it appeared you suggested that there were objectively problems with it. If that is not your position, then I'm good.I'm happy to use quotes from the 5e version of the spell to point out my problems with the spell in its current form.
My analysis is that the DM did not take into account the capabilities of the player characters when designing the scenario. Nothing wrong with that (it happens) and does not indicate to me any particular issue with the spell. And kudos for the DM coming clean on it with the players as the means of resolving the issue.