So been enjoying this Forum a lot lots of great folks and lots of laughs
as you Know I'm a Helix user, but I've come to notice a lot of folks here and a lot of discussions revolve around FAS, more so than any other modeler ....
have I crossed over to the Dark Side Forum wise
Most of the folks here have a fair bit of experience with a whole lot of stuff.
Some of us (well, me at least) wound up here in large part because other forums got frustrating with how often you'd have folks posting not from firsthand experience but from "when I was shopping for my X, I did all the research and although I've never even seen a Y in the flesh, I'm going to go ahead and tell you about Y as an expert having read 5.2 million posts (4.3 of which are just posts by other people that have never seen a Y in the flesh but are just, like me, regurgitating lore, hence making it seem like it's a "consensus").
That wound up most frustrating for anything non-Helix related because the conversation was one part sharing experience to three or four parts dealing with the "opinion" of folks that was not at all based on real life experience.
To the extent I talk more about Fractal here it's in large part due to the fact that it's nice to have a place to talk about it without knowing I was likely going to be dealing with an annoying side conversation correcting an inaccurate assumption, that would then turn into a childish argument (childish by everyone involved, myself included).
A lot of us keep a foot in more than one pond (be that via multiple modelers, pedals+modeler(s), modeler(s)+amp(s), or all of the above) because through hands on experience we've figured out there is no magic box that does it all perfectly.
Some of it is nitpicky - I liked the tremolos in Helix a lot when I first got one years ago. Later I got a Strymon Flint; and then had the fortune of owning and playing quite a few amps with various types of built-in tremolo. Now...I can tolerate the tremolo in the Helix and it'd work fine for just about anything, but there are other terms (including Fractal's) that bring me a lot more pleasure when playing and would be icing on the cake to a lot of listeners in some recording and live playing contexts.
I like almost everything in Fractal. I even think it can make great dirty/sauce-drenched delays. BUT, I find it only works well for static settings of those kinds of delays. Any knob-tweaking/noise making with an analog delay, or attempts to do tape-style sound-on-sound looping and forget about it. I'll take a Helix or better yet a pedal (or three).
But all of this has been a many-years path. And while if you buy used, flip wisely, etc., you can make sure no single transaction results in four figure cash outlay, an honest accounting for any of that have been at it a while would show thousands, possibly pushing $10k (for a few outliers...several $10k), lost overall, that will never be recouped.
If your goal is making music, just enjoy your Helix. If your goal is exploring/experiencing guitar gear...I know plenty of folks with an annual wine/beer/spirits budget that easily competes with my gear budget, and gets them nothing more than a mildly-intoxicating experience that they can wax philosophically and critically about with other con-a-sewers.