I've had so many EP's over the years, both fixed focal length and zooms, and Barlows.
There are many that are clones. I've owned so many Celestron 8-24mm zooms over the years, each of varying quality. QC is always going to be an issue with anything mass produced. I've owned many that were just kind of "Meh...serviceable" while others of the same brand were excellent. At the moment I have the Agena clone of the Celestron. Exact same EP, but $25 less. It's of pretty good quality in the view and use. I also own the Baader MKIV 8-24mm zoom that I got a "too good to be true" deal on. I don't think I would have paid $300 for it new, but it is better than all the other zooms I've owned.
Oddly enough, zooms have the narrowest FOV at their lowest magnification, and get wider, the higher you go.
Currently I have the lens of my 2X Barlow screwed directly onto my Baader zoom (turning the Barlow into a 1.5X instead). But the benefit is, it turned my 8-24mm zoom into a 5.3mm - 16mm Zoom EP, which is my most used range anyway and keeps the FOV about 59° to 69° throughout that range and with really great eye relief too. I now barely notice the FOV difference as I zoom back and forth throughout that range and it is far closer to parfocal as well.
An 8-24mm Zoom, a 2X Barlow and one wide angle EP makes for a simple, fairly complete set, covering a wide range. My Baader is really the only EP I use now, along with my 40mm WA EP. Of course most of my viewing is the Moon and planets.
Zooms aren't for everyone, but I like to keep things as simple as possible. My seeing conditions aren't the greatest so I like that I can just dial in the right magnification as those conditions change (which is frequent).