You may be able to have two direct associations (One going each way), it just depends on what each device supports. Some can initiate, some can only receive.
In my own experience, status not being reported to the hub doesn’t cause any problems, but I have a different background. My college major was computer information systems, and I went on to work as a network engineer. I had a lot of experience with mesh networks before ever trying anything with home automation. Consequently, I never expect the status on the status panel to be up-to-the-minute for mesh networks. “Within the last few minutes” is close enough. If I need something better for some immediate purpose, like troubleshooting, I do a poll.
The biggest advantage of mesh networks like Zwave and Zigbee is that they’re cheap. Cheap in terms of energy draw, and cheap in terms of the end devices, which don’t have to be very smart. And they don’t require constant fine-tuning from a human. I like all of that.
You pay for that by not having constant monitoring, forced sequencing, and instant updates. (To get those, you go to a different network protocol like Wi-Fi which is more expensive.)
So it never bugs me if I can see that the light is on in the room, but I open the app and it thinks the light is off. That’s just part of mesh. But I know it drives a lot of other people crazy, especially if they’ve primarily worked with Wi-Fi devices all their life.
As long as things work when I ask them to, and I can force a status refresh if I need it, I’m fine. But I’m probably not typical of residential users in that regard.
I do like “instant update” switches, just like everybody else. It’s nice. I just understand what it costs in terms of both dollars and energy draw, and I’d rather have lower energy draw.
In terms of everything working in the network, I don’t know if it can cause problems with SmartThings or not. It wouldn’t for most networks, but sometimes smartthings is too smart for its own good and doesn’t issue a command because it thinks the device is already in that state. So hopefully somebody who is using direct association can comment.