- Custom skill points with immense replayability (no skill points in D3)
- custom stat points so every character can be unique (no stat points in D3)
Well, i'm not gonna miss the stat points. Because only a few classes benefited from stat point distribution in D2, one of them being the druid because you could play either as a tank, a caster or a melee dps. Barb didn't really benefit from it, just spend it all on strength and vitality, put some in dex to hit better, no energy needed at all (theoretically a throw barb could have dex as the main stat, but throw barbs were pretty weak compared to melee barbs.) Also it was annoying that you had to put points in strength for Sorc or Necro just to be able to equip better armor...
The skill point system wasn't the best as well. You could max only 5 skills from a total of 30 and while there were some skills which were good with just a couple of levels, most of them were any good only if maxed, if you wanted to do something in Hell difficulty. Also there were some filler spells which were basically the same only one of them being a bit stronger, so why spend more then 1 skill point in the weaker one? Luckily the synergies fixed some of that stuff.
I was first put off by the lack of skill tree in D3 but I have come to like the idea. As for all characters being the same - not quite. You only have 6 active and 3 passive spell slots, so there is potential for many builds. How many times did you have to re-roll your char in D2 just because by lvl 40 you realised that you have botched your build? How frustrating was that? (Of course on battle.net you could get to level 70 in seconds, but think about single player). D2 was and still is an awesome game, but it had it's flaws. D3 has done a lot of good stuff with the gameplay and interface. Remember how D2 was different from D1? And it was a lot different.
So, instead of adding some kind of respec mechanism (could cost a lot to add a money sink for the INGAME currency and/or be on a timer)and try to tweak the trees to make them a little more intuitive they just get rid of them? Wow, that's... weak. Yes, D2 was a lot different than D1, but the difference is that it mostly added more features and polished some rough edges here and there. In D3 they took a lot of cool stuff which we liked about D2 and just thrashed it. Another thing I want to say which is not mentioned very often: Have you noticed the ressource system in D3? Yeah, it's so cool, every character has a new ressource system, it's gonna be sooo different to play with each class..... except now every character is a god damn rogue with an energy bar so that you dont ever need to care about your ressources... have you seen how fast those things regenerate? You could just get rid of it and make it all cooldown-based, wouldn't make much of a difference at this point to be honest.
At the end of the day, D3 could never match the expectations everyone built up in 11 years of waiting, still, everyone and their mother will play D3 regardless of how much they screw it up and everything we have seen is still early beta, so things MAY change and i really hope they change. Especially the difficulty... i really, really don't want to plow through normal mode just to get SOME kind of challenge in the other modes in which i'll already have seen everything. I swear, if Diablo or whoever is the final boss of D3 will be a pushover even in normal mode, i will burn Mike Morhaines house. Be honest, the first time you played D2 in SP, even the first sidebosses in Act 1 were pretty tough... Don't let me get started on Act 2. (Damn those Snakes.) In D3? I have yet to see anyone in their beta coverage die to the skeleton king... ever.
I don't know how you feel, but i am hugely disappointed. At first, I thought I could get over those things(real money Ah, no talent trees, ffs no necro!) if I see the beta but now that the beta is live, I feel even worse than before. Titan Quest and Torchlight etc. were all great games, but everytime i played them, i missed the flavor and epicness of Diablo. Now I get Diablo and it's kinda meh.. As of now, D3 makes me a really sad panda.