"I see a lot of people talk about what certain systems mean in terms of the duration that they will play the game, which I don't think is entirely reasonable. I'd rather Blizzard make an incredible experience that I'll play and truly enjoy for a lesser amount of time than have them make a less incredible experience that I'm able to play longer.
That you were able to sink so much time into D2 because (among other more important reasons) you were forced to re-roll characters doesn't sound like much of a justification for that system. Most people don't equate "takes more time" with "better."
I feel like I can't be the only one who isn't looking to replace every facet of my life with Diablo 3, right?"
While we obviously want things which are enjoyable to last longer, I think it is important to consider whether that additional cost of time actually makes the experience better. For every story about the years and years someone spent grinding out characters and loot in D2, I'd like to counter with the experience of playing something like, say, Portal or Portal 2 - both of which are phenomenal, albeit short, experiences. Extending game time through intentionally inconvenient systems would not have made Portal better, even if it was enjoyable in D2, and I wonder at its necessity for the experience in D3.