I see a lot of people upset because the game is being 'dumbed down'. The removal of stat point allocation, the removal of skill points, the removal of runes as drops. Each of these things make choosing how you play your character easier. This means you spend less time choosing and more time playing.
I do understand some people wanting permanence, but I think I see a lot more people wanting the game to be 'hard'. To be unfriendly to 'noobs'. To punish noobs for the mistakes they make.
What's really at the heart of this? I think it's less about people wanting to be challenged, and more about people wanting to stroke their ego. They want to be 'that guy' (or girl) amongst their friends who is 'crazy' enough to do things like play a melee wizard, or play a stupid build through Inferno just to say they did it. Like it's some badge of honor.
Some people are assuming because the beta is easy, that the whole game will be easy. That the only 'challenging' thing about D2 was building your character. That without having to devote weeks just to farm enough runes to set the basis of your character's actions, that somehow the game has become "too casual friendly".
Why does the enjoyment of a casual have to be mutually exclusive with the enjoyment of a hardcore player? I'd really like someone to explain that to me.
The loss of depth. Some people want a game that is something they can spend more time thinking about. Some people aren't looking for an Angry Birds type experience with every game they play.
When you remove things that add depth, people who enjoy the nuances of the depth will justifiably be upset.
Simplified CAN be good, in a lot of cases, but adding depth can also make for a more robust and often more interesting game for those willing to invest the time to enjoy it.
I think, the only thing about stoking ego is that people like you are just trying to verbally attack others for enjoying something you don't enjoy.
It's sort of like The Wire versus Law and Order. Both are cop dramas, but one has a lot more depth, and it's a better show for it. Of course, not everyone wants depth, and you might say that some people hate depth. But it isn't just about "elitism" or "ego stoking." It's about overall satisfaction. When you feel invested in anything, you generally tend to derive more satisfaction from it. Games (or shows) that lack depth generally don't require you, or even encourage you to "invest" anything in it (whether it be your time or close attention), which leaves people much more dissatisfied or ambivelant. Particularly people who appreciate depth.
And as you said, Diablo 2 wasn't particularly challenging. There's no evidence that Diablo 3 will be particularly challenging. And the "depth" in the game was, in large part, character planning whether you want to admit that or not. Sure, a lot of people just followed cookie cutters, but that was their perogative. A lot of people didn't, such as the people who developed the cookie cutters. So, you have Diablo 3, a game which will inherently have pretty basic gameplay, and you remove the depth from it, what's left?
Next time you feel the need to come on here and insult people, just because you feel you're better than them for not being an ego stoking blowhard, perhaps you should check and see if you don't have too high of an opinion of yourself.