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Hey, I know all the topics you're talking about and the things you believe D3 lacked, but I'm here to adress just one point of all these: Belial, simply because I think as far as character design goes, he's an epic fail.
In Act II, I said, "if Hakan II turns out to be Belial, he's the worst Lord of Lies ever. If he isn't, then there's an epic red herring." Turns out he was the Emperor. Fail.
You know who would've been a better disguise, being a plot twist and making sense at the same time? Asheara, leader of the Iron Wolves. Hakan sent his guards away to die in the desert, because he knew they were Belial's minions. Keep the rest of the Act intact; just imagine getting to the throne room in the end, when you reveal that you know he is Belial. He denies it, you kill his guards and eventually kill him or whatever. Then Asheara comes in to finish you off, telling you how you fell into his trap and killed the Emperor and now everyone knows it because he videotaped it or something. You kill him all the same, but at least his lie is more contrived and convoluted.
TL; DR: Imagine Act II as it is, but when you reach Hakan II Belial turns out to be Asheara.
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