This is a fantastic post.
I personally greatly appreciate the time put into fully fleshing out your argument and in this case you've made a very strong reasoning as to why D2 and D3 have such a looming disconnect. I think a lot of what you shed light on here deserves Blizzards acknowledgement as I agree with these concerns solely due to my personal D2 and D3 experience.
Your assessment of affixes in particular shows the extreme problems that exist at the heart of the game's core : flawed itemization.
While I think some of your proposed changes would need temperance overall you've started a fantastic dialogue that I pray Blizzard notices. I think the majority of us still playing would love to see a future patch (1.08, 1.09, etc.) revamp and 'fix' many of the affix issues you've discussed rather than add a new event, or some such. It would be nice to get what we have working rather than just keep piling new features on the unstable and dysfunctional foundation.
Particularly in the realm of build diversity you brought my attention to the fact that while tantalizing, thorns (for example) cannot function well now because it is too weak, and therefor a waste in its current iteration. As with your proposal, thorns seeing a reworking would promote diversity and enable some estranged passives and skills to become warranted. In the meantime, these items and skills essentially take up space, driving up the price on desired items and relegating more and more of the item populace to Charsi food or bargain bin.
I think a lot of the issues in Diablo 3 can be fixed from this angle as so much of the games issues (balance, items, economy) can be drawn back to origins in the issues you've brought up here.
Both build diversity and a much subtler striation of item prices would occur through such an affix revamp, adding a great deal of value not only to a much larger body of items but also to a players time. More importantly, by fixing affixes (tongue twister) they open up design space for unique item combinations in the future when we get a new level cap or new legendaries or an event. Along with that, the build diversity that would be promoted would elevate so many more items to a reasonable price,( unlike the current 1% elite items vs. a suboptimal everything else) , spreading the desirability and demand across a greater deal of items and again allowing blizzard more design space in modifying and implementing passives and skills. To return to the example of thorns, it would be beautiful future in which not only thorns (for example) functioned differently, but Blizzard was able to support it with interesting new legendaries and modification to under used passives or runes come patch time.
And after thinking more on the subject I realized how much this itemization aspect affects every issue the game has, every facet of the game itself. An example is how I think this issue relates in a manner to another relatively hot topic: Reflect Damage and the overall direction of builds. Currently a large enough group of players having trouble with reflect damage has given cause to modify reflect damage's function. The issue seems due to the fact that many players prefer to focus offensively and are occasionally presented with a unique and difficult situation: no way to handle RD mobs. The overall nature of the game is creating an environment in which Reflect is not constant and therefor certain forms of defense can be ignored except in particular cases. With a revamp to affixes defensive builds would not only become more viable (remember what Barbs looked like before 1.03, there were a great deal of low dps, high armor, hp, res all tanks out there) but more populace. Ive spent considerable time trying to relatively de-squish my demon hunter. It'd be nice to see the game incentivize balanced builds instead of the current environments propensity to promote glass cannon build and play. When the focus on characters becomes so narrow, we again see a 'best vs. rest' mentality when it comes to judging items and skills and builds and classes.
We want diversity! I want Diversity!
Thank you for this post as it serves a noble duty. The Diablo 3 community has been plagued with complaints and derision long before the game was released and it persists today. Your post, however, actually provides an informative dialogue and potential solutions. A truly rare and desperately needed trend!
Edited by AshenRed#1167 on 1/14/2013 10:59 AM PST